There are many benefits to detoxing your body but overall the main objective is to reduce your toxic load (aka body burden – the accumulated amount of toxins hanging out in your body, at any given time). We all carry a toxic load – it’s just a matter of how severe the load is. Diet, lifestyle and environment each play a role. If you’re looking to improve your health (and lose some weight in the process), a full body detox is most likely what you need. No, we’re not talking about some crazy diet or a get healthy quick fix, we’re talking about cleansing in a conscious manner; working on the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin.
When Jen and I began our lifestyle transition years ago, we detoxed from our SAD diet and saw amazing results. Through changing the food we consumed and everything we put in and on our bodies, we experienced what seemed like the impossible. We each lost over 45lbs; my adult acne cleared up; Jen’s digestive issues greatly improved; and overall, we just felt better – way better.
Fast forward years later…
A combination of being overworked and not tending to our health has left us in a bit of a rut. I’m having gallbladder issues which cause me regular inflammation (hello weight fluctuation). A standard ultrasound, some months ago, showed I suffer from cholecystitis (an inflamed gallbladder). And while the simple and easy solution may appear to be to have it removed, I promise you, that is not the right answer.
Last month, I went through this insane itching period. For weeks I wanted to scratch my skin off – multiple times a day. I even developed some weird rash on my eyelids which lead to swollen eyes and oozing. Gross, I know but real.
The key is getting to the root cause. Get to the root cause and you can cure what ails you. The body can naturally detoxify itself – it just needs some support and attention. That’s where a full body detox comes in. Clear it all out – let it all go.
Benefits of Detoxing Your Body
A full body detox focuses on the organs which eliminate toxins – the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines and skin. While the results can vary for folks, detoxing leads to increased energy, clearer skin, improved digestion, better sleep, a stronger immune system, and an overall sense of well-being. Plus, it’s a great way to jump start a new healthy lifestyle.
The following are great ideas for detoxing in the order of which many naturopaths recommend. I’ve included our personal favorites. Research and find what works for you.
Colon: If you suffer from constipation, irritable bowel, bloating and digestive issues, truly give this some consideration. Folks have been cleansing their colons since ancient Egypt – clearly, they were on to something. Why cleanse the colon? Old waste gets backed up and stored on your colon’s wall, causing everything from fatigue to weight gain. Cleaning it out removes stored waste, toxins and heavy metals.
For cleansing, we prefer coffee enemas (also cleanses the liver and gallbladder, if performed lying on your right side) – they’re relatively inexpensive and done in the comfort of your home. We’ve also tried colonics (colon hydrotherapy) – also great but pricey since a series is often needed. For more info on this topic, Dr. Josh Axe wrote a great article – Is a Colon Cleanse Beneficial? What you Must Know… I suggest you give it a read – lots of info.
Liver: One of the main ways the body rids itself of toxins is through the liver. So just imagine how imperative it is to keep it functioning properly. The liver is one of the hardest working organs – it detoxifies your blood, produces bile to digest fats, breaks down hormones and stores essential vitamins, minerals and iron. When the liver is not in optimal condition, it’s even harder to properly digest food, especially fats.
In addition to coffee enemas, castor oil packs are a great and inexpensive way to detox the liver. I personally use it on a regular basis, to reduce my gallbladder inflammation. Castor oil packs can also be used for non-cancerous uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, headaches and constipation.
Kidneys: One of our most vital organs, the kidneys process everything we put into our bodies – food, alcohol, medication, etc. Keeping the kidneys healthy prevents infection and kidney stones. It also helps the immune system and flushes toxins out of the body.
To flush our kidneys, we begin the day with a mug of warm lemon water (fresh lemon juice), 10-15 minutes before breakfast. Then, we’re super mindful about our water intake throughout the day – half your body weight in ounces (which is a good daily goal anyway). Water, water, water. Not tea, coffee or juice – just pure, clean water. We have municipal water (hello chlorine), so we’ve invested in a Berkey Water Purification System (if finances allow, we highly recommend you get one). Most recently, we installed a water purification system for the whole house. Lastly, check out Brett Larkin’s Kundalini Yoga Flow – How to Detox Your Kidneys. It stimulates the kidneys by balancing the lower three chakras, strengthening the navel point, and opening the pelvic area.
Lungs: While it’s hard to control the air we breathe, there are things we can do to help cleanse the lungs. For starters, smoking is a no. It’s the fastest way to get toxins into the body. So, work on that horrible habit, please. Then, try to get as much fresh air as possible. You can also do various yoga poses that open the chest and stimulate the lungs.
I love using eucalyptus essential oil in the aromatherapy diffuser. Not only does it make the house smell lovely, but it helps open up the lungs. Castor oil packs (see above) also help to draw out toxins – and of course, yoga gets us breathing deep.
Skin: Lots of toxins come out through the skin – sweating, dead skin cells. At the same time, lots of toxins go in this way as well – it is your largest organ. Everything we put on our skin is absorbed. So, as a general rule of thumb – don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat.
To start, toss your chemical, fragrant bar of soap. Look for something natural, try Dr. Bronner’s (our fam fave). Or, check out your local farmers’ market – you may find soap made with beeswax and essential oils. Then, look at your lotions and makeup. I know, not easy – but not impossible. Though I haven’t tried their products, Araza Natural Beauty is getting rave reviews from fellow health and wellness bloggers. Plus, they sell sample sizes. 100% Pure is another brand that’s getting some love. For detoxing, check out these 6 options via Mind Body Green.
Links to Check Out
I can’t speak from experience in regards to these links, but they have peaked my interest and I’ll be looking into them further. See what you think…
Dr. Frank Lipman Master the Art of Detoxing
Global Healing Center’s 9 Step Body Cleanse
Dr. Josh Axe Homemade Colon Cleanse with 3 Juices
Blissful Existence 4 Season Detox
Disclaimer: As always, we’re not doctors – we just speak from personal research and experience. Consult your doctor or naturopath to see what’s right for you.