Hi everyone! I’m finally back with part 2 of My Life is a Detox. In this post I’m sharing with you the tools I use every day to help my body detox. Lets face it, when you are healing everything feels like work. Eating is work, sleeping is work, taking supplements is work. You aren’t just doing things anymore. It all has a purpose, and the purpose is to get you well, and as fast as possible. There are many days where I just want to scream “ENOUGH”, and not have to think about all of this stuff every minute of every day. The reason I love so many of these tools that I’m sharing with you, is because they are easy, and don’t take a lot of work, and many of them feel like you are just pampering yourself, which is so important when you feel like doo doo.
Some of the things I am listing I do not use every day, but try to incorporate as much as I can. Since each and every one of these detox tools could have a full page written about their own benefits, I have linked to other articles about each one in particular, since my post will just be a summary of sorts.
I will be writing a Part 3, which will be talking about the ways we try to eliminate toxin exposure in our homes and in daily life. I was originally going to include it in this post, and then it became way too long. So that will have to be a part 3 that I hopefully get finished sooner, rather than later!
If you aren’t sure why I try to help my body detox, make sure you check out part one for that information!
I hope you all enjoy!
My favorite tools to help my body detox every single day:
This is exactly how it sounds. You are literally scraping the surface of your tongue. You can use a spoon for this, but I prefer the actual tool that is intended. There are several you can try, but I like the stainless steel ones.
Benefits: When we sleep, our digestive system remains awake, and continues to eliminate toxins from the body, distributing some of them on the surface of our tongue. If we do not scrape them off in the morning, then we reabsorb them. I used to just brush my tongue, before I found out that all that is doing is moving the toxins around on your tongue, and not eliminating them. Tongue scraping is a really simple and quick detox tool that helps eliminate stress on our immune systems. Tongue scraping also helps eliminate bad breath, and improves your ability to taste the flavors of food.
You can even upgrade your tongue scraping experience by oil pulling prior to tongue scraping. This however, is a detox tool that I avoid, because it aggravates my TMJ, but sometimes I will rinse with peroxide first.
Warm lemon water
I was doing this every single morning for months, but I’ve lately gotten out of my routine with it. Lemon water in general is very good for your liver. It is a detox drink that my grandfather always recommends. When I’m feeling detoxy, he always asks me if I’m drinking lemon water. If I say no, then he tells me to drink it 🙂 What I typically do is warm some filtered water on our stove top, and squeeze in the juice of half of a lemon, and sip on it while we make breakfast.
Benefits: Lemons contain some vitamin C, which is really important for supporting your adrenals, and boosting your immune system. Drinking water with lemon first thing in the morning helps your body wake up, and get your digestive system moving. Lemon water helps flush your liver and stimulate your lymphatic system, which is extremely important for detox. I personally find sipping on warm lemon water in the morning calming, so it’s a nice ritual to add into your day as well!
Another drink that I love for detox is cranberry and lime juice. I was first introduced to diluted cranberry water when I tried The Fat Flush in high school, and then my good friend Megan brought it back into my life when I was participating in her spring detox. I do about 16 ounces of filtered water, and add 1 tablespoon of pure cranberry concentrate, the juice of half of a lime, and a splash of stevia extract. If you use sparkling mineral water it tastes like a fun cocktail with out the booze (which is NOT good for your liver). Warning: this drink has definitely given me a detox head ache before, so hydrate up after!
This is another favorite of mine. Making fresh juice is a labor of love. You can purchase bottled cold pressed juice from your local health food store, but I have yet to find one that tastes good to me. I prefer the fresh stuff, and I enjoy making it at home because you can really play around with veggies to find the flavors that you prefer best. For juicing at home, we have the Omega VRT 350. I did a lot of research before purchasing a juicer, and we love ours. It has been great!
Benefits: Easy absorption. For anyone with digestive issues this can be a great way to help your body absorb more nutrients. Vegetables contain vitamin C and magnesium which are both really important for adrenal support, and greens are a great source of folates, which as we learned in part one are very important for detoxification. I believe Dr. Ben Lynch says that dark greens contain the methylated forms of folate, so they are great for those with MTHFR. A doctor told me that killing bacteria and fungus makes you acidic, so adding in the green juice can help get you more alkaline. Green juice is a helpful liver detoxifier. Vegetable juices are also beneficial because you don’t get the extreme blood sugar spike as you would from fruit juices. I like to add stevia extract to my green juice for some sweetness, and I learned recently that stevia can be used as a biofilm buster, which is important when treating Lyme disease, so double bonus!
