The top functional medicine physicians and holistic health experts agree: toxicity is a major contributing factor in weight gain, as well as the inability to lose weight.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber – all of which are thought to block the absorption of and/or help remove various harmful environmental toxins from the body.
Unfortunately, many nutrition experts believe that conventionally grown produce is part of the problem, not the solution.
Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are generally grown in soil that is depleted in naturally occurring minerals and are laden with a toxic cocktail of chemicals – herbicides, insecticides, pesticides and industrial fertilizers.
Consequently, conventionally grown produce is not only significantly less nutritious but often contains relatively large amounts of chemicals and toxins, many of which have been shown to be allergenic, carcinogenic and otherwise harmful to human health. Long term exposure (even in very low doses) to some of these toxins has been linked to nerve damage, cancer and birth defects.
Additionally, it is suspected that genetically modified crops (GMOs) are not safe for human consumption and yet it is estimated that up to 75% of foods sold in typical U.S. grocery markets contain GMO ingredients.
In view of these facts, it is easy to see how eating lots of conventionally grown produce can be harmful to one’s health.
In a detox protocol calling for consumption of mostly fruits and vegetables, such as a juice cleanse, ingesting lots of conventionally grown produce can mean ingesting lots nutritionally bankrupt food and plenty of pesticides – this, of course, defeats the entire purpose of a cleanse which is to rid the body of toxins, regain health and lose some weight and excess fat!
As this very excellent infographic entitled “Is Your Diet Toxic?” points out, there are a number of things you can do to obtain the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, to safeguard your detox or cleanse efforts and to otherwise protect yourself.
The first step is to become an informed consumer. Be aware of how food is grown and processed both here at home and in other countries that import food to the U.S.
Understand the difference between conventionally grown and organically grown. Choose locally grown, organic produce that is currently in season whenever possible – especially when it comes to the so-called “dirty dozen” (peaches, celery, strawberries, sweet bell pepper, spinach, nectarines, cherries, lettuce, apples, pears, imported grapes and potatoes).
Learn to read labels and avoid packaged (including packaged salad), processed, canned and frozen foods, many of which often contain hidden GMOs. Be aware that the term “all natural” is virtually meaningless.
Look for the specific country of origin of the food and diet pills (i.e., where it was grown or processed) and be weary of labels that say “packed by”, “distributed by”, “manufactured for” – labels like these give no indication of where the food really came from.