Is anyone sad to have turned the calendar to 2021? Last year was an incredibly stressful time for nearly everyone. Add to that the normal stressors of the holiday season, cold weather, and the usual indulgences that the end of the year brings and we can all conclude that it is time to detox! So how do you detox? How do you start 2021 in a completely different direction than the end of 2020?

I recommend using a whole body approach for a great detox. Instead of following a complicated list of dos and don’ts, keep it simple by following these six simple action steps.

1. Clean up the brain.

Detox is more of a state of mind than a magical food list. Unhealthy eating and addictive patterns are often more behavior problems than anything else. Therefore, addressing the behavior pattern is most important. Look at a detox as a short term, highly focused eating program, designed to scrub the brain of the addictions that were created while eating with abandon. Detox resets the brain by halting the unhealthy behavior and creating new, healthier behavior patterns. The most important first step is to stop the unhealthy patterns. The best way to do this is rid the pantry and refrigerator of the leftover unhealthy foods.

 Action Step #1: Throw out the easily accessible unhealthy foods in the refrigerator, pantry, and kitchen countertops.

2. Detox the liver.

The main goal of detox is to help the liver function, which will go on to  detox the body. When the liver is detoxing efficiently you will find yourself with great amounts of energy, sleeping well, and a healthy immune system. To assist the liver, temporarily cut out food and drinks that damage the liver (alcohol, coffee, processed foods, etc.). If you struggle with exhaustion, stress, inability to focus, unexplained weight gain, or trouble sleeping, your liver function may be a major player in your symptoms.

Unfortunately, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol will prop you up in the short term, but it could burn you out in the long term by wrecking your liver function. Increase the intake of foods that promote liver function. A short list of these foods include: glutamine, dandelion greens, green tea, and dark green vegetables. 

Action Step #2: Detox smoothie, consume daily:

1 cup of dandelion greens, 1 cup of kale leaves, 1⁄2 cup coconut milk 1⁄2 scoop chia seeds, 3 oz. of pomegranate juice 1 tablespoon of lemon flavored fish oil 1 scoop of vanilla protein, 1 cup of ice. Blend and serve.

*** If you need a greater cleanup than most, add 1 tablespoon of L-glutamine. 


3. Boost the immune system.

2020 was hard on everyone’s immune system. Whether you had COVID yourself or not, the combination of social distancing, excessive cleaning, and mask wearing actually reduces your body’s long-term readiness to fight off foreign invaders. You can give your immune system a New Year’s boost to stay healthier in 2021. 

Action Step #3: Try taking these immune boosting supplements every day.

1 tablespoon Elderberry syrup, 5000i.u. Vitamin D3, 30mg of Zinc, and 1200mg of N-acetyl cysteine.

4. Add some Yin to your Yang.

Many individuals have formed an unbalanced connection between weight loss, hardcore training, and their weight on the bathroom scale. When it comes to training and utilizing all your body has to offer, it pays to think beyond just a designated number. During your cleanse, avoid the hardcore training as this can be stressful to the body. Experiment with new training methods. Care for yourself through yoga, prayer, slow swimming, and long walks outdoors. These are activities that may not give you the same heart rate spike initially, however, they have other benefits like helping digestion, and assisting organ function. In the long term, this will reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone in the body) and encourage deep breathing. This helps to eliminate toxins and improve blood circulation. 

Action Step #4: Exercise gently for 15-20 minutes daily.

5. Plan for success.

Try to start the New Year with a plan, a meal plan to be exact. Meal planning is a helpful place to start your detox plan because you are being intentional with what you are putting back into your body. I would suggest planning meals that your family finds to be hardest to be healthy with. For our family that is often dinner. Meal plan for the next week, two weeks, or even next month, simply put a plan down on paper to get started. Certainly, a plan can be followed to perfection but also feel free to alter it as you need. 

Actions Step #5: Begin your meal planning by writing down a list of 30 meal ideas. Then look at your calendar of weekly activities and pencil in the meals that fit your predicted time and energy for that day. Finally, shop ahead of time according to what you need to fulfill your meal plan. 

6. Improve your stress management.

2020 has been reported to have been the most stress filled year since the start of World War II. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that 2021 will be any better, but you can improve how you handle the stress. Eating clean, avoiding the processed sugary foods that we mentioned earlier, can be helpful in reducing stress hormone production. Daily breaks of 15-30 minutes of the light exercise described above can be very helpful in decreasing the stress residues that build up in your system. For those who suffer from emotional distress during the day, CBD oil can be very helpful in improving your mood. If stress keeps you from falling asleep at night you might find GABA (gama amino butyric acid) to be beneficial as it helps the brain to calm down when resting.

Action Step #6: Take one CBD gummy (10mg) before your most stressful part of the day and 2 GABA capsules (1000mg) 30 minutes before bed at night.

Our Facebook page is also a great resource for additional tips and recipes. Call or email our Roanoke, Virginia office for an appointment or to request more information on making 2021 the healthiest year you have ever had.



Daryl C. Rich, D.C.