There are so many different ways to detox. All over social media you’ll find celebrity endorsed juice cleanses and diets suggesting they are THE answer to those last, stubborn 5 pounds stuck to you like an over-jealous boyfriend or the remedy to that feeling of endless exhaustion no matter how much sleep you seem to get. But according to Gregg Cook, master fitness trainer, you don’t have to do a strict detox program or juice cleanse. Keep reading to learn about detoxing and get 12 easy ways to detox and help you minimize your exposure to toxins.
We are living in a toxin-saturated world. Think of the pesticide-sprayed lawns we walk by every day, the chemical-laden products we use on our skin and hair, the chemicals leached from the plastic container last-night’s take out was delivered in and the seat on the airplane (or your child’s pj’s for that matter) drenched in flame retardant. These are only a few examples. We are currently estimated by scientists to have over 700 contaminants rummaging around in our bodies.
As we accumulate these toxins such as heavy metals (ex. lead and mercury), chemicals (ex. parabens and pesticides), air-borne pollutants, they lovingly embed themselves in our tissues, primarily fat, as well as in our brains and bones. What happens when we couple all of this with the ever-persistent onslaught of stress of modern day living, the lack of proper sleep and full-range, frequent movement? Our bodies internal detoxification mechanisms – the liver, the kidneys, the gallbladder, the skin and even the respiratory system – don’t stand much of a chance. This leads to poor health, illness and chronic disease.
Detoxing is meant to help your release and flush toxins from your tissues. However, the juice detoxes and liquid diets that we read so much about are NOT the way to successfully detox. Instead a true detox is part of a comprehensive plan aimed at restoring balance to our body’s systems. A comprehensive detox, often done under supervision of an experienced physician such as a naturopath or alternative medicine practitioner, can do wonders at removing the toxins and help people who are struggling with chronic illness or other symptoms. If you suffer from frequent brain fog, hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, weight-loss resistance, autism, autoimmune diseases and even cancer, you may want to find an experienced practitioner who can guide you through a full detox.
Tips For Removing Toxins From Your Life
In reality, probably most of us need to do a comprehensive detox, given the amount of toxins we are exposed to. The best starting point is to recognize where the exposure is coming from and do our best to minimize our exposure to toxins on a daily basis. Here are our top 12 simple and (mostly inexpensive) tips to keep toxins away and naturally detox. By incorporating these lifestyle and wellness strategies in your life, you will help to maximize your health and feel your best:
- Choose Your Food Wisely. Whenever possible, choose organically grown and locally grown food, high quality grass-fed meats, and wild, well sourced seafood. Avoid inflammatory seed and vegetable oils at all costs. We recommend gut nourishing foods such as cleanly sourced collagen and fermented foods to help fortify good gut bacteria which in turn will reduce inflammation and help heal the gut. A healthy gut can then help protect you from toxic elements.
- Don’t Eat. I am talking about water fasts, and not necessarily prolonged ones. Periods of not eating allow your body’s own cell-cleaning mechanism, known as autophagy, to take place. Studies have shown that the magic number of hours to fast seems to be 16. This means you eat your last bite of the night at 8pm and don’t ingest any calories until 12pm the next day. Another way to get the same result is to eat 2-3 meals (breakfast, lunch and even dinner if you want), and simply make sure to finish your last bite 16 hours before the next meal. For example, finish eating by 4pm and then start again the next day at 8am. Water, black coffee and tea are fine while fasting. The key is to avoid any calories, including supplements.
- Drink The Right Kind Of Water. Always make sure that your water is filtered from heavy metals, fluoride ( a known neuro-toxin), pesticides, chlorine or other harmful, potentially endocrine disrupting chemicals. Solid block carbon filters or reverse osmosis filters work well because they are only of the only ways we know that effectively remove heavy metals, although they can be costly. Or, if you have access, opt for a clean source of natural spring water. Do your best to avoid water bottled in plastic!
- Make Sure Your Air Is Clean. Invest in a high quality air filter that removes chemicals and allergens.
- Avoid Plastics. Bring your own glass or stainless steel containers to restaurants to bring home leftovers. Replace straws with glass or stainless steel ones. Stay away from plastic bottles and storage containers. In a pinch, plastics #2, 4 and 5 are your best options.
- Move, Move, Move. Exercising and moving your body helps to flush and move toxins out of the body. HIIT training, bouncing on a mini-trampoline (or rebounding) are ideal. As a bonus, do some quick and intense movement first thing in the morning for about 3-5 minutes; this helps move the toxins that have built up in your body while lying still and will reset your circadian clock…which leads to the next tip!
- Get Lots Of Sleep. This could be one of the most important tips here! Sleeping is the body’s prime processing and detoxing time. Our brains uses this opportunity to clean house, create memories, and un-gunk the mind of any plaque build-up. In addition, getting sufficient sleep improves our mood, immune function and mental and physical performance.
- Try a Dry Sauna and Photobiomolation (infrared light) Therapy. These are the priciest suggestions of the bunch, but well worth looking into. Just a few times a week in a sauna for a mere 11 minutes can have a tremendous impact on the mobilization of toxins through the skin. A less costly option is to do some moderate cardio in a hot room. Basically, sweating is crucial to detox. Photobiomodulation is a therapy involving specific wavelengths of light applied to areas of the body that can have a profound effect on energy metabolism.
- Stress-Less. Stress inhibits our ability to detox. When we are in fight-or-flight mode, our energies go towards surviving. Instead, do what you can to reduce stress: meditate, get outside and balance your circadian rhythm, laugh, and hug someone. Hemp oil, adaptogenic herbs, medicinal mushrooms are some other natural things you can incorporate into your diet to help alleviate stress.
- Watch What You Are Wearing. Be aware of clothing sprayed with flame retardant and/or other toxic chemicals. These chemicals pose lots of risks to our bodies and should be avoided.
- Uncover Your Skin. Go out in the sun! Spend some time in the natural sun before applying a non-chemical laden sunscreen. The benefits of sunlight reach far beyond vitamin D…these are benefits a supplement cannot possibly capture!
- Make Sure To Poop Regularly. Our bodies are designed to get rid of wastes and pooping at least once a day is critical for eliminating toxins. If you have trouble, take a look at your fiber intake and make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Stress can also get in the way. Try magnesium to help with both stress and in loosening the bowels!
Bonus Tip: Even the way you breathe can help. Learn some breathing exercises to help with detoxification. We recommend trying the Wim Hof Method.
By incorporating these simple detox strategies in your daily life, you will keep your body as free of toxins as possible, helping to reduce the likelihood of chronic illness or other serious illness. And many of these lifestyle changes will help you feel better and stay healthy too!
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