by Christine Hunt
In parts 1 and 2 of this Detox series I explained why detoxing is needed to improve your health and included lists of toxins contained in our food, drugs, skin care and cleaning products.
If you haven’t yet read them, you may do so at these links:
Detoxing our bodies is becoming an essential part of losing weight and maintaining or increasing our physical well being. As Dorothy said to her dog in the Wizard of Oz, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”, neither are we in the chemical free world of our great grandparents.
If you have decided that a detox is in your near future but just don’t know where to begin, this may help.
How long does a detox take?
Well, that depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you eat a pretty clean, whole food diet and avoid chemicals in your food and environment then a detox once or twice a year for a few days may be enough to maintain a low toxin level in your body. But if you have been subjected to chemotherapy, prescription drugs or alcohol for extended periods of time, your level of toxicity is probably pretty high and a longer detox process will be needed.
In general detoxes can last anywhere from a day to years depending on how quickly you want to “get clean” and how a detox process may fit into your lifestyle. Detoxing can be achieved by:
- Drinking water and liquids containing different combinations of spices and juices,
- Eating, preferably, organic vegetables and fruits,
- Non dietary methods like Laser Energetic Detox, ionic foot baths and colonics.
What About Store Bought Detoxes and Cleansing Products?
I have no experience with these products and it is my personal preference to not use them. Part of it is my skepticism regarding the quality of the ingredients and not having the done the research on them that I feel is necessary for my comfort level in putting them into my body. In a way, I am a purist and have the belief that when it comes to food, natural is better. If you would like to give them a try I would advise that you research the company and the quality of their ingredients.
This article will focus on detoxing using fasting and fluids. Some of the ingredients below are beneficial not only for the liver, but for the intestines as well. A good detoxification system will need to address both since flushing out the liver does no good if the intestines are not expelling the toxins shortly thereafter. Otherwise there is the possibility that the toxins will be reabsorbed into the blood stream which defeats the purpose and results in a longer detox process.
The simplest way to flush toxins out of your system is to drink water – and plenty of it. Just to maintain proper body hydration it is recommended to take your body weight, divide it by two and drink that many ounces of water per day. This habit will help your body to perform its natural detoxing process via the liver and intestines.
Drinking the daily recommended amount of water should be a lifestyle habit. It is your best defense against toxic buildup.
Drinking tea is an easy way to incorporate a detoxing beverage into your daily routine. Certain herbal teas improve liver function, increase gastric juices to stimulate digestion and contain anti-oxidants which reduce inflammation.
Some of the most effective ingredients to include if you want to make your own teas are listed below. If you make your own combinations, you will need to use a tea infuser to hold the loose ingredients while steeping. They come in all shapes and sizes and may be found at your local grocery store, home/kitchen products store, tea specialty shop or online. Tea manufacturers also create combinations of these ingredients in ready to use tea bags for your convenience.
Ginger – stimulates digestion, improves digestion and contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-ulcer compounds.
Chicory – Increases gastric juices to speed up the entire digestive system. A natural diuretic, increases urine production to release more toxins. Used to treat liver dysfunction.
Dandelion – Stimulates and supports liver function and improves gallbladder function. A natural diuretic to increase urine flow. Whole body cleanser as it also prevents stone in the gallbladder and kidneys.
Cayenne Pepper – Removes toxins through phlegm and mucus. Opens up capillaries, regulates blood sugar and aids digestion.
Milk Thistle – (active ingredient is silymarin) A liver protector and supporter it also encourages new cell production and is an anti-inflammatory. Milk thistle extract is powerful enough to help with liver diseases. Use teas or extracts that contain at least 80 percent silymarin.
Burdock – Purifies the blood, strengthens the immune system, antibacterial, antifungal and improves liver function and the digestion process.
Fenugreek – lowers blood pressure, regulates blood sugar levels, aids digestion, reduces inflammation and supports liver function. It is also a powerful laxative so consume lightly if going out.
Turmeric – Promotes bile production by gallbladder which assists the liver in breaking down and flushing out toxins.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Contains enzymes that promote healthy bacteria and help cleanse the digestive system. Breaks up mucus build up so it can be eliminated easily. Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar is recommended.
Lemon juice – The citric acid in lemon juice aids in both the production of digestive juices and the process of digestion. Helps reduce gas and bloating.
