As promised, we are starting our “Summer Detox Series”. The first day of summer is always so inspiring to me. I’m a Leo, so summer is seriously my time. I thrive in the summer. My creativity is at it’s peak, there’s tons of daylight so I feel extra productive and the natural beauty of all my outside world seems super charged right now. I just feel ALIVE in the summer.
This may seem like a weird time to think about “detoxing” since everything is humming along so nicely, right? It must be the sun sign in me. Summer is always when I think of doing this for myself. It just always feels like a great time to hit the reset button and make room for new habits, ideas and ways to better myself. It doesn’t hurt that the produce and unlimited natural foods are abundant and so beautifully inspiring.
When I say detox, people seem to immediately think I’m talking about a weight loss plan. This is not that kind of detox. Sure, I may lose a pound or two because I will be eating cleaner, fresher and healthier than my normal routine, but that’s not the point of this process for me. Any weight loss will be trivial and that isn’t my goal. If you are interested in learning a holistic way to use the “detoxification mindset” to recharge yourself then this is the right place for you. Keep reading…
A detox for me means clearing out the crud in my diet, adding in some healthy exercise to help me sweat and get my circulatory and lymphatic system humming, clearing my days of unhealthy images, conversations, news and media. It also includes time to sit quiet with myself and go inward. Spending time in meditation, whether it is a moving meditation like an herb walk or silent meditation on a comfy quiet space alone, helps me to sweep away all the external noise and really, really listen to how the universe is speaking to me. What is it I need to reflect on? What is it that I need to learn next? How can I take the steps to grow and become a better me?
A detox isn’t simply drinking a weird juice fast for days on end and depriving yourself of all that you enjoy…not this one anyway. To detox the body, mind and spirit is to truly be renewed. It’s a lot like cleaning out the very back of your closet to me. You know there’s a lot of stuff in there that you don’t like, don’t want, can’t use and won’t make you feel good anymore…so get rid of it. Then after you get it all cleaned out and fresh again, you can pick and choose the very best things to go back in those empty spaces. The next time you open up those closet doors, you’ll love what you see. It will make you feel good and help you be the best you there is on your daily journey.
So let’s get to the meat of the detox… the body. It’s really impossible to have a healthy mind and spirit without the body being cared for properly. When our magnificent systems that make up our bodies are functioning properly, there is really no need for a detox. Our body is very capable of processing and removing waste from each part… from cells to organs. We have been told that we need to detox to keep this waste from building up. Listen…if you are building up that kind of waste then you’ve got way more to worry about than a quick detox diet. Something is terribly wrong.
What I want you to think of instead is how to feed your body for optimum health. That’s how our body is designed to function at it’s best. We put in the good fuel and we get the highest performance. Put in the crap and you get crap performance. It’s simply that easy. I’m a normal girl…I love a slice of pizza and a couple glasses of wine now and then. I also have a crazy work schedule and cram food in just to keep the hangry away. Even if it’s healthy food, eating like a wild, starved animal doesn’t equal healthy. I skip meals, eat really late, forget to drink enough water, eat out of the candy bowl when I’m stressed, over eat when something is delicious…yeah, pretty much all the bad things that as a holistic practitioner, I am supposed to tell you not to do. I’m human…and I sometimes fail at being my healthiest when it comes to fueling my body.
To start my detox plan, I always go first to fresh vegetables and fruits. I try to keep my proteins lean and really small portions. I love fish, eggs, yogurt and poultry. When I eat grains I go for farro, quinoa, sprouted grain bread and brown rice. Whole food is the most important. What you eat is up to you, but be sure it isn’t processed. As few preservatives as possible and as close to the way it came from the farm as you can get it is what you gonna want to go for.
I do have a couple secrets that I will share with you. They are simple, delicious and really effective in getting you on the path to a clean and healthy frame of mind. Being hydrated is the first way for our bodies to remove toxins from our bodies. I’ve never been good at getting enough water in so I use these two tips to keep me on track.
