When you hear the word “detox”, what do you think of? A week with no carbs? A colonic? Maybe it’s a juice cleanse, or consuming only romaine lettuce for two weeks straight. Hell no, my friends. In my opinion, that is definitely not the best way to be detoxing your body, mind, and spirit. My type of detox involves removing the negativity associated with health. No one should be punishing themselves in order to fit into skinny jeans.
I’m so excited to be able to share with you a more holistic approach to live a healthier, more radiant life this year, through the gentle detox of four key areas. These are areas that we can control, in order to help our bodies detox naturally and efficiently.
You make sure to get some spring cleaning done around your house every year, so why not work on your body and mind as well? I often talk about your body being your cozy home, a safe space that is able to withstand it all. Let’s do all that we can to strengthen our foundation by treating ourselves with grace. Here is a mantra that I like to repeat to myself often…
My body is my home. My body is my ultimate dwelling place. My body nourishes my spirit, and I allow this by nourishing my body with the foods I consume, with the energy I consume, and with the thoughts I consume.
Let’s start off with the absolute base level, the most important place to start – your mental health. For some reason, mental health is so taboo to talk about. No one wants to openly discuss the state of their mental health. No one thinks they need help, which in turn doesn’t push many people to seek out the help they actually do need.
When I was struggling with anxiety and depression, I would keep it from my friends and family. I wouldn’t tell them what was going on, rather I would skip out on planned gatherings, brunches, birthdays, hell I even missed holidays. Once I was able to be honest with myself and those closest to me, a huge weight was lifted from my back. I was able to openly discuss my feelings without assuming I was a burden on anyone. I gave myself permission to feel, and I accepted that this was the way I was feeling. Having a standing appointment with my therapist has been the best thing for my overall wellness routine.
This segues into communication in general. Plain and simple – stop spending more time interacting with all of your devices than your family members and friends. Technology is proven to be addictive. Spending hours on social media can very easily turn your gratitude for your own life into the envy of others’. It is so easy to look at someone’s life curated in a tiny cluster of squares and think it’s a level of perfection you will never be able to achieve. I’m here to say that’s not true. You are perfection. Once you start surrounding yourself in real life relationships with like-minded individuals, you will flourish. As a society, we are forgetting how to talk to each other. Make it a point to call someone rather than text them, and become more social. Re-learn how to have deep/difficult/emotional conversations. Focusing on that deep connection to the human element of relationships will prove to be a great foundation for easily incorporating other detox elements into your life.
Studying holistic nutrition has really put the idea of health into a new light for me. My goals have shifted from “What do I need to eat (or not eat) to loose weight?” to “What swaps do I need to make in order to have my body feel it’s best?”. This wasn’t an easy answer. It took a lot of trial and error over many years, and the more I’ve been researching and experimenting, the more I can confidently say that everybody is different – every body is different – and nutrition is definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. Eating whole, real foods is key to helping your body rid the toxins associated with processed food-like products.
First up, no more processed food-products.
No Pop Tarts with TBHQ, or a hamburger that can withstand nuclear fallout. Eat real, wholesome foods. It truly is that simple. It’s way too easy to claim that you’re too busy to cook, and grab inexpensive fast food for dinner. Instead of trusting our gut (pun intended) we’ve learned to fork over (another pun intended) our trust to the media and base our health around whatever current fad is being touted. It can really throw you for a loop when you’re on a search to heal your body.
I challenge you to spend just a week looking for real, unprocessed, whole foods. I’ve previously talked about 5 easy ways to meditate, and I am super confident that re-connecting with our natural desire to nourish our bodies with real food, can be a meditative act on its own. Allowing yourself to focus on the smell of the peppers, the therapeutic chopping, the sounds of the sizzling butter, all of this can help you to find joy in the small acts of preparing food, and you will find it enjoyable to bring these nutritious foods to your family. If you’re looking for specific recipes, positivehealthwellness.com has this awesome infographic with some delicious options. The anti-inflammatory Beet Turmeric Mango Smoothie is one of the best smoothies I’ve ever had. Let me know if you try any of them, you won’t be sorry!
Nix the refined added sugar.
Just do it. You don’t need it, and you will be so happy once it’s out of your life. Sugar activates the pleasure parts of the brain in the same way that cocaine does, and becomes a super addictive substance if you let it. No more hangry monster coming out, and no more insatiable cravings. If you’re looking for moral support during the trying times of kicking a sugar habit, I highly recommend Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox program. Check it out here!
Bye bye booze.
Another big health and overall wellness prohibitor is alcohol. Let booze take a back seat, or at least shove it in the passenger seat more often than not. Feeling like every social situation needs to revolve around alcohol isn’t too far from the truth when you’re in your 20s and 30s. Can you have a social life and not drink? Absolutely. I’ve often felt like I needed to drink in order to be accepted, have fun, and curb social anxiety. As soon as you realize that you don’t need alcohol, you’ve freed yourself from both a physical and mental tax. I don’t fully abstain from drinking, but I no longer let it dictate my social settings. Alcohol is a depressant. Ain’t nobody got time for depressants. Not only does alcohol affect the mind, but it also puts a toll on our body systems.
