Imagine for a moment that New York City has stopped trash and recycling services. Bags of trash and recycling are piling up on the sidewalks. It’s smelly and pretty soon rats the size of small dogs are overrunning the streets feeding off the trash they’re finding. Bacteria and molds are breeding and pretty soon asthma and allergies make it impossible to go outside, not that anyone would want to with the huge rats keeping guard of their new food source. Gross right?
In this story, trash accumulation has created a breeding ground for pathogens and parasites essentially. This is what happens when your body’s toxic load is high.
Yes, your body is designed to eliminate toxins however in the past 100 years the number of human made chemicals has increased to over 84,000 and the concentration of chemicals we’re exposed to daily has increased to hundreds. Most of these chemicals aren’t tested for human safety and certainly not tested within the unique cocktail of chemicals you might use on a regular basis.
This increase has created a toxin load that’s too high for many of us to detox effectively. In addition, most toxins bioaccumulate in fat stores and can be difficult to remove.
So, how do you know if your toxin loads are high? You can take the Rain Barrel Effect test by Dr. Stephen Cabral to start. Though he points out that if you already have a diagnosed autoimmune disease then your total body burden of toxins is already high. Autoimmune disease along with many other chronic health conditions are symptoms or signs of toxicity that can create imbalance in your body.
It’s not surprising to know that many people with autoimmune diseases also have difficulty with methylation. Methylation is an important part of your body’s detoxification process. Testing for this involves checking for MTHFR gene mutation. If this is you, you may need a more gentle detox than others who are more efficient at detoxification.
Here is my Gentle Detox approach.
Eliminate Toxin Exposure
This is always the first step I recommend when doing a detox. You can’t control every input of toxins but you can control quite a few.
- Detox your Beauty Routine – What we put onto our skin can penetrate and be absorbed into the bloodstream. Choosing products that are low or non-toxic can help reduce your body burden of toxins over time.
- Reduce Plastics – Plastics often contain endocrine disrupting chemicals that can have significant impact on your health. By eliminating plastics from your food storage and preparation products and refusing receipts from stores, you can greatly reduce your exposure to these chemicals.
- Buy Organic – Reducing your exposure to glyphosate and associated toxins in chemical herbicides and pesticides is becoming increasingly easier. By choosing whole organic foods over processed foods as you are able, you can reduce your body’s burden of harmful toxins. Not able to go completely organic? The Environmental Working Group just released their Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen list.
- Use Water Filters – Hydration is key in the detoxification process. Unfortunately, nearly all municipalities add chlorine and fluorosilicic acid to the water. These chemicals are damaging to the thyroid and the form of fluoride added is a neurotoxin. Consider using a Berkey Filter with the fluoride filter option or an alkalizing filter for your drinking water. Fluoride is difficult to filter out and I haven’t found a shower filter that removes it yet. But having a chlorine filter for your shower head is still extremely helpful.
Because toxins can be reabsorbed into your body through the gut, it’s important to make sure your gut is working properly. If you currently have irritable bowel syndrome (bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas) then healing your gut may be your next big step. To learn more about yoru gut and why this is so important, read Christina Tidwell’s article Love Your Gut. Ways you can begin healing your gut include:
- Reduce Stress – Stress is a big trigger for many people when it comes to gut health. When you’re in a state of chronic stress, your body’s parasympathetic nervous system is turned on releasing cortisol so you can act quickly to get away from danger. This state essentially turns off your rest and digest mechanism which is what you need in order to digest foods properly. My favorite way to reduce stress is to meditate using the Headspace.
- Remove Inflammatory Foods – Sugar, alcohol, gluten and dairy are all highly inflammatory foods for most people. Removing these, if you haven’t already, is a good first step in healing your gut. You might also consider removing other common allergens such as nuts, nightshades and eggs to see how you feel. You may find you have more energy and less irritable bowel symptoms.
- Prebiotics and Probiotics – Adding in more prebiotics to feed good gut bacteria as well as adding supporting probiotics and eliminating sugar can help rebalance your gut microbiome.
Simple Morning Routine Tools
Our body does quite a bit of detoxification at night during sleep. In particular, this is the brain’s time to detox through the glymphatic system. This is the brain’s way of flushing out toxins (environmental as well as endotoxins). Those toxins are excreted through the tonsil area and the lymphatic system.
Using a tongue scraper first thing in the morning is a helpful way to remove the toxins that come out through the tonsil area of your mouth. Do this before you drink water so you don’t flush those toxins back into your body.
This ayurvedic technique is also helpful in pulling out the toxins excreted through the tonsil area. For this, you can take a teaspoon of coconut oil or sesame seed oil in your mouth and swish it around gently for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. I love coconut oil because of the taste but also for its antibacterial properties.
Neck Lymphatic Massage
I’ve been doing this consistently for the past week and it’s a great way to clear congestion in the morning and get the lymphatic system moving. By doing this massage in the morning, you help move any toxins that collected there overnight to be flushed out by the larger lymphatic system. To start, run your thumbs just under your jaw bone beginning from your chin area to your ears. Do this several times. Then using your finger tips, massage from the base of your ears down your neck on either side of your trachea. Do this motion several times.
Once you begin to reduce stress and support your gut, your body will naturally begin to release more bioaccumulative toxins. It’s important to bind these so your body can get rid of them effectively.
My favorite is a zeolite binder Zeobind by Biopure. This is a clay powder that you mix with water and drink. I love this one because it minds out non-metal chemicals like petrochemicals and pesticides, heavy metals and mold toxins. You can take this between meals and away from any medications you currently take. You can also take this just before bed which is when I take it. If you happen to have a sauna, then you might take it before your sauna session as well.
One other option is Chlorella which is helpful in binding heavy metals. There are several forms of Chlorella including Vulgaris which is easier on the gut but a weaker binder and Pyrenoidosa which is a little harder on the gut but is a stronger binder. This is readily available at grocery stores.
Liposomal Glutathione is a bioavailable form of Glutathione which an antioxidant found in plants, animals and fungi. It’s responsible for preventing cellular damage caused by free radicals, heavy metals and peroxides. This is an important detoxifier in the body. I take a liquid form of L-Glutathione. This can be taken away from meals and medications before bed or before sweating.
Sweating – Bonus!
Sweating is one of the most effective ways to detox your body. If you’re fortunate to have access to a sauna or sauna blanket, now’s a great time to use it! If you haven’t been using the sauna, take it slowly. Start with 10 minutes and work your way up to an hour a day if you can. Always listen to your body.
If you don’t have access to a sauna but have warm enough weather to create some sweat by either sun bathing, working in the yard or going for a jog this is also helpful. Just 10 minutes of sweating a day can make a difference.
When sweating, always keep hydrated. Use a towel to wipe off sweat so it doesn’t become reabsorbed. Consider taking a binder and L-glutatione beforehand.
Your body is immensely intelligent. Every chronic symptom is your body’s way of telling you something is out of balance. Toxicity can be a major factor contributing to that imbalance.
There are many ways to help your body detox. I’ve listed some of my favorite ways. Every body is unique though and what might be gentle to some, may be more difficult for you. Be sure to check with your health care practitioner when starting any detoxification program.
If you aren’t certain how you’d like to approach your gentle detox and would like additional guidance, I’ve just created a Personalized Detox Program. You can learn more about this program and register here.