It’s been a long, busy winter of post grad education, clinical practice demands and some traveling. So finally, it is good to be back on this blog. So, better late than never! This series is one that is important to me because it is a huge game player in lasting health and longevity! I’m sharing with you my five favorite ways to prevent the buildup of toxins in your body…in other words, slowly cleanse your system without feeling you are going through a serious detox!
I mentioned in a previous article that if you are having any health issue or complaint, such as chronic fatigue, stubborn weight issues, headaches, thyroid symptoms etc, it is best to consult with a licensed health practitioner, preferably one trained in functional medicine. In my opinion a therapeutic cleanse or detox should be designed and supervised by a professional. Why?
Why You Should Be Supervised by a Health Professional During a Detox:
- Everyone has their own unique environmental, diet and lifestyle history combined with genetics. You should invest in a program to address your own specific physiology, not waste money on a cookie cutter cleanse which may give you temporary results. You will end up frustrated when the symptoms or weight gain returns.
- A customized program should work to resolve the underlying issues or patterns which trigger your symptoms. For example: Do you have hormone metabolites in your system from past or current use of birth control or other hormone therapies? (See my previous article on xenoestrogens) Do you have dysglycemia or insulin resistance? Do you have a gut infection such as H Pylori which in most cases people have NO symptoms. Are you anemic? How do you know? Labs. I’ve seen several patients showing patterns of least two of these issues once I analyze their blood tests.
- You should be monitored by a professional, especially if you are on medication . Also when progress is tracked, your program can be tweaked along the way to make sure you are getting optimal results and minimizing any uncomfortable symptoms while your body is expunging the crap out your tissues and gut!
In the meantime, it’s a good idea to take baby steps by implementing a few things into your routine before the therapy kicks in. I use these steps with some patients for at least a week before their customized cleanse program starts. This is also a great way to maintain the results of your program and minimize congestion in your system between cleanses. If you have no interest in doing a program, these simple steps can slowly (ever so slowly) clear out toxins and gradually improve your health. Even if you start with one strategy and do it daily, you may likely start seeing results!
#1 Minimize to eliminate refined sugars, artificial ingredients and colors. (Yes, I am listing one of the hardest ones first, so let’s get this on the table now). This includes refined sugars, processed foods, sodas, artifical electrolytes such as gatorade and powerade, processed vending machine snacks, breads, and there’s more! It goes way beyond the obvious candy bars and desserts. If you drink coffee, instead of sugar, try almond milk. Eating sugar based foods, waiting too long between meals spikes your insulin and reduces your ability to burn fat and remove toxins.
#2 The morning joe before the Morning Joe. I recommend to all my patients, they drink a cup of hot water with (optional) squeeze of lemon or a slice of ginger first thing in the morning. This gets the bowels moving and sets the tone for healthy digestion for the day. Let me back up a bit here: Before sipping anything, brush your teeth and scrape your tongue. Remove the sludge from your tongue with a metal tongue scraper (not a plastic one- see my previous post on plastic contamination). I have seen several friends and patients start dropping a pound or two just by doing #2 (this strategy.. excuse the pun!)
#3 The one “go to” simple vitamin/supplement I love for gentle, every day cleansing is called “Triphala”. Triphala is a combo of three fruits in India: amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki. It is one of the most common herbal solutions used in Ayurvedic Medicine (the Self -Healing System from Ancient India). This combo is very effective in gently cleansing the colon. You may see these individual fruits listed in the ingredients of other supplements or the ever popular “Amla” based products for hair, energy, digestion etc. In Ayurveda we say it scrapes the “sludge” from the inner walls of the colon. It is not known to cause an extreme effect when taken in low doses, however please consult with your licensed professional before taking this. In sensitive or extremely toxic individuals who are not medically managed, large doses can lead to detox reactions such as severe diarrhea or headache and vomiting. I usually recommend this one during periods between therapeutic cleanses to maintain the progress and assist in gentle removal of wastes and unwanted toxins. In tablet form, one in the morning with your warm water tea is a nice maintenance dose. (Note: If you are going to purchase this supplement, be very careful and make sure the manufacturer meets high standards for purity and potency). If in doubt, please contact me.
#4. Self Massage. Massage is not just for pampering and pain symptoms. Ever notice that after a good massage you have a good bowel movement? If your therapist knows how to assist the peristalsis (wave like contractions) of your colon walls, you are moving more toxins out of the body. If you work on your own abdomen a couple of minutes a day; before sleep or before getting out of bed, you may be surprised at the difference. An Abdominal massage not only directly impacts intestinal motility, it can help tone your abdominal wall.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Use flat fingers to gently rub your belly with small circular motions while traveling up (towards your nose) on the right side, from right to left across the top of your belly (just under the ribs) and down on the left side, then towards the middle. It’s more effective with a little oil such as coconut or almond oil.
#5 Hydrate with water, teas, tonics and cleansing soups! Room temperature water is best. Cold and icy water dampens the digestive energy and can slow down the process. Anti-inflammatory tonics using ginger or turmeric are excellent for indigestion, detoxifying foods and improving circulation. They are both warming root herbs; my favorites for cleansing! As for soups, homemade is best. Just toss the ingredients in a pot and let simmer! I try to keep a container of prepared ginger tea in the fridge for a morning or evening post meal drink. These are also powerful immune stimulants. Below are a couple of easy recipes to prepare and store in your fridge for about 5 to 7 days:
Fresh Ginger Tea:
So simple! Peel and chop about 3-4 inches of ginger root into small pieces (not tiny, not minced). Toss them into a small pot filled with 2-3 quarts of water. Heat to a rolling boil then reduce to simmer for at least one hour (I let mine simmer for 2-3 hours to release the active ingredients). You will find the volume reducing as the tea gets stronger. Cool down to room temperature before storing in the fridge. Most people remove the ginger pieces. I choose not to, as the infusion continues with every re-heat. To serve, you can boil water and add a little to a cup of your tea concentrate to warm it up and sip!
Cleansing Ginger Vegetable Soup:
This one is so easy. Probably the easiest soup you can make. Just toss your chopped leftover greens into a pot of water, add fresh ginger pieces and onion. The day I made this soup I had some green onion and leftover parsnips. Before adding the water I first simmer some fennel seeds in olive oil. Fennel is well known in Indian cuisine for nausea, gas, cramping and weak digestion. You can also add turmeric root or powder. For an additional Vitamin C kick, add a minced serrano chili. With this soup pictured here, I garnished with mint leaves (cooling)to balance the heating digestive ingredients.
Keeping a regular routine of at least one digestive activity can support your natural cleansing abilities between any recommended detoxification. There is no one size fits all detox program. As much as we would rather buy a solution in a bottle, or protein shake and call it a day… your body just won’t respond optimally. You may get a minimal effect (or a massive bowel movement) and drop an inch or a few pounds but the bottom line is: Is your response a true physiological one? Is it shifting your lab readings towards a healthy functional status?
If routine store bought or weight loss program cleanses aren’t getting you lasting results between programs, email me through my website (Contact Page). Let’s talk.
There are so many ways to detox daily. What I gave you here, are my top 5 ways to minimize toxin accumulation. I chose to do a two or three week therapeutic cleanse during seasonal changes or after travel. (Before travel I use a slightly different protocol to strengthen my system for what I may be exposed to). And on that note I am excited to tell you I am going to start blogging about ways to prevent illness and avoid miserable sick days during your vacation. This will include my personal strategies, experiences and yes, some mistakes I have made during my travels. The last thing you want to do is lose vacation days while you are on vacation!
Part One: https://www.nakedtruthbydrmelanie.com/detox-is-a-dirty-word-part-one/