Spring is a good time to start implementing some daily cleansing rituals to keep your detoxification organs and cells in a constant state of self-healing. That means less fixing, more flourishing. It’s also a good moment to think about removing environmental toxins where you can. When your system is over-taxed, it begins to break down in a multitude of ways. Allergies, headaches, depression, digestive issues, fatigue, weight gain and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms that can result. The majority of these common ailments are the direct result of an environmental toxin build-up in the system that has accumulated during the course of your daily life, such as pollutants, processed foods, drugs, stress, and illness.
How does your body detoxify?
The good news it that your body comes equipped with a highly effective cleansing system. At its most basic level, detoxification works in two phases. In phase one, your liver identifies toxins and uses several chemical reactions to alter the toxins so they can be further processed in phase two. In phase two, your body uses six different pathways to take out phase one toxins safely enough to be transported out of your body. In phase three, phase two substances are either sent to your kidneys for further filtration and then taken out of your body via urine, or with bile into your small intestine and down through your GI tract for elimination via stool.
It’s important to support all three phases adequately, so your liver can do its work, and toxins can be excreted properly. Fewer nutrients support phase two, so you need to consume foods that contain cleansing compounds as much as possible to routinely cleanse your liver, lungs, skin, intestines, kidneys, gall bladder and lymphatic system, to help break up stagnation and build your blood.
Establishing a cleansing routine
Detoxification need not involve elaborate protocols, or a mindset toward your body being toxic and therefore in need of purging. Detoxification is actually already occurring in every cell of your body, moment by moment. Instead, the focus should be on gently supporting these amazingly designed systems to eliminate wastes naturally, which include actions as simple as drinking enough pure water, nourishing yourself with plant-powered foods and moving daily. The small, consistent changes always make the most impact in the long run.
Kick starting your digestion
Your body is designed, from the inside out, to move. The rhythmic contractions of your intestines, which ensure the proper regularity and flow of your lymphatic system, essential for detoxification, require daily movement to facilitate moving toxins through and out of your body. A simple cleanse can kick start the process, using foods that have both nourishing and eliminating properties. These foods include vegetables and fruits, natures best cleansers and nourishers. Here are my top 5 foods to enhance elimination and get the bowels moving:
- Papaya (always choose organic as conventional papaya is genetically modified and contain pesticides). Papaya contain an enzyme called papain that aids digestion. It’s also high in fibre and water content which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity
- Psyllium husks soak up water in the gut and make bowel movements much easier and can help promote regularity. Add 1 tablespoon to a glass of water and stir well. Leave for 10 minutes, until it has formed a gel like consistency and drink it down
- Ground or milled flaxseed (2-3 tablespoons a day) to help promote regularity and constipation. Ground flaxseeds can be added to smoothies, soups, etc. Grinding the seeds helps you absorb both types of fibre they contain. Work up slowly, starting with 1 tablespoon a day
- Clean water (preferably spring water in glass bottles or filtered). Aim for 2 litres a day
- Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir help to regulate and restore the intestines natural balance and help rid the body of toxins and dangerous bacteria
Additional bowel movement support
Making time for detox enhancing habits will greatly improve circulation and increase perspiration, which help fuel your body’s natural cleansing system.
- Take a daily walk, especially after a meal, to facilitate digestion and elimination
- Practice daily yoga that includes twisting moves, which massage, tone and rejuvenate the abdominal organs and promote digestion and peristalsis
- Try an infrared sauna where the heat travels 2-3 inches deep into the body allowing the body to sweat 2-3 times greater than in traditional saunas during the same amount of time, which means toxins are removed faster and more easily
- Dry brush your skin to improve lymphatic drainage, promote digestion and support detoxification. Using a natural body brush, gently brush in a circular motion, always moving from the extremities towards the heart. Use counter clockwise strokes on your belly to improve detoxification
The value of restraint
Consider starting an intermittent fasting practice, even if it’s only skipping breakfast a couple of times a week. Don’t do it if you are truly hungry; rather, refrain from eating strictly out of habit. If you are intentional about intermittent fasting, it will allow your digestive organs to rest so your body can focus on “cleaning house” and regenerating internally. You can try intermittent fasting by avoiding food consumption for ideally 14 hours as the positive effects of fasting begin after a period of 14-16 hours. It’s actually not that hard because you sleep for most of that time. Effectively you don’t eat after your evening meal and don’t eat breakfast the next morning, taking your first meal at lunch.