The first uses an amazing herb, Dandelion. Dandelion works with our liver, pancreas, digestive and urinary system. Basically, the detox queen. Dandelion helps the production of bile, aids the liver function. It also helps the kidneys purge by its diuretic properties. In the digestive system it helps increase healthy gut microflora and stimulate digestive secretions. Dandelion is also considered an alterative or blood purifier. This one herb can kick even the most basic detox program into high gear. Nettle is added here to help balance potassium levels as the excess fluids leave the body. Powerful diuretics can deplete the body of potassium quickly and the nettle is rich in this and other essential minerals. Cranberry and lemon along with mint further help to create a more efficient digestive and kidney function to speed up the rate at which the body can remove toxins. Here’s my recipe for a “detox” drink that I keep with me all day during the process. I normally do this daily for 1-2 weeks then give myself a break for a week. If I feel I need to I can start again.
Cranberry Citrus Dandelion Tea
4 dandelion tea bags
2 nettle tea bags
48 oz fresh water
2 lemons sliced
Handful fresh sweet or peppermint
16oz unsweetened cranberry juice
Boil the water and remove from heat. Add the tea bags, lemon slices and mint. Cover with a lid and steep until cooled. Strain and squeeze lemons to get all the juices out. Toss out lemon, herb and teas. Pour in cranberry juice and mix well. Drink throughout the day. This will last about 3 days. Keep refrigerated. If you prefer more diluted tea, simply add water to the final product to get the taste you like. Don’t sweeten with anything but especially artificial stuff.
Another great tip that I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy is a healthy green drink. It’s the perfect way to start the day and get in the freshest and healthiest greens before anything else goes in the body. Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder has a now famous recipe called the Glowing Green Smoothie. There are a lot of versions out there but my preference is straight from her book, Radical Beauty, with Deepak Chopra. This book would really be a nice compliment as you start this detox process. It’s a great breakdown of how to be beautiful inside and out by clearing out all that doesn’t serve us and putting back in what makes us whole. Mix up the greens in this recipe but here’s the recipe I use as my base. Freeze portions in ziplock bags to keep fresh. This is enough for about 5 days.
Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie
2 cups cold filtered water
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 heads chopped romaine lettuce
2-3 stalks celery with leafy tops
1 pear cored
1 apple cored
1 banana peeled
Juice from one lemon
1/2 cup cilantro
1 bunch parsley
Add to blender or Ninja in batches and blend until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Keep refrigerated and drink 12oz each morning.
I like to have this with a slice of toasted Ezekial bread with 1/4 avocado smashed on top and a hard boiled egg. It just feels like a fresh healthy way to get started for the day. For lunch I may have another fruit and veggie smoothie or a salad with garbanzo beans or even a spinach wrap with salmon and veggies. Dinner is simple…a lean protein and lots of veggies prepared without too much fat, sugar or sauces. Just simple and clean. If I need a snack in between meals I like whole milk probiotic yogurt and berries or veggie stix and a little hummus or almond butter.
I practice this nutritional and hydration plan for 7-10 days at a time then see how I am feeling. If I want to dig a little deeper then I keep going. My birthday is in August so I’m challenging myself to a 30 day plan this time. I want to start my 44th feeling fresh, vibrant, healthy and recharged so this starts with a diet reboot.
I’m also getting up a little earlier in the mornings to squeeze in a regular walk or yoga routine. Moving has always helped me feel better. I never remember why I stopped making time for it once I start again. This, like hydration is a challenge for me. Being too busy is my go to easy excuse…so I’m cleansing myself of that pattern too.
Good luck on your detox journey. I highly recommend you continue to research healthy detoxifying and inflammation reducing foods to add into your plan. Keep on course but if you hit a bump in the road called Pinot Noir or chocolate cake then just shake it off and keep moving forward. Be gentle with yourself. There isn’t any warden to punish you, just a kind little supportive voice inside you telling you “you’re doing great”and “keep at it”. This isn’t about deprivation, this is about regeneration and nourishment for optimum health. Take note of how you feel the first two days. For myself, these days I am usually a little cranky and even sometimes get a headache that I can’t shake. This is my body adjusting to a new style of operation and also how it feels to purge the body of too much gunk. So think about it…2-3 days to actually clear it out nicely and then the rest of the time you are just replenishing and restoring the nutrients that are vital to your best health. I told ya we were pretty good at “detoxing”. It doesn’t take too much to clear it out when you stop putting junk in. We are beautiful and magnificent machines…you got this.
Stay tuned for more articles in the coming weeks on how to detox your body, mind and spirit. I invite you to go on this journey with me. Let me know how you’re feeling, what changes you are noticing in your body and how the “shift” is happening for you. Share this post with your friends and loved ones and invite them to join you on this journey. May you be healthy and well, all the while creating a more perfect version of yourself.