I Bet You’re Already Doing It

April 5, 2014 by

Detox can be defined as "a period when you stop taking unhealthy or harmful foods, drinks, or drugs into your body for a period of time, in order to improve your health."

Can you think of a time when you've stopped eating unhealthy or harmful foods in order to improve your health?

Maybe you overindulged at a party and swore off alcohol for awhile (or forever). Or you went crazy on Krispy Kremes and after realizing how terrible you felt you haven't had one since. How about when you got home from a vacation and noticed you'd put on a few pounds? Did you lay off the breads, desserts and fried food for awhile after? I have a cousin who was a beauty queen in her early years. "Carrie" has kept a close eye on her weight her whole life. When the scales show even a modest increase of 2 pounds, she cuts out "bad" food until her weight is back to where she wants it to be. Her discipline and this regular practice have served her well over the years.

Detoxing has been part of human practice for thousands of years. Sometimes we do it intuitively, as when we eat or drink something that makes us sick, and sometimes we follow the instruction of traditional medicine or a religious practice. The Muslim observance of daily fasts during Ramadan is such a practice, as is the Christian practice of giving up something for Lent.

Many people practice regular detoxing, and those practices take many forms. For some, it's one day every week when all they consume is fresh vegetable juice. For others it may be one weekend each month where they eat only raw vegetables and juices. Some swear by the Master Cleanse. Still others may take a week or two in each season to juice or to eat super clean. Typically caffeine, added sugars, wheat and all processed foods are avoided. Sometimes other foods that are known to cause inflammation are also avoided. These can include eggs, dairy products and nuts. Seasonal detoxes often include a focus on a particular organ and allow for an emphasis on seasonal foods.

All of these approaches have one thing in common: they give the body and the digestive system the opportunity to rest. When that happens, we have more energy and our digestion improves, meaning we improve our use of the nutrients we consume. Our thinking becomes clearer as does our skin. I've done several versions of these and I regularly practice several methods that work well for me. For example, when I get home from a trip and have "travel bloat" as I like to call it, I take a few days to focus on eating at home. This Detox from restaurant food and usually takes care of that bloat within a few days.

The Detox I look forward to though is the seasonal Detox. This is about a two-week period when I focus not just on food, but on the emotional and mental aspects of Detox too. I've done several of these and each time it gets easier and more enjoyable. Every time I learn something new about myself and my body, and every time I tune in to the season and take advantage of the opportunity to reevaluate and to release things that are not serving me.

I especially like that this kind of Detox lets me customize my experience to what works best for me. For example, many programs eliminate animal protein. I know from experience (and lab work) that I do best when I eat clean animal protein. Without it my mood can go south very quickly, and I'm not a fan of depression. So I'm also not a fan of programs that forbid animal proteins.

While I look forward to my seasonal Detox and I regularly avoid restaurant food after travelling, I also practice some daily habits that help my body to process and eliminate toxins. That's a whole other aspect of detoxing we'll talk about next time.

In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing what I do seasonally, check out Refresh, Renew, Recharge: the Spring Cleanse.

What Detox practices do you follow? I'd love to hear from you.