Detoxing for Beginners — Easy Daily Practices to Support Your Body's Natural Detox Mechanisms
This article is inspired by what I learnt from Elwin Robinson in his Complete Detox Academy. I joined his program in 2015 and it's been such a powerful and meaningful catalyst to my healing journey. If you're interested in natural and holistic healing, definitely go check out Elwin and his online courses!
Spring is finally here — such a lovely feeling! We’re surrounded by a thousand shades of green, temperatures rise, the sun is shining… Bees, birds and thousand other species seem to have come alive again.
This renewing rhythm of nature is also present within us humans. Spring gives us this feeling that we can start anew: we think detoxing, incorporating new practices, letting go of old habits… The change of seasons revives our intuitive connection with nature.
This makes Spring and Summer the ideal seasons for detoxing — eliminating and letting go comes more natural to us.
In this article, we will look at why detoxing is so important, and we will go deeper into how you can support your body’s natural detox mechanisms easily and comfortably.
In our modern-day environment, toxins are omnipresent:
- Water-soluble pesticides, medication residues and other toxic substances in our soil and water supplies
- Microplastics in our oceans and thus in the seafood and fish we consume
- Antibiotics in farmed animals
- Toxic chemicals in cosmetics, household products and appliances
- Exhaust gases in the air that we breathe
- Viruses and other pathogenic organisms and their toxic waste
A healthy body can partly eliminate these toxic substances safely via some ingenious inherent detox mechanisms, of which kidneys, liver, and lymph system are some of the most known.
OUR INHERENT DETOX MECHANISMS
Today we are facing one big challenge when it comes to keeping our bodies naturally healthy. We're being surrounded by such a high amount of non-natural toxicity, that even originally healthy bodies are becoming overburdened.
Every body has the inherent capacity to detox from toxins:
- Either safely and immediately
- Or, when immediate safe elimination is not an option due to circumstances, to buffer and store these toxins somewhere safe like in fat cells or the liver, until circumstances for proper elimination are more favourable
But why would our body wait to eliminate toxic substances? This can be for multiple reasons:
- The liver is overburdened with toxicity and so it can’t process more than it’s doing already
- Our inherent detox mechanisms have been disrupted, as with autism and chronic inflammation
- Our digestive system is using up too much energy, so that there’s never enough spare energy to invest in detox, rest and repair
The processing of food uses up a lot of our body’s energy. If on top of that, we eat unhealthy foods, we contribute to the toxic load even more, which decreases our body’s ability to invest energy in detox, rest and repair.
Have you heard about intermittent fasting? The theory behind the practice of intermittent fasting is that when we limit our food intake to a certain time frame in the day, this frees up a lot of energy that your body can then use to invest in detox, rest and repair. The most important period for this is during nighttime. It can be incredibly healing to not eat any food at least two to three hours before bed, and only eat breakfast when you start to feel hungry.
The Detox Formula (by Elwin Robinson)
Toxic overload occurs when: input (toxins in) + process (taxation of inherent detox mechanisms) > output (toxins out)
An effective detox strategy can then be represented as: output (toxins uit) > input (toxins in) + process (taxation of inherent detox mechanisms)
DETOX BASICS: KEEPING YOUR 4 EXITS CLEAR
Your body uses 4 ‘exits’ to eliminate toxins from within, i.e. lungs, skin, bladder and kidneys, and the large intestine. When you make and keep these exits clear on a daily basis, you can support your body to get rid of toxins safely and effectively.
Making sure that there’s enough oxygen in the blood at all times is necessary to enable the absorption of nutrients as well as the removal of waste. A correct breathing method facilitates these mechanisms.
What characterizes a good breathing habit?
- A relaxed posture
- Diaphragmatic breathing, i.e. breathing from the belly
- Breathing in through the nose (first air filter)
- Great air quality: make sure there’s always, at least somewhere, a window open; walk in nature regularly
- Breathe deep regularly: exercise in nature, take the stairs, go for a run
A healthy skin makes up a strong barrier between the outside and the inside world. A damaged skin barrier means a leaky barrier towards the inside (more pathogens and toxins in) as well as towards the outside (disrupted detox pathways).
