We have many guests who have chosen to detox at La Crisalida and January/February is going to be a busy time! Detox is a real buzzword once the pleasures of Christmas start to wear off, but what does it really mean? Most folks associate it with drinking green juices in place of meals, but really we can detox our bodies in a number of ways. Let’s start by understanding why we might want to detox in the first place.
Our bodies take in toxins everyday from things like the food we eat, pollutants in the environment, and the products we put on our skin. A buildup of these toxins can lead to physical and mental ailments such as chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, food and chemical sensitivities, and even disease. Of course our bodies are clever and have a built-in system to ward off these nasty toxins. The liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, blood, skin, lungs and colon all work together every day to flush these things out. So, you ask, if it’s happening naturally, why do we need to detox?
Over the years we (humans) have introduced more and more toxins into our environment. Food has drifted further from its natural state and been treated with pesticides and other additives. We rub chemicals onto our skin and hair every morning, and sit in buildings that may be off-gassing pollutants from things like paint, cleaning products, and plastics. Don’t you wonder what all that stuff is and where it goes?
If you live a rather “clean” lifestyle, then your need to detox will be minimal. But if you can’t pronounce the ingredients in your lunch, you might choose to help your body’s natural systems to flush it out.
You can start by eating whole foods, i.e. those that have not been processed or refined; grains (like quinoa, millet, buckwheat), beans (like black, kidney, chickpea), fresh fruits and veggies; all the things that we serve here at La Crisalida. Consider looking for the organic options to reduce ingesting pesticides, fertilizers, and other food additives. Think about what that food went through before hitting your plate. Has it been processed? Anything been added to it? Aim for food that’s as close to it’s natural state as possible. Just eating clean in this way will help rid your body of toxins, and you’ll be supporting your body’s natural processes so it doesn’t have to work so hard (read: you’ll feel better!).
If you want to take things a step further, you can introduce juicing to the mix. Juicing is a quicker way to flush out toxins while still getting all the great nutrients from fruits and veggies into your body. Since juicing takes the fibre out of the fruits and veggies, our digestive systems get a big break and our bodies conserve energy. However, you might want to add some fibre back in via supplements (e.g. psyllium husks) to keep things moving right along in the intestinal tract. You can juice for three or thirty days, or just have a juice for one meal a day. It’s up to you; any amount of juice is more effective than no juice at all.
No matter what kind of detox you’re doing, remember to always drink a lot of water! This is the most obvious way to promote movement of toxins through and out of your body, not to mention critical to keeping hydrated and feeling good. Also allow your body to rest as it works hard to purify itself. Our bodies do most of its repair work while we sleep.
Done all that but still want more? There are other great ways to sustain a clean body over time. Some Ayurvedic techniques such as dry skin brushing and oil pulling can be done daily to help our natural systems shed toxins. Exercising and getting a good sweat going can help. A specific form of exercise called rebounding will really speed up the process – we do lots of rebounding at the retreat; the motion of jumping up and down on a little trampoline stimulates the lymphatic system and assists in the transport, processing, and elimination of waste. But no matter how you do it, just move your body.
And of course we can address things other than the food we eat; our skin and hair products as well as the environments we spend our time in can help promote a clean body. Ever wonder about that new car smell? That’s chemicals you’re breathing in. Sleeping in a freshly-painted apartment? Eek, no wonder you woke up with a headache. Just becoming mindful of the things we’re putting on and breathing into our bodies is a great first step. So make sure you get out of the city from time to time for some fresh air!