Is Detoxing Really a Thing? 10 Ways to Actually Detox
It’s almost that time of year again where we’re bombarded with promises of “juice cleanses” and “fat burning foods” and the most overused, misunderstood word amongst the health and wellness community: DETOX.
It’s so easy to get dragged into the clutches of those sexy marketing words that make you feel like you need to do something drastic to “get the toxins out of your body”, especially if you’ve spent 3 months indulging in Halloween candy, pumpkin pie and a little too much wine.
In this blog post, I’m going to explain do’s and don’ts of “detoxing” and how to enhance your body’s ability to detoxify with strategic nutrition and lifestyle support.
Let’s get a few things straight:
The only thing that does any “detoxing” is YOU, my friend. Your body is detoxifying ALL OF THE TIME. Your body never ever stops working to rid your cells, tissues, blood, liver and kidneys of toxins, chemicals, byproducts and old hormones.
Your body wants to get as much crap out of you as quickly as possible, but it relies on specific nutrients to detoxify properly. If these nutrients are scarce and the toxic load coming in is heavy, expect your body to do the BEST IT CAN (which sometimes isn’t enough).
Be wary of quick fixes. You know that saying “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is”? When it comes to creating a balanced body and mind, nothing ever beats implementing consistent, healthy habits long-term.
Is “detoxing” really necessary?
Yes. If we didn’t detoxify, we’d die.
Is a juice cleanse, master cleanse or cabbage soup cleanse necessary for detoxing?
Absolutely not. In most cases, these extreme strategies, if implemented too much too often, can be a one road highway to hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and a SLOW metabolism.
So, is there a right way to “detox”?
It can be incredibly beneficial to set aside a small period of time, like 4-5 days, to offer extra support to your body (via nutrient-dense foods and lifestyle practices) for the purpose of promoting your body’s OWN ability to detoxify. The plan does not “detox” you, but instead, opens up your body’s own detoxification pathways and allows it to detoxify more efficiently.
Although a 4 day kick start can be an important step, nothing beats supporting your body’s detoxification pathways DAILY in two ways:
Lighten your toxic load and reduce the burden placed on your liver
2. Support your body holistically with targeted nutrients and lifestyle changes, which will in turn, support the organs responsible for detoxification.
HOW TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD
Focus Quality of Food > Quantity
What comes into your body day after day has the biggest impact on your toxic load for the long haul. Consuming pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic preservatives will build up slowly over time, eventually making a noticeable effect on your ability to detoxify and your health as a whole.
Focus on buying organic (local if possible!) foods that are high in quality and low in artificial additives. Girl, KNOW WHAT’S IN YOUR FOOD.
2. Drink & Bathe in Clean Water + ditch plastic water bottles
Thousands of chemicals have been found in our drinking water. Although they are not 100% avoidable, I do recommend taking the extra step to reduce toxin exposure from water since it’s something we’re consuming and being exposed to daily. You can greatly reduce your chemical exposure from water by:
1. Filtering your bathing and drinking water
2. Ditching plastic water bottles and drinking out of stainless steel or glass instead of plastic. Like this one.
Many of the chemicals found in water are endocrine disruptors and it’s best to avoid them as much as possible. For drinking, I recommend using a berkey. For filtering, I recommend this shower filter .
Learn more about toxins in the water here.
3. Breathe Cleaner Air
Regardless of where you live, but especially if you live in the city, it’s important to make an effort to breathe clean air while you’re in your living and working environment.
Here are some simple ways to do this:
Expose yourself to clean, crisp air provided to us by nature as much as possible: mountains, beach, nature reserves, you get the picture.
Put plants in your bedroom, living space and work place to increase oxygen. Bonus: plants are excellent at filtering chemical pollutants from the air!
Increase negative ions (you know that electric feeling after it rains? that’s negative ions!) by investing in a Himalayan pink salt lamp.
Make sure you are not being exposed to toxic mold at work or at home! Learn more about that here
4. Switch to Cleaner Products
60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and has to be filtered out by our liver. Considering the fact that women are rubbing hundreds of chemicals all over their body EVERY day (lotion, perfume, make up, self-tanner, etc.), this will burden the liver pretty quick. By cleaning up your beauty routine, you take a huge burden off of the liver and reduce the risk of hormonal imbalance, thyroid issues, skin issues and insulin resistance.
5. Drink Alcohol Responsibly
I know that grabbing a glass of red with friends is SOUL FOOD, but overindulgence in alcohol can wreck your hormones. Why? Alcohol is a toxin. And because your body is incredibly wise, it will halt all other detoxification and prioritize getting the alcohol out of your body as quick as possible. So, until the body detoxifies the alcohol from your glass of wine, other compounds might begin recirculating in the bloodstream because they didn’t get detoxified in a timely manner.
I’m not saying NEVER drink, it’s all about drinking strategically and responsibly.
WHOLE BODY SUPPORT
6. Liver Loving Foods
Using food as “medicine” is my absolute JAM. Getting the following foods in your diet regularly will support your liver like no one’s biz.
Lemons & Limes
Dandelion Root (I like it in tea form)
Amino Acids found in Grass-fed collagen, pastured eggs and grass-fed beef
Garlic & Onion
Bitter foods like orange peel and cacao
Why support your liver? It’s the real MVP when it comes to hormonal health, because one of its main functions is removing old/used hormones out of the body, so they don’t get recirculated into the bloodstream and cause PMS, weight gain and estrogen based cancers.
I would go as far as saying it’s the cornerstone of your HEALTH as a whole.
7. Moving & Sweating
The body has 4 major detoxification organs: the liver (including the bowels), the kidneys (including the urinary tract), the lungs and the SKIN.
Sweating has been shown to effectively detoxify trace heavy metals from the body. (Learn more about that here)
Regular movement allows the body’s lymphatic system to circulate toxins and dump them into the bowels to be expelled by the body. Because the lymphatic system does not have a pump to push lymphatic fluid throughout our body, it relies on our own movement.
My favorite ways to sweat and move my body all at once is cardio, HIIT, jump rope or rebounding on a mini trampoline.
Quality sleep, especially between the hours of 10pm-2am is prime time to let your brain and body do it’s healing work. When we don’t prioritize sleep, we hinder detoxification of the brain, liver and gallbladder. This can cause us to wake up groggy, nauseous and not feeling ready for our day.
Want to take some steps toward better sleep? You can join my 5 day Sleep Deep Challenge here
9. Poop Every Single Day
Your body has worked hard to separate the nutrients from the garbage and now it’s time to take the garbage OUT. If we don’t realize the importance of this step, we miss out on a vital part of detoxification and run the risk of toxic materials sitting in the colon and even being reabsorbed by the body. Make it a priority to have a bowel movement right when you wake up. Constipated? Try magnesium, aloe vera and/or Triphala.
10. Ditch Toxic Thoughts + People
You better believe that negative thoughts and negative people cause a low grade stress response in your body. This “fight or flight”, stressed out mode is DEPLETING. Stress depletes us of essential nutrients like b vitamins, zinc and minerals. You know what relies on these nutrients? Your LIVER. I give you permission to ditch the people that drain you, physically and mentally. I also encourage you to do the work to change your mindset towards yourself, your life and your body.
“But Jeeesssss, this doesn’t sound like a ‘detox’, this sounds like healthy living.”
Like I said, quick fixes are phony baloney. Don’t waste your precious time or money on them. Instead, work hard to create a foundation of healthful habits in your life. Work hard to create an environment that promotes healing. Keep implementing these strategies day after day and you will see massive changes in your health, your body and your life.