08 Apr Your Spring Detox: A Time for a Healthier You
It’s springtime! This is a time when we look forward to sunnier skies, greener grass, and warmer weather! This is also a time when we often make changes and improvements in our lives. We retire heavy coats and boots and make way for shorts and flip flops. It’s ‘out with the old’ and ‘in with the new’ as we do our yearly spring cleaning. And of course we start to prepare our bodies for summer – often turning to the Spring Detox. Here are some considerations for Your Spring Detox.
What is detoxification?
In the body, detoxification is the ongoing daily process of protecting the body from toxins. This process is mainly carried out by the liver, but there are 5 major routes of detoxification/elimination in the body. They are the skin, digestive tract/large intestines, lungs, kidneys/urinary bladder and as mentioned the liver. These organs work together to filter toxins and then neutralize and transform them into less harmful substances that your body can deal with to then ideally eliminate them from the body. When your body is unable to remove toxins, it often stores them in your fat tissue so that they aren’t able to wreak havoc. This isn’t a bad solution until you decide to start losing a lot of weight – like in the spring after a season of putting on a few extra pounds and having been potentially less active than you would have liked to have been.
A detox diet is designed to help address environmental toxins, which are substances that are harmful to the body and are found in the foods, food containers, cleaners, toiletries, etc… that we use and consume daily.
You should keep in mind that doing a detox isn’t a guaranteed way to rid your body of all of its toxins. It is however, a helpful way to support your body’s own detoxification pathways.
Benefits of doing a detox
There are many benefits to a doing a detox, but I would say a key benefit is decreasing inflammation in the body. Inflammation occurs when your body’s immune system is activated. When this happens you may experience symptoms such as swelling, aching, and fever for example. Decreasing inflammation in the body means taking your body’s immune system off of a – needless and potentially damaging – high alert so that it’s not likely to overreact to its environment. This will result in DECREASED PAIN, IMPROVED DIGESTION, and REDUCED ALLERGY SYMPTOMS – perfect timing for enjoying the outdoors and BBQs this spring and summer!
Your detox doesn’t have to be complicated. No kits, gym memberships, or other equipment required.
Keep it simple: Reduce the amount of toxins introduced to the body and improve your body’s elimination processes.
Reduce Toxin Exposure
Start with Dietary Modification.
- Processed foods, especially sugar.
Switch it up.
Words to shop by: Organic, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, pesticide-free, free range. Remember that the cost to your health is more significant than the cost to your wallet. But while you’re making the switch, try to remember the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen (see image above). These are lists of the 12 most and the 15 least pesticide concentrated fruits and vegetables to use as guide when deciding whether or not to buy organic.
Evaluate your environment.
Toxins are not only ingested via the foods we eat, but also absorbed into the body by the chemicals we put on our bodies and even the chemicals we smell! Beware of the products you are using and consider more natural alternatives when applicable. Many companies are producing more natural cleaning and beauty products. Many toiletries can even be made at home – could be a fun spring family project!
Words to shop by: Phthalate-free, paraben-free, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate-free.
Improve Elimination Pathways
Here, again, you can start with Dietary Modification.
Make FIBRE your friend! Fibre can bind toxins, making them more easily eliminated.
Fibre is found in high concentration in vegetables, lentils, beans, legumes, and whole grains.
Note: With an increase in fibre intake you’ll want to make sure you’re getting adequate water to ensure bowel movements remain optimal for elimination. Elimination is vital to the detoxification process; you should not start an intense detox if you are constipated. If you are experiencing digestive difficulties, consult with your naturopathic doctor or other healthcare provider.
Add some Movement.
Get active! Even as little as 30 minutes daily can make difference. The movement will helps to keep blood circulating through to be filtered and detoxified by various organs. Be sure to break a sweat when doing your exercise, this will help with elimination of toxins through the skin.
Don’t forget to Breathe.
All too often we forget how active an organ the lungs are; they are a place of exchange and filtration in the body and very much deserving of a little TLC. How often are we inhaling perfumes, cleaning supplies, cigarette smoke, etc…? Great ways to spend time focusing on your breathing include activities like meditation, yoga and Pilates. You can spend as little as 5 minutes to as long as you’d like.
Before you get started. TAKE NOTE!
When starting a detox you MAY experience a lull in energy level for the first 2-7 days. Your body is highly adaptable, and is going to be adjusting to not getting its energy from processed foods, coffee and sugar and has to readjust to performing these functions on its own.
If you are, or have been, exposed to major environmental toxins, such as mercury or lead, please consult with a health care practitioner before doing any sort of detox. You may want to consider environmental testing and specialized detoxification therapy.
Wait what about all those detox supplement kits!?!
Adding supplements to support your detox can be helpful. If you are considering starting a detox and have questions about the efficacy and benefit of certain supplements, please feel free to book a 15 minute Discover Naturopathy consultation! I’m happy to answer your questions.
Stay tuned to my facebook page this month for detox tips.
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Take good care of yourselves!
Dr. Catherine Newry