Chelsea and I just started week two of the PLAYdetox at the Glenn Dale Community Center. We checked in with our awesome detoxers after week 1 which was all about getting mentally and physically prepared. To be honest, week 1 is no joke. And, if you ask the beautiful women we are working with this month, they will confirm! Each participant had a different way of approaching their prep week to get their bodies and minds in the right place for the adventure that was about to start.
So what does prep week look like?
Well, before you even decide to take the plunge, take a look at your schedule and see if this program is even feasible for you at this time. If you have a family vacation coming up or a business trip, it’s not that it can’t be done, it just makes life more difficult. Personally, I like to cleanse when I know I can cook in my own kitchen for the most part. Also, I find it challenging to eat slightly steamed veggies and legumes when my family is chowing down on crab cakes and sweet potato fries while enjoying a microbrew. Actually, I get downright cranky.
Also, detoxing is not for everyone. If someone is deficient and experiencing illness or burned out adrenals, their body needs to be built up before it can muster the energy to cleanse efficiently. Generally, it’s best to just put these folks on a whole foods diet that isn’t terribly restrictive. Pump ’em with organic veggies, legumes and high quality animal proteins and fats. Dump the sugar and flour.
The next important step is to start to prepare the mind and the body for day 1. Now some people go with the “let’s go crazy before we have to give up everything” approach, but unfortunately, for those addicted to caffeine and or sugar, it can make day 1 seem like a near death experience. Use this week to add more vegetables into the diet and reduce or even cut out poor foods such as sugar, refined carbs and coffee. It’s also a great time to try out detox recipes and channel Goldilocks to perfect your gluten-free breakfast porridge. During the experimentation phase, the porridge can look and taste like mushy gruel until you get it JUST RIGHT. Sometimes people find combinations that blow their minds. This is the goal of week 1. You gotta have something fun in the morning to get you going (literally and figuratively). And of course, you need to make time to shop for your food and supplements.
Now food is only one part of the detox experience. Our lymphatic system, which is basically the sewer system of the body, often gets bogged down by rancid fats, undigested proteins, dead blood cells, toxins, opportunistic bacteria and other pathogens. It’s an integral part of our immune system that needs to be cleaned and moved. Unlike our circulatory system which is always pumping due to our amazing hearts, the lymphatic system can only be stimulated by muscle movement. So what are you supposed to do? Figure out how you’re going to get your butt moving during the detox! Exercise, massage, foam rolling and dry brushing are great techniques for moving lymph.
Because PLAYdetox is a holistic approach to cleansing the body, we also have to consider the mind. Often we allow our thoughts to be hijacked by Negative Nancy. You know who I’m talkin’ ’bout! Nancy says things like, “I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, coordinated enough, strong enough, disciplined enough, creative enough, yadda, yadda, yadda. We doubt ourselves and never feel like we are good enough which is ridiculous. This kind of stress is more toxic to the body than a McFlurry.
So, just like you give your body tons of yummy, energizing veggies during a detox, you also need to pump that mind full of playful, sexy, super thoughts about you and your fabulous life. Chelsea and I enjoy creating affirmations and intention statements with our our participants, weekly. We also incorporate deep breathing and introduce a play menu in week 1 to relax the mind and soothe the soul. It’s a great time to internalize those powerful affirmations.
So let’s hear from you! If you were to detox, when would be a good time to start this spring, and what kind of intention statement would you create for yourself?
Although our bodies detoxify naturally on a daily basis, it’s not enough to clear out the stagnation we experience from junk food, overeating, pesticides on our food, pollution, stress, medications and other harmful chemicals in our environment.
Even if you’re a healthy eater, you would be surprised at the amount of toxins that work their way into our bodies.
For example, I have clients that are conscious eaters; however, the body care products they use are very toxic which is problematic considering the skin is one of the body’s largest organs. So think twice before you slather on that artificially, fragrant lotion because the skin is permeable and chemicals will penetrate this barrier and seep into your bloodstream. Cheese and crackers. I know – sometimes the seemingly most benign things are no good. You feel like you can’t win and wonder what the heck you’re going to have to give up next!
The good news is that regular detoxification can keep your body running optimally and get rid of toxins stored in your fat tissue that you consciously or inadvertently introduced to your sexy self.
So how do you know when it’s time to detox? Here are a list of common signs and symptoms of toxicity:
- angers easily
- autoimmune disorders
- bad breath
- body odor
- coated tongue
- dark circles under the eyes
- dark colored urine
- difficulty losing or gaining weight
- foggy thinking
- frequent colds
- gum disease
- hormonal imbalances (i.e. hot flashes, PMS, night sweats, fibroids)
- high blood fats and elevated cholesterol
- hypoglycemia and blood sugar imbalances
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- immune system weakness
- indigestion and heartburn
- irritated eyes
- itchy nose
- loss of skin elasticity
- oily skin
- puffiness around the eyes
- joint pains
- kidney stones
- mood swings
- muscle aches
- premature aging
- runny nose
- sinus congestion
- skin rashes
- sore throat
- stuffy nose
- swollen lymph nodes
- tight or stiff neck
- tiredness after meals
- varicose veins
Do any of those sound familiar? Don’t be alarmed if many of them sound familiar. Most of us are in the same toxic boat. If these symptoms haven’t convinced you that it’s time to get busy cleansing, be sure to check out my Top 5 Reasons to Detox.