Note on juicing: I do not ever use green juice as a meal replacement, or a fast. It is always in addition to my daily meals and snacks.
This is something you don’t want to use every day, but it is important for me. Taking binders were how I detoxed from mold. I had to take Cholestyramine which is a prescription binder that is typically the most efficient binder for mycotoxin illness, but my doctor had me add in charcoal as well. I really like G.I. Detox. That is the supplement that I take for myself, that was part of my mold protocol. You can find activated charcoal at any local health food store. We purchased it at Whole Foods in the past as well.
Benefits: Charcoal can be beneficial during a detox to help alleviate die off symptoms. It binds to toxins and draws them out of your body. It can be good to take when you get food poisoning or a stomach bug as well. It is very important to keep your digestive system moving when you are taking binders. They can be constipating, and elimination is really important for detox because you do not want to reabsorb the toxins if they are sitting in your digestive tract (which will happen). When I am taking binders, I make sure that I am getting enough vitamin C and magnesium so that things keep moving. You also want to be sure you are taking binders 2 hours away from any supplements or medications, because they will grab those nutrients as well. It can also be used to whiten your teeth (by brushing with it), but it can make a huge mess in the bathroom, so beware!!
Dry Skin Brushing
This is one of my favorite detox tools now! I found a dry skin brush that is not painful to use (some can be really rough!) and dry brushing has become one of my favorite things to. It feels really good!
Benefits: Dry skin brushing helps you to move your lymphatic system, exfoliate dead skin cells, and improve circulation. This is very important for detox. Your lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating cellular waste, but here’s the kicker…your lymphatic system needs your help to do this. Movement or massage are really helpful for getting your lymphatic system moving, as well as dry skin brushing. It is not uncommon to experience a detox headache after dry skin brushing. It definitely happened to me a couple of times! Other ways to stimulate your lymphatic system are to go for a walk, or do some yoga, or use a rebounder. Any form of exercise stimulates your lymphatic system, but if you are needing a lot of detox, I would not recommend doing anything really strenuous. This will just put more stress on your adrenals, and detox is hard enough on your adrenal glands, we want them to be supported as much as possible when our bodies are working hard to eliminate toxins.
How to: Typically with dry skin brushing, you want to start at your feet and work up your body toward your heart. I usually just do all the places I can reach. I also watched a few youtube videos on how to properly dry skin brush, before I felt really comfortable with it. Youtube teaches me everything. I also made sure I started slowly, just doing my legs and arms, and then increased my surface area depending on how I felt from it. It is also beneficial to dry brush before you hop in a sauna or a detox bath, to help your body eliminate more toxins by exfoliating the dead skin cells first, and getting that lymph moving.
Hinoki Essential Oil
There are many essential oils that help with detoxification, but Hinoki is my favorite, although it is not listed specifically as an oil that detoxifies. I was first introduced to Hinoki oil by Mama Natural. She sent me a message with an article about how forest bathing helps to boost natural killer cells in humans, and if you cannot get out in nature often, you can get the same benefit from diffusing Hinoki. Hinoki has a lovely smell, in my opinion, and is really calming, so I diffuse this oil every night at bedtime. It helps me wind down and fall asleep. I’ve become so obsessed with it that I have gone through more bottles than I feel comfortable saying (okay it’s like 7…or 10), and these little suckers are expensive!!
Benefits: Relaxing and grounding. Uplifting, and relieves stress. Rot resistant in wood. A natural insect repellant, and can be used in a dilution of water to prevent little critters from eating your garden vegetables. I use Young Living oils for all of my home use, although I am slowly expanding and trying other reputable brands as well.
Other detox tools that I try to use a few times a week:
These are the things I don’t necessarily make time for daily, mostly because they are more time consuming.
1. Far Infrared Sauna
This is a POWERFUL detoxifier, and should be used with caution. We have a High Tech Health sauna. This is a major investment, and we decided to purchase one after we found out that we both have MTHFR, and read about the benefits from Dr. Ben Lynch. High Tech Health is very mindful about the wood they use as well, which is important, because you don’t want to be breathing in toxins while you are trying to detox. (The side-note here is that most saunas are made from Hemlock, which can off-gas and put an additional burden on your detoxification needs. HTH saunas are made from Poplar wood, which does not off-gas.)
