How to do a TRUE Detox

In my last blog, I shared an article by Precision Nutrition all about the dangers of the 3-day juice cleanse. However, I neglected to discuss the very real toxins in our environment and how to avoid them.

Our world is full of toxins. Some are mild and some are serious. We take in toxins every single day--through the air we breathe, the foods and beverages we consume, the substances that contact our skin, etc. Some of this amounts to our choices, while some toxins are impossible to avoid.

It is important to remember that our bodies are equipped to deal with toxins. The liver's primary function is to remove toxins from the bloodstream and flush them out of the body. As long as we do not consume anything seriously poisonous--cancel that mushroom foraging trip right now!!!-- the liver can do this job perfectly well.

However, we can take steps to improve the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and the skin products we use. By making a few small changes, we can greatly decrease the load of toxins the body absorbs each day.

1) Breathe cleaner air. Indoor air is notoriously less healthy than fresh air. Whenever possible, get outdoors, or open your windows and bring that outdoor air inside. Another excellent
plan is to fill your indoor space with plants. Houseplants function as natural air filters, removing harmful toxins from the air you breathe.

2) Choose organic fruits and veggies. These days, every supermarket carries organics. Although the price is usually a bit higher, you can be assured you are not consuming toxic pesticides along with your apples and carrots. Trader Joe's is a great place to find organic products at a lower price.

3) Look for grass-fed or organic meats, chicken, eggs, and dairy. The animals that produced these foods were not treated with antibiotics or other drugs and did not consume pesticide-laden feed.

4) Select only wild-caught fish--the smaller, the better. Larger fish like tuna or swordfish tend to accumulate greater amounts of mercury. Sardines are a great choice--healthy and safe.

5) Avoid highly processed foods and eat more whole foods. Read labels! Anything that comes in a box--most of the foods in the middle aisles of your grocery store--is filled with additives, preservatives, and other chemicals. Make your own treats from real, whole foods instead of purchasing junk foods.

6) Decrease your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. (Here's where I lose 95% of you!) The liver has to work overtime to clean up after a night of partying. If you drink on a daily basis, your liver never gets a rest. Caffeine is also a drug. You might try cutting back and notice how your body feels. I'm down to one cup of coffee per day and I'm sleeping longer stretches and more deeply.

7) Drink more (clean, filtered) water. Substitute plain water for the other beverages you've been consuming. Water assists in detoxifying the body, helps the kidneys flush out toxins, and hydrates every system, making your body work and feel better. You might even lose weight by employing this one tip!

8) Read the labels on your skin products. Shampoos and conditioners often contain formaldehyde in the form of quaternium or polyquaterium. Lotions often contain parabens. To avoid slathering your skin with toxins, look for organic skin products or make your own. Coconut oil is a fabulous moisturizer, absorbs quickly, and smells awesome.

Bottom line: you don't need to drink expensive juices to detoxify. Very little actual detoxification can happen in 3 days, anyway. But cleaning up your environment, your diet, and your habits can reduce the overall load of toxins your body absorbs. And you might even save money in the process!