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I’m sure this title is already getting a few of you up in arms.
BUT before you throw your cucumber juice at my face, I want to explain what science (and our basic biology) has to say about detoxing. I want to tell you how we can actually do it the RIGHT way, not the way media and marketing have us believing we should.
This time of year, it’s common to hear buzz words like “cleansing” and “detox” thrown around everywhere–usually accompanied by a sale of some sort. Everyone is freaking out over the pounds of pumpkin pie and liters of eggnog they consumed and are itching to do something drastic to “rid the toxins” from their body.
OKAY, a couple things Jess needs to get off her chest before we do anything else:
- A juice, food, or supplement doesn’t detox, YOU detox. Your body is the one with detoxification pathways, and you detox all day EVERYDAY if it is working correctly. Drinking green juice? Detoxing. Eating a normal breakfast? Detoxing. Pregaming your eggnog with spiked cider on Christmas Eve? Still detoxing (not as efficiently, I admit, but the effort is still there).
- Be wary of marketing preying on your insecurities to make you believe there is a quick fix for ANYTHING related to health. Juice cleanses don’t help “speed up your fat burning capabilities” and diet shakes don’t “rid your body of all toxins”. These are band-aid solutions that most people use to lose water weight quickly and do not actually aid in long-term health when it comes to consistent, repeatable habits for building a balanced body and mind.
It is SO easy to swing to extremes when it comes to health. When celebrities like Beyonce rave about a “Master Cleanse” that included drinking lemon water, cayenne pepper, and honey 3 days straight, it’s easy to think THAT’S the way to do it.
But let me be clear: For most women of reproductive age, regularly fasting or “cleansing” is a one-track road to food obsession, hormonal freakout, and a SLOWER metabolism.
We have been sold an idea of “DETOX” like it is something we have to buy or participate in, whether it’s a green juice to give you glowing skin or a supplement to rid yourself of all the bad things. I’m here to tell you that it’s MARKETING, you guys. You don’t buy detox, YOU ARE DETOX.
Yes, you. Let me explain.
The idea of ridding your body of toxins is not wrong and is often a critical step in helping my client achieve the energy and health levels she is desiring. However, it doesn’t come from buying a special product or a bulletproof solution, it comes from this: SUPPORTING YOUR BODY’S ONGOING DETOXIFICATION PATHWAYS.
Your body has an intricate detoxification system it uses each and every day to get rid of the toxins we absorb through pollution, our personal care products, our food, and our mind. And in today’s world, it is working overtime. Improving your detox capabilities is Twofold:
- Lighten the toxic load that is burdening your liver
- Support the organs that are in charge of detoxification with targeted nutrient consumption and lifestyle changes
LIGHTEN THE LOAD
1. Switch to Safer Products
This is a BIGGIE. The average woman slathers on around 500 chemicals EVERY DAY. From lotion, shampoos, makeup, perfume, etc. And considering 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies, this is a big NO NO for our poor liver. Imagine having to do normal detox functions ALL WHILE being overwhelmed by 500 chemicals you need to get rid of ASAP. A burdened liver is a sluggish liver, and a sluggish liver can contribute to hormonal imbalances, toxic overload, skin problems, and mood disorders.
For a full list of my favorite nontoxic household, skincare, and makeup brands, GO HERE.
2. Breathe cleaner air
Whether you live out in the country or in the heart of a city, here are some things I recommend EVERYONE does to breathe cleaner air.
-Get close to nature whenever possible: step on the grass, walk on the beach, escape to the mountains, etc.
-surround your home and office environment with fresh plants to increase oxygen accessibility
-make sure your home/office is not infested with toxic mold (more on that HERE)
-grab an affordable pink salt lamp and use that as your daylight in your room. It helps purify air and is also amazing for sleep quality.
3. Quality food is a must
The most dangerous toxins are the ones we consume every day, adding slowly but noticeably to our toxic load over the long haul. If your food is loaded with pesticides, antibiotics, or the synthetic preservatives used in most packaged foods, then you should know your liver is already working in overdrive to sort that out. I sound like a broken record to everyone, but QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. Read more about my nutritional recommendations HERE.
4. Drink Responsibly
I am literally the LAST person to tell you not to have a drink. Life is about balance, and quality time spent with friends while you (legally) enjoy a drink is food for the soul. I WILL caution all my ladies out there about the effects of overindulging in alcohol, mostly because of its effects on the liver and the consequential effect it has on your hormone levels. Therefore, if hormones are a concern of yours, or you’re experiencing any of the symptoms I talk about in my post HERE, then it is really a good idea to exercise caution over alcohol consumption.
I know I know, I don’t mean to be a party pooper. But science doesn’t lie: Consuming alcohol halts your liver’s normal detoxification process; it does this because detoxing alcohol takes first priority in the body. So while it’s getting rid of your margarita, all the other toxins in the body are on hold. This wouldn’t be such a big deal, EXCEPT that when compounds don’t get detoxed in a timely manner, they can be absorbed back into the bloodstream and wreak havoc on your health.
