do this instead of detox


Do this instead of a detox.

Don’t want to drink only lemon water, maple syrup, and cayenne for 21 days (in the name of detoxing)? Try this instead. 

Some people do some wild stuff in the name of detoxing. But like most health & wellness goals, sustainability is the name of the game when it comes to getting results. 

So what is worthwhile doing?

The best strategy to support your liver and other organs of detoxification is to simply get out of their way. As your body’s second biggest organ of elimination (the skin being the largest), your liver is fully capable of detoxing itself. It’s only when we overload it with too many jobs or have an underlying health condition that makes it less effective that we can get into trouble and develop symptoms.

Here are a few ways you can support your body’s natural detoxification process: 

  1. Reducing the toxic load on the body. Over time, switch to natural cleaning products and body care (think deodorant, makeup, skin care, shampoo/hair care, sunscreen, menstrual products, laundry, etc.). Avoid synthetic scents and swap out your candles for non/less toxic versions. This may be particularly pertinent for those in professions who have ongoing exposure to chemicals. A note on alcohol below.
  2. Getting adequate fibre (25-35 grams/day with at least ¼ (~ 8 grams) being soluble fibre). Soluble fibre is involved in the production and flow of bile, which helps carry toxins and waste products out of the body via stool. Soluble fibre has also been found to increase antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes in the liver. For reference, ¾ cup of cooked black beans provides ~5.4 grams of soluble fibre.
  3. Ensure you are pooping 💩 regularly and with enough volume (goal: sensation of complete emptying. If you’re not sure what that feels like – let’s talk.)
  4. Proper hydration. Ever found yourself drinking more water but still feeling dehydrated (dry mouth, thirst)? It could be a mineral issue. Electrolytes (like sodium, chloride, magnesium, and potassium) and fiber are needed to absorb water into our cells. Besides getting enough fruits and veg, adding an electrolytes powder daily can help. This is one of my go-tos & the only one I’ve yet to find with D-ribose and taurine. Bonus points for filtered water. 
  5. Avoid/limit alcohol. Did you catch Canada’s updated alcohol guidelines? 2 servings/week max is the recommendation; 3-6 servings/week carries risk for developing several types of cancer, including breast and colon.
  6. Get enough sleep. Detox isn’t just about your liver (or skin, bowels & kidneys). Your brain flushes out toxins and waste products during sleep. This includes beta-amyloid proteins, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  7. Stay active. Work up a sweat, which promotes circulation of blood & lymph, moving waste products out of the body.  Brisk walking counts. If walking is your main source of movement, get at least 150-300 minutes of mod-intensity exercise (e.g. brisk walking) or at least 150 minutes of more vigorous activity. Saunas are great too if you have access.
  8. Lymph love. Exercise, dry skin brushing, contrast showers, rebounding (you don’t need a rebounder to do this, it can be done on the floor), and lymphatic massage (this is a specific training not all RMTs have). You can also learn self-techniques. I love this account: @lymphloveclub.
  9. Adopt an anti-inflammatory, whole foods diet that limits processed foods and sugar. A mediterranean style diet has loads of positive research and is generally a hit with patients – tasty and without feeling restricted.
  10. Castor oil packs. I’d like to do an entire educational piece on this treatment tool because they’ve long been a top recommendation of mine. It used to be most patients hadn’t heard of them but there seems to have been a Tik Tok craze on castor oil that has sent more people into my office asking about it. So, stay tuned! If you’re already a castor oil pack user, but find it prohibitive because of the mess and rounding up supplies, I’ve been recommending and getting great feedback from this awesome Canadian company, Queen of Thrones (10% off with code DRWILLOWJOHNSON10).

As always, the foundations of proper nutrition, sleep, movement, and one’s environment (e.g. toxin exposure) are the most important. Get the foundations down first and then add in more if you feel called to.

Of course, these 10 aren’t the only worthwhile things you can do to support your body to detox! Just saying, these are some great foundations to work on before going flat out on a more nuanced detox regimen.

If anyone is interested in me going into more detail on any of these let me know in the comments!

- Dr. Willow

  1. […] Last week I covered my top 10 foundational diet & lifestyle suggestions for supporting your body’s detox pathways. If you missed it, you can catch it here. […]

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I help women achieve optimal digestive and hormonal wellness through a root cause, individualized approach to medicine that utilizes functional lab testing, diet and lifestyle modification, nutritional and herbal medicine, and acupuncture to re-establish lasting health.


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