In Detox Part 1 and Part 2 I covered the main classes of detoxes, what works, what doesn’t and and where problems can arise. Detoxification is something we do every day, we don’t have stuff stuck in our bowels and losing water weight or starving isn’t the same as detoxing. Detox is something to prioritize every day because it’s happening all the time! Here’s where the daily tips come in. There are so many more, but it’s important to start somewhere.
Eat bitter and sour tasting foods
Bitter foods have been used for centuries to stimulate digestion, often in the form of herbal tinctures. Most people have had Gin, Jager, Sambuca and other alcoholic “bitters” without knowing that they have medicinal properties (in small amounts of course.) To get a similar effect from foods try incorporating these into your diet on a more regular basis providing they agree with you. These foods are known to have antioxidants and the bitter taste stimulates digestion. This means it provides stimulation of the gall bladder which stores bile salts that help with digestion while serving as convenient dumping ground for some of the toxins from the liver. Click here for more information on bitters.
- Radicchio (my personal favourite)
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Bitter lettuces
- Citrus fruits
- Broccoli and it’s relatives
Water: there is some confusion about water consumption. Like most things it have been oversimplified. The amount of water needed depends on so many things from how much exercise, surrounding temperature and humidity, sodium and carbohydrate consumption, electrolyte balance and more. Here are some tips of when you may be approaching dehydration:
- drink if you’re thirsty, if you don’t know, try hydrating and noticing what body sensations have changed
- mild headaches are often caused by dehydration
- after dining out: restaurants and especially fast food are notorious for over salting food.
- after eating non whole food prepared snacks – potatoe sticks, gluten free crackers type snacks all have sodium, some more than others
- if you feel unusually hot without signs of a flu cold or other serious problem
- slight difficulty focusing, you might just need a break from what you’re doing but you may as well grab some water on that break
- For a great look at water consumption check out this article
Breathing: simply put we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide and other gases. Beyond that, breathing serves to gently massage our abdominal organs. This gentle massage is also what moves fluid out of our lymph system which drains infectious and other waste products from our body. Breathing and paying attention to the breath also helps shift us into the parasympathetic PS) mode of our autonomic nervous system. How do you know what it feels like to be in PS mode?
- If you’ve ever come home from a long day of work and landed on the couch feeling the day melt away, you were there.
- Ever have a really relaxing meal where you took your time to taste your food?
- What about your intimate moments with your partner?
- Time when you experience joy and beauty?
- Experienced the body bliss after yoga?
- What are your favorite moments?
These feelings and times have a few things in common: They are wonderfully pleasurable moments and they are also moments when you’re PS system is most likely to be active. Simple breathing and focusing your attention there can help you access the PS mode. You carry your breath with you everywhere. Instead of reaching for a sugary snack, try breathing and giving your body and mind a 5 minute break from you busy day.