Say Goodbye to Toxins
10 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Life
Spring is a perfect time to cleanse, let go and give ourselves a much-needed rest—physically, mentally and emotionally. As a naturopathic doctor, I daily see how toxic overload on all these levels contributes to people’s health issues.
Emotionally, detoxification helps us uncover and express hidden frustrations, grief, fear, and anger, and replace them with forgiveness, love, joy and hope. Physically, taking a break from environmental toxins in our food can leave us feeling energized, renewed and protected from disease. I recommend getting back to basics. Here are 10 simple things anyone can do at home to start saying goodbye to toxins.
Wake-Up Drink. First thing upon waking, on an empty stomach, drink a cup of hot filtered or spring water with the juice from half of one lemon and two pinches of cayenne pepper. Lemon stimulates digestion; cayenne enhances circulation and blood flow.
Contrast Shower. Follow every hot shower with a 60-second cold rinse. The contrast stimulates circulation, the immune system and our ability to expel toxins through the skin. As pores tighten, we feel invigorated and ready for the day.
Shake It Up. Jump on a trampoline for 3 to 5 minutes. This stimulates the whole body, particularly the lymph drainage system. This is helpful for those prone to allergies or cysts.
Fever Baths. Take a warm bath in the evening and add a cup of Epsom salts to soothe, relax and detox. Increase benefits by drinking 2 or 3 cups of hot tea while bathing, to work up a sweat.
Try this recipe: Simmer some fresh ginger slices in water, tossing in one tablespoon of dried yarrow flowers. Steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink. Yarrow and ginger have been shown to stimulate sweating, which helps the body release toxins.
Take a News Break. Observe a news fast for 3 to 7 days to limit toxic thoughts, which can undermine health. Also avoid emotionally disturbing information from the Internet, magazines, movies, newspapers, radio and television. Replacing these stressful exposures with relaxing activities rests mind and body.
Spend Time in Nature. Take a break from routine by venturing out to a favorite spot in nature. Bring a journal and start listening to your body; record what it is telling you. Surrounding yourself with nature’s negative ions (which act positively on mood) will help you de-stress and encourage the body’s inherent wisdom to come forward.
Drink Detox Tea. For at least one week, try limiting all beverages to just water and herbal teas. This eases stress on the kidneys, helps flush retained fluids in cells and helps purify the blood and liver.
I suggest drinking 6 to 8 cups a day of this special tea to crowd out less healthy beverages, reduce appetite, maintain a state of fullness and cleanse liver and kidneys. In a quart of water, combine 2 tablespoons of each of the following and gently simmer the tea: burdock root, yellow dock root, dandelion leaf and root, licorice root, fennel and ginger. Multiply the recipe proportionately to make larger batches. Drink it throughout the day.
Change Food Routines. Many unknowingly consume foods we have allergic reactions to or that increase toxin levels, causing symptoms like arthritis, headaches, water retention and fatigue. Common culprits are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and sugar. I suggest taking a break from all of these foods, or at least one that is predominant in your diet.
Often, if we simply eliminate foods that contain gluten (wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt) and replace them with brown rice, millet or quinoa products, we can change eating habits while increasing variety.
Detox Dinner. For seven nights, prepare a simple meal of liver-detoxifying steamed vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, artichokes, beets and onions, along with a four-ounce portion of protein, simply prepared with a bit of olive oil. Consider wild fish, organic lean meats or lentils for primary protein sources.
Clean Up Surroundings. Uncluttering and organizing our home and work environments helps clear out stagnant energy and frees us physically and emotionally. Let go of unused papers, clothes and boxes. This creates space and welcomes new energy.
Just as we tune up our cars, we must also regularly cleanse our bodies. As we cleanse our bodies, we cleanse our environment.
Tom Francescott is a naturopathic doctor, teacher, lecturer and founder and director of Rhinebeck Cooperative Health Center, in Rhinebeck, New York, where he specializes in science-based detoxification. He is also founder of the natural pharmacy, Dr. Tom’s Tonics. Visit DrFrancescott.com. Join him at Omega’s “Detox & Change Your Life: Transforming Obstacles & Inspiring Health & Wellness” workshops, May 3-8 or 3-10. To register, visit or call 800-944-1001.