This article was originally published in the Spring, 2017 issue of Resilientista magazine. This is an online magazine targeted at women who have gone through a major change in their lives. The subscription is free and you can sign up for it here.
Spring is almost upon us and what better way to start the new season than with detoxifying your body. There are actually many ways of accomplishing this but let me break down my favourites for you.
First and foremost, water, water, water. Did I mention water? It is probably THE single biggest change you can make to your lifestyle to help detoxify your entire system. It cleans your kidneys, liver, skin and organs and keeps these pathways moving. In order to get your organs and digestive system moving in the morning, have a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in it before you eat or drink anything else. Regular bowel movements are critical to detoxification.
Speaking of bowel movements, in order to keep your digestive system moving along, you need sufficient hydrochloric acid (HCl) in your stomach. One tablespoon of good quality apple cider vinegar (the only one I recommend is Bragg’s due to its superior quality and presence of the “mother”). Another critical component to good digestive health is sufficient fibre and I’m always going to recommend getting fibre through whole foods rather than supplementing. That means raspberries, cauliflower, beans, lentils, avocados and peas to name a few. And did I mention water?
Which brings me to the subject of food. Leafy greens are great for just about everything and beets (I know, I know, you hate beets) are fantastic for your liver! Try making a juice with beets, carrots (more carrots will cut the earthy flavor of the beets), an apple, juice of a lemon and some ginger. Have that every morning and combined with the lemon water, you won’t be worrying about being constipated any longer. Ideally you want to eat organic produce as much as possible; however, it’s better to eat the fruits and vegetables even if they’re not organic than to not eat them at all.
Probiotics are one of the most important aspects to keeping healthy levels of beneficial gut bacteria in your system. Supplementation with a good quality, clean brand (no fillers) is essential to a strong immune system, good digestion and a healthy diet. So what about probiotic food like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and the like? They’re great additions but in order to get a sufficient level of probiotics, supplementation is recommended.
Skin brushing does an amazing job of detoxifying your system by stimulating your lymph system which is part of your detoxification system. The best tool for skin brushing is a long handled brush, although a hand held brush will do, start at your feet and work your way up your body in circular motions. Don’t forget your, legs, torso, butt, back, arms (starting at your hands) and neck. Do this every morning before your shower to start your day off invigorated!
Exercise!!! I can’t stress this enough. We need to MOVE our bodies in order to keep everything moving from our bowels to keeping our energy high to keeping our joints lubricated and our muscles in good tone. Exercise also helps us get a good, restful night sleep. Does this mean that we need to work out like fiends 7 days a week? Absolutely not. You can go for a walk every day, but vary the speed by walking at a moderate pace some days and power walk others. Or spice up your exercise by doing yoga one day, walk another day, do some moderate weight training or body weight exercises. Yes ladies, weight training is essential for us to keep us strong, capable and healthy.
Stress causes toxins to accumulate in our bodies and meditation helps to release that stress. So even if it’s only 5-10 minutes per day, or even just deep breathing, your stress levels will lower with regular practice. If you struggle with meditation, find a quiet spot and sit comfortably. Inhale through your nose to a count of 5, hold for 10 then exhale through your mouth to a count of 5. Do this for 2-3 minutes several times a day and you will notice that your energy goes up and your stress levels go down. Not only will you feel better, your body will detoxify itself more efficiently.
Sleep. You know, that wonderful, sometimes elusive, essential thing you’re supposed to do at night? I know not all of you have an issue with sleep but many do for various reasons. Your body performs hundreds of tasks every night, many of which involve the detoxification process. Depending on the individual, 7-8 hours of solid sleep is ideal. If you wake up in the morning, dragging your butt out of bed because you stayed up too late and only got 5 hours of sleep, not only will it make you more hungry and you’ll be more likely to caffeinate more, you’ll likely not stick to your healthy meal plan.
So there you have it. Water, fibre, probiotics, plenty of whole, fresh foods, exercise, sleep and skin brushing are all essential to giving your body its best chance of detoxification.
Wishing you an amazing week!
Sandy O’Shea, CNP
Stepping Stones Wellness Inc.