7 Steps to Detox Your Way to Exceptional Health
By Candice Aiken.
‘Detox’ is a bit of a buzz word these days, especially in the lead up to Summer when many people are on a mission to feel and look great. So why would anyone want to detox? Well, you would have heard the saying ‘out with the old and in with the new’, this is effectively what detoxing is all about. It’s the removal of (old) toxins from the body in order to return it to homeostasis (balance of the internal environment despite external influences) by removing impurities from the blood that have been stored in the liver. If this process is undertaken consistently and effectively then it will allow for proper absorption of (new) nutrients.
Though the body has an inbuilt detoxification system through the kidneys, lymph system, skin, intestines and lungs, we tend to expose ourselves to more toxins than it can process therefore requiring a bit of intervention. Physically detoxing can assist the body (or ‘intervene’) by stimulating the liver, cleansing the mind, improving circulation, promoting effective elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin and enabling the body to receive clean nutrients.
If you are feeling lethargic, out of whack, carrying extra weight, experiencing any skin or digestive problems or just want to feel great for Summer, then right now might be perfect time to detox. There are many ways to do so through short programs or by simply working on the whole body following various methods. I have outlined 6 whole body detox tips below to help you on your way to achieving exceptional health. Once you have tackled these for some time, then give the 7th step a shot – a short detox program. Keep in mind that it takes longer than a few days of “good behaviour” to rid yourself of 20+ years of damaged caused by ingesting toxins. If you are serious about improving your health then consider incorporating these steps into your life for good and you will see the positive effects continue to benefit you over time.
1. Eliminate Stress:
First and foremost eliminate stress or find a way to deal with and to turn your stress into something positive. Some de-stressing tips that I follow are below:
- Empty your mind and ask for guidance through meditation;
- Set your intentions in order to take action through journaling;
- Stretch it out and relax through practising Yoga;
- Breathe in positive energy and breathe out negative thoughts through deep breathing; and,
- Go one step further and avoid stress altogether by avoiding toxic people, negative situations and bad news (ie: turn off the tv/ditch the paper etc).
2. Sweat it out:
The best way to do this is through regular exercise to get your heart rate up and your body moving. In addition to our normal exercise, we attend Bikram yoga classes to stretch out our limbs which have become stiff from sitting at a desk all day. Through practicing Bikram, we also get the added bonus of detoxing through the temperature as the room is heated to a toasty 40 degrees.
Another option is to find an ‘infrared sauna’ at your nearest wellness centre (www.naturaltherapypages.com.au). This type of sauna is not the same as the traditional ones you may be used to, which raise the temperature of the air in order to warm the body. Infrared saunas work by emitting ‘infrared energy’ similar to the sun, that safely penetrates deep into skin. This process then raises the body’s temperature and assists in eliminating toxins through sweating naturally. Please note this kind of energy is not the same as ‘ultraviolet light’ radiation you may find in a tanning booth which can be quite unsafe.
3. Drink up:
No, I don’t mean alcohol (nice try!), I mean drink filtered water and lots of it! You would have heard the recommended daily intake of water consumption is 2 litres. Have you ever asked why? It’s quite simple really. The kidneys process a massive 180 litres of blood-derived fluids every day and of this 180 litres, 2 litres is lost through urine – hence the reason for replacing “lost fluids”. If you are not drinking enough water, not only will you be severely dehydrated which can cause a whole array of illnesses, but you will not be eliminating stored toxins through the urine. If you are ‘sweating it out’ or consuming diuretics like coffee, then up your intake of water from the recommended 2 litres.
4. Avoid taking in toxins:
You’ve been working so hard to clean out your mind and body, so where possible avoid taking in further toxins. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid all toxins, such as vehicle exhaust fumes, unless you are living off the grid, breathing in the cleanest air and are completely self sufficient. Though you can do your best to reduce exposure to additional toxins starting with the following tips:
- Eliminate animal products and processed foods as this only puts strain on the digestive and immune systems which will then slow down elimination of toxins. In addition, consumption of conventional forms of these foods will expose you further to toxins through the antibiotics and genetically modified grains they are fed;
- To ensure you are getting adequate nourishment, consume as many raw and ORGANIC fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds etc as possible. You will be avoiding pesticides and herbicides at the same time when you consume foods which have not been tampered with or sprayed to within an inch of their life;
- Replace chemical-laden products used on a daily basis (such as shampoo, cosmetics, moisturisers) with natural and certified organic products. Your skin is the largest organ in the body assisting greatly in detoxification which means it needs A LOT of TLC. Check out our other articles ‘Killer Cosmetics‘ and ‘A little time in the Sun could save your life’ to read more on this subject.
5. Clean out the ol’ pipes:
If you read our interview with Sue Munro on Colonic Irrigations, you will know how I feel about them. I LOOOOVE them! I can feel you getting squirmy as you read this but hear me out before you skip to the next step. Colonic Irrigations are excellent. They work by gently and safely pumping room temperature water up the you-know-what to cleanse deep within the bowel which then assists in eliminating toxins. The positive effects can be felt immediately from just one session but a series of 3 – 6 is recommended in order to effectively flush old debris and toxins.
6. Love your liver:
The liver is another super important organ and is responsible for the filtration of all incoming foods and liquids. The body relies on it to remove toxins so that nutrients pumped around the body are clean and provide required nourishment. Pay your body and in particular this miraculous organ a little respect by reducing alcohol consumption, drinking 2lt filtered water a day, avoiding toxins where possible and consuming some liver supporting herbs. Great herbs that will help you love your liver back to health are milk thistle, dandelion and liquorice.
Another excellent liver cleansing tool is the coffee enema. You must be thinking ‘what is she on about again with the colon cleansing!?’ And again, hear me out… this one is actually for the liver! Coffee enemas can be done in the comfort of your own home. They work by using a substance in the coffee to increase the liver’s detoxification capacity which then:
- stimulates an enzyme in the liver to detoxify;
- dilates the bile ducts to increase the flow of bile; and
- increases peristalsis (contraction and relaxation of muscles) which helps to empty the bowel.
7. Embark on a healthy detox program:
Every December for the past 3 years we have participated in some sort of program. First it was Blessed Herbs, then the Gerson Therapy and this year we tried Tyler Tolman’s ‘14 days to a new you’. Each program is designed to work with the first 6 steps outlined above by cleansing the body to ensure proper absorption of important nutrients in order for the body to function at optimal level.
If you decide to try a short detox program, please ensure it is either through juicing of organic fruit & veg, bentonite clay or a natural herb detox, I personally wouldn’t trust the boxed programs from the chemist.
A note of caution: Before you start a detox program, ensure you have established a healthy lifestyle through steps 1 – 6. It is possible to overwhelm the liver while it’s attempting to eliminate the toxins you are bumping from their hiding spots.
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I live by the first 6 steps in order to feel amazing every day. Though I am often asked why even after living such a clean and healthy lifestyle would I feel the need to partake in the 7th step – the detox program? Well, the way I see it is that we should never stop working on ourselves. Even when we are feeling amazing, why not feel even MORE amazing? So give it a go – see if you can live the best life ever too.
Principles of Anatomy and Physiology Book 12th Edition, by Gerard J. Tortora & Bryan Derrickson
Image credit: madlyinlovewithlife
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