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Everyday Detox

Optimizing your body's natural ability to cleanse itself

Everyday modern life can add so many stresses to our daily routine.  We are moving faster than ever.  We are exposed to so much “extra” - more additives in our foods, a 24/7 lifestyle, more hours of being sedentary, blurred lines between work/leisure and stimulus everywhere you look. It’s no wonder we can often feel out of balance, meh or overwhelmed.  Quite frankly, we are overloaded! 

We may feel this both emotionally and physically.  Everything we are exposed to physically eventually manifests itself emotionally and vice versa.  When our bodies and minds are constantly overworked and stressed, eventually physical complications may arise - from digestive issues, to fatigue, to brain fog, insomnia and bloating.  Our cells produce more and more waste and burnout more quickly leading to an increase in free radicals, breaking down healthy tissue, leading to more waste and eventually creating chronic illness and accelerating the aging process. 

A good way to combat this extra strain on our bodies is to be sure we are keeping our detoxification system healthy. 

In general, our bodies are well equipped to detoxify naturally.  This is the job of our liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. Yet, only when these organs are healthy can they effectively eliminate unwanted substances. After all, we are exposed to so many toxins on a daily basis that it's a good idea to focus on what we can do to keep our organs functioning at their best.

There are formal cleanses you can purchase or even concoct on your own. Juice cleanses and even fasting acts as a detoxifier.   Giving your digestive system a break once in a while isn't a bad idea. 

What you do 80 percent of the time is WAY more effective than what you do 5, 10 or even 20 percent of the time. For example, if you are eating nutrient-void crappy food most of the time, not getting enough sleep, throwing back a bottle of wine on a Saturday night and then "cleansing" once a month with juices or a curated box of pills, you are not serving your body well.

Focusing on what you can do on a daily basis to ensure that your body’s natural detoxification system is working properly is the most effective way to stay balanced. 

Up Your Fiber: Fiber naturally scrubs and promotes the elimination of toxins from your GI tract. Soluble fiber soaks up potentially harmful compounds, such as excess estrogen and unhealthy fats, before they can be absorbed by the body, lightening the load of toxins before they get to the liver and kidneys. 

Choose Organic: Opting to consume food that is organically grown is another way to decrease the overall toxic load to your body.  The foods are cleaner and easier for your body to digest and process. Organic produce tends to have more vitamins and minerals than conventionally grown produce without harmful pesticides. Eating all organic can be costly; do your best to purchase organic when possible. To assist you in making smart and economical choices, here is a link to the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” - avoid these if at all possible. 

Drink Lots of Water: The human body is 60 percent water and needs this precious fluid to function at its best. Water not only flushes wastes and toxins out of the body but also carries nutrients to cells and tissues. Our kidneys especially rely heavily on water to flush out wastes. How do you know if you’re getting enough?  If you’re thirsty, drink. If you’re sweating a lot and exercising, drink.  If your urine is dark yellow, drink.  It’s hard to drink too much water.  I’m a big fan of keeping a bottle of water with me throughout the day to ensure that I’m getting enough. 

Prioritize Sleep & Rest: Not only does a good night’s sleep help improve our cognitive skills - from memory function, to focus and concentration and our ability to learn, it also plays a pivotal role in cleansing the body. Getting quality sleep protects brain health by improving immunity and reducing stress — both of which lower inflammation and protect us from disease. The glymphatic system, which is activated during sleep, plays a major role in clearing away toxins, which helps reduce the risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Avoid Ultra Processed Foods & Sugar: Staying clear of foods that have been overly manipulated from their natural state is crucial to keeping our bodies functionally optimally. These foods tend to be high in sodium, high in fat, high in sugar, and contain chemical additives and colorings all of which cause an extra strain on our digestive system (even contributing to poor gut health and destroying our microbiome) and eventually our liver and kidneys.  When we indulge once in a while, eating a donut or grabbing some fast food, our bodies can handle it.  When we do this time and time again, we put our detoxification systems at risk and they cannot function as they should. 

Eat Your Fruit/Veggies: Incorporating a lot of fruits and veggies is a great way to keep our detoxification pathways in tip top shape.  They are antioxidant rich which help protect our cells from damage. Certain fruits and veggies, including asparagus, broccoli, kale, cabbage, artichokes, citrus, artichokes and beets  are especially good for promoting detoxification.  Vitamin C rich foods in particular (citrus, asparagus, bell peppers, pineapple and berries)  help promote the production of glutathione, which is well documented to help with detoxification. 

Exercise:   Movement in general is a great way to keep our cells in optimal condition.  When we move (and it doesn’t have to be all that intense) we are allowing our lymphatic system to flow more effectively - this aids in detoxification. Our overall toxic load is reduced, keeping inflammation at bay.  When we exercise and reduce body fat we are also eliminating potential places where toxins hide (they can be found in our fat cells).  During exercise we increase our circulation which encourages the cells to release toxins. 

Eliminate/Decrease Alcohol Consumption:  Alcohol consumption is so ingrained into our daily lives and traditions that it can be difficult to reconcile that it actually is a toxin. The World Health Organization has even proclaimed that there is no safe level of consumption. It is thought that the CDC may eventually come out with a similar proclamation.  Alcohol, as with everything we consume, must be filtered through the liver. Due to its high toxicity, an extra strain is put on the liver - over time this can lead to liver disease and essentially the loss of this important detoxification organ. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen and it has been linked to a risk factor in many cancers including breast and colon cancer. 

While the world is full of so many toxins - in the air, in our food chain, in our health and beauty products, etc, rest assured that our bodies are equipped to handle and filter out a certain level of them.  Reducing our overall exposure can go a long way to assisting our body in detoxifying. And, keeping our detoxifying organs in tip top shape is essential for them to perform their job optimally.  

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