Summer’s warm flurry of activity often means more time vacationing, relaxing, and celebrating with friends and family. And often, those celebrations include lots of cocktails, desserts, restaurant meals, and other foods you wouldn’t typically consume on your normal healthy eating plan. And even though we normally plan our major detoxes or cleanses for spring, summer’s debauchery proves that fall is the perfect time to detox.
Not convinced that you need to give your body a good internal scrub? Common signs that your body is actually crying out for a good detox include constipation, bloating, gas, skin problems, food cravings, bad breath, low energy, and even mood swings. So, in taking a page from Ayurvedic Medicine, which encourages detoxifying around seasonal transition point, I highly recommend pressing the reset button this season. Here’s how to do it:
Without a doubt, what we eat — or don’t eat — on a daily basis directly impacts the toxic load of our bodies. And while fall basically equates to all-pumpkin everything, I would skip the overly sweet and heavily processed pumpkin-flavored treats and stick with the real thing.
Pumpkin is not just in season, but it’s also a fall superfood loaded with fiber that will keep things moving and, thus, prevent toxic buildup. And don’t forget to eat plenty of pumpkin seeds, too, as they are loaded with zinc and magnesium, which research has shown can help to reduce the heavy metals absorbed by your body and also prevent constipation.
Replacing processed foods with seasonal whole foods like pumpkin is a great way to help your body detoxify this fall (cabbage, cranberries, apples, and squash are other great choices). Plus, eating seasonally and shopping at farmer’s markets is even better for your body, as locally grown, organic produce doesn’t suffer from nutrient-’reducing transit time to get to your shopping bag and, as a result, is richer in detox-enhancing vitamins and minerals.
Homemade Detox Drinks
Once you have your fall detox diet on track by loading up on seasonal whole foods, you’ll want to add in some daily beverages that further encourage internal cleansing. And making your own detox drinks at home is easy if you have some key ingredients on hand. Apple cider vinegar is a top pick because it’s loaded with helpful bacteria and enzymes that promote detoxification, and it’s a key ingredient in my Secret Detox Drink. I recommend consuming this at least once daily, and if you’re looking to mix things up, dandelion tea is another excellent cleanser that contains nutrients that aid in liver detoxification.
Bone Broth Fast
I highly recommend bone broth on a daily basis for its detoxifying as well as gut-healing properties. And if you want to ramp up your detox efforts, you may want to try a bone broth fast to more thoroughly cleanse the liver (our #1 detox organ!) and digestive system.
Typically, I recommend a 3-4 day bone broth fast to quickly increase your internal supply of the antioxidant glutathione, which is one of the body’s most effective detoxifying agents. During this fasting period, you’ll want to consume 3-4 quarts of high quality bone broth each day — which ideally means making it yourself to ensure it doesn’t contain any harmful fillers or preservatives that can negate any cleansing efforts. If you find that you’re still hungry, steamed, non-starchy vegetables can be added, but you’ll want to stay away from starchy veggies, grains, fruits, and anything else that turns to sugar in the body.
A few days of fasting like this can help to kill excess bad bacteria in the gut while also helping it to repopulate with beneficial bacteria. If you’ve been struggling with symptoms of a leaky gut, a bone broth fast can be especially helpful in sealing the intestinal lining and beginning to heal.
Epsom Salt Baths
A successful detox includes not only what you put into your body, but also what you do with your body. In addition to regular exercise, finding time for stress relieving activities on a daily basis is key to a well-rounded and effective fall detox. Epsom salt baths can not only reduce stress and increase magnesium levels (many people are deficient), but they are also highly detoxifying. Human skin is extremely porous, so when you add Epsom salt to your bath, the salt’s magnesium and sulfate actually help to pull harmful toxins out of the body.
For a rejuvenating detox bath, add at least two cups of Epsom salt to warm bathwater and soak for 40 minutes (the first 20 are for toxin removal while the last 20 allow your body to absorb the minerals in the water). Don’t forget to drink water before, during and after the bath to avoid dehydration and boost detoxification.
Some supplements that are especially known for encouraging detoxification include milk thistle and burdock root. Milk thistle is an herb that has been shown to reduce liver damage resulting from pollutants, heavy metals, prescription medications, and antibiotics. And a component of milk thistle called silymarin has even been shown to behave as a “toxin blockade agent” that prevents toxins from attaching themselves to liver cell receptors.”
Burdock root, meanwhile, is a detoxifying herb known traditionally for its ability to purify the blood and remove heavy metals from the body. It also helps to strengthen the lymphatic system (our internal drainage system).
During a short-term fall detox (3-4 weeks), the recommended daily intake of milk thistle is 150 milligrams, 1-3 times daily, and a typical dosage of burdock root is 2-4 milliliters of tincture, or 1-2 grams of powdered dry root, three times per day. Burdock root isn’t always easy to find fresh, but it can also be eaten raw or cooked as part of a fall detox.