Feeling tired or a bit sluggish? Unable to sleep properly? Body aches and pains? This may be a sign your body is in need of some detoxing.
When we think of detoxing, we often think of changing our diet and going drastic by fasting or doing a 5-day juice fast.
Detoxing doesn’t have to be drastic and it doesn’t only involve what we eat. Stress levels and physical activity play a huge part in the toxicity of our bodies.
Toxins collect and circulate through the blood. Your body has a natural cleansing process of removing toxins from the blood via the liver. And with the help of various organs including the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin, toxins are removed from the body. Sometimes this natural cleansing process is overtaxed and when that happens our bodies feel the strain and manifest themselves in ways such as digestive issues and physical pains.
Here are 20 simple ways to take baby steps towards bringing your body into balance so you don’t need those quick fix detoxes!
1. Wake up with a glass of warm lemon water
Jumpstart your body every morning with a glass of warm lemon water. Not only is lemon juice rich in vitamin C and other minerals including calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium,lemon water hydrates your body, flushes out toxins and has an alkaline affect helping to reduce the acidity produced by your body overnight.
2. Eat plenty of fiber including fresh fruits and vegetables
You’ve probably heard this numerous times, eat more fiber. Not only will it help you to contribute to weight loss, if that is your goal, it’s essential to a healthy body, cleansing yourself from the inside out.
Also try adding a bit of psyllium husk to your diet, sprinkled on your morning cereal, in gluten free bread (Life Changing Bread recipe) or in a smoothie. Psyllium binds waste materials together and helps move them down your digestive tract and out of the body.
There are some great fiber supplements out there, but you should try to eat fiber naturally whenever possible. Beans and legumes, and whole grains are also excellent sources of fiber, but keep these items in lower quantities as these items are acidic in nature.
3. Eat the rainbow
Eating a variety of different colored whole foods helps your body get the complete range of nutrients it needs. Plus, it’s fun!
4. Eliminate caffeine and substitute with green tea
Green tea is minimally processed and contains catechins, which are antioxidants that fight and may even prevent cell damage. It also has a bit a caffeine so you won’t feel drastic withdrawals if switching from coffee.
5. Add more ginger to your diet
Ginger flushes toxins from the colon and some studies have shown it helps with muscle pain, migraines, high blood pressure and dysmenorrhea.
6. Take Vitamin C
Helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins
7. Eliminate refined flour and sugars
More and more studies are proving that sugar is becoming one of the biggest silent killers. Remove added sugar from your diet. But if you need a bit of sweetness opt for coconut palm sugar, which contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aid in slower absorption into the bloodstream.
Refined flour is not only stripped of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber the process of refining includes chemicals that can be harmful to the body.
8. Eat clean (remove processed foods)
The closer to the source you eat, the better. Eat more whole foods rather than packaged foods.
9. Reduce alcohol consumption
Studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol (1-2 glasses a day) can actually raises your HDL cholesterol and boost brain function.[i] But, keep it to that or you’ll have a whole host of other issues to contend with.
10. Drink plenty of water
Try taking small sips throughout the day, 1.5 – 2 liters a day and add lemon or cucumber slices to add a bit of flavor. Keeping your body well hydrated and can reduce headaches and constipation, and flush toxins out of your system.
11. Incorporate super foods into your diet
Super foods contain high levels of nutrients as well as antioxidants.
The presence of these antioxidants and nutrients in the body helps to fight off harmful toxins and substances that may compromise our immune system and overall health. A diet full of super foods is vital to a healthy body.
Super foods are a delicious group of foods rich in nutrients such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and/or fiber like salmon, avocado, olive oil, flax seeds; fruits and vegetables that are bright in color such as blueberries, kiwi, spinach, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes; and a variety of nuts including pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pecans.
Try to incorporate super foods into every meal to help cleanse your body, fight off disease and give you loads of energy.
