Your Simple Fall Detox
My favorite thing about Fall is the abundance of gentle transitions the season brings — Foods become richer and reflect the colors found in changing leaves outside, while the air becomes more crisp in the evening, yet daytime is still so beautiful. Fall is a feast for the senses and it’s the perfect time to do a detox.
I use the word “detox” to describe a process of improving the body’s own systems of removing “trash”. I view detoxing as an integral part of my routine to be done at least once, if not twice, per year! How do we detox? The primary detox organs are the liver, skin and colon. A good detox focuses not only on increasing these organs’ activity but also limiting the amount of work they must do to “take out the trash”. I like to formulate detoxes around easy-to-do steps that fit within everyday life. So, now to the good part: the why’s and how’s.
Here are a few key pieces to doing an effective detox.
Why Consider a Detox?
Headaches, caffeine or sugar addiction, poor skin and slow bowels are all reasons to think about detoxing. I also think of it as a regular piece of my health care regimen even if I’m not feeling poorly. Embarking on detox-style dietary changes alone can help you feel considerably better if your diet is less than perfect.
Although it varies, trying to maintain detox changes for at least 10-14 days is a good rule of thumb. See if you can keep it up. The first few days are usually the hardest but after that you’ll be reaping the benefits.
Food can be your most powerful medicine or a consistent source of toxin exposure. Choosing foods low in chemicals is ideal for a healthy diet, but even more so while attempting to detox. Local, organic foods and foods in their whole form (not processed) are all examples of low chemical foods. Take a look at the “Dirty Dozen Plus” and “Clean 15” foods lists from Environmental Working Group for guidelines on clean produce options.
Bring Down Stress:
Physical and emotional stress cause our bodies to release certain hormones and chemicals which can, in turn, put stress on our detox systems. By keeping calm, we can decrease the amount of these compounds in our bodies and the amount of mental chatter in our minds. Try a guided meditation (look online), or deep breathing exercises to help.
Easy Detox Diet:
There are a four groups of foods I will always recommend folks avoid while detoxing: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and processed foods of all kinds. If you can start by avoiding these you will be well on your way to feeling great. To my patients I typically recommend a more rigorous diet but this is a great first step! Take the next step and incorporate these detox-assisting foods into your diet: beets and their greens, parsley (must be organic!), brussels sprouts, cabbage and dark leafy greens.
Best for Last:
The most important thing you can do to help your body detox involves water. Drink plenty of water (your urine should be light yellow if you’re hydrated) and sweat! Hit the gym and use the sauna (unless advised not to by your doctor) and work up a sweat. Make sure the water you’re drinking contains electrolytes. I like to add a pinch of Himalayan sea salt and squeeze of lemon to my water bottle and sip on it all day.
Katie Disharoon ND – Katie sees patients of all ages in her Family Practice at Full Circle Natural Medicine near Greenlake in Seattle, WA. She enjoys helping people regain their energy and pep through natural medicine, paying special attention the important role digestive health plays in quality of life.