I’m a born and raised Wisconsin girl. In my world, that means I learned to belly up to the bar, ate plenty of cheese curds, sugary and processed foods and for many years of my life, hibernated in the winter with little exercise involved. You can imagine how as I grew into my integrative medical career and my own personal healthier lifestyle; the idea of detoxing was intriguing. I had years of abuse to make up for!
I have to admit; detoxing is confusing. Everywhere you turn someone is telling you they can help you “detox” your body. People are making big money on products meant to cleanse us. If you know anything about your body and the history of humanity, it doesn’t take long to realize that we as humans have been around for a while, a LONG while. If our ancestors survived and thrived without specialized shakes and miracle pills, can’t we too? Perhaps the answer to detoxing isn’t in what we purchase but how we live!
You see, the reality is, your body is GREAT at naturally detoxing! Our physiology and anatomy are perfectly created to naturally cleanse and detoxify. Don’t get me wrong. I truly believe that in some cases a little help with our natural detoxification processes doesn’t hurt. In my medical practice, I use things like milk thistle, glutathione, N-Acetylcysteine and more. What’s important is that I use these in addition to a comprehensive holistic medical evaluation. What I have found is that for the majority of patients, lifestyle wins and the special supplements are either not needed or can be used for a short time.
Before you open your wallet to splurge on a fancy detox program, look at your lifestyle and look at it hard. Until you get this optimized, you can never truly detox!!
The following is a list of ways your body stays healthy and “detoxified” all on its own! Try these ideas on first and see how much you need to spend on fancy shakes.
8 Ways You Naturally Detoxify
You have skin and you sweat.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Not only does it protect you from your external environment, it also serves as a source of detoxification. You may think of sweat as a nuisance, but the reality is, sweat is a great vehicle for getting grid of toxins from your body. Sweat hard and sweat often. Aside from exercising to sweat, find a local sauna (or better yet, invest in an infrared sauna for your own home).
Just as you don’t normally think about breathing, you probably also don’t think about detoxifying while you are breathing. The reality is, when we breathe we are getting rid of toxins through our breath. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing also stimulates our immune system by improving lymphatic flow. So, breathe deep! Throughout the day, pause to take deep inspirations and full exhalations. For more direction and calming breathing techniques, download our 4-7-8 Breath and Diaphragmatic Breathing Printable in the Free Resource Library.
I’ve never talked about poop as much as I have as an integrative medicine doctor. Our bowel movements and the regularity of them are extremely important to our body’s natural detoxification process. With regular stooling, we are ridding ourselves of toxins. Need some tips for healthier pooping? Its not hard, simply eat more fiber, eat at least 5-7 servings of veggies a day, drink more water, exercise and learn how to eat a clean diet. Our signature program, Food For Fuel is a great resource for this and walks you through the process of clean eating.
Your kidneys are part of your body’s natural detoxification system. About one liter of blood filters through your kidneys every minute. The kidneys are master filters. They remove waste products from your blood and help you eliminate these products through your urine. The simplest way to nurture this process is to drink more water. I tell my patients to drink enough water so that their urine is a pale-yellow color. Drink up and drink often! Find more water consumption tips in this blog post.
You have a liver.
Our liver is a “heavy lifter” when it comes to detoxification. Its main job is to filter the blood from our digestive tract as well as to detoxify chemicals and metabolize drugs. Although the liver is a tough and resilient organ, we can protect it and boost its health by living a healthier lifestyle. It’s more important that we stay AWAY from things than it is to take things to support our liver health. By minimizing our exposure to over the counter and prescription drugs, limiting alcohol consumption, eating a clean diet and getting regular exercise, we can keep our liver working at maximum detoxification capacity!
You have a lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is a little talked about powerhouse. It is a complex network of vessels and tissues that work throughout the entire body to filter and fight infections as well as keep a healthy fluid balance in your body. Want to give your lymphatic system a boost? Get a massage or manual lymph therapy, drink plenty of water to keep the lymph flowing and get regular exercise – pumping your muscles helps your lymph flow!
You go outside.
I am a firm believer in nature therapy. Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing” is a powerful way to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system to help heal and detoxify your body. Even if you can’t get outside as often as you want, surround yourself with plants to get the same powerful effect.
You connect with others.
This concept can go either way. We pick up the energy of others – positive or negative. I teach my kids and my patients that you are the people with whom you surround yourself. When you choose who to hang with, you choose who you become. Choose wisely!
If you scan through the bullets above you will see a pattern. Eat clean, exercise, drink water, breathe deep, get outside, and connect with others. Before you head to the health food store to buy a detox kit, start simply and allow your body to detoxify naturally with these tips. You may find your body can balance out all on its own!!!
If you feel you need help with detoxing, I recommend you do so with a trained medical professional. Come see me at my Integrative Medicine Clinic by making an appointment today.