Intentional movement practices
Sitting has been dubbed “the new smoking” for good reason. Without daily movement, waste products, toxins and chemicals can’t move out of the body. Thirty minutes of movement every day that increases heart rate should be your goal. The important thing is to find something you enjoy and that you can stick to. Changing things up by incorporating a range of different movement practices during the week, such as yoga, pilates, interval training, brisk walking, etc should prevent boredom setting in. Intentional movement will help clear your lymphatic system, which doesn’t have a pump and therefore cannot detoxify without movement. Moving also enhances elimination, which as previously mentioned, is necessary for cleaning house.
The power of your breath
Incredibly, the majority of the toxins in your body are released through exhaling. Your respiratory system is responsible for taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Adults typically breathe twelve to twenty breaths per minute, which is about 20,000 cycles every 24 hours. Your body needs oxygen to sustain itself but also to expel carbon dioxide to cleanse your system. Breath is a natural detoxifier, so making sure you are breathing well and taking full, deep and cleansing breaths throughout the day is a simple but impactful way to help keep your system clean and clear.
7 healing solutions to remove toxic build up
Toxins come from our food, water, environment, and even chemicals that are used to clean our homes and manufacture our food. Making smart decisions will not only take stress off of your digestive, circulatory, and lymphatic systems, but will aid in removing toxic build up.
- Avoid processed foods. Eat whole, nutrient dense foods
- Buy organic produce wherever possible. Check out The Environmental Working Group dirty dozen and clean fifteen resources to help guide you
- Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products
- Make sure you’re using personal care products and make up that are free from harmful ingredients
- Start your day with warm water and lemon to help keep your body alkaline, loosen toxins in the digestive tract, stimulate the liver and boost the immune system
- Drink an organic raw green smoothie every day to push toxins out of your fat stores and provide an abundance of enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that support detoxification
- Reduce stress. Rest your mind and meditate, even for just 10 minutes a day. It truly makes a difference
My top 28 vegetables and fruits for daily detox
Try to include as many of these into your every day diet:
- Dandelion greens
- Red cabbage
- Kelp and seaweed
- Micro sprouts
- Allium family (onions, spring onions, etc)
- Fermented foods
The Green Smoothie Challenge
Perhaps the simplest way to boost your detox system and your overall health is increasing your intake of leafy greens and other nutrient dense vegetables and fruits. One of the easiest ways to do that? A green smoothie. Creating a daily green smoothie ritual ensure you’re consuming loads of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus, unlike green juices, green smoothies still contain all that filling, gut-friendly fibre.
Here is my go to green smoothie that makes the most of the tender spring dandelion leaves that not only help to eliminate toxins, but contain 8 times more vitamin C, 5 times more protein and twice more magnesium and potassium than lettuce. Dandelion is a medicinal herb long known to plant medicine. Its bitter constituents benefit the stomach, intestines, liver, gall bladder and kidneys and promotes detoxification and healthy intestinal flora. Don’t worry, the taste is not overly bitter but if you are unsure, then just use extra spinach instead.Print
There’s no exact science for how to make a green smoothie, but in general, a great green smoothie will include an ample portion of leafy greens, along with some fruit, healthy fats, protein and fibre. This is my basic green formula, which you should feel free to tweak and adapt.
1.5 cups almond milk
2 small frozen bananas
Handful of dandelion greens
Handful of spinach
1 tablespoon of almond butter
1 Medjool date, stone removed (optional)
1/2 teaspoon chlorella/spirulina powder
Pinch vanilla powder
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Blend all ingredients for detoxification magic!
You can substitute the spinach and dandelions greens with what’s in season or at hand, such as kale, frozen peas, broccoli, along with other greens such as rocket, parsley, coriander, broccoli sprouts, and watercress.
Keywords: Smoothie, detox, greens, spring
One more important thing to keep in mind is that daily detox rituals are self care. That’s the spirit of this advice. I hope you feel inspired and empowered to take some extra time to make a daily green smoothie, go for a walk, meditate, breath… Just take time for you in some way. Let me know in the comments below what’s supporting you. I’d love to know.