3 Holiday Detox Methods That Actually Work

This is the time of year we’re preparing for unavoidable overindulgence. The imminent wave of food, drink, late nights, and plenty of sweets. This joyous time can be the highlight of the year, and serves to bring us closer to each other. But, all that indulgence can leave us feeling sluggish, bloated, and a little inflamed.

Our bodies work so hard to keep us healthy, but as we’re bombarded with sugar, toxins, and endocrine-disrupting compounds like bisphenol A (BPA), many of us are drowning in toxic overload if we’re not actively taking steps to avoid it. 

In addition to holiday indulgence, we encounter unwanted chemicals in our everyday life–the products we use, the food we eat, and the air we breath all contribute to small amounts of toxins that buildup over time. There are few to no barriers to these substances being used in our everyday items, and we should be intentional in our pursuit to reduce our exposure to them, and support our body’s natural detox pathways.

The truth about detox is that it shouldn’t be a fad. The best pre-holiday detox can be done at any time during the year, because these methods actually work. Supporting these systems in advance allows us to be truly present for our loved ones, connect and give back to our communities–and we can recover from our celebrations in a much better way! That’s something we can all raise our glasses to.

The main body systems that are involved in detox are:

  1. The liver
  2. The digestive system
  3. The skin

There are other systems involved in detoxification, but these major 3 are easy to support through diet and supplements, and they have a huge impact on how we get rid of toxins.

How to Do a Pre-Holiday Detox

Detox the liver

As far as detoxification goes, your liver is a powerhouse. It’s our largest internal organ, and is responsible for filtering toxins, fats, proteins, blood, and more.

Our liver is especially susceptible to holiday imbibing, with the increase of sweets and festive drinks. We know that sugar can contribute to the body’s level of inflammation, but extra sugar places added work on our biggest detox pathway. The reason for this is that we’re only capable of metabolizing so much glucose at one time. Once we reach that limit, the extra glucose is converted to another simple sugar, fructose, and shuttled directly to the liver, where it can cause serious consequences if there is too much. In the presence of excess fructose, your liver begins a chain of chemical reactions, and the final product is tiny droplets of fat. These tiny droplets of fat build up over time, and have potentially dangerous consequences for liver function. Outside the liver, our heart and arteries can also be negatively impacted by these fat deposits.

Detoxification in our liver happens in a two-stage process–Phase 1 and Phase 2– and each phase has different requirements (2).

To support phase one:

  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.)
  • Green tea
  • Milk thistle
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Astaxanthin
  • Turmeric
  • Dandelion
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine

To support phase two

  • Milk thistle
  • Turmeric
  • Essential Amino Acids
    • Glycine
    • Glutamine
    • Cysteine
    • Taurine
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Resveratrol
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • B vitamins – Folate, B6, B12
  • MCT oil

My delicious and warming recipe for Golden Milk uses turmeric to pack a powerful dose of antioxidants that support our detox pathways and immune function.

Detoxification in the Digestive system

The proper functioning of our digestive system affects every other bodily system, and plays a big role in detoxing. If you struggle with constipation or aren’t going regularly, this pattern is more than just uncomfortable–you’re actually not eliminating necessary waste.

From a simply functional standpoint, healthy bowel movements help our body get rid of things we don’t need–toxins included. Things like environmental pollutants, waste products from pharmaceuticals, and even excess hormones make their way out of our body this way. 

When our digestive system is working correctly, our gallbladder, liver, and intestines all work together to rid our body of unwanted substances, but because so many of us have compromised detoxification pathways, harmful chemicals get stuck in a pattern of “recirculation”. To avoid recirculation and prepare toxins for excretion, we can use what are called “binders”. Toxins should first be processed by the liver, “bound” in the intestines, and then passed with our stool. But if they’re not, they’re reabsorbed into the liver, and this places immense stress on the body. Binders include fulvic or humic minerals, activated charcoal, or certain clay powders. 

Support digestive detox with:

  • Addressing underlying digestive issues like sensitivity to gluten or dairy, leaky gut, or intestinal inflammation
  • Detox binders, like certain clays, to absorb toxins along the digestive tract
  • Fiber to add bulk to stool and encourage bowel regularity
  • Prebiotic fiber and probiotic bacteria to balance gut health in the long term

If you’re one of the millions of people that struggle with digestive issues holding you back, my book, The 21-Day Belly Fix is your best resource for balancing gut bacteria, igniting metabolism, and learning how to properly eliminate toxins through your digestive system.

Detoxification in the Skin

The largest organ in the body, your skin helps detoxification pathways with enzymes and chemical reactions that release toxins and decrease oxidative stress in the body (3)(4). The best way to make sure your skin’s detoxification pathways are working well is by eating clean and sweating a little!