You can support detoxification through the skin by:
- Taking a hot bath weekly with magnesium chloride, raw celtic salt, extra virgin olive oil, and essential oils like chamomile, ylang ylang, orange blossom or lavender
- Switching between hot & cold showers (stimulates blood & lymph circulation)
- Taking a sauna regularly
- Making skin contact with nature: go swim in the sea, walk barefoot in the grass, work in your garden…
- Expose your skin to the sun: build up gradually to avoid sunburn
- Avoid contact with toxins in cosmetics, clothes, and household products
BLADDER & KIDNEYS
Good hydration is of crucial importance:
- For effective elimination of waste
- For optimal functioning of cells and systems
The more stress you experience (physical as well as mental and emotional stress), the more hydration you will need. Some tips to start with:
- Avoid tap water and opt for spring water (ideally from a clean local source, glass-bottled is a good second choice)
- Drink a big glass of fresh spring water + juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning: this stimulates elimination, hydration and production of digestive enzymes
- Drink a big glass of spring water 20 to 30 minutes before every meal
- Add more fresh, raw fruits and vegetables to your diet: these contain water in combination with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which facilitates deep, cellular hydration
- Avoid refined table salt and opt for raw Celtic salt and naturally salty vegetables like celery and seaweeds instead
- Make sure your electrolytes sodium-potassium and calcium-magnesium are in balance: these function as conductors, i.e. they guide water into and out of the cell
Besides optimal hydration, it is equally important to make sure your pH is balanced:
- Stress, intensive exercise, refined foods, dehydration, low oxygen supply, and toxicity create an acidic environment
- Rest, relaxed breathing, light movement, a wholefoods plant-based diet, and optimal hydration create an alkaline environment
Some highly hydrating and alkalizing foods are: aloe vera, leafy greens, celery, cucumber, melons, citrus fruits, and seaweeds.
When for some reason, waste is not moving out of your intestines properly, it can stay behind and cause all kinds of digestive issues like bloating, abdominal pain, and inflammation. Remaining toxins can even be absorbed into the blood stream, where it can contribute to chronic inflammation. Two to three bowel movements daily are ideal.
In case of acute constipation:
- Solve 1/4 tsp magnesium chloride in a glass of water and drink up to 3x/ day until there is bowel movement (it can take a couple of hours until it starts working)
- Look into the possibility of colonic hydrotherapy: this is a technique where the large intestine gets filled up with warm water gradually, which then gets released, and filled up again, etc. until the large intestine is clear. This practice helps to eliminate stuck toxins, as well as hydrate and reactivate the intestines. You can read more about my personal experience with colonic hydrotherapy here.
For effective, long-term sustainable elimination via the bowels:
- Stay hydrated
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Replenish your magnesium reserves (transdermally as well as orally) (1)
- Move regularly, avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes in a row
- Take good care of your microbiome, supplement with a good quality probiotic if needed
- These plants are particularly cleansing and healing for the intestines: herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint, oregano; all kinds of berries, esp. wild blueberries, citrus fruits, apples, figs, mango, papaya; leafy greens, lettuce, radishes, sprouts, seaweeds; barley grass juice powder, spirulina, chlorella; aloe vera
- Avoid refined sugars, oils, and flours
- Limit or remove animal products like dairy, eggs, and meat
- Be conscious about your medication intake and supplement deficiencies caused by use of medication with good quality supplements of vitamins B, C & D, zinc and magnesium
If you suffer from digestive issues and are looking to get a deeper understanding fo what’s going on and what you can do to heal your gut naturally, go check out my article Healing Your Gut Naturally w/ a Plant-Based Diet.
A SUSTAINABLE + HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
As you can see, in our modern day society, it ain’t easy anymore to keep your body clean and in optimum health at all times. Fortunately, by making some simple changes in diet and lifestyle, you can support your body to get rid of toxins safely and effectively. Some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Eat low on the food chain, i.e. more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes; and less meat, fish, eggs, and dairy
- Eat organic as much as possible. Google ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean Fifteen’ for an overview of the fruits and vegetables that are best eaten organic, and which are okay to eat non-organic
- Stay hydrated: opt for spring water and avoid tap water
- Incorporate more detoxifying foods into your diet: barley grass juice powder, chlorella, spirulina, aloe vera, dandelion, artichoke, asparagus, sprouts, radishes, leafy greens, citrus fruits…
Besides these detox basics, there are also some more advanced strategies that you can use to detoxify very specifically, for example by focusing on the deep cleansing of one specific organ (eg. liver, kidneys, small intestine), or by focusing on the detoxification of specific toxins like heavy metals, plastics, pesticides, pathogenic micro-organisms, etc.
However, I recommend to start with the basics first. Only when you have successfully incorporated the basics into your daily life, you can start preparing for the more advanced cleansing strategies. Because when you start detoxifying from deeper within, stored toxins get released and so if your exits aren’t clear, these stored toxins can get reabsorbed into the bloodstream, where they can create even more damage than when they were stored. So proceed with caution and be aware of your body!
If you're looking for guidance and support along your detox journey, feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll look into your specific situation together.
Lots of love + healing vibes your way,
(1) Transdermally: take a magnesium bath 1-3x/ week and use a magnesium spray daily. Orally: supplement with a good quality liquid magnesium like this one from Mineralife.