Easy Tips on How to Detox Your Body

Posted on 04/01/2014 in Nutrition, Wellness

Detoxification programs seem to be all the rage. Everywhere you look, you’ll see advertisements for a juice cleanse, a Master Cleanse, a colon cleanse, a liver and gallbladder flush, and so forth. A few years ago I decided to tackle the Master Cleanse. I was inspired to flush out toxins by drinking the water/ lemon juice/ cayenne pepper/ maple syrup concoction. I had heard stories of people claiming renewed energy, better sleep, brighter skin, weight loss, improved digestion, and I wanted that for myself.  After two miserable days, I found myself sneaking bites of Girl Scout cookies in the kitchen and dreaming about food. As my husband would say, I got an “A” for effort but a “C” for execution.  I’m impressed by those people that have that willpower to subsist on spicy lemon water for days on end…….. but I’m certainly not one of them.  I do much better with food-based cleanses.  And, when I’m working with clients on a proper detox program, I don’t expect them to starve either.

So, why should one detoxify their body?
Our bodies can become overwhelmed due to the volume of toxins it comes into contact with daily. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the United States and hundreds of them are present in our bodies. Research has shown that many of these chemicals can disrupt our immune, endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems.  Examples of external toxins we come into contact with include: air and water pollutants, caffeine, cigarette smoke, cosmetics, heavy metals, household cleaning products, pesticides and herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and food preservatives.  These toxins lead to a wide range of conditions like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, digestive problems, food cravings, weight gain, reduced mental clarity, and stuffy heads.

 How Do I Determine My Toxic Load:
Your toxic load is the amount of toxins that your body needs to process.
1)     Do you or have you eaten processed foods?
2)     Do you eat nonorganic fruits and vegetables?
3)     Do you eat meat and poultry that are not free range?
4)     Do you consume genetically altered food? (ie…corn)
5)     Do you or have you ever used artificial sweeteners?
6)     Do you drink soda?
7)     Do the foods you eat have preservatives, additives, dyes or sweeteners added?
8)     Do you eat fast foods and/or eat out regularly?
9)     Do you charbroil or grill foods?
10)   Do you drink coffee regularly?
11)   Do you drink alcohol?
12)   Do you drink tap water?

If you answered “yes” to most of these, then it is likely that your diet contributes significantly to your toxic load.

Here’s What to Do:

The good news is that there are simple things you can start doing today to help detoxify your body.
1) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Start your mornings off with room temperature water (or warm) with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dash of raw apple cider vinegar. The water starts to flush the internal organs while the acidity stimulates the liver and gallbladder and helps to wake up the digestive system.

2)Dry brushing. Skin is the largest organ for absorption and elimination and dry brushing every day for 1-2 minutes increases circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system, exfoliates the skin, and encourages the body to eliminate metabolic waste and toxins. Not to mention, it’s been said that it improves the appearance of cellulite and we all love that!

3)Take a contrast shower. While taking your morning shower, turn the water to as cold as possible and stand in it for 30 seconds. For every 2-3 minutes of warm water, try 30 seconds of cold. The cold water wakes you up but it also stimulates the lymphatic system and increases overall circulation.

4)Avoid plastics. There are many chemicals surrounding us every day that disrupt our hormone systems and wreck havoc on the body. Discussing those chemicals is another blog in itself but first and foremost, toss the plastic. Avoid plastic water bottles and foods contained in plastic containers—the plastics can mimic estrogen in the body (even BPA free ones—in fact, some of those are worse than BPA ever was!) and have been linked to various cancers, hormonal problems, infertility, etc…

5)Sweat. Sweating is a natural way for the body to try to cool itself and is an easy way to rid the body of unwanted toxins.

6) Eat your veggies. We all know that vegetables are good for us but cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage) all contain phytochemicals which aid the liver in detoxification.

7)Keep a journal. When I’m working with clients that have trouble sleeping or deal with a lot of emotional stress/anxiety, I have them keep a gratitude journal. The journal can be lengthy or simple bullet points but writing down a few things that you’re grateful for each and every day is a great way to clear the mind, shift your focus back onto the things that you have, and can create a shift in how you perceive different situations and relationships.

Our office also offers personalized detoxification programs that come with a 21-day plan, recipes to follow, lots of tips, specialized supplements to aid the body, and one-on-one guidance throughout the entire program. It’s a terrific plan designed around delicious food and nourishing supplements!

In Good Health,

Lauren Hurst Acupuncture