‘Tis the season! The season for celebrations, over indulgences and the unwanted addition of those extra few pounds Christmas tends to bring. My mind is already jumping forward to the aftermath and to the “January Blahs”. You know, that month when we realize just how much we over indulged because our clothes seem to err on the side of snug and we feel sluggish, bloated and generally crappy. January, understandably, also seems to be the month when the word ‘detox’ is thrown around like confetti as everyone offers up their version of a fast cure for those January blues…
There are numerous types of detoxification programs out there, depending on your specific needs or goals. They can last anywhere between 1 and 10 days (sometimes more), involve special products, herbal formulations, potions, powders, supplements, fasting and/or large amounts of liquid intake. With all the hype about detox and cleansing, and it being the fastest way to kick-start your health, I can certainly understand why so many swear by these seemingly extreme protocols. For me, however, they come with a feeling of excessiveness, harshness and restriction – words that don’t easily mesh with my 80/20 lifestyle – so I abandoned the idea of rigid detox a long time ago. There are so many other elements to living your best and healthiest lifestyle that can be much more beneficial in the long run and adopting good habits for naturally detoxifying the body can really help you to achieve amazing health benefits.
Our body knows how to detoxify but by making clean, simple and nourishing choices for the mind/body/spirit you can make a huge difference in its ability to filter out and eliminate toxins. Incorporating these simple steps into your everyday life can do wonders to bring your body back into balance and help you feel less sluggish, in no time!
- Eat organic, whole foods including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy fats.
- Don’t over do it but be sure to get plenty of fluids throughout the day.
- Incorporate antioxidant-rich superfoods such as: berries, kale, sweet potato, walnuts, avocado and flaxseeds. These can easily be added to soups, salads and smoothies.
- Add fermented foods to your daily regimen to aid in digestion and elimination. (Some people are sensitive to fermented foods, in which case digestive enzymes and probiotics can be added instead).
- Drink green tea, daily. Personally, I cannot tolerate green tea but have found White Tea (silver needle) to be an amazing alternative. Some even argue that it is better for you than green!
- Add freshly squeezed lemon water to your morning routine.
- Eliminate processed sugar and opt for more natural sweeteners, such as maple syrup or raw honey. Actually, why not eliminate ALL processed foods?
- Garlic, basil and cilantro have some natural cleansing properties and can easily be added to your favourite dishes.
- Allow your body to sweat through exercise, sauna, epsom salt baths and even the use of natural deodorant.
- Breathe deeply with walking, meditation, yoga, tai chi or qi gong. Deep breathing not only helps improve oxygenation to our blood and cells and stimulates lymphatic flow (both essential for toxin removal) but also relieves stress.
- Integrate skin brushing into your daily regimen. Both the skin and lymphatic system can greatly benefit from this routine activity.
- Get a massage. The rhythmic strokes and pressure applied to muscles, tissues and organs during massage therapy help stimulate the circulatory system and move toxins through.
- Try acupuncture. It has a natural diuretic effect and can help with the elimination of toxins.
- See a Naturopath or Holistic Nutritionist to help you include appropriate herbs and vitamins, for natural liver support and detox, into your day.
- Get plenty of sleep. Good quality sleep is essential for detox.
- Choose your personal care products wisely. Chemical-free household cleaners, natural skin care products and makeup, and soaps without preservatives are extremely important for keeping toxic loads to a minimum.
Through consistent and gentle daily detoxification you are giving your body the gift of health by providing an environment for it to remain strong, vibrant and unfazed by the toxins in the environment and in your diet.