Detoxing is not just for January or before your birthday. Your body works hard to eliminate toxins every day. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is totally toxic; there are chemicals in almost everything (air, water, food, etc.) and your body needs as much support as it can get to ensure that the toxins you are exposed to don’t become a part of you.
The good news: there are lots of things you can do to limit your toxic exposure and prepare your body to eliminate those which you cannot avoid. You can go on a literal “detox”, in which you abstain from certain foods for a fixed period of time. I recommend doing a detox (like The RASA Challenge) at least 1-2 time per year. But what about the rest of the time?
Here are five simple ways to detox every day that don’t require giving up your morning coffee or your beloved glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
1. Take care of your teeth.
Your mouth is full of bacteria (gross but true). Just like in the bacteria your gut, some are good, and some are not so good. Overgrowth of the bad stuff in your mouth not only makes your breath stank and causes issues like gingivitis and cavities, but it affects your whole body and can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even low birthweight in babies.
Unfortunately, you can’t floss your gut, but lucky for us, you can floss your teeth! Studies show that consistent brushing and flossing significantly decreases the bad bacteria in your mouth. Aim to brush three times a day (preferably with natural, non-toxic toothpaste and an eclectic toothbrush) and floss twice daily. If you really want to impress your dentist, try oil pulling (put about a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10-20 minutes a day or even just a few times a week) and tongue scrapping. But if that’s just way too much for you right now, just start with brushing and flossing.
3. Get a plant.
This is a double whammy, friends. Plants look super cool in your house and they help clean the air. So, if you live in New York City like me (or anywhere, really) and are concerned about pollution, plant some trees in your living room! Some of the best plants for cleaning the air include, Boston ferns, palm trees and (my favorite) rubber trees.
5. Invest in non-toxic beauty products.
Do me a favor and take a look at the ingredients in your dry shampoo. Then throw it out. You do not want those chemicals anywhere near your face or head. Fortunately, non-toxic beauty, skin and haircare products have become a thing, so there are plenty of options to look good without slathering yourself with chemicals. I love my Tata Harper skincare products and basically everything at CAP Beauty—they even have non-toxic dry shampoo. Problem solved.
2. Get a new bed.
Have you ever noticed the scary tag on your mattress? You know, the one that says UNDER THE PENALTY OF LAW THIS TAG NOT TO BE REMOVED. Ever think why? BECAUSE IT’S FULL OF CHEMICALS (sorry for yelling, but it’s important). I only recently learned this, so if you’re shocked right now, trust me, I was too.
Under US law, all mattresses must be flame retardant, which means that they use flame retardant chemicals, in addition to all the chemicals in that polyurethane foam (WTF is that?!). Mattresses off-gas these chemicals over time, meaning that they leak out and end up on (and in!) your body. You spend about 1/3 of your life in bed, so let’s at the very least ensure that you’re not consuming toxins while you sleep.
When buying a mattress, look for GOLS (for latex) and GOTS (for textiles) certifications. At least 95% of these mattresses must be made of certified organic materials and the other 5% of the materials are also restricted.
4. Throw out your Brita filter.
Filtering your water is great. Big fan, but please don’t let it sit in plastic after that. If you don’t have a home filtration system, try something like the Berkey or using charcoal in a glass pitcher.
6. Go to an organic dry cleaner.
It is widely known that PERC, a chemical that 85% of dry cleaners use, is toxic and thought to cause cancer. Sadly, people who work in dry cleaning tend to have a shorter lifespan, which may be linked to chemical exposure. Fortunately, eco-friendly organic dry cleaners are on the rise. Do a little Google search to find one near you. It might be a little more expensive, but worth the investment in your health.
90% of illnesses are caused by environmental factors. Only 10% are genetic. You have the power to fend off disease and live a longer, happier, healthier life. More on this topic soon!