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November 15, 2016

How to safely perform a full-body detox

Wellness Body Detox

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Green smoothie detox drink Alisha Mishra/

Many of us lower our standards for health. This includes sleeping too little, crash diets and neglecting stress. Our lowered standards manifest in fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches and digestive problems – unsurprisingly, some of the most common complaints of our culture. It is arguably “normal” to live with one or more of these ailments and even forget how our bodies feel without them. Consistently feeling less than yourself may point to a high level of toxins in your body.

Over time, toxins have been shown to increase a variety of health risks, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, autism, depression, cancer, food allergies, autoimmune diseases and digestive diseases.

And we’re more at risk than ever before. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “We are exposed to 6 million pounds of mercury and 2.5 billion pounds of other toxic chemicals each year.” Lead, mercury, petrochemicals, pesticides, as well as mental and emotional toxins, have the ability to plague us. Toxins exist in everything from our food and water, to our environments, beauty products and stress levels. Therefore, it is pertinent to be aware of toxins and actively work to remove them from your body.

Here’s how to safely perform a full-body detox:

1. Watch what you’re eating

There are both naturally occurring toxins and additive ingredients that become harmful when left in our bodies. Perhaps you had a week full of takeout or partied just a bit too hard over the weekend. We’ve all been there — feeling awful days after eating poorly. Processed meats, margarine, vegetable oil, microwaved popcorn and artificial sweeteners are some of the worst offenders.

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” — Michael Pollan

Raw, nutrient-rich ingredients are essential to our diets and our health because they assist in flushing out the negatives and help us feel like ourselves again. Incorporate foods like artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beets and spices like garlic, ginger and turmeric into your diet, as well as plenty of fluids, including water and green tea.

Healthy diet modifications are the only way to safely detox, creating habits and producing long-term results.

2. Make lifestyle and environmental changes

Assess not only what you are eating but how you are storing, cooking and transporting everything you consume. Canned foods and plastic containers provide convenience but come with health risks. Both are often lined with BPA, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that can linger in human bodies for up to 100 years, inhibiting liver detoxification.

Make it a point to reheat leftovers only in glass containers and to use reusable grocery bags and cotton sacks for bulk items. Additionally, replace cookware and serving ware with glass, ceramic and stainless steel.

Some lifestyle changes will be simpler than others. However, if you haven’t been feeling well for a while, it’s worth exploring everything from if your toothbrush is synthetic, to what chemicals are in your shampoo, conditioner and cleaning products.

3. Reduce stress

Stress doesn’t have to negatively control you. As health psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains in her TED talk: When you believe stress negatively affects you, it will. She suggests we hone our stress by interpreting it as our bodies giving us the hormones it needs to accomplish the challenge presented.

Meditation, deep breathing, reaching out to your support system in times of need and exercise reduce stress and, therefore, toxins. Connect with your body and tune out the world so that stressful situations won’t get the best of your health.

Leonard Perlmutter, founder of The American Meditation Institute and award-winning author of "The Heart and Science of Yoga: A Blueprint for Peace, Happiness and Freedom from Fear," explains how yogic breathing can aid your health: “By re-learning to breathe as you did as an infant, you can enhance your immune system and capacity for exercise, lower your blood pressure, increase creativity and reduce many symptoms of heart disease, anxiety, depression, dementia, headaches, migraines, low back pain, insomnia, addictions, smoking, PMS, hot flashes and many emotional conditions associated with fear and anger.”

No matter how you begin, once you start removing toxins from your life and body, you will feel better. You’ll have more energy, more rapid weight loss and increased immunity. Your body has everything it needs to remove toxins, what you put into it determines its capability to do so.

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