5. Keep OTC and prescription drugs to a min
This is for the same reason as alcohol; it is a HEAVY burden for your liver to have to worry about cleaning out all the OTC pain meds, sleep aids, Adderall, etc. Prescription meds are important, and if your doctor thinks you need to be on them, then that is important to take note of. HOWEVER, please cut down on recreational use of meds for things that aren’t absolutely necessary. In today’s world, it seems there is a pill for EVERYTHING, it can seem like an easy choice. But your liver is paying for it, PLUS, most pills aren’t hitting at the root of the problem so it only serves as a band-aid solution anyway.
BECOME A DETOXING MACHINE
1.Love your liver
Repeat after me: YOUR LIVER IS YOUR FRIEND. It is involved in SO MANY processes that you would never think are related (unless you’ve been reading my blog;). It is NOT just there to take care of alcohol. As a matter of fact, your liver is a CRUCIAL player in hormonal health.
Remember when I talked all about how PMS is a hormonal imbalance, or how the Birth Control Pill contributes to major hormonal issues long term? WELL, when you are trying to bring your hormonal system back into the balance, the liver is responsible for detoxing used hormones out of the body so they don’t cycle back in the blood and cause problems like weight gain, mood swings, cramps, and estrogenic cancers. Yeah, BIG JOB. And an even bigger job if it’s already overloaded with processed food, alcohol, toxic personal care products, and medications. Here are liver loving foods that support your liver’s ability to detox like a champ:
-Dandelion root (I take this in tea form every morning, buy it HERE)
-Grass-fed liver or desiccated liver pills
-Cruciferous veggies like Broccoli and Brussel sprouts (1-2 servings every day)
-High-quality amino acids found in pasture raised eggs, grass fed beef, and organic poultry
-Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens
-Bone broth, fresh made or made for you
2. Sweat it out
Your lymphatic system is critical for MOVING all the things towards the liver so they can be detoxed. You know how to stimulate your lymphatic system? MOVE YOUR GLORIOUS BODY. I love Cardio based activity to get a good sweat going, so I can detox through my skin as well as stimulate my lymphatic system, but moving, in general, is the trick. Dance, do yoga, lift weights, or shake your booty for 30 minutes…whatever floats your boat.
3. Poop like you mean it
Detoxing is only half the battle because once the liver is done separating what is trash and what is nutrients, there is still the job of taking the trash OUT. This is why YOUR POOP MATTERS. Regular bowel movements are not just critical for gut and brain health, but for detoxing as well. It isn’t as glamorous as a juice cleanse, but getting a good poop in at least once daily does more for detoxification than a juice ever could…You can quote me on that.
If you are battling with digestive issues like constipation, read my post all about how to heal your gut HERE.
4. Think healthy
All those ‘anti-woo woo’ peeps, brace yourself for what I’m about to say: You don’t just ingest toxins from outside sources, you create them in your mind as well.
When your mind is a place of war, self-judgment, or hate towards others, you are initiating a low-grade stress response in the body. This increases inflammation and drives up the level of free radicals in the body, burdening the liver and your entire immune system as well. This is physiological evidence for what we know intuitively, your mental state is EVERYTHING when it comes to health. You need to process and detoxify emotions just like you do with food. Process and detox, however, you know how. Not sure what that looks like? Here are some of my favorite ways:
-Verbally processing with a safe friend or significant other
– Watching an emotionally triggering movie if I really need a good cry (Marley and Me is my go to…for obvious reasons)
Oh yes, FINALLY someone who is giving you the excuse to sleep all day every day. You can thank me later.
But seriously, your body does it’s BODY-WIDE detox while you sleep. It goes through a cycle of each organ throughout the night, including the most important one: YOUR BRAIN. There are 2 habits that are important to optimize sleep for maximum detox:
- Get to sleep by 10 p.m.: Your body goes through and detoxes your organ one by one, in an order, throughout the day and night according to Chinese Medicine Meridian Clocks. If you are consistently not getting to bed until after midnight, then you are missing out on detox and repair time for certain organs like your skin and gallbladder. Use outside light as your circadian rhythm setter and try to sleep accordingly (i.e. earlier in the winter, and later in the summer)
2. Make sure you are getting your REM on: REM sleep is when we do our repairing and detoxing of our brain. It is CRITICAL for memory, brain health, and clarity of mind. Things that inhibit your body’s ability to get REM sleep include sleep aids, alcohol, antihistamines, caffeine, beta blockers, alpha blockers, and antidepressants.
Implement these 10 tips and I PROMISE you, you’ll be detoxing like a champ…no juice cleanse needed;)
What are your experiences with cleanses or detox protocols? I’d love to hear your experience, negative or positive!