One thing that we may overlook with the growing interest in detoxification is that there are many ways we can avoid accumulating an overload of toxins in the first place. There are countless choices we make every day that effect our health – for better or for worse.
Minimize Your Exposure To Toxins:
- Buy organic produce and non-GMO food items whenever possible (look online for shopping guides)
- Eat real food; avoid processed foods as much as possible
- Drink lots of good quality water; filter drinking / cooking / showering water
- Avoid using microwaves, cooking with non-stick cookware and storing / heating foods in plastic; use glass containers / jars instead
- Avoid cleaning agents with chemicals and choose natural cleansers whenever possible
- Avoid personal products with chemical and choose natural deodorants, shampoos, body washes, soaps, etc. Watch out for SLS, Parabens, and anything with “fragrance.”
- Avoid hair dye, make up, hair products with chemicals, synthetic perfumes, etc.
If you need more convincing, here’s a great article on toxins that disrupt the endocrine system. Fascinating and horrifying at the same time.
Detox Your Personal Products
Unfortunately toxins end up where they can do us the most harm: on our skin where it quickly absorbed and goes straight into circulation. That’s much faster than putting it in your mouth! Take another look at the products that you use everyday. One by one, replace the especially toxic ones with more natural/environmentally-friendly alternatives. For example, I love using coconut oil an all-over body moisturizer, makeup remover, for my lips, face, and hair. I can even give it my own scent by adding essential oils. Shampoo has been the biggest challenge so I just keep trying different brands. Spending money in the natural hair department is worth it – you get what you pay for. So far I like Shea Moisture the most. At $10 a bottle its a worthy investment towards keeping harmful toxins off my head and scalp, a very sensitive place. Finding a good natural deodorant is also important because of its use in another sensitive place: armpits. Here toxins have an easy entry point to effect nearby lymph nodes and breast tissue. No thanks!
Detox Your Day
In terms of daily routines, we tend to burn the candle at both ends. Try going to bed earlier for a healthier tomorrow. For one, the body naturally undergoes a daily detox starting around 10pm. If we’re awake at this time we divert energy away from this important process. The liver needs to detox at this time when alcoholic beverages are usually consumed. If you must, drink in moderation and with meals.
Same goes with caffeine as it can do more damage on an empty stomach. Unfortunately both coffee and black tea when had with food can lessen our ability to absorb nutrients so they need to be taken in moderation regardless. A daily habit means robbing our bodies of important nutrients and accumulating toxins. Caffeine also fools us with a false sense of energy that lets us down in the afternoon when find we need more; and it gets in the way of a good night’s sleep.
Is it really worth it? It wasn’t easy to kick the habit when I did it years ago but I don’t miss it at all now. Well, maybe the smell but that’s it. Now I like to treat myself to a cup of “coffee” (Pero and Teeccino are my favorites) or a decaf chai once or twice a week. It doesn’t sound glamorous but its just enough to keep me happy. The ego-mind doesn’t like going cold turkey so its best to find a suitable substitute. There are some great alternatives out there as well as herbal/green teas to use on your designated caffeine-free days – probably best to avoid Mondays.
Heather Burkhart is Registered Yoga Teacher at INVIVO Wellness in Milwaukee, WI. She is also a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. Her goal as a teacher and healer is to help others access inner wisdom. She loves to share her passion for the subtle yogic arts including pranayama, meditation, and mantra rooted in ancient teachings. Learn more about Heather on her website, Annapurna Ayurveda & Yoga.