People often ask me what I think about DETOX. Though I acknowledge the benefits of a periodic “time out” for mind, body and spirit and the boosting momentum it can offer to our lives, I truly believe our best CLEANSE needs to be on-going and not a "one-shot" solution. Toxins are a normal part of our intake of food and oxygen. Our body is designed to detoxify naturally through the colon, liver, lungs, kidneys, skin and lymph glands. With EVERYDAY DETOX RITUALS (EDR), we can prevent toxin buildup and help our organs perform their daily miracles. Below I share my top 10 personal EDR’s (and a BONUS too!) …non-negotiable for the rest of our lives!
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #1 : FRUITS AND VEGETABLES MAKE UP HALF MY LIFE
The high FIBER content in fruits and vegetables (especially organic) 1) promote detoxification by binding to toxins and preventing absorption 2) cleanse the body through bile management prompting the liver to clear and dispose of toxins.
The high ANTIOXIDANT content in fruits and vegetables (especially organic) help 1) cleanse the body of free radicals and environmental toxins that enter the body through food, water and air and 2) improve immunity through the body's elimination organs: the lungs, liver, kidneys and colon. Darkly pigmented fruits, citrus fruits and deep-green vegetables are all loaded with antioxidants.
The high WATER content of fruits and vegetables. helps detoxify for reasons including digestion, flushing out and purification. See EDR #2 for more!
BONUS! Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet is a natural mood-booster and might “crowd out” less healthy (toxic?) choices!
Occasionally I journal my food (I like the MyFitnessPal APP) to check my nutritional balance, fruits and vegetables. They usually occupy about 70% of my overall intake. How about yours? Did you know that it is recommended (WHO) that at least HALF of YOUR LIFE (plate, meal, snack…) be fruits and vegetables? Is yours? Do you even know?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #2 : I DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Water is instrumental to detoxification and essential for our bodies to function efficiently! H2O helps:
- Flush toxins and waste out of the body
- Transport nutrients throughout the body
- Naturally lubrify for better digestion and evacuation
- The kidney filter, remove and eliminate toxic substances
BONUS! Did you know that hot baths and saunas can help detoxify too? Since hot water increases blood flow and capillary action near the surface of the skin, toxins are released faster through opened pores and sweat.
I keep 2 water bottles in my fridge and keep post-it reminders near my bag and in my car to drink them throughout the day. For every “other” drink I order or prepare, I order the same in water. 1-2 liters/day is the (WHO) recommended water intake. How do you get yours inside and out?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #3 I EAT LESS MEAT
Did you know that extensive research reveals that going meat-free just one day a week has shown positive health affects? Heart disease, cancer, blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity have all been linked to excessive meat consumption. Some other potential advantages of a meat-tox:
- Less heart disease and cholesterol
- Less cancer
- Less type 2 diabetes
- Improved digestion
- Reduce gut bacteria build-up
- More variety in diet
- Weight loss
- Plant-based proteins tend to be less expensive
- Reduced carbon footprint
- Reduced global water use
- Less pesticides, hormones, chemicals and antibiotics (used to raise meat) as potential body toxins
- Less food-born illness and parasites
BONUS! It’s easier today than ever before to meat-tox since approximately 30% of the European population claims to be incorporating more vegetarian foods into their diet compared to a year ago!
I tend to be a "flexitarian" eating mostly plant-based foods, but occasionally eat meat, poultry and fish – preferably organic. Why not work on your flexibility and start reaping some healthy benefits from meat-free days or even just meals?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #4 : I WALK A LOT!
Plan at least 30 minutes of walking breathing deeply to:
- Improve oxygen uptake to transport built up toxins to the liver and kidney for detoxification
- Detox the mind of negative thoughts to improve mental clarity
- Improve digestion
- Ease tension and reduce stress
- Increase blood circulation to flush out toxins
- Reduce blood pressure
- Stay in shape
BONUS! A mindful stretch afterward further helps release any toxins that may have accumulated during your walk!
Walking is my “go-to-always-do-whatever-happens” daily movement! I average 12,000 – 17,000 steps a day with friends, podcasts, meditating or just solo. What about you? Where can you add mini DETOX WALK(S) to your day this week?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #5 I GO TO SLEEP
Research shows that sleep plays a major role in detox because sleep:
- Is the body’s natural way of detoxifying the brain, helping it become stronger and healthier
- Encourages an active mechanism by which waste products are removed from the brain
- Detoxifies the brain by getting rid of bad chemicals and toxins that could otherwise cause illness
- Increases the space between brain cells allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours
- Gives us the energy to move! See EDR #3 and #6
BONUS! The better the quality of sleep, the fewer hours our natural “sewage system” needs to flush out toxic wastes!
