A Step By Step Guide To A Nourishing Whole Body Detox
Spring. It’s the time of new beginnings, promises, and hopefully great achievements.
Since many people are starting anew with something, wouldn’t be nice to shed off old skin along with the extra pounds of weight and start with a new body? Just like animals shed, so it would be cool for humans, too. A truly fresh, new beginning, with a re-newed, light, energetic body…Who wouldn’t want that?
In the hope of achieving that light, vibrant, beautiful body, many people start Spring with a detox or a cleanse of some sort.
While I think clean eating should be a way of life, not periodic undertaking, there are a few tips I would like to share on how to make the most of out your cleanse.
Nourishing Detox Basics
Detox is what you make out of it. It can be just a dietary restriction, a regimen with supplements that are supposed to do all the work, or you can turn into a life-changing restorative experience. I want to share how you can do just that. No fancy pills, no difficult recipes to follow, just you, your body, and a few simple practices to help you reconnect and rest.
Not all cleanses are created equal. Your body is a unique creation with unique needs. An appropriate cleanse should be chosen based on your body type, season, work-life situation, health conditions, and time availability. Certain cleansing principles will apply to everyone but a choice between water fast, juice fast, mono-meal cleanse, or elimination diet should be made on an individual basis.
Let’s cover general cleansing principles that can be used by everyone first:
Detox or a cleanse is not just about limiting food intake.
Digestive system is just one of the passageways that body gets rid of its by-products. To make a detox balanced, you need to think of including all bodily systems responsible for naturally cleansing the body. There are several major detox organs in our body: kidneys, colon, skin, liver, and lungs. Below are a few ways that you can support a cleansing function of each organ without turning into a cranky starving old lady (man). Some steps are very well-known. Other might be not so customary and I am excited to share them with you.
Water, sweating, eliminating fried and oily foods, and all stimulants are old bits of wisdom but if we were able to implement them daily throughout our life there would be a lot less need to detox… So start with the basics!
Cleanse Facilitating Diet
The purpose of a cleansing diet is to reduce the workload of the digestive system by providing easy-to-break down nutrition. The extra energy that will be freed up due to lighter foods can be used by your body to fix and cleanse things inside.
- Some foods can help brush the insides of your stomach and colon the same way we brush our teeth. Foods that are simple and have a lot of fiber will create a natural intestinal mop to cleanse out all the toxins and mucus that we collected during the over-indulgent holidays. Think spicy, light, and green! Say no to heavy sauces, everything creamy, or too sweet. A cleanse facilitating diet means eliminating dairy products, wheat, yeasted breads and other baked goods, fried and other oily food, and reducing meat. Instead, meals should be simple and light, comprising of berries and fresh, lightly cooked vegetables, grains, lentils prepared with small amounts of olive oil or ghee, and/or lean protein.
- A light dinner is crucial to a successful detox program, since our digestive power weakens considerably in the evening. Simplicity and freshness are a key to any cleanse-friendly diet. Try to eliminate all hard-to-digest foods, and foods that you might be allergic to. For a lot of people if means eliminating wheat, dairy, all processed foods, white sugar, and soy.
- Add some bitter greens and spices to your daily diet to help out a struggling liver. Bitter taste is universally recognized as strengthening for digestion. Bitter herbs cause a reflexive secretion of gastric juices and tone the muscles of the digestive tract. They also support detoxification by helping the liver process incoming nutrients and filter impurities from circulation. You can get bitter taste out of these herbs: turmeric, dandelion, goldenseal, gentian, milk thistle, and neem. An easy way to add them to your diet is to drink them as tea. Dandelion and milk thistle are my favorite!
- Drink plenty of liquids. To stimulate toxin release try hot water with a pinch of cayenne, ¼ lemon, 1 tsp honey, and a few drops of apple cider vinegar. This recipe is recommended by the founder of Joyful Belly website and a great ayurvedic practitioner as a vivacious Ayurvedic blend to boost fat digestion and metabolism. A strong sour taste encourages the free flow of bile from your liver and gall bladder to your gut. This spicy drink restores energy and vitality by helping the body digest high-fat foods. Vinegar and cayenne add an intense metabolic spark that improves energy and enthusiasm. Together with warm water, they strongly stimulate digestion and clear mucus accumulations from the stomach. This has the effect of improving circulation and revving up metabolism. Cumin, coriander, fennel tea (ccf tea) is cooling and soothing for the mind, digestion and urinary tract. These three kitchen spices are balancing for all seasons and body types. Add ¼ tsp of each spice to 2 cups of water, bring to boil and let it cool. Sip throughout the day.
Eliminate The Enemy!
All elimination passageways should be optimized to get the best cleansing results. It means that a good cleanse program should always include practices that will help you sweat more, promote regularity, create lymph drainage, and encourage deep breathing.
- An ayurvedic blend of herbs called triphala can be very helpful. Triphala is a bowel tonic, not a laxative. It tones the bowel walls and helps the colon function at its optimal level. Ayurvedic texts refer to triphala as an “toxin scraper”; it helps pull toxins out of the intestines and draws them out of the body. It is available in most health food stores including Whole Foods.
- To increase the detoxifying effect try sauna, steam room, hot baths, and cardio-induced sweating. Most gyms have sauna and steam rooms that you can use after a workout. If you don’t have access to one, take a hot bath with Epsom salt, ginger powder, and baking soda every night before going to sleep. Run, do yoga, jump, dance, whatever gets your heart pumping!
- Breathe Deeply! In an always in a rush stressed out society our breath tends to be rushed as well. Our lungs rarely get a chance to open up and fill up with fresh air or to completely cleanse from all the stale gases. It takes an effort to let the breath be full and complete. Take a few minutes in the morning to just breathe deeply. Two-to-one breathing—a practice of exhaling twice as long as every inhalation—is a great technique for cleansing the lungs and calming the nervous system.
- Do a Yoga Nidra or another type of daily deep relaxation
- Get a massage
- Get good quality sleep
- Stretch often
- Reduce bright screen time (TV and computer)
- Before bedtime: Write in gratitude journal
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