DETOX: A Naturopathic Perspective
Updated: Mar 16
Three day fasts are by far my favorite way to detox. But, does detoxing have to be so dramatic? Not necessarily. In fact, I believe the best detox is day to day clean living. In other words, ensuring that everything you put in and on your body is free of foreign chemicals, additives,
parabens, and pesticides. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Like any new habit, it may seem foreign and like a lot of effort in the beginning. However, with time, these mindful habits do become second nature.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I often find it hard to know where to begin with patients eating McDonalds on the regular, eating out of plastic containers, and using dollar store shampoos and lotions (enter head shaking here). The intention of this blog is to set foundations for clean living. Above and beyond this blog, the world is your oyster. I simply suggest that you don’t get sucked into the marketing world of superfoods and overpriced organics still packed with organic cane sugar (always check the ingredients).
Water - Drinking water is obviously important. But, I’m more-so concerned about the QUALITY of your water. At all costs, I suggest avoiding water from plastic water bottles that can leach plastic into the water and throw off your hormones. I also suggest that you filter your water from a home water source. There are hundreds of water filters available these days. My personal trusted favorites thus far are made by Berkey and Aquasauna.
Topical - Everything that you put ON your body can be leached INTO your body. Your skin, after all, is the largest organ in your body. If you want to keep it simple, my personal favorites brands are found on our eco-friendly store. However, for miscellaneous goods not available at our store (ex: makeup), I suggest finding your favorite brands ranked 0-2 on the Environmental Working Group’s website: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.
Internal - Fruits and vegetables! It’s so simple but I cannot stress this enough. Fruits and veggies are your ultimate detoxers. Organic is ideal but if you’re on a budget, research the “dirty dozen and clean fifteen” for the current year to figure out which produce you should mindfully prioritize as organic. For nearly all of my patients I recommend 2 handfuls of vegetables as the base of EVERY meal. THIS is your constant detox. To all my friends and patients out there on a million supplements, can I make one thing very crystal clear? IF you are taking all the right supplements but your diet is poor, your results will be underwhelming. Get the diet right first before adding supplements. After all, that’s why they’re called “supplements.”
Sleep - 7 hours. 7 hours. 7 hours. We know that the majority of humans function best on 7 hours of sleep MINIMUM. But when it comes to detox, the space between brain cells may actually increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush toxins that build up during waking hours (1). In other words, sleep plays an important role in clearing the brain of waste proteins that seem to build up in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (2). 7 hours. 7 hours. 7 hours.
But how DO we detox? Honestly, it's complicated. This is were I’d encourage you to talk to one of our naturopathic doctors about detoxing safely. You need to start by preparing your body for a detox by ensuring that your kidneys, liver, and gut are able to eliminate properly. This is a vital step before taking any miracle detox drug that releases heavy metals and chemicals stored in your system. If you release but don’t rid of these properly, they can get stored in the brain or heart tissues and cause even more damage (eeeek!). We want to make sure you’re doing more good than harm…hence my nudge to work with an ND like myself or someone else on our amazing team (wink wink).
That’s all for now friends! With the foundations aligned, ongoing detox will be a marathon well-worth it. Promise.
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Dr. Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)
Xie et al “Sleep initiated fluid flux drives metabolite clearance from the adult brain.” Science, October 18, 2013. DOI: 10.1126/science.1241224
Fultz, N. E., Bonmassar, G., Setsompop, K., Stickgold, R. A., Rosen, B. R., Polimeni, J. R., & Lewis, L. D. (2019). Coupled electrophysiological, hemodynamic, and cerebrospinal fluid oscillations in human sleep. Science, 366(6465), 628-631.
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these pos