Developing a Natural Daily Detox Routine
With increasingly hectic, fast-paced lifestyles, we often reach for the fastest and easiest foods and products, loading our bodies with toxins, usually unknowingly. Although the body has its own detoxification system, this system can get so overworked that it cannot function optimally without a little help. That is why a natural daily detox can be a great addition to our health toolkit.
What Are Toxins and How Do They Affect Us?
A toxin is any substance that negatively affects health. That includes heavy metals such as lead and mercury, toxins produced by bacteria and yeast in the gastrointestinal tract, liver toxins like alcohol and pesticides, and kidney toxins such as urea and ammonia. There are a huge number of synthetically produced substances that contribute to the toxicity of the environment.
One of the body’s main ways of responding to environmental stressors is the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system. An important circuit of the NEM is the detoxification response, with the liver being the main clearance center, supported by the immune system, the extracellular matrix, the lymphatic system, and the kidneys.
If the NEM detoxification response is compromised by excessive stress, its components will not rid the body of toxins in a timely manner, risking build-up and oxidative damage.
Further burdening the NEM are factors such as eating processed food, ingesting too much sugar, taking certain medications, breathing city air, drinking chlorinated water and leading a sedentary lifestyle, which all contribute to the accumulation of toxins in the body.
As the body’s detoxification system becomes more burdened, the body responds by becoming more and more sensitive to foods and medications that are not actually toxic to begin with.
The following are signs your detoxification system might be overloaded:
- Frequent headaches
- Frequent colds and flus
- Unexplained back pain and joint pain
- Skin break-outs
- Brain fog
- Brittle nails and hair
- Low energy and mood
- Body odor and/or bad breath
- Weight gain
If this is the case for you, there are many helpful remedies and habits that can support your body in a natural daily detox, returning you to a state of health.
For people who have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), a natural daily detox is all the more important. In AFS, stress overwhelms the body and the adrenal glands are not able to respond to it. Energy levels start to drop, and as a result, the liver can become sluggish and toxins can build up. It is even more important to take measures to move these toxins out of the body.
Top Natural Daily Detox Habits
Here are some habits to help you build a natural daily detox routine:
1. Eat Clean and Stay Hydrated
The standard American diet (and modern Western diets in general) loads the body with junk – overly salty, sugary, processed or greasy foods. High in calories, low in nutrients and fiber (if at all), junk food is the first habit that needs to go, along with smoking and too much alcohol.
A healthy diet does not have to be difficult or boring. There are ways to meal-plan and train your taste buds to make eating whole, healthy, and nutritious food easy and delicious.
It’s also important to drink plenty of water. Eight glasses a day is the rule of thumb. Water helps flush out the toxins and keeps you hydrated.
One sure-fire way to get a lot of healthy nutrients into your system and add to your hydration is to drink green juice daily. There are some green juice recipes that are specifically crafted for detox.
Caution: For those with AFS, some healthy foods may not be so healthy. There is a certain type of diet that supports adrenal recovery. To make sure you are on the right track, consider getting nutritional coaching specifically for adrenal fatigue. Green juicing, while generally beneficial, can negatively impact those with advanced adrenal fatigue, as they are not able to process toxins out of their systems properly. Too much detoxification may even lead to a retoxification reaction, whereby toxins are reabsorbed by the cells in the body instead of being excreted.
2. Choose Organic and Natural Products
With pesticides, herbicides, and unnatural chemicals, many beauty and health-care products can and do add to toxic build-up in the body. Try to choose natural beauty and hygiene products where possible.
This is especially important for those with chemical sensitivities. Chemical sensitivities arise from a high toxin load irritating and inflaming the body. Any toxin absorbed by the body, even through the skin, can throw the system into disarray.
When you are able to, it’s also important to make the choice to eat organic produce and use toxic-free cleaning products for your home.
Farmers Markets are a great place to get your week’s produce haul. You can also find creative ways to make your own beauty and cleaning products with natural ingredients, or buy ones that are made without toxic chemicals.
It might seem like a huge effort at first, but once it becomes a habit, it will feel like second-nature to you, and you will reap the benefits of a cleaner lifestyle.
3. Be Active
A common problem nowadays is that we are not moving enough, sitting at the desk for eight hours then coming home only to slump on the couch, exhausted from a long and stressful work-day.
Breaking this pattern will be uncomfortable at first. It’s not easy to make the choice to start exercising even though you are tired, stressed, and busy. Once it becomes a habit, though, you will find your health and quality of life improving exponentially.
There’s no need to start training for a marathon. Start small, with just brisk walks of 10-20 minutes a day. You can choose to increase that later or try something different altogether, like high intensity interval training or swimming. Movement is very helpful for detoxing, and it is essential for a healthy body in general.
Caution: Those who are in late stages of AFS may only tolerate a few minutes a day, and that is okay. Too much exercise for AFS sufferers can trigger adrenal crashes. Exercise is stress added onto the body, while there may be benefits, the pros and cons need to be weighed out before starting an exercise program in advanced adrenal fatigue. The adrenal restorative and adrenal yoga exercises are best for AFS sufferers because they are gentle, yet allow the body to get stronger.
4. Sleep Well
For many, when it’s time for bed, it’s hard to fall asleep, and the quality of sleep is not very good. Exercise actually improves sleep, but it is hard to get enough.
This pattern is very detrimental to overall health, both mental and physical. Without good sleep, we wake up groggy and already tired, making it even more difficult to be active and exercise. And without exercise and movement, your sleep is affected. And the cycle will continue unless you consciously break it.
During sleep, the body is actually working to repair and rejuvenate, as well as detox. There are many little tips and tricks that could help improve sleep, such as making sure the room is totally dark and avoiding the use of electronics a couple of hours before bed. Try removing any electronic apparatus to 10 feet away or more, including alarm clocks.
Sleep is doubly important for adrenal fatigue recovery.
It’s important to manage all the stressors of our daily lives, especially for those with AFS. A natural daily detox routine can help avoid adding stress to the system, and clear the toxins already in it, improving health overall.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.