I turn off my screens by 6pm, read real books and hit the hay by 10pm, sleeping 7-8 hours practically every night. How about you? Do you feel well rested? Are you getting the recommended minimum 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep? How can we change that?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #6 : I DO SOME CARDIO
Heart beating, deep breathing cardio exercise helps the body's detox organs to:
- Digest quicker and more regularly
- Stimulate oxygen flow and blood circulation so kidneys can effectively filter toxins
- Increase oxygen though the blood to the brain and muscles, improving lung and heart capacity to produce and give off carbon dioxide waste
- Cleanse the skin from the inside through perspiration
- Reduce subcutaneous fatty tissue where toxins get stored
BONUS! We can get a “happy buzz” from just 30 minutes of cardio a few times a week since cardio releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria and can instantly boost overall mood!
I switch up my everyday hour of cardio all the time…walking, swimming, skiing, biking…whatever works at the moment. Wondering which cardio activity is best? It's whatever you will want to do consistently. Think about it, are you getting the recommended 30 minutes of cardio every day? Who or what is getting in your way and what would you want to do?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #7 I PRACTICE YOGA and MEDITATION
I believe that true health starts from within – mentally, spiritually and physically. The benefits from detox happen naturally through yoga and meditation leaving us feeling cleaner and calmer on the inside and more energetic on the outside.
Some DETOX benefits from yoga include:
- Stimulation of key detox organs: liver, spleen and kidney
- Improvement of digestion and elimination
- Deeper circulation which helps flush out the blood and lymph systems
- Stimulation of digestion and removal of impurities
Some DETOX benefits from meditation include:
- Clearing toxins from the mind
- Reduced feelings of stress and anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Enhanced productivity
- Calmer presence
BONUS! Both yoga and meditation can help us make better food choices due to lower levels of cortisol and higher levels of serotonin making us less likely to binge eat and more likely to feel happy!
I practice YOGA and MEDITATION daily. Sometimes I combine these practices, enjoying both on my own and guided. Have you thought about integrating these practices into your life for their numerous DETOX benefits yet? You can begin at your own pace by surfing online for guidance…
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #8 I LIMIT SCREEN-TIME
Unplugging from our digital world can have direct detox improvements such as:
- Healthier and more conscious eating (not eating while surfing!)
- Better sleep since heavy screen usage is a major cause of restless sleep
- Less fatigue, stress, and depression
- Reduced eyestrain
- Prevent headaches, especially migraines
- Less multi-tasking allows for increased focus and productivity
- Boosted mood
- More time spent doing things like walking, reading books or meditating
- Enhanced awareness and appreciation of the environment
BONUS!: Less screen time facilitates and improves the quality of human relationships – whether family, friends or colleagues. Phone snubbing or PHUBBING - “the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention- has been shown to negatively impact relationship satisfaction. Think about how you feel when someone impolitely takes out their phone when you are with them….
Though no official screen time recommendations exist, it makes healthy sense to keep your digital world out of the bedroom and ask yourself if you might want to improve any of the above. Personally, my screens are off by 6pm and I only check them after morning coffee, and you? How might you DETOX your digital space as of today?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #9 I SPEND TIME IN NATURE
A growing body of evidence shows that we need nature for our health and wellbeing. Besides detoxing from polluted urban air, a connection with nature can make us healthier and happier. Regular exposure to nature can help our bodies detox thanks to:
- Improved respiratory tract and lung health
- Reduced hypertension
- Reduced cardiovascular illness
- Improved vitality and mood
- Restored attention capacity, memory and mental fatigue
- Boosted immunity
- Improved focus
- Vitamin D from sun exposure
BONUS! Beyond these direct effects, feeling a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower anxiety!
I live in the countryside and spend hours outside daily. Though this is not necessarily possible for everyone, I believe that time in nature should be normalized as part of a healthy lifestyle. How do you plan to help your body detox through nature this week?
EVERYDAY DETOX RITUAL (EDR) #10 I RE-ASSESS RELATIONSHIPS
I believe that DETOX is about evaluating anything that is toxic specifically to you and cleansing out what doesn’t work. Consider looking at more than just diet and health rituals. Recognize that relationships can be seriously toxic too, causing stress and poor health. Ask the following to reassess relationships with friends, family and co-workers:
- When you’re together, do you have fun and do you feel appreciated and connected?
- Do you look forward to spending time with this person?
- Does someone often make you feel angry, frustrated or disappointed?
- Does the relationship cause you more pain than pleasure?
- Does the person cause you stress?
- Might it be YOU that needs to change something or is it the other person?
BONUS! Good relationships that fill us with hope and encouragement can offset toxic lifestyles since scientific evidence shows that social relationships affect a range of health outcomes and help us with our whole body detox!
Considering the above questions regularly empowers you to re-establish boundaries – even temporary ones – so that you can find balance and joy in your relationships. I try to surround myself with people and places that love and uplift me and try to welcome new people and situations to steer my life (and even relationships!) in new directions. What about you? Do you need to reassess and detoxify any relationships in your life just now?