Cleansing Your Life
|There is a lot of focus on cleansing the body around this time of year. Detoxification can be a valuable process for weight loss, improved energy, increased focus, glowing skin and reduced inflammation to name a few benefits. As an experienced Naturopathic Doctor, I have seen many "fad" detox plans and cleanses move through the media and market place over the years. Some have value but in general many are quick fix solutions that basically consist of mild laxative formulas and low dose herbal blends with questionable therapeutic benefit.
I believe that true detoxification with lasting results is founded on basic principles of clean anti-inflammatory based nutrition, hydrotherapy and exercise to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage as well as some key herbal supports that are unique to the patients particular needs. It takes time. We should not expect a 1 week strict detox to undo perhaps years of poor lifestyle habits.
There is also one other essential part of the equation that is frequently overlooked:
Detoxifying the body requires detoxifying your life.
In other words, the environment that you create for yourself to live in, the relationships you have and the thoughts you believe about what is possible will dramatically influence the effectiveness of a detoxification or cleansing plan. It is very difficult to commit to lasting changes in nutrition, exercise and mind-body awareness when the environment you live in feels chaotic. Start to spring clean your life as you clean your body.
Start with basic steps:
- Spring cleaning. Pick one room at a time to tackle so that things don't feel overwhelming. Purge those things you haven't used in at least a year. The more momentum you get while doing this, the easier it becomes. If you don't have the time or inclination to do it, then hire someone who can. An uncluttered home is a powerful way to calm the mind and clear space for a more focus on yourself.
- Create an easy environment for food preparation. This requires a clean kitchen area. I always recommend that people get rid of all their "red light" foods. If you know that you have very little control around a particular kind of food, then do yourself a big favor and get it out of the house.
- Replace all of your toxic cleaning product with natural alternatives. These are available just about everywhere. Look for fragrance free, biodegradable and sensitive skin formulas.
- Have a family meeting and create a mission statement around healthy habits. Support from your closest relationships will go a long way to making a lasting change. The most common challenge I hear in my practice is when patients feel that their spouses or children are influencing their progress.
- Make your cleanse a priority, even if it means saying no to other commitments so that you can take a power walk or if you need more time to prepare your meals.
- Take a break from toxic relationships in your life. It is up to you to set your boundaries around who you let in and who you give your energy to. It is virtually impossible to change the behaviors of others, so decide for yourself what you need and surround yourself with only positive and inspiring people.
- Your outer world is an absolute reflection of your inner one. How you experience your life is a result of the filter through which you interpret events, words and thoughts. Your level of success in detoxification and for lasting wellness depends on how you choose to experience life. Start to notice your thoughts and the stories created by them. Can you create a different story? How would you have to approach life to be your best self?
- Get clear about your purpose. Purpose will drive you to get up in the morning and go for a workout, prepare a nourishing breakfast, drink more pure water and make time for yourself. Purpose is always more effective than will power. Get clear about how cleansing your life will benefit you and on the flip side get clear about how not taking action will affect you! (focusing on the pain of not following through is a great motivator for most people).
- Anti-inflammatory / elimination dietary plans are essential to successful cleansing. Many patients opt for food sensitivity testing but this is not required to see dramatic results in energy, skin, focus, digestion and weight through a well managed diet. I always provide detailed meal plans along with food lists so that patients can see how to incorporate meals into their busy lives.
- Herbal medicine varies depending on the patients health goals and past history.
- Liver support may be important for those with a history of alcohol use or drugs such as accutane for acne management.
- Herbs to modulate the immune system are helpful for those with a history of allergic reactions, frequent illness, eczema and asthma.
- Adrenal support is often important when chronic stress is a factor. Herbal preparations can help to improve the bodies stress response, ability to adapt and balance cortisol.
- Inflammatory modulation through herbal and other supplements are important for pain management, skin conditions and digestive disorders.
- Exercise and hydrotherapy options are used to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage for toxin release, stress management and weight control.
Make a lasting change in your life and let go of all those things that are holding you back, creating clutter emotionally, mentally and physically!
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