When we hear the word “detox” we often associate it with the physical aspect; to lose weight, to cleanse, to feel somewhat lighter. Whilst detoxing is great for this, it can also be a powerful tool to make changes on every level; physical, mental and emotional. Before we head straight into our 5 easy ways to detox for summer, let’s talk a little bit more about why.
So why do we need to detox? We are constantly exposed to toxins in our everyday life. These can range from pesticides or preservatives found in our food, the quality of the air that we breathe, what we put on our skin and not to mention the way that we think!
The human body is remarkable in its many processes, including that of breaking down toxins and excreting them, but in this day in age we are chronically exposed to toxins and our system easily becomes overburdened. These toxins build up over time and our system becomes less effective at eliminating them.
The body gives us subtle, and not so subtle, signs when it is struggling to eliminate these toxins and can be one or a number of symptoms:
- Digestive complaints which include, bloating, flatulence and constipation
- General sluggishness
- Fluid retention
- Heavy/painful periods
- Recurrent colds & flu
When these toxins are not appropriately eliminated they recirculate and store within the body, hence why the signs and symptoms can be varied. The health of our gut is of the upmost importance here. The integrity of the intestinal lining can influence the level of toxins that recirculate throughout the body. If you’re concerned about your gut health impacting other areas of health, it is recommended you speak with a naturopath or health professional for guidance.
There are countless detox programs available today, however they often involve a strict regime, and/or cocktail of supplements which may leave you feeling worse before you feel better. The common symptoms we experience with detox are headaches, nausea and a general sense of fogginess – these are signs your body is not coping with the detox! We have the misconception that we need to “hit it hard” for the best results, but could these symptoms, which occur during detox, be your body asking you to ease off, and take it a little slower? We think so, which is why we have listed the easiest and most gentle ways to naturally detox. Spring is the perfect time to sweep out the old, and bring in the new so not why not use this time to make some gentles changes that can have a positive impact?
5 Easy Ways To Detox
- Freshly squeezed lemon in water
Start everyday with 1L of warm water with ½ freshly squeezed lemon. Water is an essential part of life. Think of your body as a washing machine – would you wash your clothes without water? Hydration is key. The addition of lemon is great to kick start all aspects of digestion, including bowel movements. If you struggle getting enough water in, this is an awesome head start on your hydration for the day. If drinking 1L at a time is a little daunting, don’t stress! Simply work your way up to a litre at your own pace. It’s your journey, and small improvements are still improvements nonetheless.
- Get moving!
Exercise is an excellent way to stimulate your lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system is a network that helps rid the body of toxins and waste materials. Whether you start an 8-week challenge at the gym, go for a run or walk, or even yoga, that is enough to help get things moving. If fluid retention is one of your concerns, then exercise must be a priority.
- Add some greens to your diet
Kale, spinach, rocket, capsicum, zucchini, cucumber, celery… you see where I’m going with this yeah? A vegetable that is rich green in colour will be high in chlorophyll which is incredibly detoxifying and alkalising. When we are toxic, we may also be acidic which can give rise to many complaints, a big one being inflammation. Therefore, if we reduce our acidity by being more alkaline, we can reduce inflammation. Vegetables help us to bring our pH back into balance.
Another vegetable that breaks the mould is red cabbage. Now, I know red cabbage is red but it’s an important one to mention as it helps increase phase II of liver detoxification.
Rocket, whilst being high in chlorophyll is also natures digestive aid. Its bitter aspect stimulates the bitter receptors on your tongue which then sends a message to the hypothalamus (the part of your brain that controls appetite) to make hydroclauric acid (the stuff in your stomach that helps break down your food). If bloating or sluggishness is one of your main complaints, add a handful of rocket to every meal – game changer!
- Increase your fiber intake
When fiber is consumed it helps to increase bowel movements. Increased bowel movements mean that everything we are detoxifying can now be excreted. Yay! Think of dietary fiber as a broom cleaning your insides. Vegetables are a great source of fiber as well as chia seeds, oats, oat bran, psyllium, barley, nuts and seeds and is particularly beneficial in lowering cholesterol, too. This is done through binding and excreting. Do keep in mind though, that when you increase fiber you must increase your water intake.
- Improve the way you think
I know that I have listed this as number 5 but this does not take away from how important this step is, whether you want to detox or not. A great way to start improving your thoughts is to simply end each day recounting three things that happened that you are grateful for.
Every aspect of our body is connected. We are whole. One entity. One being. How we think and feel has the power to manifest physically. A couple of great examples of this is going bright red when we are embarrassed or angry or getting the runs when we are nervous or stressed. If these negative emotions can impact us so strongly, imagine what impact positive emotions can have on our wellbeing?
Detoxing doesn’t need to be restrictive, difficult or painful. Implementing these changes are totally doable and can provide big results. Be gentle with yourself, listen to what your body is telling you and be proud of the changes you make, no matter how big or small they are. It’s your journey. You pave the path.