Since the New Year is upon us and many consider this a natural time to evaluate personal health, people commonly opt for a cleanse to jump-start that process. In yesterday's post, Reconsidering the “Cleanse”: Why Kits, Powders, Fasts, and Pills May Not Be For You, I discussed why the typical “cleanse in a box” might not be your best option if you're wanting to detox.
Toxins, Toxins Everywhere
Sadly, this world of ours is a toxic place. We are surrounded by sources of toxins all the time. They're in our air in the form of car exhaust, industrial gases, off-gassing paints, cigarette smoke, pesticides and herbicides, mold, and mildew (source). They're in our water, especially if we're drinking unfiltered tap water (source). They're in our homes too. Paint fumes, off-gassing furniture and mattresses, carpet and non-natural flooring emit toxic substances into our homes' air for years.
We don't need to panic, however, because our bodies have built-in systems to process and remove these toxins quickly and efficiently.
The Body's Design
Our bodies are amazingly designed by our Creator to detox on their own every single day. The liver, kidneys, skin, and lymphatic systems are constantly working hard to filter toxins, heavy metals, and more out of us.
The liver, our main detox organ, cycles through two phases of detoxification regularly: Phase 1 (oxidation) and Phase 2 (conjugation).
The kidneys assist the liver by speedily removing water-soluble toxins in urine. Our skin is the first line of defense to protect us from toxins, but it also takes out the trash via sweat. Finally, our lymphatic system keeps our bodies clean by collecting wastes in “collection sites”: lymph nodes. It works with every other system in your body to collect and remove wastes (source).
Today, rather than giving you a magic formula to clean out the toxic substances in your body in a certain number of days or weeks, I'm going to share some effective, simple, and inexpensive things you can do every day to support your body's natural detoxification.
7 Easy Ways to Support Daily Detox
1. Reduce your toxic load.
Take steps to lighten the load your body is carrying by:
- switching from chemical cleaners to natural, homemade ones
- drinking spring or filtered water instead of reverse osmosis or tap water
- eating organic produce instead of conventional produce that is full of pesticides and other chemicals
- avoiding processed and fast food and eating real food instead
- avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and other foods which are more difficult for the body to process
- considering a short-term program, such as Whole30 or the 21-Day Sugar Detox, for a whole foods-based jump-start or reset after the holidays
- closely examining any over-the-counter or prescription medications you may be taking, and consulting with your doctor about reducing or eliminating them
- using all-natural make-up and personal care products (or making your own!)
- opening your windows daily and allowing your home to air out
- installing very high quality filters for your home's HVAC system
The less of a burden your body is carrying, the more efficiently it will remove the toxins you come into contact with on a daily basis and the better you will feel!
2. Drink plenty throughout the day.
Some warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice is a great way to start your day. It gets your digestion going first thing in the morning, and lemon juice is an excellent detox supporter. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, try my Ginger Lemon Mocktail or Wardee's Lemonade Water to sip on throughout the day. Other detoxifying beverages include beet kvass, kombucha, and water kefir. Sip on any or all of these for natural detox support every day.
Beware of drinking too much, though. It is possible to over-hydrate yourself (source), which can be detrimental for your metabolism. Don't feel pressured to drink the “recommended” eight glasses or three quarts or two gallons of water per day. Drink when you're thirsty, and drink a bit more in the heat or during hard exercise, and that's it.
3. Take an Epsom salt or clay bath.
Epsom salts and clays, like bentonite, are powerful when it comes to drawing toxins out of the skin. When taking a detox bath, the water should be as hot as you can stand it. This will initiate sweating, and toxins come out in our sweat. The salts or clay attract toxins to themselves, then as the water cools, they absorb them — like reversed reverse osmosis! Not only do Epsom salt baths support our bodies' detoxification, but they are also beneficial for adding in much-needed magnesium, which is absorbed through the skin.
Bentonite clay is a unique substance in that it actually produces an electric charge when hydrated, giving it the ability to attract and absorb toxins, like heavy metals and chlorine (source). Taking an epsom salt or clay bath two or three times a week can really assist detoxification through your body's largest organ, your skin. Here are three detox bath recipes to get you started!
4. Make coffee enemas a part of your day.
Seriously, are you guys tired of hearing about my love for coffee enemas? 😉 I've been doing them daily for over a year, and I can tell you from experience that coffee enemas are so effective at cleaning things out.
