With a new year under way, many folks are preoccupied with making (and keeping) resolutions, usually surrounding improvements to health, diet, organization and relationships, to name a few. With that in mind, I thought that this month’s blog series could be all about a very popular resolution: detoxifying. To detoxify means to get rid of unwanted toxins, but a toxin doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s specifically a chemical or poison. Sometimes when we talk about toxins, we simply refer to something that is harmful or unwanted. In today’s society, we can experience a lot of toxins in our bodies, our minds, our homes and even in our relationships that wear us down and keep us from being our happy, healthy, vibrant selves.
Let’s start with talking about ways to reduce the toxins in our bodies; not just as a new year’s resolution, but as a lifelong commitment to taking care of ourselves and living longer, healthier lives.
We are what we eat…& drink
What we put into our bodies directly impacts our health and mood. Even when we know exactly which foods we should avoid, we also acknowledge that chocolate bars taste good, bacon tastes good, and hot Cheetos are amazing! Finding a balance and allowing for occasional rewards and treats is the key to successfully recharging our bodies. Although some people swear by doing intensive ‘cleanses’, it’s not necessary to achieve improved health or weight loss. We simply need to eliminate or reduce some of the major food toxins to start seeing benefits. Some of these include:
- Processed foods – you’ll generally know it’s processed by the lengthy ingredients listing. Also, if there are words in there you don’t recognize, it’s often a sign that it’s not good for you. Processed, pre-packaged meals and snacks are usually loaded with preservatives, food dyes and artificial ingredients that we just don’t need. Period.
- Refined sugar, sodium and artificial sweeteners – aspartame is one I particularly try to avoid.
- Fatty foods – limit cheese, butter, red meat and yes…even bacon.
- Alcohol and caffeine – moderation is key, as is having an ‘off button’ and knowing when to stop.
There are so many diets and food fads that are trending, it’s hard to get a handle on what’s best for us, and the research and opinions on each vary wildly. Low-carb, no-carb, carb-cycling, alkaline, keto…the list is endless. Drink lots and lots of water every day, and simply eat what makes you feel healthy without feeling too deprived, while enjoying a well-balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, some lean proteins and maybe some dairy if that works for you. If there are foods you are sensitive or allergic to, then by all means those need to be avoided; even ‘healthy’ foods can be toxic.
We only get one body, and there’s no return policy on it. It’s essential to take care of ourselves beyond eating healthy foods to ensure long-term health rewards. I am sometimes guilty of overworking myself, packing too much on my schedule, eating on the go, losing out on sleep…only to find myself run-down or getting sick. Sound familiar? We all do it from time to time, but there are ways we can work in a self-care routine that will help detoxify us and even help reduce stress. Here’s how to do it:
- Exercise – we can all squeeze in 10 or 20 minutes throughout our day, no matter how busy we are
- Get fresh air every day (and wear sunscreen)
- Get enough sleep – about 7 to 8 hours each night is recommended
- Breathe deeply, meditate and/or be present as often as possible
- Pamper ourselves – a long soak in the tub, a sauna, a massage, or simply enjoying a good book, podcast or movie (guilt-free!)
Toxins can build up pretty easily and take their toll on us; sometimes we don’t even notice until we get run down, stressed out or sick. Detoxing our bodies isn’t something we need to do on a schedule, it’s something we can do every single day; the little steps we take will soon make a big difference. Whether you call it a goal, a new year’s resolution or just a commitment to yourself, the important part is that you started.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn