Have you overindulged during the holidays? Feeling sluggish? Gained a little weight? Kickstarting the year with a detoxification protocol can help you feel better, drop a few extra pounds and increase your energy.
Detoxification is your body’s daily process that ensures you clear out cellular byproducts, toxins and metabolized cholesterol, drugs and medications. Your liver, kidneys, colon, skin and lungs all work extremely hard all day to clear out accumulated junk. Hear that? Your body already detoxes on a daily basis. Ensuring these byproducts don’t build up keeps you feeling light and energetic.
But detox isn’t about deprivation! You might need to eat lighter to let your body use resources to clean up those excesses, but it’s important to think of detoxification as your own personal spa time at home. You are doing this for yourself. Indulge in epsom salts soaks, give yourself a natural facial, take time to do yoga (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25846/what-30-days-of-yoga-helped-me-discover.html) and meditate, use a journal to work through those thoughts and feelings running amuck in your head, and drink lots of hot and healthy herbal teas. This is a time to take care of yourself.
Want to set your body up for success? Here are the steps to optimise your body detoxification systems.
- The first step is to limit your body’s exposure to toxins. Avoid unnecessary use of toxic chemicals, drugs, alcohol and highly processed foods. Use kombucha to replace things like alcohol and soda to give you a healthy boost of probiotics with that yummy fizz. Avoid using chemicals in your home that can be inhaled or absorbed, use “green cleaning” products on your body and in your home (like vinegar). Help your body digest food easily by eating mindfully and slowly, and manage stress healthily to reduce toxin formation in the body.
- Give your digestive system a break. Fasting every once and a while allows the body to concentrate on “growth and repair” and not the energy intensive task of digestion. But this doesn’t mean days and days of no food or crazy drinks. Abstaining from food at night allows the body to detox naturally without hunger. Extend the time you are not eating to extend the time your body can focus on unregulating it’s detox mechanisms.
- Eating lightly and limiting quantity means the smallest amount of resources are used for digestion with a maximum amount of nutrition entering the body for absorption. Well-cooked soups with vegetables, easy to digest proteins and probiotic foods like miso and yogurts can limit unnecessary stressors in your detoxification systems. Eat nutrient dense foods to provide the essential nutrients required to support detoxification with the least amount of work for your body. Really, those nutrient dense foods are the best bang for your buck!
- Keep your hydration systems happy. Drink lots of water and herbal tea. Most toxins are removed through urine, sweat and breath vapour. The blood and lymph act as conduits to move toxins through the body. Dehydration seriously hampers removal of toxins as the body holds onto that fluid rather then allowing precious resources to leave the body.
- Get plenty of sleep. Most of the detoxification you do happens at night. Your lymph system, brain pathways and even your immune system all work harder when you’re sleeping. Not getting enough sleep means these processes stop and the body begins to stockpile toxins, storing them in the liver, colon and fat stores of the body.
- Talk to your health professional and health team. Colon hydrotherapy can quickly remove feces from the body making digestive elimination more efficient and freeing up other body resources. The Naturopathic Doctors at Cornerstone Naturopathic can provide a more comprehensive detoxification plan using medical foods and herbal preparations that can help you achieve your goals and ensure long term lifestyle successes for years to come.
Start the year off right clearing out the old and bringing in the new!