04/04/2019 by Dr. Lewis
My Top Hacks for a Healthy "Detox"
Our bodies are constantly detoxing, so it's important to first note that being "on" or "off" a detox oversimplifies our beautifully complex bodies. I generally avoid using the word "detox" because it implies a one-time process we engage in to "cleanse" and that is simply inaccurate.
This article helps you zone in on key areas in the body that are involved in detoxification, and how best to support these systems in simple and effective ways. Let's first take a step back. We have several organs in the body that are involved in detoxification, including the liver and gallbladder, intestines (small and large), urinary system (kidneys and bladder), respiratory system (lungs), skin, and mind (yes you read that right!).
These organs of elimination each have a role in processing the foods, drinks, medications, supplements, and drugs we take in orally, plus the air we breathe, the thoughts we think, and the environment we expose our skin to as well. We often limit "detoxes" to the digestive system and liver, and completely ignore the other organs that help us process and eliminate both positive and negative components of our environment.
Step 1: Eat Nutritious Foods
Any "detox" should focus on the foods we choose to nourish our bodies with, and not the trendy supplements and detox teas we're bombarded with. The main foods to incorporate are not surprisingly vegetables (in all shapes and sizes), especially bitter vegetables like dark leafy greens, and yellow vegetables like squash or sweet potato.
Drink a smoothie packed with greens or antioxidant-rich fruit, like berries - these are great breakfast options. Stay far away from your food intolerances during this time, including common aggravating foods like gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and soy.
I've made this part easy for you by creating my 21 Day Reset Program - read more about it and sign up HERE!
Step 2: Hydrate
Water. Water. Water.
Need I say more? Most people drink much less than their body's requirements - don't let this be you! Drink at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water.
*Want to get fancy? Add lemon and/or apple cider vinegar for gentle liver support.
Alcohol & Caffeine.
Both of these beverages have a dehydrating effect on the body. Limit or completely avoid their consumption during a "detox". If you must, drink less than 2 cups of caffeine and finish it before 2pm.
*For every cup of alcohol or caffeine, add an extra cup of water to your daily intake.
My favourite additions to a "detox" are nettles, lemon balm, dandelion root, turmeric root, and ginger. Yum.
Step 3: Mind your Mind
While you're in the "detox" frame of mind, pay attention to the thoughts you allow in. Are these generally helpful or harmful thoughts? Are any of them worth "detoxing"?
Reflect on the following questions:
- Do you have an inner critic or an inner coach?
- How would you rate your self-love and self-care?
- Are you a priority in your life? Where are you on the list?
- Do you have people in your life that are negatively impacting you or draining your energy? How can we set nurturing boundaries that benefit both parties?
To help support you through the above concepts, consider seeing a psychotherapist - I find them invaluable in helping with anything and everything related to mindset. You can find out more here.
Step 4: Inhale. Pause. Exhale.
One of the most therapeutic methods to "detox" is through our respiratory system, and it's the easiest strategy of them all. Breathing.
Begin to interject short periods of deep breathing throughout the day. Use this strategy in your transitions between various tasks of the day and you'll notice quickly how much more productive and peaceful you are.
Step 5: Sweat it out.
We eliminate waste through our sweat, so this form of "detoxing" is critical to supporting the overall process. Note that with any form of sweating, there is potential to reabsorb the waste/toxins back through the skin, so make sure you wipe your sweat from the skin and bathe or shower afterward, ideally in cold water.
Best ways to sweat? Physical activities that you enjoy! Try workout or dance classes, walking outdoors with a friend, or exercising in a gym setting - there are so many options. It's a bonus if the workout feels like play! Another sweating hack: an Infrared Sauna. If you have access to one, use it.
Step 6: Turn off Tech.
Try a social media "detox". Set a timer on your phone to avoid using it after a certain time in the evening, or limit your use to specific times in the day. Better yet, leave your phone at home or turn it off when you're out doing things you love. Skip the distraction to be more present in your life, for yourself and your loved ones.
I hope you found my "detox" hacks helpful! Do you have any strategies that help you unwind and detoxify? I would love to hear them! You can find me on Instagram @dr.elainelewis.nd