This time of year, I usually like to write an article on detoxification and cleansing.
But with so much happening in my own life right now (2 kids + a one-year old), I thought a simpler approach to spring detox was in order.
Thus, these 5 easy springtime detox hacks were born.
These quick, practical, and simple strategies will allow you to take advantage of the seasonal detoxification cycle of spring, without doing a deep dive into the world of cleansing.
And I’ve designed them to support your body’s main organs and systems of detoxification: your liver, gall bladder, gut/digestion, lungs, lymphatic system, and emotions.
Springtime Health Hack #5 (Liver/Gall Bladder): Swap out vegetable oils for healthier fats
In integrative functional medicine, one of the big things we recommend is to avoid pro-inflammatory foods.
The reason is nearly every single chronic or autoimmune disease is associated with chronic inflammation. Thus, if we start by removing inflammatory, foods patients tend to feel better pretty fast.
Pro-inflammatory foods include:
- Refined vegetable oils such as canola, corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, peanut, and soybean
- White flour
- Processed meats
- Dairy products (cultured dairy is fine for some people)
- Nightshade vegetables (for some people),
- And in some cases grains and alcohol
The more of these foods you can eliminate and/or cut back on, the better.
But, for the sake of liver/gall bladder cleansing I’d like you to focus on removing refined vegetable oils.
Not only are vegetable oils pro-inflammatory (due to their abundance of omega-6 fatty acids), but excess consumption can clog up your liver and gall bladder; hindering their ability to eliminate toxins, conjugate hormones, aid metabolism, burn fat, etc.
Instead, focus on liver/gall bladder-friendly fats, including:
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fish oil, either a high-quality supplement or from wild-caught fish
- Pasture-raised butter (if you can tolerate dairy)
- Whole nuts and seeds
Springtime Health Hack #4 (Digestion/Gut Health): Cook with bone broth
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the most important and economical things you can do to improve your digestion and gut health is to eat more bone broth.
Bone broth contains a wealth of gut-healing nutrients including amino acids, gelatin, glycines, collagen, and glycosaminoglycans, making it an excellent anytime snack or digestive aid with meals.
And the easiest ways to get more bone broth in your diet, is to cook with it!
I use it to braise vegetables, in sauces, a base for soups and stews, to cook beans, and in a variety of instant pot and slow cooker recipes.
It’s also great sipped straight from your coffee mug for a warming afternoon snack.
No time to make your own bone broth? No problem.
- Buy pre-made bone broth from your local butcher or natural foods store
- Let the slow cooker do the work for you (check out my slow cooker chicken bone broth recipe here)
- OR use a powder:
- Hydrolyzed Grass-fed Beef Protein Powder can be blended into smoothies (and no, it doesn’t taste like beef!)
- Or you can purchase an MSG-free Bone Broth/Collagen Powder that mixes instantly with water to create a savory broth, like this one from Vital Proteins
Springtime Health Hack #3 (Lungs): Clean up your indoor air
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a growing body of research suggests our indoor air quality is often worse than our outdoor air quality.
Indoor air pollutants come from a variety of sources including:
- Dust—which has been shown to harbor a variety of germs, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals
- Fragrances and air fresheners—which contain a laundry list of hazardous ingredients, including: formaldehyde and VOCs, and a host of other chemical allergens
- Cleaning products—contain a hotbed of hazardous chemicals, fragrances, lung irritants, carcinogens, and endocrine-disruptors. See my book for more information.
- Mold—which may lurking in basements, bathrooms, and air ducts
- Building materials—which often harbor harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, VOCs, flame retardants, etc.
Here are some easy ways to create healthier indoor air quality:
- Get more fresh air in the house by opening up your windows a couple times a day
- Eliminate artificial fragrances throughout your home in laundry products, personal care products, air fresheners, cleaning products, etc.
- Invest in a high-quality air filter
- Have your air ducts cleaned every 3-5 years
- If you suspect mold (due to frequent colds, lowered immunity, lung issues, etc.) have your home tested by a professional
Springtime Health Hack #2 (Lymphatic system): Stimulate your lymphatic system daily
Did you know your lymphatic system is your body’s largest detoxification powerhouse?
This incredible system is responsible for shuttling wastes out of the body, producing disease-fighting lymphocytes and white blood cells, and moving essential fluids.
The only unusual thing about it is, unlike your circulatory system for example, it doesn’t have an automatic pump, and thus relies on specific types of stimulation to keep it flowing freely.
For optimal health and detoxification, your lymphatic system should be stimulated daily. Here are five feel-good ways to do it:
- Get daily movement in the form of exercise. Rebounding and brisk walking are ideal
- Dry brush your skin. Learn how in “5 Ways to Detox Without Dieting”
- Practice deep belly breathing
- Enjoy an infrared sauna
- Get a massage or use a foam roller
Springtime Health Hack #1 (Emotional well-being): Schedule some self-care every day
Yes, one day a week dedicated to self-care would be amazing.
But, for most of us that’s not realistic…at least not every week.
Therefore, I believe strongly in the practical power of making time for self care every day.
It doesn’t have to take an hour, or even a half-hour, but the point is to carve out some time to reconnect with yourself and your higher purpose daily.
You may choose to do this on your own or include your family or friends.
Some of my favorite daily self-care rituals include:
- Gratitude journaling
- Using an app, like Headspace®, to get in 10-15 minutes of meditation before bed
- Walking around barefoot to get grounded
- Taking an Epsom salt bath
- Spending some time with a good friend
- Working out
For more tips on emotional detox and self-care, check out: “Top 7 Emotional Detox Tools for Women”.
Remember, the point is to use these springtime detox hacks to enhance your health and life experience. So, pick one or two to start with and continue on from there.
You’ve got this! And enjoy a happy, healthy springtime.
2: Morell, Sally Fallon. “Broth Is Beautiful.” The Weston A. Price Foundation. January 01, 2000. Accessed March 29, 2017. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/food-features/broth-is-beautiful/.
3: Fallon, Sally, Mary G. Enig, Kim Murray, and Marion Dearth. “Stocks.” In Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, 116-18. Washington, DC: NewTrends Publishing, 2005.
6: Farrow, A., H. Taylor, K. Northstone, and J. Golding. “Symptoms of Mothers and Infants Related to Total Volatile Organic Compounds in Household Products.” Archives of Environmental Health. October 2003. Accessed May 29, 2017. doi:10.3200/AEOH.58.10.633-641.