Detoxifying is a lifelong process and the steps outlined here can be a constant reference point for you as you undertake a holistic approach to achieving a clean and vital you for a rewarding and sustainable life.
Step 1. Look for signs that you are becoming toxic
Some of the signs of toxicity are:
- You have low energy
- You feel sluggish when you wake up in the morning
- Your tongue is coated in the morning
- Your appetite isn’t really sharp and you tend to eat out of habit rather than because you’re hungry
- You are prone to flu, colds and cough, or allergies
- You get sharp headaches and dizziness
- You have mild tremors in your limbs
- You have unexplained muscle aches, especially in the calves
- Your throat is sore
- Your skin is less radiant, heavier and oilier. You find it breaks out more often
- You are more prone to sunburn and have dry patches on your skin
- You feel restless
- You feel isolated
- You feel that nothing satisfies or nourishes you
Step 2. Develop a detox plan
Fasting or undertaking a detoxification diet can give your detox process a kickstart. More than this, regular fasting or dieting can keep your body cleansed. Both fasting and dieting however can be dangerous if you don’t do them well. Check out the articles on fasting and detox diets to find what is right for you as well as the right way to do it.
Step 3. Eat detox foods
By using “detox foods” as your daily medicine you are getting the best of both worlds, filling your body with life giving essential nutrients and clearing out wastes and toxins. Three key detox foods are:
- Probiotic foods (yoghurt, kefir)
In addition, eat plenty of alkalising foods:
- Fruits and fresh fruit juices, especially banana and apricots
- Vegetables and fresh vegetable juices, especially spinach
- Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, kombucha and kefir
- Cottage cheese
- Tofu and tempeh
- Organic eggs
- Nuts and seeds, especially hazelnuts
- Mineral water (especially those higher in calcium)
Liver Cleansing Foods
Your liver is one of the prime movers and shakers when it comes to detox. Staying truly healthy in an increasingly toxic world means nourishing your liver on a daily basis. Some of the best liver cleansing foods include:
- Artichoke hearts
- Lecithin and egg yolks
- Garlic and onions
- Brassicae family members such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, collard, mustard greens and water cress
- Protein is often overlooked in detox diets but it is essential for your liver to create the enzymes needed to detoxify. Detox-friendly proteins include spirulina, fish (avoid high-mercury fish such as swordfish, flake/shark, tuna and deepsea perch), organic chicken, eggs and yoghurt
- Nuts and seeds are sources of many of trace minerals that your liver needs to detoxify, especially selenium and zinc
- Asparagus, avocado and walnuts are rich sources of glutathione, an important antioxidant and detox agent in your body required for clearing out heavy metals, drugs and chemicals.
If you want to truly nourish your liver for a longer life you’ll also need to cut down on alcohol, sugar, refined foods, trans fats and fried foods.
Step 4. Use supplements and herbs
Supplements can help with the digestive phase of detox, support your liver, alkalise your body, and help rid your body of toxic heavy metals.
Keeping toxins from food, water, yeasts, bacteria and waste products from being absorbed into your body from your digestive tract is the very first phase of detoxification.
- caprylic acid
The following supplements should be included as part of your liver protection and support:
Amino acids: Taurine, glycine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
B vitamins: Vitamin B12, B6 are needed for a detox pathway known as methylation.
Vitamin C: 500mg two to three times daily
Zinc: 5—15mg taken at night before bed
Lipoic acid: 200—600mg per day
Selenium: 50—150mcg per day
Alkalising your body
Green supplements such as barley and wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella and broccoli sprout powder taken on a daily basis are an easy and effective way to alkalise your body. Using a good-quality green food supplement on a daily basis is a little bit like having a spring clean every day.
Glutathione will help with detoxifying and eliminating all heavy metals. Mercury is one of the more pervasive and dangerous heavy metals. The freshwater algae chlorella is a gentle yet effective way to detoxify mercury.