Support skin detox by:

  • Sweating
    • With exercise, which also comes with other benefits for your muscle and cardiovascular systems
    • In a sauna, which prompts our body to excrete heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead
  • Exfoliate and moisturize
    • Use a loofah in the shower, and maintain the integrity of your skin’s surface with a high quality moisturizer (without endocrine-disrupting compounds).
  • Massage
    • Movement of muscles can help to promote proper drainage of lymph fluid, which can carry toxins out of the body (5)

Detoxification is often a big piece of the puzzle that gets overlooked in people’s wellness plans. Healthy elimination of toxins lays the foundation for a healthy weight, sharp cognition, and vibrant energy. The constant chemical battle your body is fighting every moment of the day is the reason you should make detoxing a part of your routine.

We’re exposed to toxins every day, everywhere we go, and while it’s impossible to avoid toxin exposure completely, we shouldn’t rely on detoxification alone. There are several things you might be overlooking that reduce toxin exposure significantly, and I’ll be discussing them in detail this spring during our retreat. If you’d like to reduce your toxic load, and learn about all the secrets of whole-body vitality–this retreat is for you.

The 5-Day Detox Plan

Follow these simple detox steps, and you’ll give your body a jump start to eliminating toxins and boosting energy so you can enjoy every holiday celebration to the fullest.

DAYS 1-3: SUNDAY | MONDAY | TUESDAY

  • First thing: Apple Cider Vinegar Cocktail
  • Followed by: Warm ginger tea
  • Breakfast: Brown rice cake with coconut and olive oil 
  • Mid-morning: Protein Shake 
  • Lunch: Green Juice Blend
  • Dinner: Vegetables with olive or coconut oil

DAYS 4-5: WEDNESDAY | THURSDAY

  • First thing: Apple Cider Vinegar Cocktail 
  • Followed by: Warm ginger tea
  • Breakfast: Brown rice cake with coconut and olive oil
  • Mid-morning: Protein Shake 
  • Lunch: Green Juice Blend
  • Dinner: Lean meat and vegetables with olive or coconut oil

Detox Recipes

asd

Apple Cider Vinegar Cocktail
Dilute 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 3 tablespoons of water. First thing in the morning, this simple cocktail ends your all-night fast and primes your stomach for proper digestion.

Warm Ginger Tea
Steep one tea bag of ginger tea in 6 oz of hot water for three minutes. Or, add sliced ginger to tea kettle and prepare as normal. Optional: add 1 teaspoon of honey. Ginger rhizomes aid intestinal motility to keep digestion moving.

Brown Rice Cake
Spread 1 teaspoon each of coconut and olive oils over brown rice cake and enjoy. Medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are easily digested, and naturally-present lauric acid has antimicrobial properties. Olive oil is rich in antibacterial phenols, while brown rice cakes provide insoluble fiber for digestive support.

Protein Shakes
Blueberry Pie
Blend together:
½ c frozen wild blueberries
Juice of ½ lemon
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (we like Vega One)
½ c water

asd

Banana Chocolate
Blend together:
1 medium banana, frozen
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (Vega One)
1 c water

Berry Blast\
Blend together:
1 c frozen strawberries
½ medium avocado
1 scoop plain protein powder
½ c ice
Water as desired for consistency

These fruits provide probiotic bacteria, as well as prebiotic fiber to help balance the gut. Including protein powder sources that are easily digestible like pea, hemp, or rice, helps to avoid some of the uncomfortable GI symptoms that can accompany other protein powders.

Green Juice Blends
Dr. Taz’s Green Juice
Blend together:
½ medium apple
½ medium pear
1 medium cucumber
¾ c chopped kale
½ lemon

Green Juice #2
Blend together:
3 leaves romaine lettuce
1 celery stalk
2 kale leaves
½ medium apple
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp grated ginger
½ c water

asd

Green Juice #3
Blend together:
1 apple
2 stalks celery
1 c watercress, chopped
1 c water
Juice of ½ lemon

Green, leafy vegetables are easy to digest and help us detoxify. Cruciferous vegetables, like kale and watercress, activate phase 2 of detoxification, and include added fiber to help eliminate toxins.

Steamed or Sautée Vegetables
Lightly steam, or sautée in olive or coconut oil, any combination of vegetables (except white potatoes). Season with an unlimited variety or herbs like oregano, parsley, thyme, or sage. Vegetables aid liver detox and are easy on the gut.

Vegetable Option 1
Steam 1 c each broccoli, snow peas, sliced red pepper and sprinkle with juice of ½ lemon

Vegetable Option 2
Sautée in 2 tsp olive oil with a pink of red pepper flakes and cumin
1 c cauliflower, chopped
1 c rainbow chard, chopped

Vegetable Option 3
Sautée in 2 tsp coconut oil with 1 crushed garlic clove and ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
3 c Asian stir-fry mix