12. Eat organic as much as possible, especially avoid the “Dirty Dozen”
The Dirty Dozen has the highest amount of pesticides amongst fruits and vegetables so go organic with these: apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers. Plus these two: kale/collard greens, summer squash. Another tip: use apple cider vinegar to clean your fruits and veggies.
13. Do Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong
Each of these forms of exercise includes detoxifying techniques of the body and breath. Not only do they each have physical techniques, but also mental techniques in the form of mediation. Studies have shown the positive affects of yoga on the brain and stress reduction, even after just one class. Stress is a huge contributor to acidity/toxicity in the body. Done on a daily basis, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong will have a real affect on your overall toxicity.
14. Get a massage
A great way to workout unwanted toxins, but make sure you are getting a massage by a licensed therapist who understands the body and the lymphatic system. Drink plenty of water afterwards to help flush the toxins out.
15. Exercise and sweat
The act of sweating alone is another way the body helps to detoxify itself. A daily exercise regime where the muscles are working hard, blood is pumping and the body is sweating will help remove toxins from your system.
16. Get enough sleep
This is often one item most people sacrifice in there daily routine, but is a huge no-no. Sleep is not a luxury, but a must. It’s an extremely important part of a healthy body. Without adequate sleep the body doesn’t have time to recharge for the following day. Naturally, you’ll feel tired, but in addition, your immune system suffers and weight gain can occur. Make 7-8 hours of a sleep a priority and notice the difference.
17. Remove external toxins
External toxins can have a powerful affect on our bodies. Our lungs and skin work overtime to rid these toxins from the body. Avoid second hand smoke as much as possible and go for less harsh, organic cleaning products or make your own! Lemon is great against household bacteria, vinegar and baking soda cleans, deodorizes, cuts grease, and removes mildew. All purpose cleaner: mix 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Additional make at home recipes.[ii]
18. 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
Called the Relaxing Breath by Dr. Andrew Weil, this exercise is so simple, takes less than five minutes, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. You’ll notice the effects right away. It can help with moderate anxiety, internal tension, food cravings, insomnia or when anything upsetting happens.
Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this breathing exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.” Andrew Weil, M.D.
19. Meditation – Breath count
A deceptively simple technique, Shamata is a form of meditation focused on concentration of the mind.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight cross-legged on the floor or even in a chair; try not to lean into the back of the chair. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Your breath will be your primary point of attention.
To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on. Once you notice your mind wandering, start back at one with your next exhalation. Keep with this method for the duration of your meditation. With the mind focused on the breath it is free from hindrances such as anger, worries, restlessness and doubt.
Start with 5 minutes a day trying out which time of the day works best for you, then gradually increase your time adding on one minute a week and see how it goes from there.
With daily practice you will notice a huge difference in your ability to concentrate, relax and deal with stressful situations.
20. Positive mantra
Another form of calming of the mind is positive mantra. Not only does it provide your mind with a refuge when life is challenging, but it can unlock goodness from within and help build strength and confidence.
Mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself over and over for a specific effect.
The mantra you use is meant to represent the quality you wish to instill in your consciousness. Repeating the same positive phrase over and over and thinking about the meaning as you do so can eventually have an effect on what you believe. Equally, the same can happen with negative thoughts, so remember that the next time you say or think to yourself something you don’t want in your life.
This can also be used as a form of waking meditation since it’s easy to repeat a mantra verbally or mentally throughout the day wherever you are.
As you can see, cleansing can be done in a variety of ways. Try different methods to see which ones work for you on a regular basis. It’s important to include some of these cleansing methods into your daily routine for a happy and healthy body. Toxins will tend to build up over time, but including some of the above methods will lessen the load.
Try to begin the cleansing process a little bit at a time adding more methods as you establish a routine with the current methods you’re working on; building good habits one at a time.
Learn to listen to your body and take note of what’s working and what’s not. Get rid of the bad habits and instill the good ones. You may notice over time issues that plagued you in the past will simply go away and a brand new energetic you will emerge!