It’s springtime, and I’ll bet that you are doing some spring cleaning around your home. You should also consider doing a spring cleaning of yourself! Doing an annual or even seasonal detox can be very beneficial for your health and well-being.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not talking about using all of those detox products you may find on the internet or at the health food store. Many of them can often be more harmful than good.
You may also hear from those who practice conventional or allopathic, non-holistic medicine that our body does all of the detoxing we need and that it’s unnecessary to even think about something like this.
While it is true that we have a fantastic system in place for detoxification, it is possible for our liver, lymphatic system, etc to become overloaded and therefore not work as efficiently as it was designed to do. The kind of detoxing I am referring to is merely helping your body out. It doesn’t involve fancy products or processes, but rather simply giving your body a break from toxic input so it can do its job and not get overworked, while at the same time ensuring all of the raw materials are there that it needs to function.
Make and keep you fat
Damage cells with slow metabolism
Contribute to disease
Bio-accumulate over time from your conception and every day after through water, air, dust, food, soil, chemicals, emf’s and stress. An overload of toxins can cause inflammation, free radicals and autoimmune problems, all of which can lead to increased risk for cancer, central nervous system disorders, hormonal imbalances, an impaired immune system and FEELING LIKE CRAP!
If you live in today’s world, chances are you could benefit from a detox. However, the following is a list of symptoms that can indicate that your body’s natural detox system could use a little help:
Look at your lifestyle
STEP 1 – DETOX YOUR DIET
Try to eliminate consumption of pesticides and herbicides buy purchasing organic produce when possible. Not everything has to be organic. Check out the EWG’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to see which the biggest offenders are, and start with those. Check out local farms as the organic “certification” can be expensive, and many small farmers may be using organic practices even if they aren’t “certified”. If you can’t get organic then make sure you wash and peel your produce.
Some foods have natural toxins, much like a self-defense mechanism. These include peanuts, raw mushrooms, and potatoes with a green tinge (called solanine). Avoid these when possible. In addition, some people may be sensitive to nightshade vegetables (all kinds of peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, paprika, potatoes and tomatillos). It may be worth eliminating these from your diet for a period of time to see if your symptoms improve.
Avoid antibiotics and hormones buy purchasing organic and grass fed animal products, wild caught fish and filtering your drinking water (due to run-off from farms, flushed medications, etc).
Consider taking a break for a month or so from the most common hidden food allergens. While you can get tested for allergens, the only way to really test for food sensitivities is an elimination and reintroduction. Taking a break from these foods can clean them out of your system, allowing you to assess if you may have a sensitivity once you reintroduce them. The most common include gluten, dairy and soy. Also try to take a break from, if not cut out completely, additives, preservatives and other chemicals. If your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, try not to consume it. Not only could you be sensitive to these items, but they aren’t good for the human body in significant amounts anyway.
There are some common food preparation practices that you may want to take a break from in order to give your body a detox boost. Avoid microwaving in plastic, bleached coffee filters, nonstick pans and BPA cans and water bottles. Don’t chargrill your meats to a crisp; cut that part off and don’t eat it or better yet, marinate your meats for the BBQ and cook them low and slow. All of these practices create toxins that our bodies need to clean out.
There are foods you can consume that are very beneficial for the liver and will help to keep it functioning at its peak. They include berries, green tea, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, beets, dark leafy greens and lots of clean water. Magnesium and vitamin C are two supplements that also lend a hand.
STEP TWO: DETOX YOUR LIFESTYLE
Believe it or not, stress is an actual toxin that your body must process. It also interferes with restful sleep, wreaks havoc on your hormones, and can cause physical symptoms such as skin conditions, weight gain and heartburn. Learn to manage your stress in healthy ways.
Make sure that your gut is working well by getting enough fiber, water and probiotics and that waste products are leaving your body at least daily. Constipation and dehydration can make you toxic as waste products build up and cause problems. Sweating through exercise and saunas also help your body to eliminate toxins.
Make sure you get enough sleep to allow your body to detox and repair. Get 20-30 minutes of daily exercise.
Don’t smoke or expose yourself to a lot of external toxins and pollution. You cannot avoid everything, but if you avoid what you can and give your body what it needs to handle the rest, you’ll be fine.
STEP 3 – DETOX YOUR HOME
Chances are you are already spring cleaning at this time, but have you taken a look at the cleaning products you are using? Breathing them in and getting them on your skin is almost as bad as eating them. Check the labels and try to get more eco friendly and non-toxic products, or try making your own. The internet is abundant with recipes for cleaning products made from cheap ingredients from the grocery store, and they do work. Do the same with your personal and beauty products. I have a couple of recipes for you here in this post.
Keep your fireplace well ventilated and your furnace filter changed. Check your home for mold and radon. Remove your shoes when indoors to avoid tracking things in.
Get some houseplants. Many of them detoxify the air, and they look nice too. Just make sure if you have pets that you know which plants can be toxic to them if eaten.
Take this time to take a break and give your body and mind a little help!
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Stevie Winsborrow is a professional chef, functional and integrative nutritionist and holistic health coach, as well as a published author, TV and radio personality and Editor In Chief of Align Body & Soul magazine.