Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Monday. Monday to me is the day of the week where possibilities seem endless, new beginnings can emerge, and whatever seemed to be holding me back the week before had just a little less grip. Sure, you can look at the cup half empty on Mondays and dread the obligations that come with it, but why not turn that pessimism into preparation? Luckily, one of the best ways to get into this headspace at the start of your week is with a good detox.
WHY SHOULD I DETOX?
The term “toxins” are usually used interchangeably with words like “wastes” or “chemicals”, but it can be used to describe any harmful substances to the body including heavy metals, pollutants, parasites, excess sugar, and processed foods. Did you know that your body already has a natural ability to remove these toxins? Your liver, skin, kidneys, and other organs help to filter out the waste that you consume. For example, 90 percent of alcohol is metabolized by the liver, but the liver is also responsible for breaking down proteins and energy sources that the body needs to survive. Therefore, excess alcohol intake can put wear on your liver and ultimately lead to liver disease, failure, or death. So while our fascinating bodies do a wonderful job of keeping things in check when it’s operating at its most healthy state, adding some detoxification practices can help it along the way.
The daily runs to Chic-fil-A, those new Pillsbury cookies you just had to try, or even those holiday season spreads can take a toll on your health in the long run. Eventually, excess fatigue and weight gain can impact your mental health, sleep, and productivity. Think about it, wouldn’t you feel more energized and ready to tackle the week if you started off with a cleaner slate? Unfortunately, most of the foods and drinks we consume are filled with more preservatives, chemicals, excess sugars, and metals than ever before. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Nutritional Facts of any snack in your pantry, even the healthier ones. Nine times out of ten, that snack contains additional sugars and other harmful ingredients you can’t even pronounce.
RISKS AND BENEFITS OF DETOXING
Like with anything, there are both risks and benefits to doing them. Everyone does not respond the same way and results may vary depending on age, pre-existing conditions, supplements, metabolism, etc. However, here are some common risks and benefits associated with a dietary detox:
- Removal of harmful substances from your body
- Clearer skin complexion
- Improved cognition
- Easier transition to a healthier diet (e.g., pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan)
- Improved digestion and immunity
- Weight loss
- Decreased cravings
- Improved organ function (e.g. lungs, liver, kidney, etc.)
- Mood swings
- Overdose on supplements
- Allergic reactions to supplements
- Pre-existing condition interactions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, etc.)
HOW CAN I DETOX?
So what are some ways to detoxify your body? While there isn’t just one sure way to do it, here are some popular trends:
- Organic herbal teas (e.g., black tea, orange tea, green tea, etc.)
- Vegetarian or vegan diets (no meat or fish consumption)
- No dairy products (e.g., products made with cow’s milk)
- Colon cleansing (e.g., colonics, laxatives, etc.)
- No alcohol consumption
- No processed sugar or sweets (agave or honey can be used as a natural substitute)
- Increased water intake (at least 8oz. per day)
- Limited to no caffeinated beverages
- Increased sleep (at least 7 hours/day allows the body’s natural detoxification system to work properly)
- Increased antioxidant rich foods (e.g., berries, nuts, green tea, etc.)
- Prebiotics and probiotics to help gut health, digestion, and immunity
- Activity and exercise to promote sweat and decrease inflammation in the body
- Decreased sodium intake to reduce hypertension and water retention (e.g., swelling and bloating)
There is also no set time that you have to undergo detoxification. Some people may just do it for a few days or weeks until a healthier lifestyle becomes the norm. However, it is important that you don’t overexert yourself or do anything dangerous that might cause more harm than good.
BEYOND THE FOOD
Now detoxing isn’t just about diet or exercise. The same concept of ridding your life of toxicity can apply to the people and environment around you! You know what I’m talking about. The people who judge your every move from a pessimistic lens, the things that take from you more than they give, or anything that doesn’t contribute to your mental, physical, or financial wellbeing. Yeah, those things. Get rid of them. If you can’t get rid of them, limit your time and energy towards them. Although it may be difficult to do, detoxing negativity in your life is just as important as ridding your body of toxic substances.
Some other ways you can detox include:
- Setting boundaries
- Removing yourself from triggers (eg., people, places, situations that invoke trauma/drama)
- Meditation/Spiritual practices
- Rededicating to your purpose/goals
- Using natural products (e.g., lotions, cleaners, feminine hygiene products, etc.)
At first, as your body gets used to not having its vices, detoxing can be very difficult. However, over time, it can get easier and be an awesome way to start off a new journey or lifestyle. To perform at your highest level, your body needs to be fueled by healthy foods and practices. Therefore, you must occasionally stop and evaluate what you are consuming and practicing on a regular basis. Is it nutritious foods, water, rest, spiritual healing, purposeful work, affirmations, and love from those around you? If not, then you may need to put the D in detox and start today…Good luck!
Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor before you begin any detoxing program. Using any product beyond instructions provided by the manufacturer or noncompliance with instructions from your healthcare provider could result in damage or even death. The author of this website is not responsible for any loss, damage, or death to an individual as a result of any information on this website, nor does this website endorse any particular life choice or products. Please see the Policies tab for more information.