Our bodies are FANTASTIC at communicating with us. The problem is, many of us don't yet speak its language. Here are some ways that our body lets us know that we have some spring cleaning to do.
One of the few problems that I have with the fight against diet culture is that it often includes detoxing, which is such a shame considering how important it really is. The word "detox" is often used synonymously with "weight loss", and they're simply not the same thing. Sure, weight loss is often a side effect of cleansing, but it should never be the point. We are exposed to more toxins now than ever in human history. There are toxic chemicals sprayed on our food, put into our water, and in most of the products that we use daily, for everything from cleaning the house to washing our faces. Even if we are conscious of the food we buy, the water we drink, and the products we use, there are many factors contributing to our toxic load that are out of our immediate control. Helping our overburdened bodies to eliminate some of these toxins is imperative to feeling good and having a body that functions optimally.
“Professor Arnold Ehret describes the tongue as "the magic mirror", and states that we can determine what's going on internally by looking at the tongue."
Here are some of the ways that our intelligent-ass bodies let us know that we've got some cleaning up to do:
Thick coating on the tongue. If you wake up with a thick white coating on the tongue, or have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth throughout the day. Professor Arnold Ehret, author of The Mucusless Diet Healing System describes the tongue as "the magic mirror", and states that we can determine what's going on internally by looking at the tongue.
Foul smelling underarm odour. Despite what deodorant companies would have you think, it's actually not really normal to have foul smelling arm pits. It is a sign of toxicity and lymphatic congestion. Sweating is normal, but offensive odour is not.
The whites of your eyes aren't that white. In TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is said that the eyes are connected to the liver. If you have any liver stagnation or congestion, a sign of a heavy toxic load, you will see it in the health of your eyes.
You get sick often. You seem to catch every cold or flu that comes around, and it takes you a while to get back to your usual self. The same goes for getting frequent UTIs, yeast/vaginal infections, cold sores, etc. Your immune system is weakened.
You have acne, eczema, or other skin irritations. The skin is one of our organs of elimination, and if other pathways of elimination are blocked, or sluggish, toxins will try to exit through the skin. This can cause acne and other skin conditions.
You do not poop AT LEAST once per day. We eliminate excess hormones, toxins, and cellular waste via poops. If you are not pooping once per day at a minimum, ideally more than that, you are retaining toxicity.
You experience severe PMS and your periods are heavy and painful. Yet another thing that is common for many women, but certainly not normal. Our cycles should not be intolerable by any means.
You experience brain fog. Lack of focus, lack of energy, and that overall foggy feeling can be a sign that you've built up a toxic load that your body is struggling to handle.
Showing Toxins The Door
If you have experienced any of the above, here's what you can do to start opening up your channels of elimination to begin to reduce your toxic load:
Hydrate: consume plenty of hydrating fruits, filtered water, and herbal teas! The lymphatic system, considered the "sewer system" of the body requires adequate hydration to function optimally!
Tongue Scraping: an ancient Ayurvedic tool to cleanse ama, also known as "toxic sludge" off of the tongue and out of the body. A metal, often copper, tool designed to scrape the coating off of your tongue before or after brushing your teeth. Tongue scraping is my personal favourite personal hygiene practice- I would literally choose my tongue scraper over my toothbrush if I had to choose one of the two.
Eating more fruit: Fruit is a master but no detoxifier. It is one of the most potent mucus dissolvers, it's super hydrating, and it runs cleanly through our systems without leaving any residue in the body.
Eat enough fibre: fibre binds to toxic bile and acts as a mop through the digestive system. Without adequate fibre, we invite a process called enterohepatic recirculation-- when toxins from the liver do not bind to fibre to be eliminated and are then recirculated through the system. Insoluble fibres like cruciferous vegetables act as a brush that scrapes away old waste matter in the colon.
Consume foods high in bioavailable B-vitamins: grass-fed beef liver is one of the best foods for getting all of the B vitamins needed for proper methylation (a liver detoxification pathway). Eat liver raw, cooked, or freeze dried and encapsulated! You can also take an activated B vitamin.
Practice dry brushing. Dry skin brushing is an effective way of moving lymphatic fluid in your body, preparing it for elimination. Our lymphatic system is responsible for carrying cellular waste out of the body, among other things, and requires assistance through skin brushing, exercise, hot/cold therapy and more. Purchase a dry brush, watch a quick YouTube video, and you're set! It helps that it also makes your skin soft as hell.
Eliminate chemicals from your personal care/home care products: There are thousands of amazing products on the market now that have clean, harmless ingredients. Oh, and STOP buying scented candles. And anything with artificial fragrance.
Get a colonic or purchase an at-home enema kit: This has been one of my favourite practices for years now. It really makes such a difference in the way you feel, and can improve acne considerably! Our colons have pounds of waste stuck in them from years of poor eating. It's wonderful to help the body out in eliminating some of that old matter.
Fasting. One of the best ways to detoxify is to fast. If you are not comfortable doing a water fast or dry fast (no food or water), start with fruit fasting, or juice feasting. The body will be able to put the energy that would have been used by digesting food all day towards cleaning itself up and getting rid of some bad stuff.
Support your liver. Our liver is responsible for filtering the blood and removing toxins from it via bile production. Helping out the liver by consuming bitter herbs, eating more apples, reducing alcohol and fat consumption. Coffee enemas are also potent liver cleansers, and they can increase glutathione (a potent antioxidant formed in the liver) production by up to 700%!
Sweat! Toxins come out via sweat, especially passive sweat. Infrared saunas and hot baths are great ways to passively sweat. Exercise is great too, in more ways than one!
The suggestions that I mentioned above are things to incorporate into your daily life to aid the body in the elimination of toxins. I will be sharing and writing about ways to go into a deeper detoxification period in a future post! I believe that we can all benefit from a longer, more in-depth cleansing process every so often. The most important thing when talking about cleansing is that our pathways of elimination must be OPEN first before starting a deeper cleanse. When we get toxins moving through the system via various detoxification practices and supplements, if they have no exit doors out of the body due to poor drainage we will make symptoms worse and feel like garbage.
Cheers to opening up those elimination pathways!