If this post grabbed your attention, consider a gentle detoxification program this Spring. What do you have to lose? You may have to give up a few things and will most likely feel crappy for a day or three.
But, by the end of week one you will have so much more energy, clearer thinking and your digestive system will be working like a well-oiled machine sans bloating, constipation and other windy disturbances.
Of course weight loss is a bonus! My favorite thing about detoxing is that it educates us on what foods work for our bodies and how to transition into a healthier way of living. Of course, you won’t stick to the program all the time, but at least when you stray from your healthy habits, you will know what you’re getting yourself into and have the knowledge to correct it.
One of my favorite tried and true detox programs that I use both personally and with my clients is the whole foods-based plan in Elson Haas’ New Detox Diet.
Check it out and if it’s something you’re interested in trying, contact me about one of my upcoming group detox programs. It’s a supportive, informative and we always have a good time learning about ourselves and each other. And believe it or not, once you get into the groove, you’ll feel like awesome sauce.
Baby got backed up?
With my upcoming PLAYdetox with Chelsea Calhoun of Groove Dance Fitness, I thought I’d use a few blog posts to highlight the process of detoxification and its importance to vibrant health. If you’re new to detoxing, you may wonder why you should consider it. Well, if you think about it, you cleanse many things including your home, car (unless you’re my husband…sorry, Cutie), garden and even the outside of your body (at least we hope so). Now, how often do you clean out your insides? Food poisoning, the flu and colonoscopies DO NOT count!
First, your organs need a break just like everything else, and the best way to rest your organs is to take pressure off of the digestive system. This can be accomplished by consuming 1)less food and 2)nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest, nurture the body and support detoxification pathways. When you overuse the body, it starts to break down because it becomes overloaded and gunked up with toxins which create imbalances in the body’s organ systems. So think of detoxification as a way to reboot, renew and rejuvenate. We’ll talk more about supportive nutrient-dense foods in upcoming posts.
Secondly, we most likely need to detox because of either nutritional deficiencies or dietary excesses. We eat too many processed foods, yet we don’t consume enough nutrients. On top of it, the body has to steal nutrients from itself to deal with the “food-like” substances that we consume and other stressors such as pollution, pesticide exposure and a screaming boss or child. Finally, we over-consume food in general, particularly congesting foods such as sugar, refined flours, coffee, rancid fats and alcohol. These excessive foods cause inflammation, pain, sickness and excess acid in the body.
Thirdly, stress, negative thinking, food allergens, toxins, a sedentary lifestyle or too much exercise, dehydration and a poor diet contribute to excess acid in the body, thus disturbing its delicate pH balance. If you’ve been following the holistic health community, you probably have heard about the importance of alkalizing the body. This is because the body likes to keep the blood’s pH between 7.3 and 7.4. In particular, stress, negative thinking and refined foods cause the blood to become too acidic which depletes our cells of oxygen and damages cell membranes and tissues. Remember, we live and die at the cellular level so it’s important to take care of those cells! A sedentary lifestyle and dehydration further exacerbate the problem. This acidity and stagnation of wastes can cause a host of problems including weight gain, joint pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, headaches, migraines, brain fog, gout, acne, frequent colds and other illnesses, food allergies, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances, infertility, yeast overgrowth, constipation and other bowel disorders, low energy, depression, kidney stones and diabetes.
Fourthly, we are inundated with environmental toxins. These chemicals can be found in our food, water supply, body care products, the air we breathe, carpets, furniture fabrics, mattresses, clothing, cars, household and gardening products, medications, plastics, paints, electronic devices and packaging. Here is a comprehensive list of the most common toxins found in our bodies. Not only do these toxins wreak havoc on the digestive system, but they often disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems and may eventually cause cancer. Symptoms of toxic exposure include fatigue, headache, allergies, illness, twitching eyelids, muscle aches, joint pain, vision loss, memory issues, brain fog, hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, sinusitis, loss of libido, impotence, sleep disturbances and skin eruptions. I bet you’re starting to see a pattern!
Fifthly, stress and negative thinking are the BIGGEST toxins out there. Some experts say that negative thoughts and emotions cause two to three more times acid build-up in the body then from the ingestion of acidic foods. Now, that is profound. So if you’re eating poorly and stressed out most of the time (hello, America), you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Regularly cleansing of the mind and the incorporation of affirmations, positive thoughts and/or prayers is imperative to maintaining good health and keeping serious illnesses at bay.
In a nutshell, stress, processed foods and toxic exposure causes our elimination systems to become overwhelmed and backed up. Think of your car filter or HEPA filter in your vacuum or house ventilation system. They get gunked up and don’t work as well after awhile and require cleaning or replacement. Well, it’s difficult to replace your liver, kidneys, skin, blood, bowels, lungs and lymphatic system so you’re only option is to find a lifestyle and cleansing program that supports your body’s natural detoxification processes.
Now detoxification isn’t as scary as you think. Stay tuned and consider cleansing the body, decluttering the mind and lifting your spirits with the PLAYdetox!