By: Danielle McGrath & Lindsay Evans, Co-Founders of Nourish Live Flow
The word detox can be intimidating to some (or let’s be honest, most) people, and for good reason. There is so much information out there swirling around the Internet that even wellness experts (like us!) can get overwhelmed. But, if you’re feeling like it might be time to try a detox (maybe your anxiety is spiking, your skin is freaking-out or your tummy is in constant bloat-mode), it’s important to know how to safely and healthfully do a detox.
The word detox (short for detoxification) is a period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. Each and every day, as we live amongst our environment, our bodies are exposed to harsh and sometimes harmful toxins. These toxins can come from the air we breathe, the products we use in our homes and on our bodies and the foods that we eat (just to name a few). Our liver plays an important role in detoxifying our bodies on a constant and ongoing basis. However, with the amount of toxins that we are constantly exposed to, our livers can get overloaded (hello anxiety, breakouts and bloating). Choosing to do a detox is a great way to help our body rid itself of some of these built-up toxins, so that we can feel more vital, less stressed and overall healthier. Think about it as a reboot to your system!
Although there are many components to a detox, including taking a break from screens and electronics (aka, a digital detox), using natural, plant-based household and skin-care products, getting lots of fresh air in nature, taking a break from smoking and other harmful addictive substances and boosting our supplement intake, here we are focusing on how we can use the food we eat to detoxify our bodies.
The simple fact is that the food we choose to eat is one of the most powerful detoxifiers available to us. However, not all food (or food sources for that matter), are created equal. Both the types of food we eat—and the source that we choose to get our food from—are equally important.
So, whether you’re ready to give your entire system a reboot, or you’re just looking to take steps to boost your overall health and feel better, keep reading for some tips on how we can use food to help detoxify our bodies.
Choose Organic or Local Farm Fresh Sources
Many of the healthy foods (think fruits and veggies) that are found in a grocery store are often exposed to harmful pesticides. By choosing to purchase produce that is either organic, or from a local farm source, we can effectively reduce the amount of toxins present on our produce (and thus reduce the amount of toxins that we are ingesting). One of our favourite tips is to source out your local farmers market and do your best to buy most of your produce from this source. Hit up your local market each and every weekend to stock up on healthy and vibrant produce. A great rule of thumb is, fruits and veggies are freshest (and therefore brimming with the most vitamins and nutrients) the sooner you eat it after it was picked!
If you consume food that comes from animal sources (eggs, dairy, fish and meat), it’s best to choose it from local, organic, grass-fed, free-range or free-run sources. These types of meat and dairy contain less (or none) of the dangerous antibiotics and growth hormones found in conventional sources.
Take A Break From Eating Refined Sugars and Processed Foods
You’ve heard it over and over (and we’re here to tell you that it is true): Sugar truly is the enemy when it comes to the health of our bodies and even our minds. Refined sugar has now been shown to be a major culprit behind many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. However, as it’s often hidden in pre-packaged and processed foods, we are often not aware of how much we are actually consuming. Therefore, it’s important to read your food labels closely to avoid eating too much. Foods that are highly processed (think chips, pretzels, crackers, cereals, many protein and energy bars and white bread products) will actually act the same way in our bodies as eating spoonful’s of white sugar. These foods cause a spike in insulin and they wreak havoc on our digestive system, our skin and our anxiety levels. Instead, choose foods and snacks that are minimally processed that come from whole food sources (for example complete whole and sprouted grains, gluten-free options, fresh fruit and veggies and raw and organic nuts and seeds). These healthy snacks will make you feel full for longer and will help boost your overall health, rather than drain your system.
Drink Lots of Fresh Mineral Water
Along with our food choices, the drinks that we choose to ingest are equally important. Store-bought juices and high-calorie energy drinks are chock-full of sugar. Instead, when you are detoxing (or anytime really!) choose to drink lots and lots of fresh mineral water. The more the better as this will help flush out the toxins that your body is trying to rid itself of as well as replace important minerals that your body needs to feel it’s best.
One of our favourite tips that we incorporate into our daily routine is to drink half a cup of warm lemon water (half a lemon squeezed in will do the trick) first thing in the morning, before consuming any other foods. This healthy morning hack will not only help our liver remove toxins to aid in detoxification, but it will boost our hair and skin health too!
Choose Herbal Detox Teas over Coffee And Other Caffeinated Drinks
Herbal teas are an amazing adjunct to any detox as they are a great replacement for our usual coffee (which is best avoided during a detox). You can enjoy a pleasant, aromatic, warm and delicious cup of tea, minus the unwanted caffeine-jolt. There are so many aromatic and herbal teas on the market today to choose from. An added bonus? Many are made with essential detox ingredients including turmeric, lemongrass, peppermint and dandelion root, all of which can help with everything from bloating to inflammation to calming our nervous system.
About the Authors:
Danielle McGrath and Lindsay Evans are Co-Founders of Nourish Live Flow, a holistic health and wellness company operating in Toronto and the GTA. They are Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches trained through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and are currently in training to become meditation and mindfulness coaches. Their mission is to enhance the health and wellness of women, men and children everywhere and empower people to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. Learn more about their health coaching practice at www.nourishliveflow.com.