To achieve any level of longevity, you need to detox your body from these chemicals and eat the right foods to protect your cells. That’s the power of the cleanse!
Detox isn’t just for former child actors or heavy-metal drummers. But seriously – you know what kind of detox I’m going to talk about here. Through a variety of natural ingredients, supplements, and healthy elimination modalities, you can remove harmful environmental toxins from your body . . . and have a fun time doing it!
Unless you’ve lived your entire life on a pristine desert island, you’re going to need to detoxify your body at some point. Every day, you can accumulate a buildup of toxins from things like artificial food ingredients, pharmaceutical drugs, heavy metals, waterborne pollution, and crazy things like nuclear fallout. Now, this may sound like science fiction, but your body is constantly bombarded with this stuff. All. The. Time. Prolonged exposure to toxins can create a serious overload of them in your system.
MORE: Did you know that toxins can affect fat and limit weight loss? Learn more about the relation between fat and toxins and what you can do to limit your exposure to toxins right here.
Before I get into my recommended dynamic detox protocol and my personal cleansing regimen, behold the complex issue of chemical exposure:
- More than 6 million pounds of mercury and 2.5 billion pounds of other toxic chemicals are released into the environment in the U.S. each year
- 80,000 toxic chemicals have been released into our environment, and very few have been tested for their long-term impact on human health
- In 2007, Americans spent more than $28 million on detoxification products
So, even if you eat well, exercise, and keep your immunity strong, you may still be susceptible to the cacophony of chemicals in the food supply and the general environment. There is currently a wealth of scientific evidence showing that thousands of drugs, preservatives, pesticides, and other pollutants remain stored in our bodies long after we are exposed to them. For example, we know that an organochlorinated pesticide such as DDT has a half-life of 20 to 50 years in the fat deposits of the human body. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 400 foreign chemicals have been detected in human tissues: 48 were found in adipose tissue, 40 in women’s breast milk, 73 in the liver, and more than 250 in the blood. As you’ll see, this isn’t anything we should take lightly.
Spring Cleaning for Your Body
So, how do you start to overcome the toxic load? When it comes to detoxification and cleansing protocols, there are innumerable ways you can accomplish your goal of “cleaning house.” It really starts with getting clear about what you want to detox from and the safest, effective method of doing so. For example, a gallbladder flush is fundamentally and procedurally different from a liver detox or a chelation protocol for heavy metal toxicity. If you really want to know what kind of toxins are hanging around in your system, visit a naturopathic medical doctor who can run a full-panel test on your blood, urine, and saliva to determine your true toxic load.
There’s certainly no “one size fits all” approach to detoxing and cleansing. It’s really about doing your research and working with a doctor to determine what’s really going on with your body. Without knowing it, picking an approach to cleansing and lifestyle modification is like throwing darts at a board with a blindfold on. You’ll potentially waste a lot of time and hard-earned money with such a trial-and-error approach to your health.
I’m not going to cover the gritty details and intricacies of each type of detox protocol in this post, but I will offer you some fundamental cleansing tips and share some powerful natural foods and supplements that can support your detoxification and cleansing efforts.
Personally, I like to set an intention to cleanse seasonally. The change of seasons is a time of lots of shifts in the climate and the energies of the earth. I’m a big advocate of eating local, seasonal foods year-round, as they tend to retain more flavor and nutrients when they are planted, grown, and harvested close by. Likewise, cleansing at the start of each new season can be a great way to give your body a much-needed reset and prepare your system to benefit from a whole new variety of foods.
My Personal Seasonal Cleansing Protocol
My favorite kaleidoscope of clean foods and supplements for a seasonal cleanse looks a lil’ somethin’ like this:
- 16 to 32 ounces of fresh filtered water upon waking with organic lemon juice
- Raw organic green juice (minimum 64 ounces per day)
- Raw anti-inflammatory juice (usually a combo of pineapple, ginger, and turmeric root)
- Cleansing soup broth (usually made with mineral-rich seaweeds and a variety of medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, lion’s mane, or reishi)
- Ground psyllium husk (to support bowel movements)
- A boatload of water throughout the day (generally 125 ounces or more)
- Far-infrared sauna therapy for a minimum of 15 minutes daily (until the sweat pours)
- Dry skin brushing with essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus
- Superfood greens supplement to maximize vitamin and mineral intake
- Plant-based probiotic to increase the amount of good bacteria in the digestive tract
- A whole lotta rest (the unreleased Led Zeppelin B-side)
- No work and no business deals, if possible
A point about the “no work, no business” recommendation in my protocol: I feel that it’s important to minimize the major emotional stressors in your life while you are cleansing. You’ll find a much deeper state of calm and, potentially, a more effective cleanse if you can stay at home, unplug the phone and the Internet, and just relax, homie. That’s the part nobody really talks about during a true cleanse—but it’s just as important to chill out and eliminate other toxins, like the emotional ones.
Seriously, as hard as it is to believe, the world won’t end if you take a few days off to reset and recharge. It’s crucial that you take this time to heal your body and renew your senses. Take some hot baths with magnesium salts, relax with some great music, meditate daily, and do your best to be very loving and compassionate with yourself. A proper cleanse isn’t just about detoxing the chemical buildup on a physical level—it’s also about detoxing from the negative thought patterns, belief systems, and myriad ways we hurt ourselves psychologically. It’s an opportunity to cleanse your entire being on all levels of existence—mind, body, and spirit. To me, that’s the real goal of a true cleanse and detox program: to take a clear, compassionate look at all kinds of crap in your life and then, effectively and lovingly, let go of it all!
Progress, Not Perfection
The post-cleanse period is a beautiful opportunity to recreate your relationship to food in new ways that serve your health and happiness for the rest of your life. The idea of “progress, not perfection” is a popular adage that perfectly applies to detoxification and cleansing. We are all works in progress, trying our absolute best to live in accordance with what works for our individual bodies and beings. Finding what works best for our constitution is a constant, lifelong experiment. Be willing to try multiple approaches and cleansing protocols before you find the one that’s best for you and helps you achieve your aims.