"To detox or not to detox?" That's the question we're exploring today in our The Skin Diet Connection series here on the blog.
Detox programs promise more energy, clearer thinking, weight loss, and radiant skin through fasting, juices, shakes, pills, fizzy powders, or special diets. But how do we know if we need a detox program in the first place?
I think it's essential to start by understanding that detoxification is naturally happening every day in our bodies. The organ systems involved include the lungs, skin, and digestive tract (you can read more about that here). Still, two vital organs responsible for detoxification are the liver and the kidneys. And without even giving it a second thought, these systems and organs are working hard for us, functioning and filtering whatever we seem to through at them! Let me say this one more time just in case you missed it - our body has a filtration system in place that filters everything we put on our skin, breath in, eat and drink, and so on. So we are walking talking filters. And when these filters are working efficiently, it will show up as glowing healthy skin.
So, if we've got all these detox systems already in place, how do we know if we need a detox program or simply need to support the systems we already have in place?
It's a great question and one each of us has to decide on our own. In most cases, I tend to suggest the latter unless your entire diet consists of beauty betrayers like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, refined carbs, and greasy fried foods. PS All foods I love in moderation, by the way. A diet lacking any nutrition, though, is based on habits and patterns, and although these foods fill our bellies, our bodies have to work extra hard to filter and eliminate waste.
A detox I'd suggest here would be to refrain from your usual choices by crowding them out and swapping them for fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lots of good ole' H2O for a 2-3 week stretch. No fasting, juices, shakes, pills, fizzy powders, or special diets are needed. We just need to turn back to Mother Nature to reset our palette, knowing that this 2-3 week stretch will begin to curb those daily cravings. Then, after your detox, adopt an 80/20 diet like the one we talked about here.
So what if you're already walking the middle road, maybe even eating healthy daily and getting your 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies every day. How can you help your body's detoxification systems?
Here are a few to get you started:
1. Start your morning off by drinking warm water with lemon. Benefits: Hydration from the inside out! It also encourages your bowels to let go and allow for more efficient eliminations.
2. Limit medications. Although extremely useful in case of an emergency, try to limit over-the-counter drugs to only when absolutely needed for a happy liver. For example, if you've got a headache, try hydrating and/or resting instead of reaching for ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
3. Limit processed foods and fried foods. Preservatives, artificial dyes, and chemicals that go into processed foods and vegetable oils that have been heated to high temps, such as in fried foods, are incredibly stressful for the liver to process.
4. Eat more plants. Fruits and especially veggies are incredibly nourishing to your liver. For example, leafy greens contain chlorophyll and thousands of phytonutrients that help neutralize the metals, chemicals, and pesticides in foods, helping protect your liver.
5. Swap your coffee for Green Tea. This one's tough, even for me, but green tea is full of plant antioxidants that improve our liver's functioning.
6. Get out and play. Moving your body improves digestive function and boosts metabolism, helping stimulate detoxification through breath, sweat, and circulation. Yay!
So what's your next move?