We’ve all been entranced by the attractiveness and glamour of a detox. Juice cleanses run rampant on our favorite celebrities’ Instagrams, popular headlines promise recipes for three-day detoxes, and the amount of retreats dedicated to detoxification has spiked in the past few years, as people more and more want a quick fix after an indulgent weekend or before a big event.
“Detox” is such a trendy word, but what does it even mean? We all know toxins are bad for our bodies. The word “toxin” even just sounds bad. Toxins can sneak into our body through lots of things like, yes, alcohol and bad food (especially when you overindulged on vacay). But toxins also come through many things our body is exposed to every single day: pesticides on produce, air pollution, packaged food, cleaning products, and even your perfume (sorry, Chanel No. 5…). Toxins can cause your body to make you sluggish and tired, give you skin rashes or headaches, or even store fat (especially around the dreaded midsection… so long six pack!).
Needless to say, we’re so exposed to these evil toxins every single day that three days of detoxing doesn’t do much. But when detox is a lifestyle instead of a short-term quick fix, you would be gently cleansing your body on a regular basis, relieving your body of what it doesn’t want, and giving it more of what it needs. So stop the juice cleanse, cancel your short-term meal prep subscription, and get on with your life already! (In a detoxifying way, of course.) Here’s how.
Drink (or eat) your greens every day.
Greens naturally cleanse and detox your body. Adding in a green juice a day is an easy way to ensure you’ll get a daily dose of all the good stuff like mint, celery, spinach, parsley, lemon, ginger, apples, etc. that clean out your system. Just don’t turn juices into a diet, or you won’t be getting the nutrients that you need, and more importantly, cannot keep up with it as a lifestyle. Just have a green juice along with your usual morning eggs or cereal. To find a detoxing juice recipe that’ll actually taste good, click here.
Eat fermented foods.
There are many benefits of eating fermented foods on a regular basis, but one of them is that they help your gut work properly, and therefore get rid of the bad things that your body does not want. Fermented foods develop a good kind of bacteria through the process of fermentation. This bacteria balances out your gut and gets rid of whatever bad bacteria comes in (Here’s looking at you, loaded nachos and margaritas!). These foods include plain yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir. Some of these may sound expensive and difficult to cook with or find, but there are easy and inexpensive options in most grocery stores.
Take the right supplements.
Certain supplements can detox your body through encouraging or assisting your body’s natural systems. A probiotic supplement works similarly to fermented foods (see above) to provide good bacteria to your gut, and taking a digestive enzyme before you eat (especially if foods like dairy irritate your system), helps your body to digest the food. These are both ways your body takes in less toxins and absorbs more of the good nutrients.
Increase your water intake.
I know, I know. “Drink more water” could be (and is!) the answer to every health woe or worry. But drinking water, and a lot of it, really is that good for you. Water literally flushes toxins out of your system (not to be too graphic, but your, um, waste is made out of toxins leaving your body). This is why many nutritionists and doctors say that water can increase your energy levels or help you lose weight, because it’s getting rid of the toxins that can be making your body sluggish or store fat.
Opt for organic.
“Organic” means that the food was grown or made without the hormones and pesticides that non-organic foods were made with, whether it’s pesticide spray on produce or hormones given to animals during the meat and dairy making process. These hormones and pesticides release a lot of toxins in your body and can even be extremely dangerous. To read more about organic and the most important times you should opt to buy it, click here.
Eat mostly raw fruits and veggies.
When food turns brown, like when grilling meat or sautéing veggies, toxins are released. Avoid burning or over-browning your food as much as possible, and try to stick to raw fruits and veggies when you can.
Exercise in some way, everyday.
Exercise is good for your BMI, well-being, and mood, and it keeps things moving in the body — all things that help keep your body clean and working as it should. As if you needed more reasons to exercise, sweating is another form of detox that your body naturally does itself. Every drop of sweat is toxins that your body is getting rid of. So get off your couch and start sweating!
Try consistent meditation.
Meditation has long been claimed to help cleanse mind and body. Some practitioners even use visualization and “energy channeling” to literally remove the toxins that are in their body. If that sounds a little too, well, intangible for you, you can’t argue with the fact that relaxing the body and bringing focus to the mind is proven to relieve stress — which is one of the components that makes our body hold on to toxins. More meditation = less toxins, plain and simple, so maybe it might be worth learning how to do it and scheduling time in your day or week for the practice.
Use natural, toxin-free cleaning products.
Cleaning products that are not natural or specifically say “toxin-free” are typically loaded with chemicals that, yes, kill germs effectively, but also release thousands of toxins that you breathe in or can ingest through the mouth. What do you clean your cutting board, counter, or eating utensils with? If it’s not a natural, “toxin-free” dish soap or cleaner, those toxins remain on the counters and utensils, and then transfer to your food. We love The Honest Company and Seventh Generation for cost-effective and toxin-free alternatives. You can learn to make your own cleaning products here.
Cleanse your body’s organs, remove toxins from your fat tissue that are causing fat build-up, and improve your sense of well-being, all without having to stop your life for a hard-core detox that doesn’t even do much. Enjoy your life — just enjoy it free of toxins!