Eat Clean, Live Clean
How to avoid toxins to improve health
We are what we eat. And we are what the animals we eat ate. Even the compounds absorbed by the plants we eat affect our body composition.
Because of this, our diet and daily routine may expose us to dozens of harmful ingredients and chemicals — from additives in processed foods and substances in our shampoo. We get a million “hits” on our systems every day.
You don’t need to do an intense diet cleanse to eliminate toxins from your body. In fact, our body’s designed for detoxification. For example, your kidneys and liver filter toxins from your blood. But your body can get overloaded. Simple steps can help detoxify your body and improve your health.
You deserve this — take these steps.
How to Detox Daily:
First, avoid eating toxic foods and using toxic substances. Second, ingest foods and drinks that cleanse and heal. What does that entail? Here’s an action plan for eating and living clean.
Step 1: Avoid toxic foods and substances.
Avoid pesticides in produce.
The “dirty dozen” is a list of the conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides and chemicals. Avoid these. Instead, chose organic produce. Also, avoid high glycemic fruits, like bananas and pineapple.
The Cleanest 12(lowest in pesticides)
The Dirty Dozen(buy these organic)
- Sweet bell peppers
Avoid additives in meat, seafood and dairy.
Opt out of eating meats and fish with unknown origin. Conventionally raised meats often include hormones, antibiotics and fillers — avoid these. Instead, choose organic, local and grass-fed/pasture raised meats.
Avoid processed foods.
Sugary, high-salt and other processed foods tend to have hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Avoid the effects of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Avoid all those items, as well as flour and SUGAR! Choose whole foods over packaged foods and additive-full options.
Avoid chemicals in household products and toiletries.
From hand soap to disinfectant wipes, household products are often laden with harsh chemicals. Whenever possible, choose natural skin care, body care and household products.
Stress increases cortisol levels — and taxes your body, from your organs to your peace of mind. Find a way to calm frazzled nerves daily, be it in a bath, at yoga or with meditation. Also schedule exercise into your day: sweating helps! Your mental, emotional and spiritual health will thank you for it.
Step 2: Chose cleansing, healing foods and drinks.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Water is essential for bodily functions from the cellular level up. Stay hydrated by drinking filtered water to quench thirst throughout the day to support your body’s detoxification efforts – particularly to assist organs like the kidneys. Avoid high sugar drinks like soda, as well as diet sodas and drinks with artificial ingredients or stimulants like caffeine, to help detoxify your system. Fresh food contains more water than packaged.
Eat lean protein.
Chose a variety of lean proteins — think grass fed and/or pasture raised turkey, lean beef cuts, chicken, wild fish, eggs, etc. — and rotate. It’s all about quality and consistency. It’s best to have smaller amounts of protein more times a day than to have large amounts fewer times a day (as is typical in the American diet).
Choose options like grass-fed or pasture raised meats or eggs, wild Atlantic fish, vegan protein powders that are organic, or organic legumes (if vegetarian) to enhance muscle recovery, boost your immune system, and ensure proper hormone levels. Toxins are stored in fat cells; this goes for both the proteins that we eat as well as ourselves.
Choosing good quality protein to negate the toxic load you may encounter from conventional meats. Additionally, if you are trying to lose weight or change body composition, eating more alkaline foods, foods that reduce inflammation, and staying hydrated are all things that will allow toxins to leave YOUR fat cells. This makes it easier to lose fat.
Eat your veggies.
Vegetables have vitamins and minerals, plenty of fiber, and phytonutrients that actually can alter gene expression. In other words, they’re the food group that can gives you the MOST bang for your buck without the added carbohydrate. Try for 5 to 9 servings per day or just increase 1 serving per day each week.
Juicing provides a plethora of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and a great alkaline base, you also want to make sure fresh juice is not filled with sugar-laden fruits. The juicing process extracts the natural fibers in the food, leaving only the juice from the fruit or vegetable. Take a look at the nutrition facts on popular store-bought juices to ensure you are not getting more than 10g of sugar from the juice you are drinking.
Some safe juicing foods are chard, kale, collards, lettuce, lemon, lime, cucumber, celery, and herbs like parsley, mint, basil, or sage. Limit amounts of apple, carrot, or especially high glycemic fruits like pineapple or simple sugars like maple syrup or honey. Liquid forms of sugar will tend to spike blood sugar, which negates the health benefit you are trying to achieve.
That said, a time for this type of juice (the higher glycemic one) would be after a workout when your body has depleted glycogen stores and is typically in an acidic state. This can be your “recovery” carbohydrate along with a healthy form of protein to round out your post workout meal. Clearly juicing even higher sugar foods is still a WAY better option than soda or processed fruit juice, but keep the total amount of sugars.
If you’re juicing fruits and veggies at home, you can use the pulp to enhance soups, sauces, or even your dog’s bowl.
Try berries. A low-glycemic and nutrient-packed fruit, berries are a great choice. Stick to ½ cup at a time unless you are doing long endurance exercise then you will need more overall carbohydrate in your day.
Include healthy fats.
“Good” fats help nutrient absorption and increase satiation — or how satisfied you feel after eating. These healthy fats to choose include avocado, nuts/seeds, coconut butter, coconut oil (for high heat cooking rather than olive oil), fresh olives (not in vinegar), wild Atlantic salmon, wild trout, hemp seed, chia seed, flax seed, and organic olive oil. For people suffering from autoimmune and/or inflammatory conditions it may be helpful to get your ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats down to a 3:1 ratio. You may need additional EPA/DHA supplementation for this to happen. Eat fat to burn fat, help your brain, your energy, and your inflammatory patterns, these amazing oils can help or hinder, choose wisely.
Sunshine and/or Vitamin D
A little bit of sunshine goes a long way. In the sunniest seasons and optimal conditions, as little as 15 minutes per day can provide recommended levels of vitamin D for those with fair skin. And that’s not to mention the perks of fresh air. However, optimal weather conditions can be hard to find and depend on the season, your location, altitude, and other factors like your skin type.
To make up for lack of whole food vitamin D sources, taking a supplement to get 1,000 to 2,000mg daily to support hormone functions and bone maintenance may be optimal. Additionally, ask your MD to get your Vitamin D levels checked.
So, as the snow falls and the days begin to get longer, try something each week that will optimize your detoxification pathways as they too will have a domino effect on your health and therefore those around you.