There’s no time like the start of a new season to detoxify your body. Spring signifies newness and rebirth and it makes sense to clean up what toxins might be lurking in your organs after a long winter. You may have always wanted to do a detox but weren’t sure how to go about it. When naturopaths talk about detoxification, they actually mean a process that takes place in the body where impurities are removed from the blood in the liver and are processed for elimination. The body rids itself of toxins through other organs like the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin, too. If these organs aren’t working as they should and impurities aren’t properly filtered, you can end up with symptoms like skin issues (dry or oily), digestive problems, brain fog, allergies, fatigue, and also have a hard time losing weight.
Though it’s recommended that you detox at least once a year, it’s important to know that it is not something that is intended for kids, nursing mothers and people with degenerative diseases like cancer or tuberculosis.
So now that you’re intent on doing a detox, there are some things you should know about, namely what you will have to go without. Alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugar and saturated fats appear in the body as toxins and can interrupt the cleansing process. It’s also a good idea to clear your environment of toxins too – so things like chemical cleaners and products you use on your body like shampoos, deodorants, soaps and toothpaste can all be substituted with natural alternatives.
You might also think about adopting a yoga or meditation program to help reduce toxic stress, situations, environments, or thought patterns that affect you psychologically but can show up physically, like headaches, skin rashes, bowel issues, sleep problems, high blood pressure and other ailments that affect your quality of life.
Now that you’ve cleared your house of environmental toxins or pollutants and tried to adopt a more mindful way of thinking, you can look to your diet and determine which foods are best at clearing out the toxins that already exist in your body. Trying to prepare clean meals that might be different from what the rest of your family eats can be a chore. Probably one of the best ways to detox is to avoid foods that perpetuate toxins and replace them with ones that have a cleansing or toxin-fighting nature.
You can start by cutting out these:
- Dairy, eggs, butter, mayonnaise
- Gluten in wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye and oats that are processed in facilities that also process wheat
- Oranges, orange juice, corn and creamed vegetables
- Vegetable protein from soy products including soy sauce, milk, yogurt
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Animal protein from beef, veal, pork, shellfish, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, hotdogs
- Shortening and processed oils, salad dressings and margarine
- Alcohol, caffeine and soft drinks
- Sweeteners like white and brown sugars, maple syrup, honey, high-fructose corn syrup and evaporated cane juice
- Condiments like ketchup, mustard and dipping sauces, chocolate
Replace with these healthy detox helpers and choose organic whenever possible:
- Dairy substitutes made from rice, almond or coconut
- Gluten-free grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, tapioca, potato flours and oats
- Fruits and berries
- All vegetables, especially broccoli, kale and other leafy greens
- Plant-based protein powders
- Animal protein including fresh or water-packed fish, wild game, lamb, duck, organic chicken and turkey
- Lentils, legumes, split peas
- All raw nuts and seeds
- Oils that are cold-pressed, including olive, flax, safflower, sesame, almond, sunflower, canola, walnut and pumpkin
- Filtered or distilled water, decaffeinated herbal teas, mineral water, green tea
- Sweeteners like brown rice syrup, stevia, fruit sweeteners and blackstrap molasses
- Condiments like vinegar and all spices including salt
- *List adapted from “No gluten, no sugar, no dairy and it still tastes good?” erinoleary.wordpress.com
The trick to an effective detox is to keep it simple. You now know what foods to avoid and which ones help cleanse your system. Making healthy breakfasts from the selection of approved grains combined with nut milks and lunches and dinners that are based on steamed vegetables paired with a simply prepared protein and flavoured with herbs and spices is the most basic way you can go.
To get the most out of your detox you can also do the following:
Drink More Water
Water moves waste and toxins out of your body, so the more you drink, the more you flush out. You don’t have to stick to plain H2O though. Try flavouring your water with lemon, lime, fresh strawberries or pure, unsweetened cranberry juice. Detox teas are also popular but make sure you only choose decaffeinated. Teas to look out for contain dandelion root (liver cleanser), juniper berry (kidneys) and any green teas which contain antioxidants, vitamins and general immune boosting properties. Watch for teas that contain senna leaf, which is a natural laxative and can cause symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration if taken for too long.
Take Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin C is vital for helping the body produce glutathione, an antioxidant that drives toxins from the liver. B vitamins are the first to be depleted in the body when toxins are present. They are insoluble, meaning they can’t be stored in the body and need to be replaced every day. They help meet your body’s nutritional needs during a detox. Magnesium encourages cell activity prompting toxins to be released into the blood stream for elimination. Zinc is a powerful antioxidant that zaps free radicals in the body and also helps to extract toxic heavy metals. Milk thistle protects the liver’s cells and supports it through a cleanse or detox. Probiotics are crucial for replacing good bacteria and improving bowel conditions necessary for proper elimination.
Up Your Exercise
Any type of physical activity to get your body moving also kick starts your elimination organs like your blood, lymph and skin to shed toxins, too. Sweating, deep breathing, stretching and increasing blood circulation from any type of exercise, including yoga, helps your body to do its natural elimination thing. Remember to drink lots of water to keep the flushing out process going.
Make a Smoothie
If you want a quick way to get your detox foods into your body, then a smoothie is the way to go. Here’s an easy and taste-tolerable one that you can whip up in minutes.
Cranberry Ginger Zinger
½ cup cranberries
Handful of spinach or kale, leaves only
1 celery stalk
1 – 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 apple, cored
1 pear, cored
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend!
A detox is a simple tune-up you can do for your body a few times a year. You expect your car to be in good working order whenever you need it, so your body needs to be in good shape to digest and process the food you put into it to serve you well, too. Since the detox outlined in this article is more of a toxin elimination program instead of a fasting one, you can follow it for one to two weeks depending on how you’re feeling.
Orange Naturals recommends that you consult your doctor before implementing any health treatment, including herbal supplements and natural remedies. The information we present on our blog is for educational reasons only and is not to be taken as a substitute for medical advice.