If you’ve been a reader of Hollywood Homestead for a bit, you probably know I eat a pretty clean paleo diet, exercise fairly regularly, and take steps to keep chemicals out of my life – such as by buying organic products whenever possible and making my own cleaning products.
Even with all of this, I still believe it is still necessary to detox sometimes. Why? Because no matter how good of a job you do to keep toxins out of your life, some are still going to get into your body. And, for many of us, our bodies have been through a lot and we just need some help processing these toxins and sending them on their way… out. I also recently battled a pretty severe case of Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth syndrome (SIBO). The detox protocols below were all instrumental in helping my body overcome the disease during treatment.
Before you start thinking that this is another post about detox diets or how you can lose a gazillion pounds by detoxing your body, I want to point out that a healthy liver does a pretty amazing job of detoxifying the body naturally. There are other detox channels as well – including the skin, colon, lungs, kidneys, and lymphatic system – but the liver is the real powerhouse when it comes to detoxing.
The problem is that your body can only handle so much. You may have heard the term bioaccumulation in regards to detox. It refers to the accumulation of harmful substances in the body. Bioaccumulation occurs when your body absorbs more toxins than it is capable of processing, hence the accumulation. A lot of toxins are stored in fat tissues (hence the link between detox and weight loss), but many are also stored in our brains. Scary! (Source)
There are a lot of different ways to detox. These are just some of the ones which I have tried and recommend. They each work in different ways, such as helping to flush toxins out of the body or stimulating detox channels. The best thing about detoxing is that it is often enjoyable. So, the next time you sink into warm tub full of Epsom salt, remember that you aren’t just relaxing – you are helping your body detox too!
UPDATE: Good news! If you want to find out whether you have heavy metals in your body that you need to detoxify, there is now a test you can order directly without a doctor’s order. While I’m a HUGE fan of having a doctor’s guidance, I understand the need to know whether you have heavy metals or not before you invest in a practitioner.
Oil Pulling for Detox
Swishing some oil around in your mouth might not seem like it would be an effective way to detox, but did you know that oral health has been linked to diseases including dementia, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease!?! Don’t expect any miracles, but this is a simple practice to add to your daily oral hygiene routine. Read more about the benefits of oil pulling here.
Dry Brushing for Detox
This is one of my favorite ways to detox because it also has the benefit of making your skin look and feel super soft. And it helps smooth out the chicken skin (keratosis pilaris) on the backs of your arms. The detox process involves taking a firm-bristled brush and brushing your skin. It gets your lymphatic fluid moving, helping to detox the body. Dry brushing may also help get rid of cellulite. Read more about the science behind dry brushing here.
Clay Baths for Detox
You don’t have to go to a spa to take a clay bath! You can buy clay and add it to the tub. You’d be surprised at how good this feels, and also how effective it is as a detox method because the clay draws toxins out of your skin. Consider that your skin is your largest organ and has an average surface area of about 22 square feet! (source) With this in mind, no wonder clay baths are so good for detox. It’s not as messy as it may sound. Read about how to detox with clay baths here.
Epsom Salt Baths for Detox
Clays baths aren’t your thing? You can also detox with an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are basically just magnesium. And, yes, your body can absorb magnesium through the skin! So, taking Epsom salt baths not only helps detox, but has the benefit of providing you nutrition right in the bath water. Since magnesium is great for inducing sleep and calming the body, I love to give my kids an Epsom salt bath right before bedtime. Get a recipe for Epsom salt baths here.
Refined sugar is terrible on many levels. It is behind the obesity epidemic (not saturated fat as mainstream media might have you believe). Sugar messes with hormone levels in the body. Sugar causes energy peaks and lows. It can trigger heart attacks and may be the cause of dementia! Worst of all, the stuff is addictive. (Source) As far as detox goes, sugar definitely isn’t doing your body any favors. Unused sugar calories get stored in the liver, where they can accumulate and cause a condition called “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.” This in turn leads to scarring and cirrhosis of the liver. Hence why some experts say that sugar is just as bad as alcohol for the liver!
It isn’t just refined white sugar which is bad for the liver. Too much of any sugar, such as the fructose which is naturally found in fruits, is also bad for the body. This is why I like to “reset” my body occasionally with a sugar detox. I don’t do diets, with the exception of this one: The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Check out the diet here.
The other detox methods listed above focus on your physical health. Well, your mental health is just as important for detoxing! Whether it’s for work or entertainment, most of us spend too much time on our electronic devices. Taking a break from digital electronics can do wonders for your life. It helps you refocus. It strengthens your relationships. And it isn’t just psychological – there are some physical benefits too. Did you know that checking Facebook actually creates a rush of dopamine, just like with addictive drugs! Going camping with your family is a great way to force yourself get away from technology for a bit. And, when you do have to plug in, I recommend wearing these glasses in the evening to block the blue light emitted from computers which affects our circadian rhythm (i.e. sleep pattern). Mark Sisson does a great job of explaining this in his book The Primal Connection, which covers stress, earthing, connecting, and unplugging.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite ways of helping your body detox?