Springtime is here! The tulips and cherry blossoms are out in force along with the snails who accompany those regular spring showers… But along with the flowers comes that inevitable itch to rid the house of those winter dust balls hidden behind the couch and the ancient fingerprints that patchwork the windows and light switches.
Ah – the joy of spring cleaning! (Grrr) I spent all of yesterday in my underwear cleaning furiously while blasting Kylie Minogue’s Fever album. Unfortunately, I am more of a seasonal scrubber since I have far too little time to make a day-to-day art of it. But, as I cleaned I had to ask myself, wouldn’t this have been less work if I had been more organized?
The same philosophy applies to the cleaning of one’s body. In an age where we are under many pressures and combining a busy work and home life, it is easy to be careless about our eating habits. Under pressure we may munch on acid forming foods or drinks throughout the day or drink too much coffee or exercise less. These habits create stress on the body’s ability to detoxify itself making it more acidic and inflamed. Poor detoxification can lead to aging, cancer, diabetes, weight gain and even (as epigenetics tell us) worse genes for our future offspring.
However, with a little organization and discipline, your body actually detoxes itself. Yep. As the wonderful Dr. Alejandro Junger says in his book Clean:
“When the digestive tract isn’t constantly needing to work to process food, the body can direct energy towards detox and repair. Making sure your meals are full of fat and protein keeps you from needing to constantly graze and keeps blood sugar levels stable. It also allows the body to go into fat-burning mode more easily, which releases more stubborn toxins stored in fat cells.”
The body requires energy to function and if we are drawing on energy reserves for crazy work schedules, mental and emotional stress and steady munching – then, detoxification falls far behind the body’s list of energy priorities.
Further wisdom from Junger states:
“Human beings’ genetic evolution – the way our bodies work best – has been shaped by the fasting imposed upon us by the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Long periods of having an empty belly were inescapable, but this proved to be a key to health. The detoxification system could switch on and stay on with plenty of time and energy to do its essential cleanup work, liberating the body of a whole backload of waste products trapped inside because it was not competing with the digestive system for fuel.”
The best detox window is actually after your dinner. The earlier you finish eating the sooner you can maximize the twelve hour detox time before your next meal – breakfast. Junger states that the detox signal is given eight hours after your last meal and functions particularly well if allowed four hours – uninterrupted. That is a twelve hour time span. In addition, a period of fasting, increases the breakdown of fat. This breakdown leads to weight loss and the preservation of collagen and elastin which improves the skin’s appearance. Immunity is also enhanced by fasting as the body eliminates hazardous waste from the liver and kidneys.
As a rule, the more you eat, the longer it takes to process your meal and for the body to signal the start of detoxification. Solid food must first be liquefied for digestion – taking time and energy. Eating causes the release of stress hormones like cortisol and insulin so the more you eat the more you age. While stress hormones are secreted, anti-aging ones are reduced.
Liquid meals are practically ready for absorption, bypassing the need and energy expense of being broken down.
Cooked foods delay the detox signal further because heating food above 118 Fahrenheit destroys the enzymes contained within it. Enzymes are of paramount importance for digestion. Manufacturing enzymes takes a lot of energy while nature provides them ready made already. Fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and raw veggies are rife with enzymes. Once cooked they are a lost resource and we must manufacture enzymes from scratch thereby delaying detoxification.
If you are serious about detoxing the body, make organic, fresh soups like gazpacho for dinner and start eating earlier. Take a couple spoonfuls of olive oil followed by warm lemon water before bed to: lubricate your intestines, improve bowel elimination, provide anti-inflammatory fats, kill germs, enhance fat burning and stimulate the gallbladder and liver to move bile, clear the liver system, promote bone formation, and promote hormonal balance.
- Eat 3 small meals a day
- No grazing in between meals
- Space the meals out as long as possible
- Make certain your meals are full of good fats and proteins so you are less hungry and blood sugar levels are stable
- Dinner should be timed so you have 12 hours from the end of dinner to starting breakfast
- Liquid meals are easier on the body – smoothies, soups
- Eat as much raw foods as possible for valuable enzymes
- Take 2 spoonfuls of olive oil and drink warm lemon water before bed
If necessary, get excited to time your daily detox schedule by buying yourself a beautiful watch!