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What is Detoxing

Want to know a secret? With all my lofty advice, I overindulged on occasion this holiday season. So even those who should have the willpower, don’t always!  There is something to be said for all those yummy foods that invoke memories of happy times.  The way I look at it is there are 31 days in December and only about five (usually) of those are filled with parties, so it’s really only a small chuck of time and indulging isn’t a huge deal.  What do you do if you took home leftovers and were snacking for days? As we head into the new year and you want to start with a clean slate, detoxing may be the answer.

When most people hear the word detoxing, it evokes all sorts terror in most people.  Detoxing can be as extensive or as light as you want it to be.  An example of an intense detox is no sugar, no refined wheat, no dairy, and sometimes, no meat at all.  You would add in all the fruits and veggies you can handle, but the withdrawal some people will feel can be intense. When you come out the other side, it really is worth it, but that is not always necessary.  Limiting sugar, eliminating processed foods, and scaling down the meats can work wonders!  

The benefit of going on any type of detox can vary, but it tends to always be helpful.  Your body is an amazing machine, it has a very efficient detoxification system. When you have spent a lifetime eating foods that may or may not be the most beneficial your body might not be working as it should.  The goal of detoxing your body is to help it return to its factory settings.  There are some practical suggestions to help you get started or just incorporate it into your everyday habits.

Intermittent fasting is a way to give your body a break from eating and digesting.  It will then give your body the time to detox, burn fat, and boost your metabolism. There are many philosophies on the hows and whys of intermittent fasting, and finding the one that works for you is important. The internet is full of the hows and whys, but I found this video helpful.

When it comes to diet there are several things you can do to help further support your very own detox system. Branching out and adding 2 cups of cruciferous veggies a day.  These can be anything, cabbage, sprouts, kale, cauliflower, mustard greens, radishes, or turnips. Adding in sulfur-containing foods such as garlic, onions, and shallots. Flavoring your meals with cilantro, rosemary, curry, or turmeric to help aid in detoxification.  Sprinkling in berries, citrus, and grapes for added antioxidants.  All these foods help your body detoxify the added stress the holidays put on your body. 

Staying hydrated helps your detox system by helping to remove waste products from your blood. It also aids in nutrient absorption and aids in digestion. Drinking half your body weight in ounces a day is a great place to start and add more the more active you are.  You can drink water flavored with real lemon juice to help with metabolism and digestion if you get tired of straight water.  You can add in teas such as green tea for an antioxidant boost, fennel and dandelion tea to aid in digestion.  It doesn’t matter how you get your liquids, as long as it’s real and not processed!

Sweating is a big player in helping your body to detox.  Whether you do it in a sauna, in yoga, running, or at the gym, get moving.  Sweating is your system getting rid of toxins, so the more you sweat the better!  Obviously, don’t overdo it.  Start slow and work your way up.  An added bonus of sweating is you crave more water and improve sleep, so it’s a win-win situation.

Making sure you get plenty of sleep is also extremely beneficial in helping your body detox properly.  Your liver  regenerates every night while you are sleeping, that is bad news for my fellow night owls, but I am working on it and you can too. Small steps!  Getting enough sleep is important to help your body recharge and eliminate all the toxins you accumulate throughout the day. 

Supplements can be a help in aiding in detoxification. The most helpful without looking at what medications anyone is taking is chlorella and probiotics.  These are the ones that I would recommend that you start incorporating into your daily life.  Taking a high quality probiotic is always a great idea.  Taking a probiotic such as lactobacillus and bifidobacter species helps normalize gut flora and reduces toxins.  Chlorella can help eliminate toxins from your system. It is always a good thing to add to your diet.  These two items can be found at your local Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Amazon!

If you need a more specific approach I am here to help develop an individualized plan.  Everyone’s journey  is unique and should be treated as such!   Let us know how I can help.

Niki Claybrook holistic nurtitionist