Spring Cleaning (For Your Body)
Five ways to detox this spring
I don’t know about you, but during the winter months, my animalistic nature kicks in and I go into hibernation mode. Exercise becomes more infrequent, and I crave high-calorie comfort foods like macaroni and cheese. Once the weather gets nice, and I start thinking about getting into a bathing suit, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. What better way to hit the reset button than to detox? Detoxing at home can help our bodies eliminate toxins, help “reset” our digestive system and protect our bodies from disease. Here are five easy ways you can detox at home this spring. Happy “cleaning”!
1. HAVE A TEA PARTY
There are several herbs that help the body naturally detoxify itself. A great way to ingest these herbs is by drinking tea. According to Katie Adelia Hulsey, owner of local tea company Conscious Teas, drinking tea with herbs such as ginger, tumeric, rose hips and rosemary can remove toxins, clear passageways and de-stress the body. Hulsey says that herbs like ginger and turmeric boost digestion, which is key in detoxifying and balancing the body. “When there is an imbalance in our digestion,” Hulsey says, “it can throw off our entire body and compromise our immune systems. By boosting the digestive system, we can cleanse and restore balance into the body.” In addition to ginger and turmeric, rose hips have the ability to tone your organs, clear mucous congestion, heal tissues and fight free radicals.
2. BRING BACK THE BATH
Your skin is known as the “third kidney,” and it’s the largest organ of the body. Toxins are stored in the skin and can be easily eliminated by sweating. A detox bath will help draw out toxins in the body through the skin. Use a body brush to help exfoliate dead skin cells and accelerate the cleansing process. Run a hot bath. While the water is running, pour in 3/4 cup of Epsom salts, 1/4 of cup baking soda and five to 10 drops of lavender essential oil (all ingredients can be found at Whole Foods Market). The Epsom salts help relax the muscles, cleanse the lymphatic system and alleviate stress. The baking soda draws toxins out of the body, and the lavender oil soothes the body (and smells like heaven!). Use a body brush on dry skin or during the bath while your skin is still wet for optimal effects. Bonus: This detox bath will also make you sleep like a baby.
3. CHANGE WHAT’S ON THE MENU
There are dozens of detox diets out there that will have you fasting for days or consuming nothing but lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Yuck! Because the body is a natural-born fighter of toxins, there are simple ways we can modify our diet that can help speed things along a little bit. Eat naturally detoxifying foods like cauliflower, broccoli and leafy greens, which help eliminate toxins, heal the liver and reduce inflammation. Lentils, steel-cut-oats and grapefruit are seemingly nonrelated foods that have one thing common: fiber. Fiber keeps the digestive system moving smoothly, helps lower cholesterol and balances blood sugar. Cucumbers are 95 percent water and pack a serious nutrient punch, which helps the body flush out toxins. Morning smoothies are an excellent way to get your greens in before the day begins. If thinking about vegetables in your smoothie makes your appetite disappear, try this recipe—the veggie taste is masked by the sweet mango and orange juice. You won’t even taste them, and your body will thank you. Combine 1/2 banana, a handful of spinach or other leafy green (such as kale), 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh mango and pour just enough orange juice to cover the other ingredients; then blend with ice.
4. DETOX DIGITALLY
Another way you can detox this spring is to give your brain a break from the constant stimulation of email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other tech distractions. Turn off your phone, computer and television for a day. Spend the day writing a handwritten letter to a friend, reading a book, cooking a meal from scratch or reconnecting with nature.
5. GET MOVING
Increasing body temperature and blood flow with exercise and stretching has profound effects on the body’s ability to detox itself. Start each day by touching your toes in the shower for 10 seconds and end the day by touching your toes in bed for 10 seconds. Practicing this simple movement twice a day not only improves flexibility but also brings heat to the digestive tract, which naturally assists the body in the disposing of toxins. If you can’t touch your toes at first, don’t worry. If you try for 10 seconds every morning and night, you’ll be able to do it in no time. And, as always, don’t forget to breathe!