It can seem like everywhere you turn (at least on social media!), there’s some new extreme diet or detox protocol promising pounds lost, more energy, and the ever elusive “flat tummy”.
While detoxing (or detoxification, technically) is a real biological process, it’s not achieved with overpriced teas or by only drinking green sludge. Every day, your body (specifically your liver and kidneys) works hard to process the natural build of of toxic substances. Some of these substances are self-produced (as a by-product of metabolism, like free radicals), and others come from external sources (like pollution and through your diet).
When your body is ready to release these toxins, it does so via the excretory system, in the forms of sweat, urine, and yes, poop. And then the cycle begins again, or realistically, never stops!
While under certain circumstances, one might need medical assistance (like if you have impaired liver function, or if you have heavy metal poisoning), for the most part, the bod innately knows how to get rid of substances that deter optimal functioning.
So, the best way you can “detox” is by supporting the organs and processes that function to help the body detoxify, and the most impactful way is through diet. Here are 4 ways to boost your body’s natural detox process:
1. Drink water! In fact, do this to make everything work better and feel better! While there are many varying opinions on exactly how much, the old “eight 8-ounces glasses per day” rule is a great place to start. Tip: get ahead of your daily water count by drinking a full glass upon waking; you lose a lot of water through breathing and perspiration while sleeping (plus that’s hopefully 8 hours you’re not actively drinking).
2. Eat fiber! Fiber acts like a broom, sweeping out build up in your digestive tract and ushering toxins out of the body. There are two types of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and both have important functions and aid not just digestion, but maintaining healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The average adult should get between 25-35 grams per day, but only gets 15 grams or fewer. Tip: get your fiber from whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. The more your body has to work to digest it, the better! For example, opt for steel cut oatmeal over a processed grain cereal.
3. Eat your veggies (and fruits)! While fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, they are also full of vitamins, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients that aid in detoxification. Although the supplement market has tried to cash in on this knowledge and create isolated (and expensive) versions of these compounds, research shows that supplements are not as effective as their whole foods counterparts. This is partially because these food naturally contain a variety of nutrients that work together better than they do in isolation. Tip: eat the rainbow; the more variety of colors of produce you eat, the bigger the nutritional impact.
4. Cut out processed foods! This can be a challenge for several reasons: processed foods are cheap, they’re convenient, they’re accessible, and frankly, they’re delicious. But, between excess sugar, unnatural fats, weird flavors and colors, and a lack of fiber or other nutrients, they’re not doing much for your health. Tip: go for the “real thing,” and make it a once-in-a-while treat. Instead of mindlessly digging into a box of Chips Ahoy, go to a bakery and get a fresh, delicious cookie - and savor it. Better yet - bake some yourself (and freeze the extras).
While these suggestions aren’t rocket science, they are safe and effective - more than you can say for a quick fix juice cleanse. The key to reaping the benefits is consistency; try to incorporate these tips as often as you can, even if you don’t practice all of them every day. Over time, your efforts will help boost your body’s natural ability to detoxify itself itself, no pills required.
If you are interesting in resetting your body and your brain to create more healthy habits, check out our upcoming 21-Day Nutrition Challenge with Coach Liz. Over 3 weeks, you will be guided to cut out the foods that may be making you lethargic, leaving you bloated, or driving cravings; to boost your intake of whole, unprocessed foods that will better support your health and wellness goals; and to keep yourself motivated, consistent, and accountable. We kick off on Monday, October 22nd - more details here or email Coach Liz at Liz@mycorefire.com to sign up!