How did you ring in the New Year? With lemon water and juiced beets? Or perhaps your liver (your major detoxification organ) could use a little extra TLC this month!
I LOVE cleanses and have been looking forward to January for this reason alone, but before we embark on any such cleanse, we need to understand what is happening within us first.
It’s time to trade in our New Year’s cocktails for our kind of plant-based mixed drinks, and rethink the meaning of detox to create lasting cleansing for the whole year through.
“I don’t always drink beer… but when I do I choose green juice!”
~ Drew Canole
I want you to read this post, read it again, and share it with those you know who are cleansing this year because, done wrong, it can be extremely harmful, even dangerous to our systems, but done right, it can powerfully rejuvenating! Let’s begin:
Don’t Our Bodies Cleanse Themselves?
- YES! They absolutely do. Our bodies are brilliant and come equipped with their own detoxifying devices otherwise know as the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system to name a few.
- But here’s the catch: did you drink on New Years? Have you EVER drank? Do you eat sugar? Do you spray perfume, air fresheners or use fragrant soaps, moisturizers or shampoos? Do you drive a car, or walk past a running vehicle? Do you feel stress? Essentially: do you live modern-day life in the conventional, North American way…
- ALL of these things tax our bodies. Detoxification is natural, but the environments we live in no longer are and this spells trouble. In fact, Alive Magazine estimated that we are exposed to 310 kilograms of toxic chemicals every second! So not only have we stressed and taxed our internal cleansing systems so that they no longer function efficiently, but we are also exposing them to far more toxins than they were equipped to handle.
So, We Should All Be Detoxing This Month?
- The term “detox” has developed quite the hype as being a radical diet for a short period of time. This generally follows suit to the pharmaceutical views of “quick fixes” and weight loss diets, which do not provide sustainable results and can cause us harm.
- In actuality, detoxing is really just that: the act of eliminating toxins from the body. Whether we realise it or not, we will all be doing this this month, the key is to optimize our bodies ability to do so.
How Can Detoxing Be Dangerous?
Detox -> Retox
- Think of your body as the ocean with pollution as the toxins in your body. If not cleared away from the water, this filth settles to the ocean floor creating sludge. This is what happens within our bodies, creating a buildup of stored toxins in our systems.
- When we detoxify, we are taking these dormant toxins and mobilizing them so that we can excrete them, but here is where the trouble sets in:
A) We need to make sure that we are not mobilizing more toxins than our bodies are equipped to handle or else they are free to go systemic and cause harm to our organs.
B) If we are not properly excreting these toxins (De-toxifing), we are re-toxifying.
- Consider someone who goes on a radical diet and looses a substantial amount of weight fast, yet they didn’t have the proper support for their bodies. Excess weight is often a storage form of toxins as the body wisely deposits them into fat cells to keep it as far away from your organs as possible. Though a sign of deeper health issues, eexcess weight can be your body’s design to keep you alive longer!
- When we lose weight, those toxins come out of fat cells and into the body. See the issue? If not careful, they are now free to damage our internal organs or contribute to other health problems.
- These dramatic dieters often age faster, and come down with a major health problem a few years down the road. Remember, it can take a while before disease shows up which is why it is so fundamental to take care of yourself now, before you see any major health issues developing.
How Do We Properly Cleanse Our Bodies?
“Health is the body’s natural state. Your body is self-generating, self-repairing, self-regulating, and self-healing, but only if you don’t get in its way, and only if you give it what it requires.”
Before embarking on any set detoxification plan, I want you to check each of these off your list:
Stage 1 – Build Your Bottom Feeders
- Bottom feeders of the ocean have a rep for doing “the dirty work,” the clean up of the ocean floor. Likewise, you first need to build up your body’s systems which will clean up your toxic sludge while cleansing.
- To do so, we need to implement healthy diet and lifestyle choices first so that we can ensure our body’s capability to properly rid ourselves of toxins. This means focusing on high nutrient, dense, whole foods that provide optimal nutrition for our cells, tissues and organs.
- Our bodies may also use toxic heavy metals as replacements for a lack of nutrients. Lead, for example, replaces calcium in our bones which can contribute to osteoporosis and why it is critical to consume the necessary nutrients to allow our bodies to excrete the harmful toxins.
Stage 2 – Keep Your Ocean Clean
- The less toxins coming into the body, the less work it will be for our bodies to clear them away. It makes no sense to dump all of our pollution in the ocean only to have to clean it all up later. This same rational goes for our bodies too!
- Reduce your exposure to dietary toxins, environmental toxins, and emotional pollution (with particular focus on managing stress).
Stage 3 – Keep your ocean flowing (By Process Of Elimination)
What would happen if the ocean stayed still?
- None of the pollution would be cleared away, it would keep accumulating, settling and creating toxic sludge. The same is true for your body. Before you cleanse, make sure that you are keeping your system flowing so that it can eliminate the internal pollution.
- Your bowels must be eliminating properly, this is essential and one reason I don’t often recommend strict liquid cleanses which lack the fibre to do so. A healthy routine is 1-2X/day.
- To do this: drink 8-10 glasses of water, decrease sugar and caffeine, stop eating 3 hours before bed and increase fibre. If you need an added boost, take 1TBSP of chia seeds in unsweetened applesauce or a little water right before bed and drink at least one cup of warm water 20 minutes before breakfast.
- While cleansing, our bodies have an increased need for water to keep our organs functioning and the toxins flowing out. You can boost the alkalinity of your water and detoxifying properties by adding slices of organic lemon.
- The only way to mobilize toxins out is to get mobile! In fact, this is the only way to stimulate the lymphatic system. More than focussing on exercising for an hour or so, think of being in continuous movement the whole day, as we were designed to do.
Stage 4 – Ease Yourself Into It
- Avoid diving in head first and ease yourself into the cleanse over a week by focusing on swapping low quality foods with nutrient dense foods. This way, you will feel empowered in the process, cravings are reduced, pre-cleanse binges are bypassed, and ultimately, you will be better equipped to keep on track!
Though detoxifying is revitalizing when executed consciously, what we really want is to facilitate ongoing detoxification through our day-to-day life. This is how we truly become vibrant, light and clean beyond a short-lived period of time and it begins by charging our bodies with nutrients and optimizing the elimination of toxins.
Happy conscious cleansing,