There is something about spring that often makes people want to detox. Perhaps it’s the desire to reboot or recharge after a long, sluggish winter. While doing a detox can feel like a fresh start, we don’t need a particular time of year to help our bodies clear toxins. In fact, it is very important that we are detoxifying on a regular basis, and that we are continually making dietary and lifestyle choices that reduce our toxin load.
Sadly, toxins are everywhere and they cause cumulative damage. Every source of exposure adds up and can harm every aspect of our health. Toxins are believed to play a role in virtually all diseases. But, our bodies do have a tremendous amount of healing capacity. So, it is critical that we learn how to best avoid toxins, how to strengthen our detoxification organs, and how to support the body’s release of toxins and repair any toxin-related damage.
If you are looking for a fantastic resource about toxins and want a structured and effective detox program to jump-start your body into better health, then I highly recommend Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s ground breaking book, The Toxin Solution. It is really a “must read” to gain a better understanding of how toxins harm the body and what you can do about it.
Here are 5 ways to reduce your toxin load and support detoxification on an ongoing basis:
1. Reduce your consumption of toxin-contaminated foods. Unfortunately, so many foods are contaminated during their growing and processing. That is why it is important to eat organically grown food. A great way to do this is to join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) in your area. Refer to The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list for a helpful resource for what foods are most important to buy organically grown. Eating as clean as possible also means choosing organic dairy, eggs from free-range chicken, grass-fed meats, and wild fish, etc. And, it also means avoiding additives and synthetic preservatives commonly found in packaged food items. In addition, drinking and bathing in filtered water using a whole house carbon block filter is an essential part of your health.
2. Choose your cooking techniques and food storage carefully. When it comes to cookware and cooking techniques, it is highly recommended to avoid aluminum, Teflon (nonstick) pots and pans, and silicon. Instead, opt for stainless steel, cast iron, glass and copper cookware. The healthiest cooking techniques include steaming, stir-frying, baking and stewing your foods. Grilling, barbecuing, and charbroiling foods (especially meat) can produce harmful carcinogens. It is best to avoid foods that are packaged in plastic or waxed liners due to the endocrine disrupting chemicals found in the packaging. And, when storing your own food at home, get rid of all of the plastic containers and use glass.
3. Clean up your health and beauty products, as well as your cleaning supplies. The chemicals in lotions, face creams, soaps, antiperspirants, cosmetics, and shampoos, get absorbed into the body within minutes of their application. These body care products are filled with a myriad of harmful chemicals. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database is a fantastic resource for you to discover the cleanest/safest products. Like personal care products, household cleaners are also full of harmful ingredients, such as chlorinated phenols (toilet bowl cleaners and disinfectants), diethylene glycol (window cleaners), nonylphenol ethoxylate (laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners), and petroleum solvents (floor cleaners). There are a lot of excellent natural cleaners available as well affordable, and many are easy to make, with safe recipes for you to create at home.
4. Breathe clean air in your home. Taking measures to reduce your indoor air pollution is key. Common harmful culprits include tobacco smoke, mold, smoke from wood fireplaces, and fumes from furnishings and paint, building materials, bedding and carpets. Installing a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter in your home and changing the filter regularly is recommended.
5. Support detoxification with these healthy habits. Regularly eat dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage family) to help promote liver detoxification. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet or taking a fiber supplement such as psyllium, helps to absorb toxins being excreted by your liver. In addition, get massages and sweat from vigorous exercise or from a sauna as much as possible.
Photo from here, with thanks.