Recipes and formulas for “3 Day Detox” or “Instant Detox” are all too common on Pinterest and in health magazines. These fads usually encourage drinking some type of green smoothie, downing gallons of water and eating copious amounts of lettuce. Unfortunately, these instant detox schemes can actually harm the body and they overlook the fact that detox is not an overnight phenomena.
Here’s the deal: real, effective detox doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen in a week. Healthy detox in the body rests on a nourishing diet and stress management. We can, however, utilize additional safe and gentle methods to support our body’s detox processes. The following daily detox routines are effective and work with your body, not against it.
Why should we support detox?
We live in an increasingly toxic world and we owe it to our body to offer support in it’s daily detoxing duties. For example, these are just a few of the insults our bodies combat each day:
pesticides on produce
herbicides on produce
fluoride in drinking and bathing water
chlorine in drinking and bathing water
preservatives from processed foods
chemicals from fire retardants on carpets, furniture and clothing
carcinogens in cosmetics and body care products
A warning about over-hydration
Many of the fad detox programs encourage drinking copious amounts of water or a specified liquid each day to “flush out the toxins.” This is not accurate and over-hydration can be quite harmful.
I love what Matt Stone says in Eat for Heat: The Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink:
No other creature is so removed from its instinctual programming to the point of accidentally over drinking.
Over-hydrating can actually lower metabolism and it is stressful to your body if you already have a slow metabolism to drink too much liquid (I recommend reading Eat For Heat for more info). Additionally, when the adrenals are stressed or fatigued, excess water intake without adequate salt intake can lead to cellular dehydration. (Source)
1. Morning Lemon Water
Start each morning with warm glass of lemon water: warm 1/2 to 1 cup of filtered water to body temperature, then squeeze in the juice of 1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon. If you don’t have a lemon on hand, you can also use 1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar. Add a pinch of sea salt, if desired, to support your metabolism. Sip mindfully and let it awaken your senses.
Why it works: lemon water (or apple cider vinegar water) alkalizes the body. It balances the pH of the body and helps flush toxins through the liver. It can also stimulate stomach acid production before breakfast– a very good thing, since adequate stomach acid is essential for digestion!
Troubleshooting: Since fluoride and chlorine in tap water is toxic to the body, it is a worthwhile investment to purchase a quality water filter. My family uses the Berky Water Filter with the fluoride filters.
This is my favorite! Jump on a trampoline 10-20 minutes each day. This doesn’t need to be a strenuous workout–your feet don’t even need to leave the trampoline. I turn on iTunes and enjoy a little bounding party each morning. I bought this mini trampoline and it is affordable and compact.
Why it works: rebounding supports the lymphatic system, the series of vessels that eliminate toxins from your body. Because the lymph system does not have a pump (like the cardiovascular system), we have to keep the lymphatic fluid flowing through movement. Bouncing and jumping are effective ways to stimulate lymph flow. Additionally, it can help regulate constipation and encourage detox through bowel movements. (Source)
3. Dry Brushing
Buy a stiff bristle dry brush. Starting at the soles of the feet, use firm, sweeping strokes and brush upward toward your heart. Always brush toward the heart. It’s easier to show than explain, so here is a great tutorial from YouTube:
Why it works: The skin is the largest detoxing organs of the body. Dry brushing increases circulation which supports the discharge of metabolic wastes. It purifies the body by stimulating the lymphatic system to drain toxins into the colon. It clears clogged pores, improves muscle tone and rejuvenates the nervous system (Source).
As a bonus, dry brushing softens skin and encourages cell renewal. It is heralded as the ultimate cellulite treatment. I have dry brushed faithfully for a year and, to be honest, have not seen a reduction in cellulite. Real cellulite treatment begins with gut healing and digestion (which I’m working on), and this can take years to correct.
Troubleshooting: Yes, this will hurt a bit for the first week or so. The brush is, well, rough. But after a couple weeks, your skin will be silky soft and able to tolerate firmer brush strokes.
4. Detox Baths
Draw a warm bath. Add 2 cups of epsom salts, 1-2 cups of regular, non-iodized salt and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar OR baking soda (but not both). Submerge yourself and relax for 15-20 minutes. You can also add a few drops of essential oil. I add eucalyptus oil, which helps energy flow through the meridian system. Do this before bed, because you will feel exhausted and heavy after the bath. In the morning, however, you will feel renewed and peaceful!
Why it works: epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate, which can be absorbed through the skin (source). It has a relaxing effect on muscles and can help correct constipation. A warm bath also encourages a gentle sweat to release toxins through the skin. The regular salt helps prevent cellular dehydration (source) and the baking soda encourages energy flow.
Troubleshooting: Fluoride and chlorine are absorbed through the skin. The best solution is to buy a water filter system for the whole house that removes these toxins. I don’t have that option, so I make due with this chlorine ball to remove the chlorine in the bath. It’s not perfect… but perfectionism will undermine health more than a little fluoride.
5. Detox Yoga Poses
You don’t need to be athletic or flexible to do these two detoxing yoga poses. First, get your Downward Dog on! Spend as long as you wish in the pose. The second pose is Legs-Up-The-Wall, a very relaxing pose. I like to spend 5 minutes in this pose every morning, as it is a gentle way to transition into the activities of the day.
Why it works: In Downward Dog, the heart is higher than the head and this increases circulation and aids lymph flow. Legs-Up-The-Wall also supports lymph flow, lymph drainage, and circulation (Source).
Other resources for gentle daily detox:
Have you heard of oil pulling? Advocates of oil pulling, the process of swishing oil in your mouth, profess its powerful detoxing results. Some report that oil pulling has cured chronic diseases. Plus, it makes your breath fresh and teeth white. This oil pulling video will tell you everything you need to know about how to oil pull.
One important part of detox is reducing the toxic burden on our bodies. I have transitioned to only homemade body care products so I’m not putting chemicals on my skin. I use homemade toothpaste, deodorant, facial toner and facial oil, and I use coconut oil for shaving. I also use only raw honey to wash my hair (post on that soon!) I also shared my favorite chemical free cosmetics (all under $10)