Detoxing gets a bad rap ‒ especially the kind that elicits images of juices, pills, or powders. In the traditional sense, detoxing is actually a very important process that your body goes through every day on its own. Your food, your supplements, and everything you drink are digested, assimilated, and eliminated, which is made possible by the intricate coordination of many organs and bodily systems.
This process can be inhibited by certain diet and lifestyle practices, from consuming a nutritionally poor diet to drinking excess alcohol. But you also consume much more than just food. You consume the news, your social media feeds, your internal self-talk, the self-care products you put on your skin, the cleaning products you use in your home, and much more.
Reframing the concept of detoxing to address and nourish all the areas of your life that feed you is what IIN calls holistic detox. While it doesn’t come in a beautiful package or recyclable glass bottle, it does result in greater well-being physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
And the best part? It doesn’t require large changes to your everyday life! Think small, daily shifts that, over time, create strong, healthy habits that support your wellness goals.
Eight Whole-Body Detox Shifts to Make Now
1. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Michael Pollan’s manifesto on how to eat is a great place to start. A varied diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, quality protein, and healthy fats has been shown to help reduce risk for disease and promote a healthy body and mind.
If possible, eating in season and local is a further step you can take to ensure you’re consuming the nutrients your body needs most. One major difference between this and a traditional detox is the focus on what you add into your diet as opposed to remove from it. Replenishing your body with the foods that work for you honors your bio-individuality and goes a long way in supporting long-term health.
2. Stay hydrated.
Some people have no problem guzzling down water, while others find it very challenging. If you have a hard time staying hydrated, find other ways, in addition to drinking more water, to prioritize hydration in your routine. Considering swapping out coffee for decaffeinated tea; reducing your two or three cups of coffee a day to one cup; sipping on a mug of warm broth, or eating hydrating foods like cucumbers, watermelon, celery, and citrus fruits. Adding cucumber or fruit to your water glass will also make you feel like you’re at a spa!
3. Cut back on alcohol.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will promote water loss from the body. In addition to the hydration benefits of cutting back on alcohol, you’ll also likely see improvements in your physical and mental health, such as improving liver function, losing weight, and reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Many participate in Dry January, refraining from alcohol for the month, but there’s a growing “sober-curious” movement that promotes going alcohol-free for the long term. There are plenty of new products in the marketplace to support those looking to sip on beverages that mimic alcoholic cocktails (without the hangover in the morning).
4. Help your gut microbes thrive.
Gut health isn’t just a buzzy marketing term, it’s key for optimal health! Your gut is responsible for keeping your immune system functioning (almost 80% of your immune system lives in the gut); synthesizing important hormones, like serotonin (the “happy hormone”); and supporting proper digestion, assimilation, and elimination ‒ and much more!
Eating fermented foods, like yogurt, miso, soy, and sauerkraut, is a great start. Take it one step further and promote a flourishing gut microbiome by feeding your gut a quality probiotic, like Seed DS-01 Daily Synbiotic. “The strains included in the DS-01 Daily Synbiotic support multiple markers of digestive health, including bowel movement regularity, stool consistency, ease of expulsion, transit time, and bloating [occurrence],” says Seed Health cofounder Ara Katz.
5. Do a “digital” detox.
The number of hours per day we spend looking at a screen is staggering, whether scrolling our Instagram feeds, working from home, or watching TV at the end of a long day. Doing a digital detox will not only help relieve the strain on your eyes but can also help ease anxiety and support more intimate connections with your loved ones. Try implementing a phones-free dinner; put a basket in your home where phones go during family game night; or set limits on your phone so that it automatically cuts you off after a certain amount of time.
6. Go “green” wherever you can.
Caring for not just your home environment but the outside environment (the Earth!) is another way to detox. Climate change is taking a toll on our well-being – from reducing the quality of the air we breathe to degrading the soil, which contributes to food insecurity. It may seem daunting to address these huge impacts of climate change, but making small changes at home can go a long way.
- Replace plastic storage containers with glass.
- Replace one-time-use bags and water bottles with reusable versions.
- Go “tree-free”: swap paper napkins and paper towels for cloth options; switch from a paper calendar or planner to a digital one; take advantage of your local library for not just books but also newspapers and other publications.
Mind and Body
7. Build movement into your day.
Exercise isn’t just for your physical health – it has science-backed mental and emotional benefits, too! You don’t need to spend an hour working out to reap the benefits of exercise; simply building movement into your day will support your health and, better yet, clear your mind. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; get up from your desk to stretch every hour; use your bike instead of your car (if possible); or park at the back of the parking lot to get extra steps in. It all counts!
8. Prioritize mental health in your everyday routines.
What if we focused on our mental health as much as we do our physical health? Shift your mindset to build mental health‒supporting practices into your day, such as:
- Getting quality sleep
- Journaling as part of your morning routine
- Creating a meditation practice
- Taking breaks from work to stretch, eat, or get fresh air outside
- Focusing on your breath when you get stressed
- Putting your phone away during meetings or important conversations
- Talking with someone you feel safe with about your mental health
Detoxing doesn’t have to be a bad word. By rethinking what it means to detox, you’re finding new ways to optimize your whole well-being. Explore more by enrolling in IIN’s Detox Your Life mini course, a self-paced course that dives into the ins and outs of detoxing holistically, with expert-led video lessons and downloadable materials to support your learning.