Too many drinks at the office patio party? Maybe you’ve over-indulged in an extra dessert (or two) at that summer wedding or family reunion? We are constantly putting a lot of chemicals, toxins (and even extra calories) into our bodies on a regular basis. We can only clear out the harmful substances from our system at a certain pace, so the more we overload our bodies, the more we are in need of a detox. Sometimes, however, slow and steady is the best method. Here’s what I recommend everyday:
Lemon water first in the morning
This is probably the simplest habit for gentle detoxification and a staple for anyone wanting clearer skin, better digestion or more energy. Upon rising, squeeze at least 1/3 of a lemon (preferably ½) into ¼ cup warm or room temperature water. This stimulates liver and gallbladder function to move toxins out of the body that have been metabolized the night before. Basically, you are starting the day with a clean slate and everything else will run more smoothly now that the detox pathways are clear.
Sweat (any kind will do)
Perspiring is your body’s way of getting rid of excess fluids and toxins through the skin. Did I mention the skin is the body’s largest organ?? Any amount of sweating is a trigger for your body to improve circulation and even kill bacteria/viruses on the surface of the skin. Sweating has also been shown to help excrete heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and the infamous bisphenol-A (BPA) that we all try to avoid in plastics. Whether you sit in a steam room, infrared sauna or hit the gym to break a sweat, you can say hello to clearer skin and a cleaner body. Also important to note when you start sweating: the sooner you break a sweat when exercising, the fitter you are!
Stretch, especially your midsection
You don’t have to be a seasoned yogi to benefit from all that yoga has to offer. Many of the inverted and twisting poses encourage better lymphatic flow (think the highway for toxins and immune cells) and improved circulation. Many of us are seating for most of our day and even when we exercise we are often standing upright. Our chest and abdomen are home to many of our digestive and detox organs and with a bit of gentle stretching (and holding the stretch for up to a minute) we can ‘massage’ these organs into better shape. Try 3-5 minutes before bed to help you ease into sleep.
Meditate: detox for the mind
While many of us have heard about detoxing, most of us forget that detoxification also includes ‘mental cleansing’ as well. We are constantly bombarded with an overload of information on a regular basis and are left feeling so stressed, overwhelmed and irritated that we can’t keep up with our ever-increasing to-do lists. The mental stresses we feel do impact our physical bodies (have you ever felt so nervous you had to run to the bathroom, or the sight of something unpleasant made you faint?). These are examples of how our mental health can affect us physically. So why not get into the daily habit of cleaning out the ‘waste’ from our between our ears (negative thoughts, worries, stressful emotions, etc.). You don’t have to be an expert, either. Set a timer for 5 minutes and sit quietly with your eyes closed. As thoughts pop up, notice them, and then simply bring your attention back to your breathing (it’s ok if this constantly happens throughout the entire 5 minutes, it takes time to train your brain). This is especially effective before you start your day. Many people notice greater focus, concentration, better decision-making and improved mood. And who couldn’t benefit from these??
Start with one of these four practices daily and tack on a new one each week so you stick with them!