BY DR. SARAH VILLAFRANCO
Here’s the thing: detoxing doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Your body would definitely thank you if you never consumed sugar/alcohol/caffeine/gluten/dairy, exercised daily and meditated more than once a month. In truth, we should all dedicate a week to those goals several times a year, just to reset and shock the body a little.
But, in the meantime, this is life! Most of us have demanding schedules and kids, pets, or relationships to nourish. So we get into trouble when we set hugely restrictive rules for ourselves, fall off the wagon and say, “Forget it! This isn't working for me!”
Instead of trying to overhaul every aspect of your life at once, try picking a few things to improve upon right now, then build. Start with three of the things on the list below and incorporate them in a long-term, meaningful way:
1. Drink a large glass of warm lemon water every morning.
How: Juice of one lemon + 1 cup boiling water + 1/2 cold water. Drink it quickly.
Why: Lots of alleged benefits to this practice remain unproven, but some clear reasons to drink lemon water are: the mood-lifting effect of lemon essential oil, expressed when you squeeze the lemon; the dose of immune-boosting Vitamin C; it'll stimulate your gut function; you drank a huge, hydrating glass of water before even getting out of your PJs!
2. Drink black or green tea on weekdays, coffee on weekends.
How: Make it a morning ritual using beautiful, loose-leaf tea. Add a splash of almond or cashew milk and skip the sugar. You’ll notice the subtle taste of the tea itself.
Why: Tea is full of antioxidants that are different and more potent than the ones in coffee, with less than half the caffeine. Tea causes less heartburn and has some anxiety-soothing effects — especially teas brewed with jasmine or lavender. Tea also has some fluoride, a nice perk if you don’t use fluoride toothpaste!
3. Stop using conventional antiperspirant.
How: You may have to try several natural deodorant brands to find the one that works with your chemistry, but you’ll find one, I promise.
Why: You’re supposed to sweat. It regulates your body temperature and electrolytes, and eliminates a small number of toxins. Traditional antiperspirants block the apocrine sweat glands with aluminum and are usually loaded with other, unhealthy ingredients.
4. Exercise five times a week.
How: Don’t tell yourself you have to join a gym or start Crossfit to call it exercise. Walking briskly is exercise, especially with great music! Often, if we don’t have a full hour, we blow it off. Don’t do that. A little bit is better than nothing.
Why: So many reasons, but it really comes down to one word: endorphins. You can make your own happiness drug. Isn’t that a good enough reason?
5. Detox your products.
How: Read labels and throw away anything with the following ingredients: parabens, “Parfum,” fragrance, sodium laureth sulfate, anything else that ends in “-eth,” and artificial colors, like FD&C Red No. 6.
Why: Because they’re bad for you and bad for the earth. There’s enough proof to stop debating it and it’s time to help make things better.
6. Cook more.
How: You don’t have to spend three hours prepping to make a good meal. Scrambled eggs with a side of sautéed greens and some cherry tomatoes is a 12-minute effort and will leave you feeling nourished and healthy.
Why: Eating out is fun, but you lose control over salt, fat and quantity, three factors that can leave you stuffed and thirsty in the middle of the night, rather than happy and satisfied.
7. Drink alcohol in moderation.
How: The hard truth is that women shouldn't have more than one drink a day and men shouldn't have more than two. We all stray occasionally, but try to make this your baseline, and supplement your diet with folate if you do drink regularly.
Why: While some evidence shows that moderate alcohol consumption can have mild cardiovascular benefits for certain populations, alcohol also increases the risk of breast cancer for women and significantly contributes to depression, violence, liver disease and fatal traffic accidents. So, like I said, be moderate.
8. Read more fiction.
How: Well, this list will help you find some seriously worthy reads.
Why: It helps you remember to imagine. We spend so much time reading news and work-related stuff that we forget how much we once loved stories. Call it a mental detox, let your brain be a kid again.
9. Sleep more.
How: This is hard for most of us. Once the kids are in bed, we work or watch bad TV, calling it “me-time,"” but pick a few nights a week to be in bed by ten.
Why: Some “me-time” should be dedicated to making yourself feel healthier and happier, right? Sleep is the single most effective way to do this. Create a routine: a bath with lavender soap, a book and some gentle music.
10. Get outside!
How: Just ... go outside. Turn your lunch break into a walk. Go to the woods or a river on a weekend morning. Play in the snow with your kids or your dog.
Why: It’s free therapy! Even Einstein agreed: “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
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