My Top 5 Essentials on Detoxing
The sweet days of summer are now coming to a close here in Portland. For me, summer is about slowing down my workload, getting outside with friends and family, and travel. And with all of that fun, I was not able to cook as much as I normally do and ended up picking up some habits I just don’t want to keep for the long term. For me, that was a daily coffee and a drink or two several evenings out of the week. I was definitely more sluggish and puffy, had achy joints, and my sleep wasn’t so great. Don’t get my wrong, I had so much fun and wouldn’t change my summer if I had to do it over again. But I do know I don’t want to feel this way long term in my body.
So, it’s detox time! Goodbye coffee. Goodbye alcohol.
Doing a detox is a perfect time for a reset - a time to break old bad habits and a time to create new healthy ones.
What Does Doing a Detox Mean?
Every day, we are constantly bombarded with millions of compounds from food, drink, medicine, our environment, topical products, and much more. Our bodies are designed to do a fabulous job of getting rid of these compounds, or toxins, that accumulate in the body – namely through liver, kidneys, lungs and skin. But, sometimes these toxins are not completely expelled from the body and can build up over time and cause health problems such as fatigue, headaches, hormonal imbalance, digestive issues and much more. Because of this, it’s important to not only remove some of the things that are known pollutants to the body, but also to add some nutritional supplements to help assist and support the body’s process in elimination of these toxins.
So, What are the Essentials?
Avoid the foods that can cause inflammation. When you are regularly eating foods that cause inflammation in your body, the body’s cells cannot get the optimal amount of nutrients it needs nor are they able to dispose of cellular waste most efficiently. The body then functions at a sub-optimal level, leaving you feeling unwell. Avoiding foods that can cause inflammation includes staying away from all of the things that we know aren’t good for us: alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine, processed foods and any foods you know you are allergic or intolerant to. In addition, it’s important to also abstain from the highly allergenic foods that may be causing problems without you knowing about it – eggs, soy, tomatoes, peanuts, shellfish, etc.
Commit 100% to following the diet elimination for a minimum of 2-3 weeks.
Support the digestive and elimination process with probiotics and/or probiotic and enzyme rich foods like cultured vegetables, coconut kefir, kombucha, natto, apple cider vinegar, and brine cured olives.
Drink lots of fluids. Like half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
Supplement with a mixture of multivitamins, amino acids, digestive enzymes, herbs, and nutritional compounds to support the detoxification process. There are many practitioner grade companies that have a detox powder with all of these things already mixed into one product. I like to use the researched-based brand Apex Energetics at my office. Some of the other high-quality, practitioner-grade companies I trust are Metagenics, Thorne, and Designs for Health.
Just Eat Real Food (JERF)
Part of detoxing and re-setting your palate is breaking the bad habits you’ve gotten into – too much sugar, too much alcohol, too many processed foods, and not enough veggies, just to name a few. Success can be helped along by having a community of people who are doing the same thing as you and who can also help with tips and support.
There are two online resources I love that can help you navigate this process and to really take a look at where you can make changes in your diet to become even healthier. One resource by the doctors at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is by using a 21-day plant-based approach and begins every month online– it’s called the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart program – you can find it here (http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome). The other program is a paleo-based approach that takes 30 days to get through and is called the Whole 30 - it is found here (http://whole30.com/).
Both are very different but also have very similar approaches - focusing on knowing where your food comes from, getting rid of processed foods, and boosting the amount of nutrients you consume.
There is No Time Like the Present!
Fall is a great time to do a detox, but I also like to do them 3-4 times spread throughout the year. Besides helping the body detoxify, it’s a way to reset some less than healthy habits and feel lighter in your body. Even though it can seem overwhelming to do at first, most people that try a detox like to regularly repeat it because they feel much better afterwards. Try it, I think you may get hooked!