Spring is here, I mean it snowed again today so I think spring is here? With the arrival of spring I start to think about cleaning out my car, doing a quick purge in my closet, but I also start to think about doing the same for my body.
One thing I love to do in the spring is a gentle detox.
For the purpose of this conversation I'll be focusing on gentle detoxes using whole foods and not specifically about fasting, that is a topic for another day! I’m talking about a whole foods, non calorie counting detox with all kinds of clean eats and proper supplementation as well as some stress reduction and sleep! (who doesn’t love sleep!?)
What is Detoxification?
This is a natural process that our body actually does daily! It’s the neutralization and elimination of toxins and clearing out waste.
The major players in your detox system are your liver, skin, digestive tract, bowels, lymphatic system, lungs and kidneys. That’s a lot of players! They all need your loving care to keep you running at optimal levels.
You might be asking if our body does a detox daily then why do we need to do an active detox? It's a really good point, but in our crazy, busy, modern world we live in we are bombarded 24/7 with toxins; smog, pollution, fast food, pesticides, stress and even our workouts cause toxins in the body! Our poor organs just can’t keep up and it results in symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, bad breath, muscle pain, mood swings and skin problems, just to name a few!
You may not even know you need to detox, but once or twice per year it is so beneficial. And now is a great time! It’s spring and we are energetically primed to spring clean. We do it to our homes, our gardens, closets, and cars so why not your body. Clear out that extra fluff you collected over the winter months.
So Where Do You Begin?
Health begins in the gut.
Having good gut flora and healthy tissues is a must! There is always going to be some bad bacteria so you need to balance that out with the good.
Did you know 70% of your immune system is in your small intestine?
The gut is your second brain – it produces 80 neurotransmitters including 90% of serotonin (your happy hormone – happy gut=happy you!) So to keep your gut happy you need to go beyond just eating yogurt. In fact, most fruit yogurts have added sugars which we all know isn't the best for us, it causes inflammation and drastic changes in blood sugar levels. Not to mention the sugars actually feed the bad bacteria, so even though you are getting some good bacteria in the yogurt, the sugar is actually making the bad bacteria stronger! Sauerkraut, Kimchi and pickles are all great food sources to boost your good gut bacteria. Kombucha (a fermented tea drink) is also an amazing option to help increase probiotics. I also like to include a good probiotic supplement. I recommend finding a high quality pharmaceutical grade probiotic that is shelf stable, and dairy free if possible.
Love Your Liver!
Your liver is your detoxing powerhouse and performs over 300 functions in your body! You can’t live without it but the kind of amazing thing about your liver is that it can actually regenerate itself. No need to stress if you’ve done a little damage to it, maybe a few too many nights out in college, but with good diet and some TLC you can regenerate your liver in about 7 years ☺
As i mentioned before we are bombarded with toxins daily and this takes a toll on the liver. It just can’t keep up so it coats those toxins in mucus. Some people can actually be walking around with an extra 15 pounds of mucus in their body. Gross!! A gentle detox supporting the liver can help you release these toxins, shed a few pounds and help increase your energy levels.
Try getting a good dose of these liver loving foods – cruciferous veggies, milk thistle, turmeric, bitter greens, onion, garlic, sprouts, beets and lemon. On the flip side, try your best to avoid these liver loaders on a regular basis and definitely while you are detoxing – alcohol, trans fats, caffeine, processed foods, pesticides, nicotine and certain prescription meds (note!! Please do not discontinue any prescription medication unless you have permission from your doctor to do so).
Lastly find a high quality pharmaceutical grade liver supporting supplement. The key ingredient would be milk thistle, it’s the queen of liver love!
Detoxing goes beyond just food
Stress causes a lot of toxins within the body. There are 2 types of stress, functional and dysfunctional. Functional stress is good, it gives you that burst of adrenaline you need to step out of your comfort zone and make that presentation at work, or climb over that 8ft wall (a little OCR reference). Once you are done the stressful situation the stress goes away. Dysfunctional stress isn’t quite as helpful and many of us are in a chronic state of dysfunctional stress where we constantly have feelings of stress or pressure. This taxes our cardiovascular and nervous systems. A simple way to combat this is to take 5 deep breathes. Do this prior to eating to allow yourself to relax, because if your mind is racing and your body is in that fight or flight mode you physically cannot digest the food you are eating.
Sleep is also a huge factor in reducing stress and detoxing. Good quality and quantity of sleep is so important for optimal health and performance. Sleep is when our bodies naturally detox and rebuild. Get into a routine before bed so your body knows that sleep time is coming. Turn-off your electronics an hour before you go to sleep, brush your teeth, maybe take a bath with some epsom salts, this allows you to absorb the magnesium which helps you relax and slip into sleep more easily, and again take 5 deep breathes and settle into bed.
A gentle detox one or two times a year will help keep your insides functioning at optimal levels, help boost your energy and keep you ready to tackle anything!! If you have questions or comments please leave them below. Curious to try a gentle detox? I've got a group detox starting April 29, get in touch to find out more details.