"You can change your life by altering your thoughts." ~Eric Butterworth
Cleaning from the Inside Out
The first couple of spring days start many of us thinking about lightening the load (extra winter pounds), getting some fresh air, and renewing our energy. If this sounds like you, you just may be due for a spring cleaning or detox. Yet, with so many books, articles and products to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start.
Actually, our bodies detoxify naturally all the time through our skin, tongue (which may develop a coating as toxins rise to the surface), and daily waste elimination. Certain foods can help this process along though, such as leafy green vegetables, sprouts, citrus fruits, and sulfur-rich foods like garlic, onions or eggs.
As many women are aware, cranberry juice (2 ounces in 6 ounces of water) detoxifies the tissues—especially the kidneys. It also helps eliminate that bloated feeling. We can support the liver with dandelion root tea, whey and artichoke hearts, which contain antioxidants and flavanoids that protect the liver cells and their function. Milk thistle, in both capsule and tea form, is also great for detoxifying from alcohol, medications or exposure to other environmental toxins, according to Andrew Weil, MD.
Beyond choosing healthy lifestyle strategies, such as eight glasses of pure water a day; exercise (especially yoga for improving lymph flow and flushing out tissue toxins); and eating organic foods; your method for detoxifying your body depends on what appeals to you. Some people prefer a short fast (one to three days), in which juicing or clear soups are the main staple. Both noted authors Elson Haas, MD, and Mark Hyman, MD, offer short detoxifying diets that include vegetables, fruit and herbal teas.
Others like a more subtle spring cleanse and may simply emphasize fresh greens, beans, legumes and whole grains. As Dr. Weil says, “Eat foods lower on the food chain,” to ensure the least toxins, and avoid artificial colors in foods. You will also want to choose pesticide-free, organic, local and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods. When they open, Farmers Markets are a great resource for fresh whole foods.
Certain products on the market (shakes, bars, and supplements) will also aid in detoxification, but you need to read the labels carefully. If the first listing of ingredients includes sugar or high fructose corn syrup, as well as any hard-to-pronounce chemicals, you are just adding to your load of toxins. Some products are made with a specific purpose, such as eliminating sugar from your diet. If you are a sugar junkie, brief use of such products may be the boost you need to launch into a healthier diet and lifestyle.
A last word on detoxification—more and more people are becoming sensitive to commonly used processed foods; namely, wheat or gluten, soy, corn, eggs, sugar and dairy. If you want to try eliminating these foods from your diet for three weeks and gradually add them back in one by one, according to how you feel, you may find you feel better than you have in a long time.
tea is actually called a decoction, because the roots are simmered in water,
rather than being steeped. Licorice root is an adrenal balancer, which is very
helpful in times of stress; burdock root helps to purify the blood and
stimulate the liver; dandelion root also works to stimulate the liver and
purify the blood; and the ginger acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Your
body’s mechanisms of detoxification are most active during sleep, so it is
best to drink this tea before going to bed.
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