Author: Dr. Erica Basso-Vriend, ND
Dr. Erica is a Collingwood naturopath who provides evidence-based care to those struggling with brain fog, memory issues, chronic pain, fatigue, and all things related to your period. Click here to schedule a free consult with our doctors.
Whether it is after a vacation, the Holiday season, the New Year or simply an instinct that your body needs a detox, boost or reset, learning natural ways to support detoxification is always helpful. Your body already has various organ systems that detox your body daily – such as your liver, digestive tract, respiratory tract, kidneys and skin. Detox support habits are ways to boost the function of your detoxification organs, and support your body overall. Whether you practice detox support habits once a year, once a quarter, or daily, there is always a benefit to your overall health, metabolism, and energy.
A good amount of time to give your body a boost would be about 2 weeks. These practices are also good to apply regularly, but 2 weeks would be a great place to start.
Here are a few detox support habits to practice either strictly for a 2 week detox period (as a general suggestion) or in your daily routine practices:
This is always an interesting conversation amongst my coffee-drinking patients! Caffeine is not bad, but while you are supporting detoxification, the recommendation would be to eliminate all caffeine. Some patients do take a softer approach to this request, and reduce their caffeine intake to 300mg per day, and will switch to green tea rather than coffee. For reference, a 20 fluid ounce cup of coffee has a total of 270 mg of caffeine, and an 8 fluid ounce (230-ml) cup of green tea contains between 30 and 50 mg of caffeine.
In my practice, I commonly hear alcohol being a part of celebrations, social gatherings and relaxation techniques to name a few. Whether your consumption load is daily, in social settings only, in large quantities or small quantities, alcohol will impact your detoxification organs and it is helpful to avoid consumption while boosting the function of these organs. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it can dehydrate your body. It also adds empty calories to your diet, and sneaks in extra sugar – which is also a no-no during a detox. Moreover, drinking alcohol can impact your decision making, thus creating a situation where you are more likely to make poor dietary choices (commonly sugary foods or other high glycemic index type foods). Remember, if you are finding it difficult to make a change or you are feeling resistance to changing your daily habits, you always have to go back to your goal and why you are interested in detoxing in the first place. The goal is to feel better and support those organs that work so hard for you every day! These are habits that will support your health in the short and long term, when applied.
3. Water intake
All I have to say is, drinking water goes a long way! On average, I see patients drinking half the daily water requirement needed for optimal physical function and metabolism. If you exercise, this number and requirement goes up! For the average person, the estimate is between 1.5-2.0L of filtered water per day. Drinking water while you are detoxing is integral and is a must while boosting and supporting your detox pathways. A simple addition to your water consumption, is to add 2tbsp of organic lemon juice (or half a lemon squeezed) to a warm glass of water every morning during your detox. A couple notes when drinking lemon water: I would also suggest drinking through a stainless steel straw, and do not brush your teeth immediately after you drink lemon water, to preserve your teeth enamel. A glass of warm lemon water is a simple practice to apply to your daily routine, for continual support.
Your skin has the wonderful capacity of removing toxins from the body. Sweating every day for 30 minutes would be a great addition to your daily schedule to boost your body, detoxification, mood, and energy! Many times I see patients motivated to detox because their energy or mood is not where they want it to be. Interestingly, as much as exercising seems like it may not be the solution to your low-energy concern, it commonly IS! Movement creates more energy. It is also foundational to your health, so although it is part of a detox strategy, it is also part of preserving and optimizing your overall health. The trick is to find something that you enjoy doing. For example, some of my patients love sports, so they will find a sport that will keep them sweating regularly. Some of my patients enjoy going to the gym, or home workouts, so they find a gym they appreciate, or a home program and space they can use easily and regularly. Some of my patients love the outdoors and prefer to go for a brisk walk, run, or workout routine outdoors. Part of regular movement is setting yourself up for success. If you try to first start something that you are not entirely interested in, the likelihood of continuing it regularly will be lower. Do what is right for you! Everyone is different.
Processed, white, refined, cane, etc. You will want to avoid all refined sugar during your detox. Sugar is not a health food, and as much as it is enjoyed, it does have a negative impact on the liver (and immune system), especially above 50g per serving. During your detox, I would avoid refined sugar entirely – it will be a true positive break for your liver!
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep! And it’s the truth. The more you understand what happens while you sleep, the better. Sleep is a daily requirement for a reason. It does wonders for your body, and can be the simple solution to a lot of chronic concerns. In practice, I commonly explain to patients the foundations to health, and this is one of them. Our relationship with sleep can be simple, or it can be a bit more faceted. Either way, determining things you can control is a good place to start. This can be sleep environment, work space vs sleep space, blue light exposure, time of exercising, supplements, and more. Set your space and schedule for a good night sleep every night during your detox. It will definitely be good practice to apply to your daily routine!
Talk to your licensed naturopathic doctor or other healthcare practitioner about what different interventions are right for you! If you are interested in booking an appointment with a Collingwood naturopath, please book through our online booking link below. We can’t wait to work with you towards your health goals.