Senna – A laxative that increases gastric fluid secretion and bowel movement. Short-term use recommended
Fasting – Give Your Body a Break
Fasting can be for a day or two or up to 2 weeks. You don’t have to go to extreme measures for it to be effective but it is the most intense and fastest of all of the detoxification processes. In essence what it is doing is giving your body a rest from breaking down food and figuring out what to do about the associated toxins it encounters. This time of rest allows your body to recuperate and rejuvenate and you will come out of it with more energy. http://bembu.com/natural-ways-to-detox-your-body
Fasting is a simple process of replacing foods with water and/or natural juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables. Ideally the ingredients should be organic so that you are not introducing concentrated levels of toxins into your system.
It is best to do this when you have some time at home, preferably a weekend, when you can take time to rest and recharge.
If you are using just water, and in good health, it is generally safe to do up to a three day fast on your own, but medical supervision is recommended for one of longer duration. Research the process thoroughly before you begin a water fast.
Homemade, organic juices and smoothies are a great way to detox the body and give it plenty of nourishment. For information on juicing at home, go to this post for juicer recommendations and this post for juice recipes and this link for smoothie recipes. You can use the same ingredients for smoothies that are in juicing recipes but reduce the amount by one third to one half due to the volume of fiber in smoothies.
The frequency that you will drink detox beverages will depend on the level of your toxicity and how quickly you want to cleanse your body. The more you drink, the faster the toxins will be released**.
Here are some recipes and resources to get you started with a liquid detoxing program.
Apple Fennel Cleansing Juice
1/2 fennel bulb
1/2 small red cabbage
Small wedge of lemon or lime.
Juice together and drink it immediately for the most nutritional advantage.
Morning Green Juice
2 stems Swiss Chard
3 stalks celery
cucumber medium size
Cilantro, coriander, parsley, romaine lettuce
No fruit. the lime gives sweetness.
Juice together and drink it immediately for the most nutritional advantage.
Secret Detox Drink
1 water, 12-16 oz.
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp raw honey or Stevia to taste
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Can add turmeric and/or black pepper
Combine ingredients. You may want to use room temperature, but not boiling water. Drink 5 to 10 minutes before meals for 30 days to help digestive system to better absorb nutrients. After 30 days may want to drink once per day before a meal of your choice as a daily detox.
Lemon Ginger Drink
12 oz spring/filtered water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs Grated ginger juice squeezed through fingers
If you don’t want to combine your own ingredients, here are some ready made teas that contain some of the ingredients listed above.
Traditional Medicinals Every Day Detox Dandelion – wwww.traditionalmedicinals.com
Twining’s Lemon & Ginger – www.twiningsusa.com
Yogi DeTox (contains burdock, juniper berry and dandelion) – www.yogiproducts.com
Celestial’s Sleepytime Decaf Lemon Jasmine Green Tea (contains chamomile and mint for calming) – www.celestialseasonings.com
You may also do an internet search to learn which teas contain the ingredients you want and either order online or pick up at your local store. Companies to locate are Celestial Seasonings, Yogi, Alvita, Bigelow, Traditional Medicinals and Teavana.
The best detox method is a change in lifestyle so that you minimize ingesting or absorbing toxic chemicals to begin with. Things that you can do include drinking plenty of water, eating an organic, whole foods diet, making detox drinks like the teas and juices mentioned above a regular part of your daily dietary intake, reducing stress and exercising regularly to expel toxins through the skin and lungs.
Remember, the organs that detox your body, the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin, help determine your overall health. If they are in decline, the health of your entire body slips as well.
Your body will take care of you if you take care of your body.
** If your body is highly toxic from chemotherapy, prescription drugs, alcohol or other toxic substances, limit your juice intake to no more than 24 oz. per day to begin with. Amounts of juices over 24 oz. may result in toxins being released more quickly than the liver and digestive system can expel them which can cause reabsorption into the body and, in extreme cases, an overdose reaction or toxic coma. Consult a medical professional familiar with detox processes or The Gerson Institute, the leader in detoxing from chemotherapy.
The information contained in this article is not intended to be medical advice. If you are considering a detox it is advisable to engage the assistance of a medical professional that is familiar with the different methods and who can order and review lab work and monitor your vital functions. They may also be able to assist you with choosing a detox system that will be the best fit for your needs.
To your health!
Did you know that juices, smoothies or teas may help to detox your body?
Would you like help getting started? Please contact me.
Please share your questions and comments below.
Christine Hunt is a Wellness Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner and has found that working with the whole person by combining mind/body work, dietary adjustments and movement provides her clients with the tools they need to lose weight (and keep it off), get relief from chronic illness and positively transform their lives.
Contact her for a free, 15 minute consultation to learn why what she does works when other methods have failed.
Christine works with her clients in person, by Skype or phone. So, if you live away from the Annapolis, Maryland area, she can still work with you.