It happens every year: We overindulge around the holidays and by January we’re desperate to give our systems a break from heavy foods and sugary treats. If your body is telling you to ditch the junk food and give it a break, listen to it.
“It’s best to go with the flow of how you feel,” says Ben Stoops, herbalist at our Santa Fe store. That means giving your body a rest from all of the processed foods and environmental toxins we contend with. Our liver can’t keep up with filtering all those toxins, and can quickly become overburdened—a state that Stoops feels can lead to certain types of cancer, hypothyroidism, increased allergies and asthma, and more.
So where to start? “A couple weeks of a reasonably slow detox is appropriate,” Ben says. “Aim for a diet of fiber-rich foods, more fruits and veggies, and fewer high-protein foods.” Eat foods that are less processed, less cooked and more fibrous—that’s the rule of thumb, he says.
He adds that fortifying supplements such as multis, fish oils or adaptogenic herbs can run contrary to a detox program, since your body is trying to rid itself of damaged cells and needs a break from a lot of new cell building. “A good detox may block the absorption of these supplements anyway,” says Ben, who recommends leaving them out during the course of the cleanse.
Instead, swap in supplements that can help activate the liver, like milk thistle, dandelion root, artichoke leaf and Oregon grape. And make sure you get enough soluble fiber—if you don’t, Stoops says, the toxins won’t come out naturally through your bowel movements, and can instead end up pushing through your skin and causing breakouts, rashes and even eczema. Save time, Ben says, with a cleanse kit that includes both fiber and those liver-supportive herbs, such as Renew Life’s Organic Total Body Cleanse.
Ben’s final recommendations: Sip on a tea made from dandelion leaf throughout the cleanse, drink plenty of water and “do lots of sweating!” Both sweating and Epsom salt baths help to encourage healthy toxin elimination, he says.