Chances are you’ve heard mention of the practice of “detoxing.” And a quick search will show you a whole host of products, programs and diets designed to help you do this. From simple teas to add to your current meals to the downright insane near-starvation diets.
But maybe you’re wondering what the detox hype is all about.
There are seven channels of elimination in the body that work together to: transport oxygen and nutrients to the cells (lungs and blood), filter toxins, waste and bacteria from the blood (liver, lymphatic systems and kidneys), eliminate waste products from our bodies (colon, kidneys and skin) and support immune function (lymphatic system).
Under pure and normal circumstances, a healthy and well cared for body can do all of these things without the need for intervention. However, very few of us live within the purest circumstances these days. Between air pollutants and chemical toxins in our food, water and personal care products we are constantly being exposed to pollutants and toxins at a faster rate than our bodies can get rid of them. These are stored in the cells of our bodies and over time cause us to feel sluggish, look tired and aged, affect our mood, interfere with our bodies’ ability to function optimally and can make us downright sick.
This is where a detox program comes in. The idea is to take “extreme” focused measure to rid your body of those built-up toxins and gets your engine running smoothly again. The best (in my opinion) detox programs do not require the use of foreign substances or extreme liquid diets to remove toxins from your body, but rather incorporate a combination of natural components that will work together to wake up your organs in order to stimulate and support your body’s natural detoxification processes.
I’ve put together a list of simple steps to follow and foods to include in your diet in order to kick start your natural detoxification program. In truth it makes good sense to follow most of these practices regularly to maintain a clean and healthy system, but for the sake of detoxing allot a solid month to the following steps.
1) Eat clean. I’m not saying you have to give up on your favorite Oreos forever, but for one month avoid all processed foods. All of them. Eat only organic, unprocessed whole foods. Tons of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lots of leafy dark greens. Splurge on better meats and eggs that are free-range, antibiotic and hormone free. Make a special effort to include lots of broccoli, rosemary, brussel sprouts, savoy and red cabbages which are great sources of the phytonutrient glucoraphanin that converts in the body to sulforaphane and works to boost the action of liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing and detoxifying carcinogens.
2) Give up refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Ouch, I know it – it hurts me too just to say it. But remember, it’s only for a month! I’m not going to lie to you this is the tough part but load up on filtered water and herbal teas to get you through it and keep you well hydrated.The exception is green tea which has been shown to be rich in antioxidants and very good for you.
3) Exercise. Your skin is your largest organ and is hugely responsible for eliminating toxins via perspiration. Exercise also gets the blood flowing bringing all that clean oxygen rich blood to our muscles and organs. Reward your hard work with a nice long steam to sweat out even more of the toxic stuff.
4) Maintain digestive health. Sweating isn’t the only way we get stuff our body doesn’t need, want or use out and I’m guessing I don’t need to get real specific here. Having a healthy, well functioning digestive system not only feels more pleasant but is a crucial part of your overall health from prompt, comfortable digestion to efficient absorption of nutrients to quick elimination of what we don’t need. You should be eliminating once or twice a day regularly. If not, many toxins that would otherwise be eliminated are given the chance to be reabsorbed into the body. Exercise and good hydration help, but also include lots of natural fiber in your diet and consider taking a probiotic to encourage a healthy bacterial environment in your gut. Yogurt, fennel, ginger, dandelion greens, peppermint, turmeric and chicory roots have all been shown to aid in digestion. You can add these to your diet through cooking or by consuming in tea form. Flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber.
5) Stay well hydrated. Help your body flush out toxins and reduce water retention by staying well hydrated.
6) Consume lemon juice daily. Lemon is not only a vitamin C rich citrus fruit and an immune system booster, it also acts as blood purifier andimproves the body’s ability to get rid of toxins. When taken regularly it acts as a tonic to the liver and stimulates it to fulfil its daily digestive and cleansing functions. Lemon is also believed to help dissolve gallstones and is a superior body alkalizer. Try squeezing half a lemon into a glass of water, warm water or green tea daily.
7) Get a boost with medicinal teas. Check out the tea section at your local Whole Foods where you will find an immense selection of herbal teas designed to boost liver, kidney and lymph functions. try the Everyday Detox by Traditional Medicines.
These steps to detoxing naturally are simple, inexpensive and do not require any extreme fasting diets. You will find after one month that you feel less sluggish, look brighter and genuinely want to continue with your healthy lifestyle (Plus an Oreo or two – or three.) Good luck!