Beginner’s Guide to Detoxing
Grab the mop and broom, throw open the windows and freshen up the house. After the staleness of winter, spring is a great time to clean. The fresh air automatically invites a thorough scrub or a deep dust.
But don’t stop at just cleaning your house. Clean your body too.
Spring is a great time to detox and rid your body of accumulated toxins from the previous year. Traditional Chinese Medicine agrees with this principle and recommends spring as an especially good time to cleanse and detox your liver.
Detoxing is the process of cleaning your organs and tissues. It enhances health, vitality and rejuvenation; it can clear symptoms, treat diseases & protect against future health issues. After a detox you think clearer and feel better. You have more energy. Friends may notice that you glow.
What does Detoxing Mean?
Detoxing lingo can be confusing. Many people use detox terms interchangeably and many of the practices overlap. Here are some of the common terms:
- A fast is a break from eating (and sometimes drinking). Purists don’t eat or drink at all during a fast, but that is extreme. Many people fast with liquids, usually fresh juices, or light foods.
- A cleanse usually refers to a colon cleanse, a program using a combination of fiber, probiotics, laxatives and sometimes enemas to clean the colon of accumulated toxins, undigested food, parasites and fungi.
- A detox is a regime designed to release, neutralize or transform toxins stored in your tissues. It can involve fasting, cleansing, exercise, sweats and/or taking certain supplements. Sometimes you detox your entire body and sometimes you focus on a particular organ or system.
Many people are hesitant to detox. Some are concerned that they will be hungry or have low energy. Some worry that they’ll end up with a headache. Others are afraid that their digestion will be disrupted and they’ll need to stay close to a bathroom. And many people just don’t know where to begin.
There is a trick to successfully accomplishing your first detox without hunger, low energy, headaches, upset digestion or overwhelm—keep it small and simple. Don’t shock your body. Detox in little steps. Use common sense.
A Beginner’s Detox Regime
There are 3 simple keys to a successful first detox:
Start small. Your first detox should be 1-3 days and take advantage of night hours. For example, begin with a 36-hour detox. Start your regime at night, after dinner. Continue through the next day and break your detox with breakfast on the third day.
Ease into your detox and ease out of it. Eat a healthy diet at least 2 days before and after your detox. Avoid junk food, sugar, coffee or alcohol. Be kind to yourself and don’t shock your system.
Drink lots of water to help flush the toxins.
Below is a list of easy beginner detoxing regimes. Pick the one that suits you best.
Eliminate junk food. The first level of detoxing is to reduce your toxic diet. Eliminate sugar, processed foods, soda, coffee and alcohol. Eat regular meals, but restrict junk food.
Eliminate grains, meat or dairy. The next level of detox is to focus on fresh, plant-based foods that are high in nutrition. Increase your fiber and nutrients. Decrease foods that are higher on the food chain.
Lemonade Cleanse. The Lemonade Cleanse (also called the Master Cleanse) is a great beginner juice fast. Mix 2 TBs freshly squeezed organic lemon juice with 1 TB pure maple syrup, a pinch of cayenne and 8oz of filtered or spring water. Drink 8-12 glasses throughout the day. Usually this cleanse is done for up to 2 weeks, but it’s perfectly fine to start with a shorter time.
The lemon juice is a great detoxer, especially for the liver. The cayenne stimulates digestion, increases circulation, and thins and purifies your blood. Both lemon juice and cayenne break up mucus. The maple syrup provides energy to keep you going during the day.
Detoxing is a boon to your health, but it can be a challenge if you have never done it before. To add extra value to your “spring cleaning,” get an acupuncture tune-up before and after your detox. I can recommend the best regime for your constitution and support the detoxing process.