No matter what you do to clean up your outside, there's no faster way to a healthy body, beautiful skin, and a clear mind than cleaning from the inside out. Even if you consider yourself healthy, fit and eat only organic food, living on planet earth means you are constantly exposed to thousands of toxins on a daily basis. Between the water you drink, the air you breathe, and the clothes you wear, your body is barraged with chemicals that it simply can't break down and eliminate. Unchecked, these toxins can bioaccumulate in your system, leading to chronic disease, depression and weight gain.
Just like changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles to keep it running smoothly, doing the same for your body will help clear out toxins and prevent physical, mental or emotional blockages. Traditional doctors of oriental medicine (OMD) recommend cleansing four times a year, with the turn of each season. If you're new to cleansing, start out with a short detox like this one or for seasoned detoxers, try bumping up your normal routine to a 30-day raw/vegan detox.
Here are a few detox tips to keep in mind:
1. Make a commitment. The hardest part about starting a detox is starting a detox. You know the saying: "a body at rest stays at rest" and old habits die hard. In other words, there will never be an ideal time to begin; so it's important to commit to a start date and stick with it. If you lack motivation, share your detox plan with someone you trust who will hold you accountable to your goals. Better yet, find a buddy and share the journey together.
2. Work with a pro. Changing long-term habits isn't easy, so enlist help early to get you moving in the right direction. Like a personal trainer, a health coach or nutritionist can develop a detox plan that works best for your body, monitor your progress, and keep your eyes on the prize when you're tempted to cave in.
One of our favorite detox pros is Karyn Calabrese, a raw/vegan restaurateur and nutritionist based in Chicago. Her fun, informative weekly classes made the time spent in our 30 day raw/vegan detox go by quickly. When we didn't have time to prepare our own raw cuisine, she delivered fresh-made meals from her award-winning restaurant. And with her detox book, Soak Your Nuts, personal counseling and state-of-the-art detoxing therapies like oxygen baths, lymphatic drainage and colon therapy, we had the tools we needed.
Thanks to the detox, by the end of 30 days I gave up dairy and adopted a mostly raw, plant-based lifestyle - something I'd been trying unsuccessfully to do on my own for years.
3. Go for the greens. If you're detoxing on your own, start simply by switching up your normal culinary routine. Kick up your servings of green plants and veggies, which naturally detoxify and alkalize the body, clearing toxins from organs and rejuvenating cells with essential nutrients. If all else fails, don't be afraid to drink your greens! With the right equipment (a high powered blender or juicer), green smoothies can be one of the simplest and tastiest ways to get your greens on.
Most importantly, try and give your body a break from meat, dairy, sugar and gluten, which clog the digestive system and can create excess mucous and stored fat in the body. If you can't commit to going vegan, join the Meatless Monday movement and give up animal products for just one day a week.
4. Make a date with your bathroom. If you're cleansing deeply, you'll probably find yourself visiting the water closet a bit more than usual. It's perfectly normal! Make a ritual out of it. Light a scented candle, play your favorite music, catch up on reading, or write in your journal while you're indisposed.
5. Practice rigorous self-care. In addition to being incredibly inconvenient, detoxing can also bring up deep-seated emotions that have been long buried for years, if not decades. Though only temporary, confronting inner demons can be painful, so be kind to yourself. Practicing self-love will provide the extra emotional support you'll need to stay committed to your unique healing process. For some, this could mean organizing the hall closet you've been meaning to get to for years. For others, it may mean bumping up your meditation practice or leaving work early to squeeze in a yoga class, spa visit or a nice long nap.
Most importantly, avoid negative people who drain your energy or encourage you to feel bad about yourself. Toxic relationships can be more damaging than anything you put into your body, so don't be afraid to end old friendships that for whatever reason, no longer support your highest self. Life is short and you deserve better!
6. Experiment. It may take a few detoxes before you discover your rhythm, so don't be afraid to experiment and improvise until you find a system that clicks personally.
Whatever detox you choose, having the right food at your fingertips can make or break your success, so use this time to try out new recipes. Armed with great recipes an the right equipment, you'll be able to whip up healthy meals in no time. One of our favorite detox tools is the Omega 8006 Masticating Juicer. It helps us whip up dozens of healthy treats in minutes, from fresh fruit juices and green shakes to my personal favorite, Vegan Man's raw carrot ginger soup, but it's low rotation speed means no heat build up or enzyme loss and a high juice yield.
For easy, tasty vegetarian recipes that will tantalize your taste buds before, during or after detoxing, check out the food channel of Conscious Living TV.
Note: Before beginning any detox protocol, be sure to consult your doctor to ensure the regimen is best for your overall health. Happy cleansing!