3 Simple Ways to Purify Your Body
Here are some tips for a corporeal clean sweep drawn from traditional wisdom and contemporary research.
What’s the point of spring cleaning if not to feel a little cleaner, a little fresher, and a little more pure? While most people think spring cleaning means dusting out your closet and opening some windows, it can mean much more than that. In traditional healing systems around the world, it is just as important to cleanse and refresh your body with the change of seasons. In Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), for example, a special focus is put on dietary changes and herbs that help to remove “ama” or toxin accumulation. Here are some tips for a corporeal clean sweep drawn from traditional wisdom and contemporary research.
Purify your body
Internal Detoxing the Right Way! Seasonal detoxes can help your body to eliminate toxins more efficiently, and they can be delicious as well! Try a detox diet in the spring and fall, and treat your body to a healthy and tasty spa menu of juices, smoothies, and low-fat, plant-based meals for 1 week.
Do our organs do a great job of eliminating toxins on their own? Absolutely. The idea here is to give your liver, kidneys, colon, lymph system, and skin a little extra short-term support, especially given the modern toxic burden they have to bear.
To this end, you want to eat primarily vegan during your detox, as animal fats tend to accumulate toxins (a phenomenon known as biomagnification), and pass on the alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and recreational drugs. And go organic! You want to give your body a break from toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. You also want to encourage your organs of elimination in their detox work by providing vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and directly supportive herbs and foods.
Juices are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They do not, however, contain much fiber, which is important for keeping your colon clean. For fiber intake, smoothies are a better choice because the fiber-rich pulp and skin of fruits and vegetables are blended right in. Smoothies can also provide clean protein. Add sprouts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chlorella, spirulina, or a high-quality vegan protein powder to your smoothies for a protein boost. Spirulina is a great addition to a detox plan because it has shown promise for protecting the kidneys and removing heavy metals. Other good meal options during your detox include steamed vegetables, cooked lentils, sprouted beans, and quinoa.
Have some fun experimenting with herbs and foods known for their cleansing properties. (As always, consult your healthcare practitioner if you have allergies or other medical conditions.) Try teas of nettles, dandelion leaf and root ,burdock root, and cleavers. Teas, tinctures, or capsules of milk thistle seeds and gentian root can be taken for additional liver and digestion support. Add cleansing and digestion-enhancing foods like lemon, turmeric, cilantro, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, radish/daikon, cucumber, and celery to smoothies or meals.
Spa your skin!
Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it is more permeable than you might think. You absorb both nutrients and toxins through your skin, so treat it well. Check out EWG's Cosmetics Safety Database for a list of the best and worst products for your skin. One good rule of thumb is to avoid products that list “fragrance” as an ingredient because they likely contain phthalates, which are known hormone disruptors. Avoid products containing parabens, as well.
You can also support your skin in its detoxification activity with sweat-promoting heat, clay masks and wraps, and skin brushing. Sweating it out in steam rooms or saunas is an ancient cleansing practice that you have probably already enjoyed. Clays have likewise been used for centuries in traditional healing and beauty protocols. Zeolite, bentonite, and French green clays can be put into a bath or used in face masks and body wraps to draw waste products from the skin. Dry skin brushing is another technique to try. Regularly brushing the skin brings circulation to and exfoliates the skin, helping to accelerate the elimination of waste products.
Relax and breathe!
Give yourself the time and space to enjoy your springtime spa time, as well as the psychological release and mental clarity that come with it. A 10-minute daily meditation is a nice way to clear some mind clutter. It might even make you 10% happier.