10 second summary...
- Detox gently, all year round
- Take advantage of the season for some added spring cleaning in your home and for your body
- Some ways your body naturally detoxes is through adequate sleep, hydration, regular sweating, and practices that stimulate lymphatic flow such as movement and dry brush massage.
- Incorporate certain foods and drinks into your diet for a daily dose of detox
I absolutely love this time of year! Spring is all about new growth, new life, and new beginnings, and this often means “cleaning house” to make room for that sparkly fresh feeling. In order to achieve that sparkly fresh feeling, more often than not, we need to rid ourselves of accumulated toxins. Whether it’s emotional baggage, mental clutter, or physical gunk, all are seriously harmful to our bodies and lead to mood and energy fluctuations, inflammatory imbalances, and ultimately seriously harmful degenerative diseases.
The big take-away is that STRESS = TOXIN and TOXIN = STRESS.
Is your environment inundated with toxic chemicals?
Do you have emotional frustrations that you just can’t let go of?
Are you constantly on the go and don’t make time for adequate rest and recovery?
Are you eating foods and drinking beverages that are harmful to your body?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those then it’s time for a detox! In fact, even if you live a stress-free, clean-eating life, we’re still exposed to a number of daily toxins, so it’s really time for EVERYONE to detox.
The good news it that our bodies do this on a regular basis, whether we realize it or not. But with all the toxins we face each and every day, it’s important to help yourself out a bit with some consistent detoxifying practices that will rejuvenate body, mind, and soul.
Of course, a good place to start is getting in the habit of purging accumulated clutter in your house, and then taking those items to your local shelter or charity. This will free up space in your home (by physically removing a build-up of things), your mind (this will leave you with more room for creativity and focus), and your heart (there’s no better feeling than donating time or good to the people you need it most). This feels SO good in fact, you might start doing it every season!
Then go through your beloved cave with some TLC, cleaning the nooks and crannies and tending to those long-neglected repairs that need attention. Of course, while you’re doing the scrubbing and cleaning, make sure you are following a non-toxic house-keeping regimen.
Scrub that Soul
Just as it’s important to do a little spring cleaning around the home, doing some spring cleaning for your soul is an extremely important practice to get into. If you like writing, get the noise out of your head and onto paper by keeping a journal. If you prefer talking, join a support group or enlist the services of a therapist. Make amends with people you’ve long held tension with. If you don’t already, try incorporating a daily meditation or yoga practice into your routine. Breath in deeply, and exhale the baggage and junk of months (and years) past.
Get Some R&R
Our body does most of its detoxification while we sleep, so it’s important to get the appropriate amount of shut-eye each night. Everyone needs something different. Some people are fine with 7 hours a night, some people thrive on 9 – just make sure you’re rising in the morning feeling rested and rejuvenated, and that you’re not waking up in the middle of the night. If you are, we should talk. It could mean you have some blood sugar or adrenal imbalances!
Sweat it Out
One of the best ways our body naturally detoxifies is through our largest organ – the skin! Run, play, exercise to the point of sweating. Try hot yoga, or take yourself off to an infrared sauna for an hour. This is truly one of the best ways to flush toxins and stay youthful and energized!
Get That Lymph Flowing
Our lymphatic system is an incredible network that helps maintain immune function and aids in - you guessed it - detoxification! It does that in part through the interaction of lymph nodes throughout our body and the lymphatic fluid. Many things can contribute to poor lymphatic flow, but one of the biggest culprits in our modern society is the common sedentary lifestyle so many people live. The number one thing to get your lymphatic system flowing properly, and therefore working effectively, is to move your body! In fact, jumping on a small trampoline each day is one of the best ways to do this. Massage, and more specifically lymphatic drainage massage, are fantastic for lymphatic flow and circulation in general, as is dry brush massaging. Dry brushes are slightly prickly things made from natural fibres, that you gently brush on dry skin in the direction towards your heart. Doing this each day before a nice hot and cold shower will do wonders for your lymphatic system, your body's general circulatory function, and your ability to gently detoxify with ease.
Flushing toxins requires plenty of hydration, as well as healthy kidney function. Drink plenty of filtered water, even adding a pinch of high quality sea salt for added absorption and adrenal gland love. In general, half your body weight in ounces of water per day is a good place to start, adding a bit extra if you’re going to be sweating lots and drinking any diuretics. In fact, I recommend avoiding overburdening your body with too many diuretics like coffee, black tea, pop, and sugary juices (yes even the “cold pressed” ones if they’re made with too much fruit).
Nourish Your Body, Don’t Starve It
It’s natural to want lighter foods come this time of year. This is your body’s way of telling you that it’s ready to move on from that heavy hibernating state of winter and into the light and energized space of spring and summer.
But I encourage everyone to resists the urge to dive right into an all-liquid cleanse!
Many things like "The Master Cleanse" are tactfully marketed, leading people to think that consuming only liquids for a week (or more) will solve all their problems. True, you might feel a bit “lighter” on your toes at the beginning (this is pretty understandable if you’re not eating anything), but if your body isn’t ready for it, you might be throwing it into a starvation state of blood-sugar imbalances. Any time we have blood sugar fluctuations, this causes stress in our body, and remember…
STRESS = TOXIN and TOXIN = STRESS
Also, some cleanses are very extreme and can actually release a ton of toxins into the bloodstream, which can ultimately make their way to the brain and other more susceptible organs. If you don’t have strong digestion and blood sugar handling, and your detoxification pathways aren’t fully open, you could be doing some serious harm to your body.
Instead, I suggest incorporating the occasional cold-pressed juice (made mostly from veggies), green smoothies, soup, and salad into your diet that features some fantastic detoxifying ingredients for a gentler approach.
Of course there is so much more to be said about detoxifying. This is a vast and complicated topic, and this certainly won’t be my last post on the subject. As always, if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!
In the meantime, check out these two great reads on the topic of detoxification and cleansing the body.
Not that these are just general recommendations, so if you see some things that are contradictory in my reading suggestions from what I’ve mentioned online, don’t hesitate to send me a note to clarify!