Humans are at the top of the food chain andmost likely to be exposed to a buildup of toxicsubstances in the food supply, and beyond. Addall the chemicals in cosmetics, noise pollution,water shortages and a seriously shrinking ozonelayer and you quickly realize there is no escapingthis toxic load, or what many researchersnow refer to as “pollution in people.” The UnitedStates Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimatesmore than 80 percent of all illnesses haveenvironmental and lifestyle causes at the root,which could be helped by de-stressing regularly,purifying the blood and detoxifying the skinand other cleansing organs on a consistent basis.And, as we get older, we produce less melatoninand other therapeutic hormones thathelp the detox process, says Dr. James Forsythe,author of Anti-Aging Cures (Vanguard Press2012). “Unhealthy food practices emerge asthe primary cause of poor digestive and detoxhealth,” he says. To cleanse, it’s vital to “eliminateor greatly reduce unhealthy foods fromyour diet, starting with sugars, alcohol, caffeineand all animal products.”
While several strategies we found do workby simply “sweating them out,” others decontaminatedeeper into the muscles and digestiveorgans, especially the liver. Most experts agree:
If you want to initiate a detox, you should drinkmore (green juices), eat less and exercise untilyou perspire. Also, investigate digestive enzymesupplements, a fiber supplement and a dailymulti-vitamin. Make sure to discuss any cleanseor detox with your general practitioner.
Clear your skin.
A weight loss tool popular in the Far East and infrequentlyseen in the United States, weekly sessions in an Infrared JadeSauna–which heats you up from your internal core temperature–helps most healthy adults purge up to 600 calories in 30minutes per session. “Using the ancient healing power of jadestone, combined with high-tech infrared rays, Jade Saunas areprivate, temperature-controlled and based on your comfortzone,” says Joseph Harounian, owner of Firm Body Evolution(FBE) gym and spa in West Hollywood, California. You slipinto one of eight personal pods wearing a tank top and shorts,recline on a stone bed and close the lid for time away fromthe chaos of urban grit. One of FBE’s team members peeks inevery few minutes to place cool compresses on your forehead,dim the lights and check on music selection. Your pores expelfree radicals and contaminants (food additives, caffeine, excesssodium, etc.) for hours following one treatment, $50 a la carte; fbespa.com
Clean up your food supply and eliminate sugar.
Granted, slowly weaning off of unhealthy staples includingdairy, meat and sugar is not exactly easy. “The hardest part inthe beginning of a detox is keeping your cravings in check,”says Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Diet (Hay House 2011) andCrazy, Sexy Kitchen (2012). Here are her tips for cleaning up yourdiet and sidestepping sugar and caffeine cravings as you detox:
- Sip hot herbal or green tea all day to keep your mouth busy andintake more antioxidants. Stick to filtered water.
- Nosh on rice cakes with nut butters, baked sweet potatoes,crudité and spicy dips. Don’t skip meals or starve yourself.
- Start your day with a shot of willpower in a glass: Mix leafygreens (think kale and spinach) with sweeter produce such ascarrots and green apples. Drink one for breakfast and anotherprior to your 3 p.m. afternoon slump.
- Eat whole, organic seasonal vegetables every chance you get.
And aim for two organic fruits for snacks each day.
Sweat out cellular waste and exercise intensely.
Skin, your largest organ, is an organ of excretion, so it makessense that high-energy cardiovascular exercise— where youperspire more than usual (spinning class, boot camps and hotyoga)—can purify your bloodstream by shuttling toxins outof your body via the skin. Although the American Collegeof Sports Medicine suggests all healthy adults get 30 to 60minutes of exercise most days of the week, about two-thirdsof Americans don’t get half of that. Detox moral of the story?Move intensely enough to sweat through your clothes andwork up to a breathless pant several days per week. At thatsweaty point, you’re eliminating the main chemicals (stimulants,food additives, cosmetic chemicals, over-the-countermedicine) that your system is bombarded with daily.
Jump on the healthy bacteria bandwagon.
About two-thirds of any detox occurs in the digestive system,experts say, so cleansing the colon and liver is paramount. Mostfoods lack the viability or quantity to optimize healthy bacteriacolonies in the colon, so supplementing with a daily probiotic(with “live, active cultures”) is an excellent idea.“There are 100 trillion microorganisms in the colon thatpreserve and protect the fragile, internal ecosystem responsiblefor nourishing the gut and maintaining whole body wellness,”says Steven Lamm, M.D., professor of internal medicine at NewYork University in Manhattan. “Prebiotics and probiotics areessential ‘firewalls’ in the gut that protect against toxins in theenvironment and the foods we eat. Prebiotics are the foot soldiersthat feed the healthy bacteria in the colon. They’re foundin foods like Jerusalem artichoke, chicory and other nutrientsources rich in FOS (fructooligosaccharides). Probiotics arethe actual bacteria that we ingest to help promote a healthyinternal ecosystem. Typical probiotic foods are yogurt, kefirand fermented miso and sauerkraut.”
According to Dr. Lamm, author of No Guts, No Glory (BasicHealth 2012), digestive enzymes are just as important for digestionand overall health as probiotics. “Most people don’t knowwhat enzymes do and how powerful they are. Where probioticscan take weeks to have an effect, enzymes bring immediateresults,” Dr. Lamm says. “You’re only as healthy as the nutrientsyou absorb, and there’s a relative enzyme deficiency in mostpeople, especially as we age.”
Purify your senses and detox negative emotions.
At the Sense Spa at Rosewood Mayakoba, in a rainforest onthe Riviera Maya in southeast Mexico, sits the Temezcal, anindigenous Mayan sauna made of rough clay bricks and heatedfrom the inside with volcanic rocks. Across Mexico and SouthAmerica, the temple-like sweat lodge is an indigenous rite ofpassage, which signifies a circle of fire, an offering of worship,a sage cleansing and chants to the universe. Every 60-minutepurifying aromatherapy steam is guided by a temazcalero (amedicine man or shaman) and conducted largely in the dark,says Emmanuel Arroyo, spa director of Rosewood Mayakoba.“It’s a very purifying and meditative experience.”
Check out the Ultimate Spa Detox here.