Sunday, July 24, 2011

Detox, the natural way!

If you look in any health food store, you'll see a whole aisle dedicated to cleansing and detoxing.  It can be overwhelming to learn about cleansing, but hopefully this post answers those pressing questions. 

Cleansing and detoxing is a great way to kick start your body. Feeling a little sluggish? Try cleansing! A little flabby around the middle? Try detoxing! 

You can purchase a multitude of products that are designed to clean out your liver, blood, and colon, and get rid of parasites and candida, but you don't necessarily have to spend all your hard earned money to feel rejuvenated. For one thing, any "natural" medicine is still a drug - if it affects your body in any way, its a drug, whether or not its herbal. This means that it is bound to have side effects, and these can range from intestinal cramping, headaches, and a flu-like feeling. Some say these side effects are just the body detoxing, but the jury is still out on that one, as no valid, unbiased, and scientific studies have proven otherwise.

If you are not sure about purchasing products to clean out your system and give your body a fresh start, you can cleanse the old-fashioned way: by clean eating! Your body has an amazing ability to clean out toxins - your kidneys and liver work around the clock to make sure what circulates in your blood is squeaky clean. Also, the cells in your intestines work extra hard to make sure everything you eat is absorbed (which also means that you should be careful what you put into your mouth!) Cells regenerate all the time, so this helps increase the body's natural state of wholesome goodness.

Some things you can do to cleanse with diet:

- drink lots of water: two liters, minimum, per day
- for each caffeinated beverage: drink another two glasses of water, as caffeine is very dehydrating
- better yet, switch to green tea
- up your vegetable intake: raw is best!
- cut out all natural/unnatural sweeteners: no table sugar, no honey, no aspartame, no splenda
- cut out all alcohol
- no smoking allowed while cleansing!
- try to buy everything organic: meat, veggies, fruit, grains
- try to eat something "alive" with each meal: fruit/veggies
- if you can, switch to whole grain everything (otherwise cut down or out grain products)
- avoid dairy while cleansing
- switch to organic almond/nut butter instead of Kraft peanut butter (technically, a legume)
- buy dark chocolate instead of your usual chocolatey treats
- if you are craving sweets, hit up your local farmers market: fresh fruit is in season!

Some things you can do to cleanse physically and mentally:

- exercise for at least half an hour every day, even if its just a walk around the block
- do core work like plank while watching tv or during commercials
- stretch daily
- try out a yoga class
- pick up a meditation CD from the bookstore or library (my favourite is Aimee Shea's chakra healing, available on itunes)
- take epsom salt baths (hint: adding lavender oil makes your bath that much more luxurious!)
- turn off the tv, laptop, and smart phones at least half an hour before bedtime
- make sure your room is dark, quiet, clean, and cool so you can maximize your sleep time
- try to get 8 hours of natural sleep each night (studies show that sleeping aids do not provide for a restful sleep, and sleep is when your body heals itself from the assaults of daily living)
- do one nice thing for yourself each day
- tell your friends or family how much you appreciate them, as often as you can

Try this cleanse for as long as you want: you can totally make a lifestyle out of it! But if you can only make it three days, then thats all you need to get the ball rolling. Vow to yourself that for the next cleanse, you'll go an extra day or two, and set a date for when you'll start. Try it out with a friend (feel free to share our blog with others!), and set a prize for who "cheats" the least. And if you do mess up, thats ok! Don't think of a cleanse in terms of days - its moment by moment, just like life. If you end up having a bagel in the morning because you're short on time, then continue on with a healthy lunch and dinner. Mistakes happen, but your body will appreciate your effort.

Good luck!

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  1. I love the idea of doing core work (ie plank) while watching TV...
    I also do things like wearing 2lb wrist or ankle weights just walking around my apartment.

  2. I miss epsom salt baths. I've even seen lavender epsom salt.