Detoxing doesn’t have to have negative connotations, instead think of it as a way of recharging, rejuvenating and renewing your body.
Detoxifying is actually a natural bodily process, it is our body’s way of eliminating toxins and we do it every day.
After being hidden away over winter, indoors under layers of blankets and clothes, avoiding the sunlight. We now have the opportunity to step out of hibernation and jump start our bodies into a healthier more active life.
Detoxing does not require you to make extreme dietary choices, it is however, more about making better decisions around your health and well-being and enhancing your own body’s ability to eliminate toxins.
If you -
Feel tired, have low energy in the afternoons
Experience brain fog, trouble concentrating
Mood swings particularly hormonally
Bloated, find it hard to lose weight
Experience Joint or muscle pain
Have skin irregularities – acne, eczema, psoriasis
Have trouble sleeping
These may all be indicators that your body feels congested and may not be performing at it’s peak, quite often making a few lifestyle changes is all that it takes to lift the fog, increase energy and feel at the top of your game.
So, how do we detox our lives without going on a Juice or water fast or going on a week-long overseas retreat?
For a start, dump the sugary, processed and packaged foods and choose instead a diet rich in whole foods. Unprocessed foods, for example fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, quality proteins and healthy fats. These foods are anti-inflammatory and rich in fibre, according to the Victorian government most Australians do not consume enough fibre. On average, the majority of Australians consume 20–25 g of fibre daily. The Heart Foundation recommends that adults should aim to consume approximately 25–30 g daily.(1) Consuming a healthy amount of fibre helps with laxation and reduces the risk of chronic disease.
It is important to remember however, that no all fruit and vegetables are created equal. It is best when reducing toxin exposure to eat organic or pesticide free fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds where possible. Unfortunately, many fruits and vegetables are sprayed with chemicals to enhance their life expectancy, and our supermarkets often freeze store fresh produce to enable them to offer it to their consumers all year round instead of seasonally. If you find this all to confusing, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put together a list of foods to assist us when choosing which produce is best purchased organically or spray-free The Dirty Dozen (2) a guide to the top 12 foods to avoid as they have the highest levels of pesticides and The Clean Fifteen (3) which has the lowest levels of pesticides.
Some other steps that you can take to improve your detoxification process include:
Eating Mindfully – It is easy to get caught up in everyday life which is hectic. Sitting in front of the television to eat is not eating mindfully. Take in your surroundings, enjoy the taste, the sensation and smell of your food and eat slowly. Listen to your body and stop eating when you are full.
Drink Water – I know you have heard it a million times before, however, water helps to flush the kidneys and filter toxins out of the blood which are then excreted through the urine. Lemon water on waking is also very beneficial to your digestion, balances pH, and enhances your immune system. Aim to drink approx. 2 litres of water daily. Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
Move – regular exercise boosts your metabolism, burns fat and releases energy. It also increases circulation and reduces stress. Our lungs are also a major organ that will help- eliminate toxins. When exercising take deeper breaths for a greater oxygen exchange, this will also help reduce anxiety and stress by down regulating your sympathetic nervous system activity which (activates our flight or fight response).
Love Your Skin – we are talking about the body’s largest organ, it is responsible for dispensing of approx 15-20% of your waste. Try dry skin brushing, it not only removes dead skin cells, but stimulates circulation, strengthens the immune system, and aids digestion. Use a soft bristle brush and finish off with an Epsom or Himalayan salts bath, heaven!
Toxins can readily reach the bloodstream through the skin. Be mindful that many home cleaning products contain a myriad of nasty chemicals that may affect our respiratory system and contribute to allergies. You may want to consider making your own home cleaning products, or the EWG also published a free guide to healthy cleaning products. The EWG have also put together a resource called Skin Deep which evaluates specific skin care products and rates them on a safety concern scale between 1-10.
Get some Quality Sleep – 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night, without waking reduces stress and inflammation. Increases productivity, Improves brain function, aids in muscle recovery, boosts longevity, balances hormones and fights fat. Avoid artificial light from screens approx. 1 hour before bed, sleep in a dark, cool room and remove all electronics from the bedroom to ensure that you are getting the best sleep possible.
Beat Stress – chronic stress raises cortisol levels, the fallout from this includes a weakened immune system, hormonal imbalance and mood disorders. Yoga and meditation are essential for mental and physical health.
Take walks in nature - many of us are stuck inside every day at work sitting under artificial light in front of a computer exposed to blue light and not moving enough. Getting outside whenever possible, take a walk in your lunch break, feel the sun on your skin, listen to the birds, insects and wildlife, feel the grass or sand underneath your feet, this simple ritual has so many health benefits, try it and see how it makes you feel.