After all of the research I did on saunas, I really felt that if we were going to get a sauna, it should be this one. We ended up getting the two person sauna, which is really nice, but after having it for a while now, I feel as though we should have gotten the one person sauna. Bill and I tolerate different times and temperatures in the sauna, and our dog Charlie gets really upset if we are in there together, so it’s just better for both of us if we go in alone.
Benefits: The benefits of using a sauna are immense. This is what Dr. Lynch lists from his post, but I would highly recommend reading his entire post about using a sauna, because I cannot go into that amount of detail here in this post.
- increased oxygenation to peripheral tissues and cells
- increased elimination of harmful metabolites, heavy metals and solvents through the skin via sweat
- decreased burden on the liver due to increased elimination through the skin
- relaxation and down time
- increased metabolic rate due to increased temperature
- increased heart rate which provides heart rate variability
Raising your body temperature is very important when dealing with something like Lyme as well. It really kills those little stinkers. I am super sensitive to heat right now. It makes me extremely anxious, and kind of flu-like, so when I use our sauna, I literally have to go in at 105 degrees, with the door cracked, and can only handle about 10 minutes max.
[No Shih Tzus were harmed during this photo. Saunas are not for pets!]
2. Detox Baths
This is another great way to get your body to sweat and eliminate toxins. I prefer foot baths right now, which can be a good thing to try if you feel negative effects from a bath, similar to using a sauna. There are tons of different recipes for baths. You can try just using epsom salt and lavender oil, which is really calming. Some people add in apple cider vinegar, or baking soda, ginger, or even peroxide, or bentonite clay. Some will use a mix of those things. Right now I’ve really been enjoying Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath that my good friend Suzanne sent me.
Benefits: Opens your pores, raises your body temperature, and stimulates excretion of toxins through the skin by sweating. The ingredients in the bath have different purposes. While you are soaking and sweating, you are also absorbing things like magnesium from the epsom salts. Ginger can stimulate more sweating, peroxide can help kill bacteria, and things like clay will help draw toxins out and bind to them. You want to be sure you are bathing in filtered water so that you do not absorb chemicals, toxins, and heavy metals that are in our public water supply, and be sure to rinse off after the bath. Like with sauna use, you want to be sure you rehydrate with water after the bath. I like to add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt for minerals after baths or sauna time.
3. Castor oil packs
Castor oil packs are so great and easy to do, but when I first heard about them, I had no clue what they were. I got all the supplies from our Co-op, but realized that they work best without the flannel. I prefer to apply the castor oil directly to my abdomen (mainly over the liver), and apply plastic wrap over that, and then the hot water bottle. The soaked flannel makes it way more messy, and then you have to figure out how to wash it when it gets gross. Just not cute. This is the castor oil I use.
Benefits: Castor oil packs are said to support the liver during detoxification. They can also be used to support uterine and ovarian health. I’ve heard some women say they helped with things like PCOS. They also stimulate the digestive system, and are extremely relaxing.
You want to do a castor oil pack for 45-60 minutes, so you can do this while you watch your favorite TV show, or listen to a meditation or calming music, or simply use it as time to just breathe and visualize alone by yourself. When I was doing these a lot, our dog would come lay right next to me and sleep, and he usually is a terror trying to get us to play when either of us are sitting or laying on the floor. He did have to bring all of his toys with him to lay with me though. Castor oil is very thick, and will stain, so be sure you are laying on old towels and have many layers so that it doesn’t seep through to whatever surface you are laying on.
That’s it! Those are my favorite detox tools that I try to include in my daily/weekly routine. I’ll be back again soon to tell you guys different ways we have tried to reduce the toxin load in our home, as well as personal care and cleaning products we have swapped over the years for more health conscious ones. In the comments below tell me what your favorite detox tools are. I’d love to hear them!
I was really intrigued by the tongue scraping technique – I hadn’t really heard of it. I did it with a spoon and besides the obvious disgusting aspect of it (blech!) I think it had some effect. However, my tongue was really sore and weird afterwards for a few days. I don’t know if that’s normal, but I’m wondering about the actual tongue scraper and if it’s gentler, and maybe just some other advice you might have on using this technique.
Also, going to check out the Hinoki. Thanks!