So, you’ve been feeling sluggish. It’s almost like your body is pleading with you for a clean up. However, you don’t think you’re up to undertaking a full 14- or 21-day detox.
I hear you!
We often need a detox to rid ourselves of the effects of the inflammatory food and drink we’ve been consuming, especially if we’ve been on the SAD (Standard American Diet). Perfect acronym, right? 😉 Our poor liver cries out for an opportunity to process the toxins that have built up in our bodies, as well as the environmental toxins in the air and water that assail us daily.
The key is to respond positively to your body’s cry for a break from all the gunk–internal and external–it’s been processing, all the while honoring your intuition that an extended cleanse may not be the best step right now. Perhaps just five days of detoxing might put you on the right path to incorporate some new steps in your daily health regimen!
But… where to start? Well, following the D-E-T-O-X acronym below will give you the tools to gently bring your body, mind, and spirit back in balance.
Delete the big offenders: sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and red meat
Most of us have, at the minimum, a sensitivity to at least one of these bad boys, if not more. I know I was shocked when a food sensitivity test I took a few months ago showed that my body’s response to eggs and dairy in particular was off the charts. Who knew?! But deleting potential trouble foods for even a few days will give your system time to breathe and let you identify which ones could be the cause of some of your health problems.
Detox the liver
The liver is a workhorse of the gastrointestinal system, with responsibility for your metabolism, digestion, and blood cleansing. In particular, the liver creates bile, which receives all the toxins thrown our way and eliminates them. When overworked, the liver cannot effectively carry out its duties, and the entire body suffers. A simple detox will cleanse the liver and help it produce more effective bile. Cilantro and parsley are known for their ability to cleanse the liver, and herbs like milk thistle, dandelion, nettle leaf, and turmeric, as well as vegetables like beets and carrots, will help the liver regain its robust qualities quickly.
You’re going to want to find ways to eliminate so that your system can be freed of the toxins that are assaulting it daily. That includes going to the bathroom more often (#1 and #2), sweating more, and even engaging in more deep breathing. An Epsom salts bath, for example, is a great way to eliminate through the skin by having the salts draw toxins out of the body.
Exercise (the gentle kind)
You’ll probably feel like chilling out once you commit to a detox, but some gentle exercising can be very conducive to an effective detox. Good examples of suitable exercise are walking, stretching, yoga, and Pilates. Too much intense exercise may work against your detox goals by inflaming the body. You want to do the opposite: reduce inflammation and ensure that your blood is flowing efficiently to help escort toxins from the body.
Eat to promote detox
As much as a detox is about deleting certain foods and practices, it’s also a great time to add foods that will help heal the body. Leafy green veggies and antioxidant-rich berries flood the body with vitamins and minerals that support systemic good health. Shakes, juices, and smoothies are excellent choices as they, too, deliver the macro- and micro-nutrients that will boost your health, but please make sure to focus on green ingredients and avoid high-sugar fruits like mangoes and pineapples. Other great food choices are garlic and onion; cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts; and grapefruit, avocados, apples, and pears.
Top up on fluids
Here’s your chance to get more liquids into your body so that you can eliminate (see “E” above) and feel fuller without depending so much on food. In addition, better hydration ensures that the side effects of a detox (headaches, moodiness, aches and pains) aren’t as severe. Start your day with warm lemon water, which alkalizes the body. Of course, the more water you can drink throughout the day, the better. Aim for a least half your body weight in ounces. Add dandelion or nettle leaf teas, which helps the body flush out toxins. Green tea, including matcha tea, which can help excrete fat soluble toxins, is another great detoxing agent. Prepared or purchased, bone broth will boost your immune system and releases minerals that make your detox more efficient.
Try to spend some time each day enjoying fresh air, out in nature, or, if possible, near mountains or the sea. There, you can benefit to a greater degree from negative ions–invisible, electrically charged particles in the air that are plentiful in nature. Negative ions purify the blood, neutralize free radicals, revitalize cells, and promote deeper sleep and better digestion. They will also heighten you detox by clearing out airborne allergens.
Consider bringing oxygen-stimulating plants into your home as well. Spider plants, snake plant, peace lilies, and ficus are among the top examples of such plants.
In addition, give some thought to going to an infrared sauna. You’ll sweat away your toxins, yes, but it also ramps up the detox process by applying heat to and oxygenating tissues way beneath the skin while improving the circulation of your blood. Bonus: saunas help reduce inflammation and stress while they promote relaxation, all of which support proper detoxing.
Xscape the matrix.
Yes, I know; I made up a word. It’s hard to find “X” words! 🙂 But my point is to break with your regular “hamster on the treadmill” routine while detoxing. My top recommendations:
- write in a gratitude journal daily
- take breaks (even a one-to-five-minute break!) each morning and afternoon and meditate, focusing on your breathing
- seek out sunrises and sunsets and genuinely enjoy them
- scrub your body with a hot towel
- get a massage
- pamper your skin with healing oils (argan, coconut, sweet almond)
Many of us women deal with estrogen dominance. Our levels of estrogen are too high and hormonal balance is disrupted. Often, manmade chemicals in the environment, called xenestrogens, mimic estrogen in our bodies and cause chaos. A detox provides an opportunity to combat those fake estrogens and their side effects. As far as possible, avoid plastics (even BPA-free ones) and canned food, and opt for a good water filter like the Berkey, which removes viruses, bacteria, fluoride, heavy metals, arsenic, and a host of other pathogens. Also, consider eliminating skin care products that contain parabens and phthalates, which can also add to your body’s toxic load.
Which D-E-T-O-X tips appeal to you the most? Which would be hardest to implement?