Is It Time for a Natural Detox?

ayurveda environment healthy eating healthy living immunity meditation mindful movement real food resilience sleep stress-free Mar 31, 2024

Even though the temps here in southern Ontario are still chilly, the snow is mostly gone, the robins are out and about, and there is a sense of spring in the air!

And with the change in seasons from winter to spring, it can be a time to consider a spring cleanse to rid ourselves of the vestiges of the heavier foods and more sedentary bodies of winter.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, during winter there can be a natural aggravation of the Kapha dosha in both our bodies and the environment, leading to things like weight gain, congestion, lethargy, poor digestion and elimination, and fatigue.

With the change in weather it is time to lighten things up and so you might be considering a spring cleanse!

Do we really need to detoxify or cleanse?

It turns out that our bodies are smarter than we may think!

We have natural detoxification systems built right into our bodies that are active year-round, so it’s not actually necessary to employ a specific detoxification regimen if you follow healthy food and lifestyle habits on a regular basis.  The key is to keep your immune system and liver healthy and functioning efficiently.

This means being physically active, eating nutrient-rich foods, getting plenty of sleep, and staying hydrated. 

And doing our best to avoid anything that will increase toxins in our bodies.

However, in our increasingly toxic world, it is becoming more and more difficult to avoid the many food additives, chemical additives in skin care and home cleaning products, and polluted air and water.  Not to mention the many common lifestyle habits that add to toxic overload rather than reducing it!

What is a detox?

A detox is a way to get rid of toxins from your body and lose weight. Several diets, such as herbs, fasts, laxatives, and juice cleanses, claim to help detox your body - but do they work and are they really necessary?

Your body actually has several ways of detoxing itself naturally. For example, your liver breaks down the toxins you consume, helping eliminate them. Your kidneys also metabolize and excrete waste products. Even your skin and lungs help your body get rid of toxins.

It turns out that your body can naturally detoxify itself in many ways without supplements or a "deprivation" diet.


  1. Care for Your Skin

Dry-brushing your skin with a soft brush before a bath or shower may help your skin look and feel better.  You can remove dead skin cells, which may soften your skin texture, by mechanically exfoliating IT.

And adding Epsom salts to your bath may help cleanse your body inside and out. Your skin may absorb the magnesium, which is both relaxing and supportive of healthy muscle and nerve function.

  1. Take Prebiotics

Prebiotics are nutrients that help promote the growth of "good" bacteria in your gut. Your gut bacteria break down prebiotics into their natural components, like fatty acids, which also benefit the organs outside your gut.  Try eating enough fiber, drinking plenty of fluids, regularly exercising, and loading up on prebiotics (non-starchy fruits and veggies) to keep things moving—and detoxing—in your gut.

  1. Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Whole foods with plenty of nutrients help keep your body "clean" internally.  Choose fiber-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, as well as lean protein and healthy fats, that aid gut and liver function.  And cut out fried, sugary, processed foods and fast foods. Those foods increase the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

  1. Get A Good Night's Sleep

Getting plenty of quality sleep is essential to support your overall health. Sufficient rest will help reduce stress and inflammation so your body can function at its best. 

  1. Get Moving

Your lymphatic system is a major mechanism to move toxins out of the tissues so they can be excreted through urine, feces or sweat.  But it has no natural pump and relies on the movement of your muscles to perform efficiently.  Make sure you move your body daily to keep this system working as it was designed to work!

Sweating is one way your body safely and effectively eliminates heavy metals like nickel, lead, copper, arsenic, and mercury. A study published in 2022 found that sweating from dynamic exercises, like running, may get rid of more toxins than sweating in a sauna.  But saunas are also a great way to remove toxins!

  1. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated will help your kidneys flush out toxins. But remember, “don’t drink your calories!”  Instead choose clean, filtered water (hot, room temperature or cold; flat or sparkling; lightly flavoured with lemon, cucumbers, strawberries or other fruits and veggies), green tea, herbal tea, or black coffee (but not too much caffeine, too late in the day!).

  1. Take It Easy With Alcohol

Sorry folks.  Your body needs to work hard to process alcohol, directly impacting the organs that naturally detoxify your body.  Keep your drinking to a minimum to help support your body's natural cleansing processes or try some “dry days” on a regular basis.

  1. Avoid Food and Environmental Toxins

Be a savvy label reader. If you don’t recognize the ingredients on the label, then you might not want to eat that food - because it is probably NOT Real Food!  There could be a chemical that results in negative side effects, and these chemicals are additional toxins that are entering your body.

Consume organic and non-GMO food. They don’t contain chemicals and other poisons that contribute to the overall toxin load on your body.

Environmental toxins abound in the more urban areas.  Do your best to get out into the country with cleaner air and water.  This could mean hiking forests or mountain trails or planning vacations in less built up areas. 


You may consider a detox if you need a reboot to get on a healthy path. Still, detoxes and cleanses are not always necessary if you follow healthy habits on a regular basis, since your body detoxifies itself.

You can help your body boost its natural detox processes and eliminate toxins by adjusting your lifestyle. Eat nutrient-rich foods and reduce added sugars and alcohol to support overall health. You can also enhance your body's natural detox processes by drinking plenty of water, getting quality sleep, and exercising regularly.


Still looking for a quick-start reset to reduce the sluggishness built up over winter?  Next week I’ll discuss my #1 strategy to cleanse your body for spring and summer!


Home Practice This Week ~ Habit Awareness

For the next few days make a note of HEALTHY HABITS vs. ones that may be interfering with your healthiest self! But remember, this exercise is for AWARENESS, not judgment!

DOWNLOAD this Habit Awareness Tracker to record what you notice.

Examples of healthy habits:

  • drink lots of water
  • eat fruits and veggies
  • go out for a walk

Examples of habits best avoided:

  • stay up late
  • skip exercise that day
  • spend lots of time on social media

After a few days, assess your results:

  • How did you do?
  • Celebrate all your Healthy Habits!
  • And pick a “not so healthy one” to let go of.


BONUS PRACTICE THIS MONTH! ~ pick just one thing!

It’s often said that establishing a new habit takes at least 30 days.  

So in months that have 30 days (Remember that nursery rhyme “30 days hath September, …”?) it can be a great time to pick one habit change to focus on and set a goal to follow the new habit every day for the entire month!

DOWNLOAD this 30 Day Challenge Tracker to record your progress.

Your choice could be anything from:

  • Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day
  • Get to bed by 10 pm
  • Cut out after dinner snacking
  • Reduce coffee to one cup a day (but do this one slowly over the first week!)
  • Your choice of one healthy habit!

Tip - make sure it’s something that isn’t too difficult, and something where you're clear on WHY it's healthy to make this change.

You want it to be something where you will succeed!

For more info on this and other natural health topics:

Submit your questions here!

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