Monday, May 14, 2012

Detox Don't!

Search for "detox products" online and you'll get over 35,000 hits. Detox diet books number in the hundreds. Surprising? Unfortunately, no. Ridiculous? Absolutely. It's continually shocking to me the amount some people will pay for products that have absolutely no scientific evidence that they do...anything. The theory behind detoxing is that our body becomes overloaded with "toxins" from the food we eat, mainly coming from additives, caffeine, preservatives, and alcohol. Supposedly these toxins stay in the body, wreaking all kinds of havoc, from weight gain to belly bloat to fatigue. The truth is that this entire premise is faulty.

Talk to ANY GI specialist and he/she will tell you the same thing: our bodies don't get "backed up with toxins" that come from the foods we eat. The body is perfectly capable of cleansing itself using its own special device: your liver. Ever heard the phrase, "You live-r you die"? You need your liver - can't live without it! It is your body's natural way of filtering out the "bad stuff" and keeping the good.

So why do people keep buying them, claiming to see results? Many of these products are filled with intestinal irritants, designed to upset the lining of your gastro-intestinal (GI) system so that you go to the bathroom. The products claim that this is your body ridding itself of "toxins and years of build-up", when all you have done is irritate your body. Many detox products or detox diets are downright dangerous. Some require extreme fasting for days or weeks at a time, in which participants only drink liquids or eat only one or two foods. Taking in so few calories leads to severe muscle wasting. Some detox products contain laxatives or colonics; these can be dangerously dehydrating and cause electrolyte imbalances in the body. Detoxing is really another name for extreme calorie control - there is no detoxification about it. So whether it's a pill, liquid, diet, or foot pad (yes, those are out there too), stay far away.

Looking for a healthy way to "cleanse" your body? Try this:
1. Drink plenty of water
2. Instead of only liquids, eat whole foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grain.
3. Fuel your muscles with dairy and other sources of protein.
4. Eat consistently throughout the day: every 3-4 hours is ideal.
5. With the okay from your doctor, be physically active every day.
6. Avoid laxatives and detox supplements.

 By Katie Davis
Katie Davis, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN leads the Mindful Eating Group and the Nutrition Counseling Group on Thursday evenings. For more info call Katie at (773) 929-6262 x24

Paying it Forward: Amy Grabowski

By: Diana Hinojosa

In her journey to pay it forward, Amy Grabowski, Founder and Director of The Awakening Center, recalls the moment in which she became inspired to be a part of helping people find their healing path. 

She began her career as an Art Education teacher at a Junior High school and had no previous experience working with teenagers. She remembers how energetic they were, and being in charge of the detention room, Amy got the opportunity to meet a young boy named Richie. 

Amy recalls, “I got to know him and he had a really sad story. He had so many troubles and expressed them verbally, and physically, but he shared so many things with me. I saw a different side of him, and I would make sure to tell the substitute teachers how wonderful he was.”

At that point in her life, Amy realized that being in the classroom setting was not what she had expected, and it began to activate her eating disorder. She decided to take some time off and figure out what it was she really wanted to do with her life, and never forgot how much she enjoyed helping that boy Richie. She realized what her true passion was and decided to pursue a career that would help people find themselves.
“I feel honored that people tell me things they have never told anybody before. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love what I do so much now.”

Amy’s personal experience with recovering from an eating disorder and her strong belief in paying it forward has allowed her to form the mission of The Awakening Center. Their tag line, “Discover the person you were meant to be”, is something that Amy is deeply fond of because she truly believes everyone is meant to be at peace with who they are. 

She says, “The most important thing for me is helping people find a sense of self. The model we use helps harmonize the parts within a person, but you can only achieve that if there is a strong sense of self.”
Amy realizes that most people really struggle in the process of therapy because it’s a difficult and painful experience, especially if they are an abuse survivor. 

 Nevertheless, she says, “Suddenly in the course of therapy, something clicks for the clients and their recovery begins to fall into place. They start to see things differently. But these moments are not always universal because it’s so much inner work.” 

As the director of The Awakening Center, Amy feels blessed to work with such a wonderful group of therapists.
She says, “Each one compliments each other and they each bring so much energy into the room, that when we are all together, it’s just great. Even the landlord of the building treats us like family that it makes me feel like it is just good karma to be a part of all of this experience.”