If you’ve ventured into a health food store in the months of January or February, you might have seen hordes of people purchasing items for their New Year’s cleanse or detox. Over-feasting during the holidays, on top of winter comfort food, push the scale and our health over boundaries that we are less than comfortable with. A detox from the sugar, excessive carbs, alcohol, negative emotions seems like the perfect way to let go of an old year and welcome in a new one, but what is the healthiest way to do a new year cleanse and usher in 2015 with glowing and radiant health?
Many fads have made their way into the cleansing world (“The Master Cleanse”), eliciting fear in the minds of many who even hear the words “cleanse” or “detox,” but it does not have to be about starvation and deprivation. The healthiest route for long-term results is a slow, gentle, nutrient dense detox. You have taken years to be build up those toxins, why try to rush them out? This does not mean cleansing for three months. A safe cleanse including a healthy diet should last no longer than a month. It’s all about loving your body, taking the best care of it and being gentle.
Whether you are looking for pre-formulated detox pills or would like to formulate your own, below is a list of potent herbs and supplements to include in your New Year’s detox. It should be noted that these can be strong and should only be taken as directed.
1. Burdock Root: Burdock Root is very popular for detoxification and is probably found in every cleanse formula. It is best known for cleansing the blood. It contains polyacetylenes, which give it antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is used as a mild laxative, as well as a mild diuretic, so be sure to drink a lot of filtered water when you take it.
2. Dandelion Root/Leaves: Yes, the weed with the puffy white flower everyone loves to blow on. Dandelion Root is excellent for liver detoxification and as we know, the liver’s main job is to filter blood and metabolize pharmaceuticals, so it gets stuck with lots of our junk. It, in effect, is a well-known blood cleanser. Dandelion Leaves stimulate toxin removal, are mildly diuretic and are a tonic for the kidneys and urinary tract system. Both the leaves and the root stimulate digestion. Allowing you to properly integrate your new, super healthy and nutritious diet!
3. Turmeric: The Gold of herbs and spices. It is well known to be highly anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and have strong anti-oxidative effects. It contains curcumin, which stimulates bile production. The liver uses bile to cleanse out harmful chemicals. Once you begin taking this magical herb you may never want to stop (and that’s totally ok)!
4. Milk Thistle: Milk Thistle’s active ingredient is Silymarin, which prevents liver damage and stimulates new cell growth. An amazing thing about Silymarin is that it actually blocks the entrance of certain toxins. It boosts glutathione production, as well as increasing other antioxidant levels, hence fighting free radical damage.
5. Cilantro: Cilantro chelates (binds to) heavy metals and allows for transportation out of your system. You can add cilantro to your food, juices or smoothies during your detox or you can buy it as a tincture, but be aware that removing heavy metals can sometimes be a serious matter and may require a trained herbalist or naturopath.
Along with herbs to cleanse to your system, there are a few other ways to support your system and get the most out of your detox. It is crucial to eat an organic, healthy, well balanced diet with a lot of fiber. You will be cleansing out a lot of toxins from your system so it is important to cleanse them all the way out. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to supplement additional fiber, although that is not necessary. Adding ground flax seeds and chia seeds to your diet may be all the added fiber you need. If your detox does require additional fiber, you can try psyllium husks. They form a gelatinous clump in your gut, so it is imperative to drink a significant of water to keep them moving.
Another thing I love to include are probiotics. Probiotics keep the flora in the gut healthy and happy and ensure that your immune system is functioning at optimum performance. Make sure you that you check the label since some brands contain animal products.
An Omega Oil supplement is great for not only lubricating the gut, but also flooding the body with those fatty acids it requires to function properly.
A multivitamin or nutritceutical is important to include in preventing any deficiencies. The last thing we want to do is deprive our bodies during a detox. The goal is start the New Year with radiant health, not deprivation and adding the multivitamin will safeguard against cleansing out all of vitamins with the toxins.
Including yoga, meditation, exercise and journaling during your detox, will allow you to process the emotions and thoughts that will come to the surface while cleansing. Don’t be alarmed if sometimes you feel a bit tired or grumpy; that is perfectly normal, after a week or two, you should be fresh, clean, healthy and full of energy and ready to start 2015 with a bang!
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