Oops, said I’d post yesterday and then…well, it was a long day and I took an hour-and-a-half nap instead, then ended up researching chemical sensitivities, toxicity symptoms and management thereof until way past my bedtime. Good thing I had that early-evening nap!
It’s not something that even the most health-conscious of us always think about, but there’s a lot more to living a “clean” life than eating fresh, organic food and using natural cleaning and body care products. A lot of clothing, building and other household items are manufactured and processed with some seriously nasty chemicals. Example? Formaldehyde. Any fabric listed as “wrinkle free” or “wrinkle resistant” has been treated with formaldehyde to produce that quality. A friend of mine recently got, basically, poisoned by a Victoria’s Secret bra. Bra poisoning. Guys, I wish that was a joke I was making up, but it’s not, and it’s not even funny. Underwear soaked in formaldehyde. Another serious offender? Ikea furniture. Cheap, essentially disposable Ikea furniture, made out of particle board pressed together with who-knows-what-filled adhesives, glue and, again, treated with formaldehyde. A known carcinogen. As in, causes cancer. And in the meantime, causes seriously annoying and scary symptoms, as the body is assaulted and the immune system suppressed and our detox pathways seriously overburdened by all manner of chemicals and toxins.
All that to say, think before you buy synthetic fabrics, plastics, bedding and furniture.
So, what do we DO about this? We could get scared, or mad, or damn the man and move to a bunker in the woods. But that’s not exactly realistic, practical or healthy.
We do what we can. It’s all about lightening the load on our bodies, cutting back our exposure to toxins, environmental pollutants and food additives when we can, and helping our body detox what it has been exposed to, to lessen allergic reactions, support our immune systems and the liver (our number one detox organ!) We just have to accept that the world we live in is kinda dirty, and we can’t always help it.
There are about a million different approaches and types of detox, with varying levels of intensity. One great way to approach it, with diet, is to just do a couple of little things every day to ease the overall burden. My two top relatively easy and regular (pun intended, wait for it) detox tips we can incorporate daily are to drink LOTS of water and consume lots of fiber. Get it, regular? Fiber? Oh, boo. Not funny. In terms of water, 2 litres daily is what most people should aim for. And fiber…well, 25 grams minimum is what’s usually recommended, but I aim for more. To put it in context, a medium apple is around 4 grams of fiber, a cup of cooked lentils around 15 grams, 1 tbsp of raisins is 1 gram, and 1 cup of regular oatmeal is around 4 grams. Those are good, high fiber foods. White flour, white rice, potatoes without the skin, processed fruit juices and refined sugars have little to no fiber and do more to cause toxicity than reduce it. If you’re eating a mainly plant-based, mainly whole foods diet, more than 25 grams a day is easy peasy and as Liz Lemon once said, you’ll be BM-ing like a pro! An extra pro-tip I recommend is getting most of your fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, which will themselves have a high water content (bonus!) and additional detox-helpers like tons of anti-oxidants (I’m getting there).
The more water we consume daily, and the more fiber in our diets, the easier it is for our bodies to be continuously flushing out things like pesticide residue from non-organic foods, or various environmental pollutants we inhale (or absorb through our skin, as the case may be – I’m looking at you, poison bras!). When we come into contact with, say, some toxic paint fumes, or drink some alcohol, or spend time with a seriously furry pet, if our body has been regularly flushing out various toxins, there’s less of a backlog for it to deal with and the irritant we are faced with immediately can be dealt with immediately, and is less likely to hang around in the body causing disease or allergy symptoms.
If we want to do even more to detox our bodies, short fasts or periods of eating very simply can do a lot to lessen the burden on our system and increase our overall health and energy levels. Even just 2-3 days of consuming fresh vegetable and fruit juices, or nutrient-rich smoothies can give us a huge boost. Consuming lots of anti-oxidant rich foods is also great if you’re looking to detox or eliminate some pesky allergy symptoms – anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals in our bodies, which are compounds that can damage cells in various ways, damaging our immune systems, causing “aging,” allergic reactions, and generally wreaking havoc and setting the stage for illness. Free radicals occur as by products of some metabolic processes, and through the ingestion of various environmental, and dietary, pollutants, such as formaldehyde.
Pheweeeeee, that was a lot of build up to get to a couple of recipes here! These are a couple of nutrient-dense, anti-oxidant filled, detox-friendly drinks I’ve incorporated into my routine recently, to boost my sluggish energy levels during winter, and give myself a little kick start to “detox before the retox” of the holiday season. Even though I tend to continue eating pretty healthy over the holiday season, I know I’ll be indulging in heavier and richer foods, like potato latkes, cashew cheeses and nut-based raw treats, and probably even a Tofurky at some point, and definitely some wine, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to lighten up, consume some extra anti-oxidants and get ready for the old holiday retox!
Super Detox Green Juice
4-5 large kale leaves, stalks included
3 stalks celery
1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro
1 lemon, peeled
1/2-1 inch piece of ginger
Juice. If you don’t have a juicer, you can blend the f#%k out of everything, plus 1-2 cups of water, in a blender, and strain through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth, until all juice has been wrung from the pulp. Ghetto juicing ftw!!
Anti-Oxidant Goji Cacao Smoothie
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp goji berries
2 tbsp raw cacao
1 1/4 cup almond milk (or water)
3-4 ice cubes
optional: 2-3 drops food grade peppermint essential oil
Blend all ingredients on high in blender, until smooooooooth. Drink up omnomnom.
This was a long-winded preview of some more in-depth, every-day detoxing tips and tricks I’m planning for later in the month, and around the new year, when we’ll all be in dire need of it. So, hit me up with any specific questions about cleansing and detoxing and I’ll try to work it in.