Original post published on March 15, 2018.
Spring is in the air and all that extra weight that kept you warm over the winter might start to feel unnecessary. Your intake of sugar and other rich foods over the holidays probably left you feeling stiff. Is the only way out of this tired slump a detox?
When people think of detoxing or cleansing, they think of sipping lemon water and cayenne pepper, chugging tasteless green smoothies, or starving. There’s much more to a detox than deprivation.
The definition of detox is “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.” It’s important to ad, “…and replacing them with quality, healthy options."
Technically, a “detox” is flushing the liver and kidneys of toxins and a “cleanse” is flushing the digestive system of toxins. Thankfully, our bodies can heal themselves if we provide them the proper conditions. Below are a few ways to provide our bodies the proper conditions for our bodies to “detox” itself (and none of them have to do with starvation).
Plant-Based Meals: Try incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet. Focus on plant-derived whole foods that are minimally processed and unrefined. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc. are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. If you fill yourself on these healthy options, you’re displacing unhealthy options. Soon, you will notice more energy and overall wellness.
Sugar-Detox: Eliminating or reducing sugar is a worthwhile and sustainable way to detox. Sugar is addicting and unfortunately, it seems to be hiding everywhere! “Reducing sugar in your diet can help you drop pounds, improve your health, and even give you more radiant skin!” Read labels. Be an active consumer- know what you are putting into your body. At first, a sugar detox can cause headaches or fatigue (sugar is a true addiction), however, keep at it and you’ll feel better than ever: physically and mentally!
Sleep: Sleep is how our body heals itself. No wonder we feel poorly when we don’t get enough Zzzzs. In fact, “the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of byproducts of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.” So, in essence, sleep gives your brain time to “detox”. Try to get at least 7 hours a night.
Drink the Good Stuff: There are many smoothies that are excellent nutrition boosts in our day (and many taste delicious!). Our society is used to “social drinking”. Whether it is alcohol, soda (diet or regular), energy drinks, or juice, there are better options. There are tasteful green smoothies. Try adding turmeric, cayenne, ginger, nutmeg, or mint for added health benefits and a fun twist to your typical smoothie. And don’t forget to drink water each day!
- Sweat: Though most of us don’t enjoy sweating, sweating every day is a great way to ensure optimal “detoxification” of our entire body. Moving our bodies create an optimal condition for stretching, encourages circulation, and increases breathing. Drink more water, sweat more, and your body will efficiently flush sub-optimal toxins from your body.
The items above aren’t quick fixes, but they have lasting results. Taking care of our bodies does not come from a couple of days or a couple of weeks of drastic changes, it comes from daily healthy efforts. But there’s no better time to spring into a new healthy routine!