Tuesday, March 18, 2014

7 Everyday Detox Practices

It's Spring and you might be feeling the natural urge to clean out the old and stagnant! We're wired to crave more active, fresh energy this time of year. I'll be writing a series of articles on Spring Cleaning this March & April for your self-care delights.

After wrapping up my virtual program, Ignite Your Energy, I was feeling called to flush out and cleanse my body on a deeper level. (More on whole foods eating cleanses to come!) I just completed two weeks of cleansing and was amazed by some of the results:
  • clearer, more glowing skin (by the end)
  • whiter eyes
  • less cravings (especially for sweets, dessert and peanut butter)
  • greater sense of grounding and clarity
  • more energy (even with no caffeine!)
  • better sleep
Your Body is Already Detoxing Every Day
Your liver, large intestine, skin, and lymphatic system (a network of organs, nodes, ducts, and vessels that produce and transport lymph - your inner "juice" of white blood cells) are all working around the clock to transport toxins and body waste OUT. The trouble is, over time, they can get overloaded with accumulated toxins from daily modern living, from chemicals on and in foods, body products, cleaners and our environment.

The great news is that there are many daily practices you can begin to incorporate into your self-care routine that will improve your body's daily detox capabilities. You don't have do an in-depth cleanse to get the benefits of these self-care practices.

7 Everyday Detox Practices
  1. Lemon water: Drink a big glass of (warm is gentlest) lemon water every morning, right when you get up. Lemon alkalizes the body, reduces inflammation, and flushes the liver.
  2. Dry brushing: You can buy these dry bristle brushes online or at health food stores and some pharmacies. Brushing before showers stimulates your skin, removes dead cells, and activating any stagnant lymph to promote cleansing. Brush in a circular motion, towards your heart. You can get similar exfoliating effects from using a salt or sugar scrub in the shower 1-2 times a week.
  3. Hot & cold shower bursts: If I can do this (I HATE being cold), anyone can do this. Towards the end of your shower, alternate between hot and (as) cold (as you can stand) water. This opens and closes your pores, pumping toxins out so they can be washed away.
  4. Self-massage with oil: Massage is another way to move lymph and release toxins from your muscles. Use all-natural straight-up coconut oil (which has antibacterial properties), raw sesame, or almond oil (available in most grocery stores). My motto is: Don't put it on your skin if you don't want it in your body. Our skin is porous and absorbs a large percentage of whatever you put on it.
  5. Sweat it out: Your skin is your largest organ of elimination and detox, and it does so through your sweat. Find a sauna or steam room (bonus points for taking a cool or cold shower after/before getting back in). A few times a week, get in workouts (even if brief) that get your heart rate up, your blood pumping and your skin sweating. Nature's best detox medicine comes built in.
  6. Eating more fiber: Fiber is like the internal swiffer for your intestines, moving everything along smoothly. My favorite source is freshly ground flax seed (store in the fridge), sprinkled over grains, cereal or veggie salads, or blended into smoothies. Upping your intake of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds is super effective as well. If all else fails, opt for a natural supplement.
  7. Eating more whole fermented foods: These are rich in probiotics and easy to digest. Strong digestion and regular bowel movements = your most important daily detox (and, yes, BM's should be happening EVERY day, at least once, otherwise you're constipated, then see #1+6). My go-to's are raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar (diluted in water), kombucha, and plain yogurt (look for "live culture" on the label).
Set yourself up for success: Don't take all of these practices on at once! Start with 1 or 2, see how they work for you, integrate them into your daily self-care routine, and then introduce others. Let me know what you're planning to do first, leave a comment below. Happy detoxing!

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