A new year has begun and many wish to kickstart it by feeling cleansed, energized and on a path to healthy living. The process of detoxification is natural to any living organism and involves the removal of waste material from the body. The major organs of detoxification are the liver, kidneys, colon, and skin. A balanced approach to support and enhance the functions of each is critical to achieve great results when on a detox. Detox diets vary widely and can last for a few days to as long as one month. Many involve some version of a limited diet such as the elimination of red meat, wheat, sugar, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol. Organic fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds along with certain vitamin and mineral supplements are encouraged.Some detox programs can involve replacing one or two meals with a high protein, vitamin-rich shake or organic freshly pressed juice. Most include detoxification “boosters” in the form of herbs, probiotics (to replace healthy bacteria in the digestive tract), nutrients and antioxidants. Certain products have been especially developed to augment the detoxification process by supporting the liver as well as aiding bowel function and maintaining a healthy digestive tract. A few key herbs to look for in a good detox supplement include: artichoke, milk thistle and schisandra to name a few.However extreme dietary restriction such as a juice or water wast is almost never recommended as it can a negative effect on blood sugar levels and metabolism ad leaving you feeling depleted. A detox program really needs to go beyond the diet to address both lifestyle and the mental/emotional state. Additions such as meditation, deep breathing, infrared sauna sessions, exercise, and daily positive affirmations can really help take your detox to the next level.Although most people can benefit from periodic detoxification, certain individuals should not attempt it without supervision from a trained healthcare professional. These include diabetics, since a detox program may lower their blood sugar levels and their medication may need to be adjusted. People taking medications should also seek professional advice since the detox can increase the speed with which medications are metabolized and eliminated. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid doing an intensive detox program due to the potential of releasing toxins through the placenta or in breast milk. However a detox is usually highly recommended as preparation for conception for both parents!