How To: Properly Detoxing
The word Detox has been quite the buzz word lately and everyone has a different opinion on how to do it. You can't go on Instagram or walk into a Whole Foods without seeing a product, program or slogan selling something to "detox" you. From a practitioner's point of view, these programs are great if you are very unhealthy and don't really know where to start on your wellness journey because ultimately they will jump start you into eating cleaner and make you more aware of your choices. For those who are a little more hip to kombucha and the different ways to get yourself to eat kale, they don't really work as they're marketed and they can actually be working against you. You don't need an expensive program to get clean on the inside since your body already knows how to do this naturally. The easiest way to detox your system is honestly to take OUT the toxins from your diet (kind of obvious, I know) but hear me out.
Your body becomes "toxic" when it cannot digest what it doesn't recognize as food. Pesticides, chemicals, preservatives and GMO's definitely fall under this category since starting with a clean diet goes without saying, but also under "toxic" comes ANY improperly digested food- as in, what happens when you eat too late, too much, skip meals, frequently snack, go to bed right after eating and so forth. Anything your body cannot fully transform into nutrients is considered to be undigested, un-digestable or straight-up unrecognizable if it happens to be a processed food with little nutrition or bio-information. The most incredible superfood salad you prepared for lunch can be a poison in your system if you body cannot digest it properly (and raw foods are really, really hard to digest properly.) Your body's defense system will burn anything it doesn't recognize as a nutrient or that it considers toxic simply because that's the only mechanism it has, and THIS is what creates inflammation. [This also happens when your bio-fire or Agni is low and can't fully process your food, which is the internal thing that will create and store toxins too, called Ama.] Inflammation is your body's natural healing response to either external trauma or internal trauma (toxins) and it is ultimately why you'd want to detox to begin with. In this sense, we have to ask ourselves why we are toxic and why we are experiencing inflammation so that we can better address the mechanism that is failing - and that is what these "detox programs" don't offer; they're still the quick fix to cover the symptom or to make you believe you're sick where I would rather get to the root of the problem and help you heal instead.
The thing is, you are already equipped with all of the necessary mechanisms to naturally "Detox" yourself (called your lymphatic system) and you don't need an expensive juice fast cleanse delivered to your door every day to tap into it.. the key is to balance your system so that this mechanism is strong on its own and can do the work it's supposed to do. (It's a big help to not put the reasons that create inflammation into your system to begin with, but if this system isn't functioning properly, the best foods will still cause stagnation.)
Here's a how to:
Step 1: Eat cleaner foods. Read labels and don't eat anything you don't recognize or didn't prepare fresh at home.
Step 2: Use a gentle tool like the Detox Tea to help enhance digestion and clear you liver so it can process your nutrients more efficiently, releasing the stress on your system. The easier you digest, the less toxins you create, the less confusion in your body and the lesser the reason to detox in the first place. From there, a clean diet taken at the right time of the day will be enough to keep you squeeky and strong. Warm liquids also help move lymph (the body's filtration system) and herbal teas boost lymph fluid's potential exponentially if the right herbs are included.
Step 3: Focus on your digestion. Strengthening your Agni / bio fire / digestion is THE only thing that will "detox" you and this is what is missing from all of the programs out there. They are not focussing on you, they are focussing on whatever trend is going on at the moment and that never works; in fact, playing with your nutrient intake in these ways will cause a lot of damage to your metabolism and it's simply not worth it. Don't pay attention to what everyone is doing and focus on what your body is telling you. How did you feel after a meal? Energized, sleepy, bloated? The answer to your digestion question lies here.
You DO NOT need a crazy juice cleanse, a fasting diet or an intense program to Detox. They may be great for some constitutions but it's not for most of us. Your body needs nutrients consistently everyday and fasting is not only depleting, but causes an adrenal chaos that effects everything from your hormones to your sleep patterns to your cognitive functions. Don't skip meals and don't focus on liquid meals either. Despite the feeling of temporary relief that cleansing or fasting might bring, the energy high is a trick and the stress response is tremendous, which, depending on the frequency of your "detoxing," may mean you're risking permanent damage. (Yikes.) Stay away from extremes and focus on your body. Your system is intelligent and it knows how to take care of you on it's own.
Strengthening your system is the best way to naturally, safely and efficiently detox. If you'd rather be on a program with guidelines, look for one that focuses on whole foods, that allows your digestive system to rest and that makes total sense to you- with no extremes. Your body will only release toxins when it feels safe, has a steady metabolism flow, knows nutrients are coming, has a strong bio-fire burning and can properly digest everything you eat (which is why you want to eat clean.) Your body will naturally release anything it no longer needs, but you need to be consistent with your fuel intake in order for this to happen and in order for your body to heal. If you need a little more info on how to properly detox, find a natural practitioner who can design a program for you or shoot me an email here, I'd be happy to chat about what's going on and to make a few recommendations tailored to you.
Ayurvedic specialists offer Panchakarma therapies if a major detox or purgation is called for and the results are incredible, but for the every day at home person, detoxing is simply not necessary. Eat right, eat on time, rest well and your body will do it on it's own.
Here area few simple tricks you can use to get yourself cleaner inside - and they're free!
- Sip on hot water first thing in the morning.
- Wait 30min before and after meals to drink your drinks, and only sip during meals.
- Eat at the same time every day, three main meals with a couple of small snacks if needed.
- Enjoy your dinner by 7pm and wait at least 2-3 hours after eating before you hit the sheets.
- Get to bed early- this allows your body to rest, heal and rejuvenate. 10pm is ideal.
- If you need extra help, The Wellness Shop features a nice Detox Tea that helps improve your digestion and contains herbs that clear your liver, the organ responsible for circulating blood and nutrients throughout your body. This combo is an effective tool for gentle everyday detoxing because it helps YOUR SYSTEM become strong enough to correct the underlying imbalance on its own. That is the ultimate goal in health, in overall wellness and in properly detoxing.
The Detox Tea is available in the Wellness Shop here and is currently being featured in the Year of Wellness program from LEAFtv.
Check it out!