As a New Year’s resolution, we often look to clean up the mess we created during the final few weeks of the year. Between the holiday parties, family get-togethers, and all of the leftover Christmas cookies, things can easily get out of hand. So how do you detox? How do you clean up the inside of the body in order to start 2020 off in the right direction? 

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 five 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. 

  1. Detox The Liver

LiverThe 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 vegetables. 

Action Step #2: Detox Smoothie, consume dailydandelion

    • 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. 

  1. Make Friends with Water

lemon waterDrink more water! The best way to start your detox day is by drinking a cup of hot water with lemon. Do this before consuming anything else. Throughout the day, consider adding a tablespoon of liquid Chlorophyll, organic apple cider vinegar or lemon squeeze into your drinking water. It helps carry the water to the liver and gallbladder and flushes out any toxins stuck to the cell walls. Avoid cold water! The best choice for the remainder of the day is room temperature water. Also, during the winter months cold water can stagnate your metabolism. 

Action Step #3: Fill an insulated water bottle with hot water and a lemon slice before you leave the house in the morning. Drink it completely twice before lunch and twice between lunch and dinner. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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 for meals that are at the hardest time of the day for you to be healthy (that’s dinner for my family). 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. You can find our “30 meals for 30 days” recipe list on our website here>>

  1. Plan For Failure

Because addictions are so strong and bad habits are so hard to break, you WILL fail soon. So plan for your failure. Create a backup plan for the moments when “life happens.” Life happens when the meeting goes long, basketball practice schedules change, you have to stay late at work, etc. When life happens you will most likely find yourself right back in your old habits that drag you down the black hole you are striving to escape. So have a backup plan for a quick meal on the go. Nuts, protein shakes, and protein balls can be portable and instant meals in a pinch. Don’t let life keep you in the gutter. 

Action Step #5: Choc-Peppermint Protein Balls, use as a backup snack

    • 1 Cup organic chocolate whey proteinprotein balls
    • 1 Cup mixed nuts chopped (almonds and hazelnuts)
    • 1 Cup shredded coconut
    • 4 dates
    • 3 Tbs coconut oil
    • 1 Tbs flax meal
    • 8 drops pure peppermint extract
    • 4 Tbs warm water (or as much as you need to bind)

Directions: Put the nuts, coconut oil, water and peppermint extract into a food processor and grind to a rough powder. Pour into a bowl and stir in flaxseed meal until well mixed. Add another tablespoon of warm water if mixture is too dry. Should form a dough-like consistency. Roll mixture into balls, and then dust with more shredded coconut or cacao powder. Serve or store in the fridge for up to 10 days. 

Bonus Tip: Write it all down

Keep a diary of what you’re eating, how much you eat, and how you feel afterward. Do the same with how you move your body. It doesn’t need to be a new obsession, just take notes when you think of it. It will reinforce new conscious choices and help build long-lasting health. 

Our Facebook page is also a great resource for additional tips and recipes. 

Call our Roanoke, Virginia office at 540.344.1055 for an appointment or to request more information on making 2020 a healthier, more productive year. 

Daryl C. Rich, D.C., C.S.C.S.