The enema mechanically washes out the colon, removing toxic substances, and often nests of parasites, bacteria, yeast colonies, and other debris. Enemas also stimulate the colon slightly by dilating it a little, and often by altering its temperature somewhat – either making it a little hotter or a little colder. Another mechanical effect is to increase peristalsis and cause the colon to become active, emptying its contents more completely. Repeated enemas, especially accompanied by colon massage, helps remove impacted feces and food residues, which is common. Certain food items, especially white, refined flour, can turn hard in the colon and stick to its walls. Repeat enemas also help clean out so-called ‘pockets’ or diverticuli in the colon. These are slight expansions or dilations in the wall of the colon of most adults that trap food particles, bacteria and often harbor parasitic organisms such as worms, yeasts and others. –Dr. Lawrence Wilson (source)
In addition to cleansing the colon, coffee enemas also stimulate the liver and gallbladder. As the coffee travels upward through the colon, it reaches the hemorrhoidal vein to the liver. Caffeine in the coffee dilates this vein and opens the bile duct, allowing the liver to release bile which contains toxins. According to the Gerson Therapy, “The purpose of the coffee enema is not to clear out the intestines, but the quart of water stimulates peristalsis in the gut. A portion of the water also dilutes the bile and increases the bile flow, thereby flushing toxic bile […] out of the intestines” (source).
5. Jump to stimulate your lymphatic system.
Your backyard trampoline will work just fine for this fun and easy exercise. If you don't have a big trampoline, a mini-trampoline is inexpensive (and allows you to get your lymph flow going while you watch a Traditional Cooking School video!). Rebounding stimulates your lymphatic system, helping it “take out the trash” quickly and efficiently. If the lymphatic fluid isn't moving, it becomes sluggish and less efficient.
Rebounding on a mini trampoline is perhaps the most efficient and forceful means of flushing the lymph while stimulating the immune system and defending against cancer and other ailments […] It takes only two minutes of rebounding to flush the entire lymphatic system, while cleansing and strengthening cells and lymph nodes (source).
6. Sweat those toxins out.
Here are some promising roles sweat plays in detoxification:
- Sweat may be an important route for excretion of cadmium when an individual is exposed to high levels
- Sweat-inducing sauna use might provide a therapeutic method to increase elimination of toxic trace metals
- Sweating should be the initial and preferred treatment of patients with elevated mercury urine levels (source)
Sweating during exercise, especially in warm outdoor weather or in a heated room will naturally cause a person to sweat more. But you can induce sweating without exercise through the use of sauna therapy, specifically a near-infrared sauna because of its low electromagnetic frequency. This type of sauna therapy penetrates into deep tissues, where toxic substances and heavy metals are stored. As the person sweats, these toxins are brought to the skin's surface and then eliminated via the sweat.
I am anticipating a comment like, “Lindsey, those saunas are NOT inexpensive, and you said all these detox methods would be affordable.” Even a basic light box-type sauna is going to be an investment — and some health investments cost more than others, am I right?
Another option is to build your own sauna for a fraction of the cost. For this option you could expect to pay somewhere between $60-$250. Because we lack the space for a larger sauna, we are using an infrared light in one of our showers. It's not a glamorous set-up, but it works for us, and it was really cheap at $30! And if you don't want to incur that expense, you can still exercise and benefit from sweating that way for free. 😉
If you have worked with a practitioner and done a hair tissue mineral analysis, you have more than likely had sauna therapy recommended to you. And if you are working a nutritional balancing program, you know that sauna therapy is an integral part of the detox and healing aspects of your program. That is because of the deep level of detoxification they initiate and support, in addition to several other benefits.
7. Start dry brushing.
This easy routine takes just minutes, but dry brushing is a powerful way to support your body's detoxification processes. It stimulates lymphatic flow and “keeps things moving” to clear toxins out. It also stimulates circulation under your skin, which aids in getting those toxins wherever they need to go for removal. Other potential benefits of dry brushing include reduced cellulite (hello!), skin exfoliation, and stress relief (source). Make sure to use a brush with quality bristles made of natural materials.
I hope I've convinced you that you don't need an expensive “cleanse in a box”, detox program, or juice fast to jump-start your health this year. You can do any or all of these easy things anytime to naturally support your body's built-in detoxification processes.
How do you support your body's natural, daily detox? Would you like to try some of these easy methods?
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