Herbs have a range of actions to assist detox including supporting your liver, cleansing your blood, and promoting healthy digestion. Details are in the article on herbal detox but some leading detox herbs are:
- clover (red)
- celery seed
- blue flag
- milk thistle
- gotu kola
- psyllium husks
Step 5. Encourage skin detox
Encourage detoxification through your skin by:
- Air bathing, which stems from the nature cure tradition of “atmospheric cure”. It involves exposing the naked body to air for periods of time.
- Saunas, which are great detoxifying aids because they create a huge sweat. Sweat is a boon for the body as it discharges toxins, renews the immune system and regulates heat.
- Skin Brushing The flow of lymphatic fluid is enhanced through gentle daily dry skin brushing, which reduces pooling of debris such as large proteins, fatty acids and toxins in the skin’s connective tissue. Efficient movement in the fluids outside the skin cells helps maintain firm and vital skin.
- Soaking Soaking in warm or hot water increases circulation and opens the pores of the skin to enable some of the mineral salts to absorb, providing a double action of repair and relaxation.
Step 6. Detox your living environment
It’s hard to stay “clean” if you are constantly placing yourself in the way of toxins in your everyday life. Make changes to your home and work that will make “detox” a part of your daily living:
- Use feng shui to get the energy clear in your home. If the chi in your home cannot flow easily it can become stagnant and toxic, trapping negative energies.
- Use natural substances like orange essential oil to deal with pests in your home.
- Try eco-friendly cleaners and paints that are low in volatile organic compounds in your house. Cleaners like bicarbonate of soda, eucalyptus oil and white vinegar are great for the environment and your family.
- Wear clothes that are made from organic fabrics.
- Avoid using plastics where you can.
Step 7. Breathe
Seventy per cent of your body’s toxins are released through the breath. Practices such as sudarshan kriya, in which you breathe in distinct rhythms harmonise the rhythms of body, mind and emotion and are very powerful for preventing toxins from accumulating in the system as well as releasing existing toxins.
Step 8. Detoxify your emotions
There is no such thing as a “negative” or unhealthy emotion. However, toxicity occurs when emotions are rejected, judged, suppressed or lied about. These behaviours create emotional mind states that eventually lead to depression, addiction and anxiety. Additionally, if you allow toxic emotions to accumulate, the emotional toxicity ultimately leads to physical toxicity.
Simple things like going for a walk, meditating, listening to music or writing can be the start of letting go of toxic emotions. Then there is the seven-step approach to dealing with toxic emotions as outlined in the article on emotional healing in this publication. You should start your emotional detox as soon as possible before those toxic emotions start to cause damage.
Step 9. Cleanse your relationships
If your relationships are toxic you can cleanse them in a number of ways.
- Look at yourself It’s important to consider what you may inadvertently be doing to someone else.
- Practice mindfulness For the purposes of managing your reactions to toxic people you need to focus on becoming separate from the moment. When you separate yourself from what is happening you become more objective and less emotional and judgemental. To practise mindfulness you need to take a mental step back, breathe slowly to calm your habitual responses and listen without judgement to what is happening.
- Eliminate In some cases there is nothing you can do to effectively build a protective wall or manage your reaction/response to another person’s behaviour. In these instances, eliminating that person from your life is the only solution. If you cannot completely cut yourself off from an individual who impacts on you in a negative way, you may need to create managed or controlled interactions.
- Confront Effective communication skills can help you to confront another person without being aggressive or abusive. It allows you to stay in control as you state your case and ask to be treated with more respect.
- Defuse Learning how to defuse a toxic person requires you to be alert to the strategies the individual uses to cause harm. If you become aware of their behaviour and your reactions to it, you can “nip things in the bud”, protecting yourself against their attempts to harm you.
10. Reconnect to your spirit
Spiritual toxicity results when you become disconnected from your spirit or soul. Here are some ways to reconnect:
- Use breathing techniques
- Sing and chant
- Do yoga
- Be grateful
- Serve others
Whatever you do, take time to build some sort of regular spiritual practice into your life. Just as you regularly eat the right food, you need to maintain your soul connection on a daily basis.