Spring is the perfect time of year to invest in repairing, replenishing, and restoring your body and your health. There is no better way for a reboot than a personal spring cleaning, a detoxification of your organs, systems, and functions to get you back on the path to well. And, despite the cold winter weather we are still immersed in, spring truly is right around the corner – so let’s talk detox.
Many people don’t realize the effects of toxicity on their bodies. At PIH we see these symptoms present as:
- Resistant weight that just won’t come off
- Hormonal imbalances
- Brain fog/Memory loss
- Sleep disorders
- Skin problems
- GI challenges
- Body odor
- Muscle and joint pain
- Mental health issues
- And more…
Most of us don’t realize that our bodies have an INCREDIBLE built-in self-cleaning system. Our livers, kidneys, colons, and even our skin all play a VITAL role in helping our bodies rid themselves of toxins and waste.
The problem is, we overload our systems every single day. Between our food choices, environmental toxins, and what we put on our skin, it’s hard for our self-cleaning system to keep up.
The first main source of toxins of which we need to be aware is food. Processed foods are the most common source of additives and chemicals and should be avoided as much as possible. Add on top of that, pesticides sprinkled onto even fresh, whole foods, adding toxic foreign substances to our bodies when consumed. And don’t even get me started on GMOs.
Another under recognized source of toxins is within personal care products. Chemicals are abundant in many of the shampoos, body washes, soaps, lotions, toothpastes, skin creams, and deodorants that we use on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average person uses 9 personal care products daily, exposing themselves to about 126 different chemical ingredients. Many of these chemical ingredients bioaccumulate, meaning that they build up in our bodies, in our tissues.
The third major contributor of toxin intake is environmental factors. Even in our homes, where we feel the most safe and secure, there are often chemicals lingering. From cleaning products to laundry detergents, to off-gassing of furniture, carpets, clothes, and many other household products, chemicals are all around us. Additionally, outside of our homes there are many air-borne pollutants from vehicles, manufacturing facilities, secondhand smoke, and other things
Fortunately, there are things that we can do to up-regulate our body’s ability to detoxify. Here are a few easy suggestions to target those toxins and enhance your health:
- Reduce exposure: The first and easiest step to reduce your toxic burden is simply to reduce your exposure and clean up your routine. For fresh produce, leverage the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” shopping guide, go organic as often as you can. And, remove all C.R.A.P. from your diet (chemicalized, refined, artificial, and processed). Also, load up on your fruits and veggies as they contain many of the nutrients that our detox pathways thrive on – vitamin, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber – especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and kale. For skincare, use EWG’s Skin Deep site or app. In your home, use a high-quality air filter like AIR DOCTOR or Winix.
- Stay Hydrated: Water is an amazing tool to flush toxins out of your system. You should be drinking about half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. Make sure that you’re drinking clean, filtered water to avoiding adding toxins rather than removing them.
- Make sure you’re moving: Healthy bowel movements are super important for optimal detoxification. You should be moving your bowels 1 – 2 times per day. If this is not happening, try boosting your fiber intake, and make sure you’re getting your water in. Exercise also helps to keep things moving. In additional to stimulating your bowels, movement in the form of exercise supports circulation of lymph, which pulls toxins from tissues and helps move them out of our body.
- Supplementation: Certain supplements can help to support detoxification. Things like spirulina and chlorella, two kinds of blue-green algae, can be effective at binding and removing toxins from your body, including heavy metals. A word of caution, however. Please work with a health professional when experimenting with supplements. And, always purchase from a reputable source / supplier.
- Stress less: Stress limits the body’s ability to detoxify efficiently. There are many ways to manage stress, the key is to find the strategy that works best for you. Meditation, exercise, massage, deep breathing and regular sauna use have all been shown to help combat the effects of stress.
- Sleep is when our body repairs, heals, and restores itself. This is especially important in the brain as deep sleep triggers the brain's waste removal system, the glymphatic drainage system, to clear away toxins that can lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Most experts recommend aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night.
The best part of this, all of these tips are consistent with a healthy lifestyle and carry minimal to no risk or side effects so, why not stack all of these together in your favor – you’ve got nothing to lose (except for toxins, resistant weight, and other health challenges – and who doesn’t want to get rid of those things) and so much to gain!