95-98% of elimination of absorbed ethanol occurs primarily through metabolism [ref] which puts a huge stress on your body’s natural detox process. Excessive alcohol consumption negatively affects your heart, liver, pancreas, gastrointestinal pathway, nervous system, and the list goes on. I am absolutely not against drinking every now and again, but it is super easy to allow yourself to fall down the path of becoming alcohol-dependent, and we need to be aware of this in a time that is so heavily consumed by the need for consumption. I love that so many people in the health and wellness community are speaking up against not needing to have a drink in order to be social. Jordan Younger, I’m looking at you!
Going to a party where there will inevitably be alcohol? Bring a 6-pack of kombucha or a few La Croix! This way you’ll have something in hand to be sipping on too. No one will judge you, I promise. (And if they do, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you need new friends.)
Remember this – digestion is the body’s detox pathway. Allowing ease through digestion will ensure that all of your body’s systems are working optimally. If you can get on board with those three major (and pretty easy!) things to cut out, or even just cut back on, I am confident you will flip your health right-side-up.
The beauty industry is filled with marketing gurus and geniuses that will make you want to buy their products. They will convince you that you need their products. I’ll never not be heavily involved in the beauty world, and it’s my job as a regulatory affairs professional in the personal care & cosmetic industry to look at safety assessments and toxicity levels of various chemicals on the reg. Being able to help people find safe alternatives to their current regimen is my sweet spot. I know when a product is labeled improperly, or when a brand is using marketing wizardry to sell you on their “all-natural” formulation. I also know when it’s a big fat pile of lies. You definitely don’t need to cut everything out and jump to coconut oil from head to toe, but I do think that there are a few important and manageable ways to clean up your beauty routine.
The first beauty product that I swapped out was deodorant. I know it’s not easy for everyone and it ain’t pretty – no one wants to stink, no one wants to sweat – but when you think about the fact that deodorant is basically on your underarms 24 hours a day 7 days a week leeching into your axillary lymph nodes, it becomes a whole lot easier to make the switch. It does take some time to allow your pores to purge the chemicals, but I promise it is worth it. I talk more about cleaner deodorant options in this post.
I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but what I do wear, I try to keep clean as possible. One product that I’m loving right now is Tata Harper’s Volumizing Cheek & Lip Tint. The regulatory professional in me can’t get over the fact that this product name claims to be volumizing, but the ingredient list is squeaky clean, so I can’t complain. I’m also convinced that the shade Very Charming looks amazing on everyone. It is a bit pricey, but the fact that it doubles as a lip and cheek product makes this gem totally worth it. It really is the prettiest shade and has a nice silky finish, so I highly recommend.
There are so many ways to detox your living space. From the cleaning products we use, to decluttering bookshelves, to donating gently used clothing to those in need, finding little ways to give your brain an open space to function in your home is so rewarding. There came a point where I felt like my possessions were controlling me. There also came a point where I was bleaching my tub and passed out from the fumes.
Harsh chemicals no longer have a place in my home.
We all associate the smell of bleach with being clean, but really if something is clean, it doesn’t smell. The harmful effects of inhaling such harsh chemicals can cause burns in the bronchial tubes and lungs if bleach is undiluted or inhaled for long periods of time. The moment my Clorox made me woozy, I decided to find a substitute. For everyday cleaning, I make my own solution of 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to a half gallon of warm water. If you’re not super crunchy and making your own spray is out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend Seventh Generation. Although they aren’t totally all-natural, I do like the fact that they are honest and open about the ingredients used in their products, why they use them, and where they’re derived from.
Donate what you don’t use.
I’m really loving how all of these detoxes go back to our mental health. For a while, I was looking for happiness in things. Accumulating possessions that I thought I needed in order to feel happy and complete. Month after month of falling deeper into depression, I decided I was done consuming. I went through all of my closets (yes, I unfortunately have more than one closet) and donated everything that I hadn’t worn in the past 6 months, or anything that I was holding onto for “practical” reasons. What I realized is that I feel much lighter and happier now that I’m not buried under piles of belongings. It was also a really great feeling to donate to some good causes. If you’re interested in my purge story, let me know and I’ll write a full post on that!
This last household detox tip ties lightly (god, I’m full of puns today) into the mental detox point again, of getting off your damn tiny handheld computer that runs your life. Earlier this year, my husband and I made a commitment to get the phones out of the bedroom. His first gripe was “But that’s my alarm clock, I can’t!” Alright smartass, I feel you. Alarm clocks have existed way before cell phones have. Well, the next day, Amazon Prime showed up to our door with the best $60 investment we’ve ever made – a wakeup light alarm clock. This alarm clock uses gradual sunlight simulation to wake you up with natural light. I also like that the alarm beep isn’t too blaring or harsh. Our 6am wakeup call isn’t so bad anymore.
That was a doozy y’all! A long post, but this truly means a lot to me and I hope it was helpful. Our bodies are detoxing all the time. Let’s start looking at detox in a positive light and allow our bodies to naturally do what they do best on their own. By working toward an overall life detox, we will increase energy, feel better, and live happier lives.
**Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.