6 Practices for a Safe and Healthy Detox

Advice for cleansing toxins from your body
lemons, tea, ginger, spices in a bowl, tea bag and spoon on a patterned plate
Photo courtesy of Stacey Unruh

For many of us, the word “detox” invokes associations with weight loss. Indeed, we might shed a few pounds when detoxifying, but if that’s our only focus, then we’re totally missing the point. Our bodies are constantly under a lot of pressure to purge the toxins we ingest, which burdens on our detoxification organs—the liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph nodes, colon, and skin. A safe and healthy detox, generally speaking, is a way to assist these organs by relieving their burden. It's important to pay attention to the messages your body is sending you when its feeling overloaded. Although everyone manifests the pressure differently, some common symptoms of overworked organs are: headaches, fatigue, lack of concentration, skin irritations, difficulties losing weight, lack of motivation, and moodiness.

There are several different detox programs out there, with different goals, targeting specific conditions and symptoms. Think of a detox in one of its more familiar contexts: as a means of breaking the addiction from drugs or alcohol. The obvious goal is to remove those debilitating substances from the body so the body no longer craves it. Similarly, when someone chooses to detox from sugar, or gluten, or another health trigger, the object is to cleanse that substance from the body and replace it with healthy alternatives, minimizing symptoms and stress on the body. Whether you choose a program that lasts 24 hours or three months, the goal of a safe and healthy detox is the same: to clean house. By removing certain triggers, your body is able to take a break and divert that extra energy, previously spent sending signals of discontent, to healing the body instead. But you don’t have to be on a specific program to enjoy a safe and healthy detox! Do your body a favour and try some of these easy, safe, and healthy ways to minimize the toxins in your life.

Simple ways to rid your body of toxins

Choose organic foods, when possible 

If organic food isn’t easily available or accessible, avoid foods that are heavily sprayed with chemicals. Check out EWG's 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce for more information!

Grow your own produce

With communal garden programs and handy, small-space planters, growing produce is becoming more accessible, even amongst city dwellers.

Avoid foods that are difficult to decontaminate

Some foods tend to have concentrated toxins you can’t wash away or remove by peeling off the skin, such as meats, dairy and eggs. Again, when possible, buy organic.

Minimize the toxins that enter through your skin

Choose natural deodorant, laundry detergents, hair care, perfume, makeup, and skin care products. Check out our three-part article, 12 Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients, for some things to avoid.

Avoid toxic air fresheners, candles, and household cleaning products

Several of these products can be replaced with a mixture of essential oils and water. Check out these tips for greener cleaning.

Integrate detoxifying foods in your diet

Try filling your diet with foods that work with your organs! These are just a few great choices to support safe and healthy detoxification:

  • Fibre
  • Ginger Root
  • Lemon Juice
  • Chlorophyll
  • Dandelion
  • Beets
  • Cherries
  • Cayenne Pepper

Who shouldn't detox?

If you’re pregnant or nursing, have kidney dysfunction, are hypoglycemic, or have diabetes, detoxes aren’t for you. If you have any other condition, or are on medication, it’s recommended to seek advice from your health care practitioner before embarking on a detox journey.


The Master Cleanse Tea

Enjoy this tea and reap the detoxifying benefits! Your organs will thank you!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of roasted dandelion tea (your preferred brand)
  • 1½ cups of boiled water
  • ½ Tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • ½ -1 Tbsp of pure maple syrup or 1 tsp of stevia, optional

Instructions

Place tea bag, grated ginger, lemon juice and cayenne into a large coffee mug.
Pour boiling water into your mug and let your tea steep for 8-10 minutes.
Strain your tea (optional) and add sweetener, if desired.