Lately it seems as though everyone is doing a juice cleanse, experimenting with fasting, or living off raw food. If you're like me, and have a history of disordered eating, battles with countless diets, or struggles with body image, a typical “detox” may do more harm than good.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t reap all the positive benefits of detoxing your body, mind, and spirit. Here are my top eight tips to detox, free of fasting, juicing or restricting.
1. Consume whole foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Detoxifying the body doesn't have to mean a crazy restrictive diet. By choosing whole foods, your body will be able to digest and metabolize them with ease, leaving more time for natural detoxifying to take place. Think fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, organic free-range chicken or turkey, wild-caught fish, cage-free and organic eggs, naturally gluten-free whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
2. Eliminate trigger foods such as caffeine, sugar and gluten.
Foods like these can wreak havoc on your digestive system, zap your body of energy, and become addictive over time. By easing up on these choices, your body will naturally improve digestion and energy levels, and will learn to crave natural whole foods instead.
Drink up pure filtered water, green tea and hot lemon water first thing in the morning. Staying hydrated can help cleanse your body of toxins, boost metabolism, clean up your skin, and do so much more. Hot lemon water can help to release toxins as well as bacteria from your skin.
4. Sleep well and often.
Getting enough sleep — and getting enough quality sleep — is crucial to a healthy body. Detox baths with Epsom salt and lavender can improve quality sleep and help you stay asleep. Turning off technology and using earplugs and eye masks can also aid proper sleep.
5. Practice slow eating and eating without distractions.
Eating slowly and without distractions will give your body time to register that you're eating, will prepare you for proper digestion, and will allow your body to hone its natural hunger cues. This will teach you to eat what your body needs, and to stop when you're full. Put the fork down between bites, savor your food, and limit distractions when you're eating.
6. Move your body in ways that are restorative.
Be sure to move your body daily. This doesn't always mean an intense workout. Sometimes your body will crave relaxing movement, such as a walk, jog, hike, yoga, or a dance class. By moving in such ways, you're able to release tension and improve recovery and repair of your body.
7. Diminish stress.
When you're stressed, your body kicks in with a fight-or-flight response. This means that any crucial actions within your body are halted as you fight your stress. This leaves little time for detoxing, cleansing, digesting, or pretty much anything other than combating the stress of the moment. Practice activities to diminish stress, whether it's yoga, meditation, or watching a funny movie; whatever works best to manage your stress.
8. Eat three square meals a day and minimize snacking.
When your body is constantly metabolizing food, you leave little time to do anything else, including detoxifying, cleansing, and repairing. By eating three meals a day without snacking in between, you allow yourself time to fully digest your food. Plus you leave time to detox and heal your body.
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