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Detox has become a big buzzword. Lose weight quickly, get glowing skin, and create world peace by detoxing!
Joking aside, I'm a big believer in cleansing when done properly (read: no starvation or drinking lemon water only all day).
What is detoxing, exactly?
Ideally, it involves cleansing the liver with supportive whole foods and herbs and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and body. To elucidate why the time honored tradition of detox is necessary, let us first laud the liver.
The liver is your second largest organ (behind the skin) and acts as a filter to neutralize toxins in everything you eat, drink, breathe, and apply to your skin.
When it’s functioning optimally, you’ll enjoy good energy, good hormone balance, good sleep, good moods and clear skin.
If you suffer from PMS, weight gain, acne, joint pain, skin rashes, high cholesterol, depression or irritability, fatigue, or just generally feeling puffy or inflamed, a congested and overworked liver could be the culprit.
While it's true that the liver is the body's own self cleaning device, it can become easily overwhelmed by toxins from our food supply, too much booze, over the counter and recreational drugs, birth control pills, cosmetics and body care products, and pollution.
All of it must be detoxed by the liver and excreted via urine, digestive tract, or skin. So if you don’t poop regularly, sweat enough, or drink enough water, you can add to your toxic load. And if you take in more toxins than your liver can process, it becomes sluggish, and symptoms result.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is the seat of emotions, which is why irritability, anxiety and depression are associated with liver stagnation.
I recommend cleansing twice yearly-–ideally in the spring and fall, and for 14 to 21 days. There are myriad ways to cleanse, some more effective and safer than others, but generally, removing inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, sugar, alcohol and coffee while taking a tincture or supplement with liver supportive herbs, such as milk thistle, will suffice.
To support your liver on a daily basis, adapt some every day cleansing practices into your life.
Here are 10 ways you can keep your liver happy every day:
1. Start your morning off with hot water and the juice of a fresh lemon with a pinch of cayenne. Very cleansing and alkalinizing.
2. Before you get into the shower, do two minutes of dry skin brushing from toe up to neck to stimulate the lymphatic system.
3. For breakfast, have a cleansing smoothie made with spirulina and chlorella, berries, chia seeds, and hemp protein. Enjoy green veggie juices during the day.
4. Incorporate the cruciferous veggies into at least one meal daily. They contain phytonutrients that support liver detox pathways.
5. Eat fermented foods such as raw kraut with meals. They are a rich source of probiotics enzymes to support digestion.
6. Drink herbal detox tea blends between meals.
7. Have some curry! The turmeric in curry powder is anti-inflammatory and contributes to the production of glutathione, a potent liver-protective antioxidant. Avocados are also a rich source of glutathione.
8. Get enough fiber-rich foods to bind up toxins in the gut and help promote regularity. If you're constipated, toxins from the bowel can be reabsorbed into your system. Try legumes (especially lentils), raspberries, root vegetables, apples, pears, avocados and almonds. Avoid gluten and dairy, which can be constipating.
9. Get out there and sweat! Exercise or sit in a sauna. Sweating liberates toxins.
10. Take an epsom salt bath before bed. Not only will magnesium-rich epsom salts help you sleep, they also help draw toxins out of the body. Use 2-4 cups of epsom salts and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender promotes relaxation, for example.