How has the first month of 2020 been for you? If you haven’t been feeling as healthy as you wish, you’re not alone. January is the perfect time to try out a few of my favorite detox rituals to get your body and mind ready for the year to come.
In today’s society, our bodies can easily fall into toxic overload.
Everything we eat, drink, breathe, and put on our skin can carry an array of chemicals and toxins into our organs on a daily basis. And because most people are dehydrated as well, we’re just not eliminating these harmful invaders fast enough to prevent a toxic build up.
Chronic inflammation and toxicity are related to a host of diseases and illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s disease, and possibly degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
We are just not cleansing our bodies often enough, and it’s having disastrous effects on our health.
Incorporating detox rituals into your regular health and beauty routines is a great way to reduce inflammation and toxicity in your body.
If your health begins in your gut, then the best way to detox is through your colon. What goes in, must come out, right? But that doesn’t mean detoxing has to be gross. In fact, you can even make the experience calming and fun.
Here are my favorite gentle, bod-lovin’ detoxification rituals.
1) Dry Brushing
I know we’ve talked about this one numerous times, but have you tried it? And have you done it with any regularity? Just saying! Dry brushing is a simple, yet crazy effective way to detoxify your lymphatic system by massaging your skin with a soft bristle brush. And btw, your lymphatic system = your skin = your largest organ.
Your lymphatic system plays an important role in your immune system by distributing a watery clear fluid called lymph to all your cells, tissues and organs in your body. This fluid helps you fight infections, circulate your blood flow and basically keeps everything running smoothly. With your skin being your largest organ, connected to the lymphatic system and so easy to access, it’s the perfect conduit to help stimulate the drainage of excess fluid.
Yep, dry brushing is basically facilitating drainage in medical terms, but bear with me. All you have to do to reap the beauty benefits is lightly brush your dry skin in circular motions. Start at your feet and brush upwards towards your upper chest / heart. Here’s a simple video to show you how.
I like to brush in the tub right before I take a shower in the morning, and I use a brush with a removable head like this one. It makes it super simple, and honestly, it gets a little addictive because it’s quite invigorating in the morning. And best part about dry brushing is that not only does it boost your energy, circulation and immune system by doing the lymphatic system a solid, it also exfoliates your skin and helps break up cellulite. Yes, please!
2) Massage Therapy
Similar to dry brushing, the movement of hands on your skin helps push fluid around and out of your body. And come on, it’s oh so blissful! And let’s be honest, how many of us are actually treating ourselves to a massage on a regular basis?
This is an important and oh so necessary self-care ritual! So, go on and indulge.
3) Detox Baths
Baking soda and sea salt bath (a cup of each) are both relaxing and detoxifying!
Make the water as hot as you can stand and stay in for 30 minutes to sweat out all the toxins. I love to do this at night, right before bed-time. As soon as you get out of the tub, wrap yourself in a cozy clothes and drift into a peaceful night’s sleep.
4) Sweat It Out (Outside Your Home)
Obviously, exercise is another great detox and self-care ritual. As we discussed last week, the colder weather this time of year is no excuse to not get a workout in. For ideas about how to sneak in more movement during snowier days, click here for my guide to Winter workouts.
If you’re not into DIY, check out a local urban sweat lodge (read about the experience here) and or places that offer lymphatic drainage machines. I’m a big fan of Shape House. There are also restorative classes available that are specifically designed to release toxins and fluids in the body, like yin yoga.
5) Savory Solutions
Finally, we previously discussed how your diet is an area where you can make small changes that will have a big impact on your overall health. If you missed that discussion…
A word of caution before you begin: If you are chronically inflamed or have a serious medical condition, I recommend talking to a certified health coach (like me!) or nutritionist before detoxing. You want to be in communication with someone when you’re doing this process because you can have withdrawal symptoms when you cut out inflammatory foods cold turkey. Those side effects can be difficult to stomach (no pun intended), so plan ahead to have the support you need waiting in the wings.
How often you detox is really up to you; like I always say, every body is different. For me, I like to detox once a quarter, but I do a few of these detox rituals regularly. And detoxing does not have to be torturous! It can be as simple as taking the time to look at what you’ve been eating, how you’re feeling afterward and taking a week (or ideally 14-21 days) to eat a very clean, whole foods diet.
I know “clean” is a term thrown around a lot. What that means at the very least is an organic diet with heaping amounts of fresh veggies, greens and fruits, small amounts of pasture-raised lean protein. And no processed foods, (cow) dairy, gluten, soy, corn, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. Trust me, there are still tons of amazing, delicious meals you can make from that pantry!
I think there are a lot of fad detoxes out there, that sell you bottles of oils and supplements but don’t address the root of the toxicity in our daily lives. If you’re pooping a lot, but still not preventing your exposure to all the harmful chemicals out there, it’s not beneficial. It’s just a cycle that keeps you buying someone’s products.
If you just start eating healthier, increasing your water intake, and eating more leafy greens and natural fiber, you’re going to start pooping more. Your body will shift with you.
This is why it’s important to keep better habits going even after your detox rituals. The ideal goal is to incorporate them into your everyday life, but I’m realistic. I usually eat pretty clean, but last week when I visited an old friend, I indulged. I enjoyed a few cocktails, I ate dinner out, I had cheese and bread (gasp!). And yes, I definitely felt the difference in my body, but I did not regret it for one minute! Afterward, I just shifted right back to my cleaner, healthier eating habits.
So, I want to know: Have you dabbled in detoxing? What are your favorite self-care rituals? Let me know in the comments below!