It's hard to avoid toxins in everyday life—after all, they’re lurking in everything from your daily cup of coffee to the sunscreen you slather on your face at the beach. But toxins can slow you down, make you gain weight, and keep you from performing at your best.
That's why we detox. If you're not quite ready to submit yourself to 10 days of drinking green juice, you're in luck. You can get similar results in just 10 days—all while eating real food and enjoying your life. (Really.) These foods, supplements, and exercises will take your body’s natural detoxing efforts to the next level. For best results, stick to a clean diet and eliminate excess sugar and processed foods; try to make each meal about 80 percent green vegetables like spinach, kale, and bok choy and the other 20 percent a clean protein.
Day 1: Detox with Bentonite Clay
It’s your first day, so dig deep and kickstart your detox with bentonite clay. Clay!? Hear us out. Bentonite clay can be used topically or ingested orally, so depending on whether you need a little skin detox or a full body cleanse, bentonite clay is your secret weapon.
Used topically, the clay will clear your pores by absorbing dirt and oil, making it a useful remedy for those with skin issues. Ingested orally, bentonite clay does essentially the same thing by attracting the nasty stuff out of your organs and pushing it through your system. Sounds kind of gross, but if you’re due for a heavy duty detox, bentonite clay can work wonders. Just make sure before ingesting any clay that it's meant to be taken internally.
Day 2: Stimulate Your Adrenal and Lymphatic Systems
Get moving. Exercise will stimulate your adrenal and lymphatic systems, both necessary for the maximum benefits of detoxification. Start every morning with this gentle seated twist. The twisting of your cervical and thoracic spine will feel great while releasing toxins. Plus, any twisting will get your digestive system moving ASAP! Try this move daily for the rest of your detox.
Day 3: Swap Your Daily Coffee for Dandelion Tea
Caffeine addicts, stay with us. It’s time to switch out your daily coffee for dandelion tea—don’t worry, you’ll survive. Coffee can contain mold and toxins that affect your cognition, so cutting it out can offer you some much needed mental clarity. You’ll reap the detox benefits of dandelion tea pretty immediately, and it’s known for its somewhat sweet honey taste. Dandelion leaf is commonly used as a liver detoxifier and works well as a diuretic. You’ve got to eliminate those toxins somehow, and peeing them out will definitely do the job. Try dandelion greens in your salad for extra detox benefits.
Day 4: Equalize Insulin Levels with Cinnamon
Cinnamon, aka the little spice that could! We love it because it makes our overnight oats taste delicious, but cinnamon is also proven to help your body equalize insulin levels. That means those energy peaks and valleys you feel throughout the day will be less intense, and you can say goodbye to that sugar headache that starts knocking around three o’clock. Cinnamon also aids in digestion and will satisfy your sweet tooth, so try it early in the morning to kickstart your day or in your tea after a meal.
Day 5: Add Some Magnesium into Your Diet
By day five you should be feeling more vibrant and energized. You’re eating clean and chowing down on lots of green veggies, but you can help the detox process along by adding some magnesium into your diet. Magnesium is an element commonly found in lots of our favorite super nutritious foods—spinach, sesame seeds, quinoa, and avocados, to name a few—and it’s necessary to support more than 300 of your body’s biomechanical functions. Yeah, it’s kind of a mineral superstar. Unfortunately, most of us are deficient in magnesium, so if you’re feeling particularly sluggish or like you can’t get things moving try a little magnesium to kickstart your system.
Day 6: Sweat and Detox Your Body Naturally
You’re more than halfway there—time to kick it up a notch. Try an urban rebounding or trampoline class to get your sweat on and detox your body naturally. The childhood toy is coming back with a vengeance in boutique fitness studios from coast to coast. Bouncing on an urban rebounder will help your lymphatic system naturally detox and get rid of excess water weight. Jumping on a trampoline to feel and look better? We’re in.
Day 7: Oh, No! Cilantro
It’s polarizing to many, but cilantro does a brilliant job clearing your kidneys and liver. A powerhouse of nutrition, cilantro has some serious haters out there. If you can’t stand the taste, you can blame mom and skip this ingredient, but if cilantro is your jam, consider adding it to your next meal. Cilantro removes heavy metals and other toxins from the body, and it’s one of the best herbal sources for vitamins A and K. Plus, it’s loaded with magnesium, iron, and antioxidants that help increase HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.
Day 8: Up Your Liver Function, Eat Artichoke
It’s time to branch out from your daily green salad: try an artichoke. The key ingredient in the best appetizer ever also happens to up your liver function by increasing bile production. Bile in turn helps break down foods and release their nutrients into your body while simultaneously cleaning our your liver. Long story short: Keep on downing artichokes to keep your liver happy. So can we consider spinach and artichoke dip a health food? Maybe.
Day 9: Don't Forget to... Brush Your Skin?
After over a week of detoxing, you’ll notice your energy levels rise, your hair will be shinier, and your skin will look different. Sometimes as your body eliminates toxins you’ll see your skin break out or become agitated, but after a few days you’ll be glowing. Ride the gorgeous skin train as long as possible starting a dry brushing regimen. Brush skin lightly with a stiff brush, towards your heart, twice a day. You’ll be sloughing off skin cells and stimulating your lymphatic system, and it feels really great on your skin.
Day 10: Eat More Charcoal
As your detox comes to a close, try adding charcoal into your diet. First clay, now charcoal? Hear us out. Sounds a little strange, but activated charcoal can help you detox from a particularly unhealthy meal. The charcoal itself absorbs chemicals and reduces your absorption of toxins. Take it immediately before and immediately after you ingest something that might be heavy in toxins in order to get the most benefits.
Even after your 10-day detox, try to incorporate these foods and exercises into your life on a daily basis to combat the inevitable toxins that you encounter. Not sure if you’re living the most toxin-free lifestyle out there? To really clear out your system, try our top 8 ways to reduce your exposure to toxins to get the most out of your detox!
Photo credit: Paul Delmont