This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Meghan Telpner
I find that our bodies are happiest and healthiest when we offer support with smart detox strategies. But detoxing and cleansing isn’t just for the beginning of January — nor does it have to involve all-liquid diets and constant hunger.
To incorporate gentle detoxing into your everyday life, try these eight easy methods. They’re simple, effective and most importantly: many are actually fun!
1. Buy a water filter.
Your tap water can be loaded with compounds like chlorine and fluoride, which damage our intestinal flora and disrupt our endocrine system. Drinking clean water allows our bodies to hydrate and eliminate waste more effectively, because we don’t have to do more work to filter out the chemicals in our water.
Add a filter to your drinking water, as well as your shower. Bathing in hot chlorinated water can allow chlorine to be absorbed through the skin, which is your largest organ. Shower filters are easy to install, and will take you one step closer to daily detoxing.
2. Choose chemical-free foods.
Every day, we’re exposed to dozens of pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, processed oils, additives, artificial colors and flavors in the food we eat. And even if we stick to a whole foods diet, non-organic fare can pollute the body with chemicals that damage our health and the environment.
If 100% organic isn’t in your budget, follow the Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce to determine which foods are an organic priority, like apple, spinach and grapes.
3. Try skin brushing.
You’ll love how amazing this daily massage feels! Skin brushing helps to slough off dead skin cells, which allows your skin to breathe better. Bonus: You’ll be justify with fresh-feeling, glowing skin.
The best time to skin brush is right before you shower, so you can wash away any dirt or dead skin that comes off after you brush. I recommend skin brushing in a clockwise circular motion, beginning at the feet and moving towards the heart to encourage detoxification and circulation.
4. Get your bowels moving.
Most of our bodily wastes are eliminated by our bowels, so it’s important to ensure that you’re pooping on the regular. That means at least daily, if not twice daily.
Get pooping by consuming plenty of water and fiber — mainly found in fruits and veggies — as well as exercising daily and making time for regular relaxation exercises. That’s because your colon is a muscle, so if you’re tense your colon might be, too. Learn more about how to achieve optimal digestive health.
5. Practice deep breathing.
Most of us take short and shallow breaths without even realizing it. Instead, learn how to deep breathe, which helps to cleanse and detoxify our lungs, reduces stress and brings energizing oxygen to our tissues.
Start off your day by taking 10 deep, slow, long breaths. Once you get the hang of it, increase your number of breaths, and stop for “breathing breaks” throughout your day.
I recommend setting an alarm on your phone to go off once a day. That will be your reminder to stand up, drop your shoulders and breathe a few full and deep breaths into your body.
6. Clean up your personal care products.
From shampoo to shower gel to moisturizer to makeup, many of us are slathering toxic chemicals right onto our skin every day. And women are at a much higher risk than men, since they use more beauty care products, at an average of 12 per day.
I recommend swapping all toxic personal care products for chemical-free versions that won’t disrupt hormones. If that seems difficult, choose just one product you use every day — like toothpaste or deodorant — and start there. You can even choose to make your own. To learn more, check out this guide to chemical-free beauty.
7. Have a good laugh.
Sure, it’s important to detox our bodies — but it’s equally crucial to detox our minds. There are many health benefits to laughter, including reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. So inject some fun into your life, and laugh it up every single day!
Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based author, speaker, nutritionist, and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.