Detox is always a hot topic in the New Year. You probably know someone who is cleansing or starting a detox program right now, and it’s not without good reason. The holidays, while bringing a lot of joy, also bring a lot of stress and some not-so-good food choices. Giving your body the opportunity to “clear out the old” and “bring in the new,” is a wonderful idea, but only if it’s done well.
Before considering any type of cleansing program you need to determine what your current state of health is and how well your emunctories are functioning.
Emunctories are the systems or organs that facilitate waste removal in our body. Our lungs, kidneys, bowels, skin, liver and emotions, all serve as a means to detox our bodies every day. These systems must be working optimally as they are the very foundation of how we detox. If you attempt to release toxins from your tissues without a means of moving them out of your body you are bound to feel sick. Feeling sick isn’t a beneficial side-effect of detoxing; it is a sign that there may be something wrong.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, any attempts at a detox that restricts your food intake, asks you to fast, or consume supplements that promote detox are out. As a general rule, we do NOT attempt to release toxins from our tissues when they have the potential to flow right into our little ones’ bodies. That being said, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you can make use of these natural detox methods and feel good, while also knowing your little ones will be safe.
Of course, always check with your doctor to make sure you are considering your individual needs.
I am sharing with you my top 10 daily detox methods that I ask all my patients to do, especially before beginning a more intense detox protocol. I challenge you to make these part of your daily routine and create a body that is naturally detoxing itself every single day.
- Stay Hydrated. The general recommendation I give is to drink half your body weight in ounces of fluids every day. Sorry, caffeinated beverages don’t count, but tea, bone broth, mineral water and plain water do. Staying hydrated allows your kidneys to move out waste, your bowels to stay regular, and your skin to perspire, all of which are necessary to remove toxins from the body.
- Move Your Body. Aim for 30 minutes daily of movement. I know you are chasing kids all day, but get some time for yourself to stretch, squat, walk…whatever you love. The 30 minutes doesn’t have to happen all at once. Feel free to break it up into 10 minute chunks if that helps you reach the goal. When we exercise we increase our circulation and endorphins, encourage peristalsis (how we move food and waste through our digestive tract) and hopefully create a bit of sweat. You’ll also be breathing deeper which will benefit the lungs.
- Move Your Bowels. Regular bowel movements are how we remove unwanted byproducts of metabolism, digestion, and are one of the ways we get unneeded hormones out of our body. If you don’t poop every day your body isn’t getting the op- portunity to clean house. I also find that many women who experience constipation or other digestive issues often have hormonal problems. If you are not experiencing regular bowel movements, I recommend you work with a licensed health care professional that can help you get down to the root of the issue and address any underlying causes.
- Breathe Deep, Breathe Long. Practice deep belly breathing daily as a way to remove excess carbon dioxide and provide oxygen to your tissues. Inhale to feel the bottom of your ribs expand and continue to allow the breath to rise into your chest. Then slowly exhale, starting from the chest and emptying the lungs completely. Start with 5 per day or what I tell my patients is to find a way to make it routine. Maybe every time you touch a door knob you take a deep breath (that is if you aren’t running to your little one to stop them from coloring on the wall).
- Fill Your Plate with Organic Vegetables. If you can aim to make half your plate full of vegetables at each meal you will not only increase your fiber and vitamin load, but you will also give your body essential detoxing nutrients that will change you from the inside out. And what you’ll notice is that you feel lighter, you have more energy, and your skin will be glowing.
- Avoid Toxins. I send all of my patients to the Environmental Working Group’s website to see where their personal and household products rank. If you are filling your home with toxins or slathering your body with them, your body will always be fighting a uphill battle.
- Fill Your Heart with Gratitude. This is what everyone’s New Year’s Resolution should be – filling up with gratitude and moving out any stagnate feelings or thoughts that don’t serve you. This is what I refer to as the emotional emunctory and it is often the hardest to get flowing. Like all other methods of detox, daily devotion to the practice is what will bring you the most benefit. And remember, you don’t feed your body junk, so don’t feed your mind or emotions any either.
- Shed Your Skin. Grab a loofa or soft bristled brush and lightly brush your skin starting at your toes and working up towards your heart. Do the same thing from the fingertips in. This will exfoliate your skin, but the real key is to brush lightly so that you move your lymphatic system (where your immune system hangs out) and create healthy circulation.
- Take a Cold Shower. Say what? Okay, not totally cold, but try this. Get nice and warm in your shower and when you are ready to get out, turn the water to cool/cold and spray your head, torso and pelvis. This will increase circulation, invigorate you, and believe it or not, actually leave you feeling warm during the day. Bonus, you’ll have shiny hair with less frizz.
- Get Out Into Nature. Nature has a way of healing us all. Spending time in nature allows you an opportunity to relax, to breathe, to move, and to do all the things your body really craves. There’s a healing out there that I can’t even begin to explain and I encourage all my patients, and you, to see what Mother Nature has to offer you.
**Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the advice provided by your health care professional. Always speak with your health care professional before making any changes that may affect your health.