THE BLOG

Start Your New Year Right With a 5-Step Detox

03/28/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

At the beginning of a new year it is a natural instinct to cast off the winter blues and feel renewed. It is also a great time to eliminate the toxins from the holidays that might still be with you and burdening your system leaving you feeling sluggish and fatigued. Whether you are looking to boost your mood, take off a few pounds or improve your clarity make a clean sweep with the 5-step detox listed below!

1. Start the Detox Day Right

First thing in the morning, drink one lemon squeezed in 12 ounces of warm filtered water. Lemon activates your liver to release toxins and helps to cleanse and move the roughage that stays behind in your intestines.

Take acidophilus or a probiotic supplement. Acidophilus is one of the many "good" bacteria and yeasts known as the probiotics. Probiotics balance our intestinal functions, helping to break down food and control the "bad" bacteria that are also present in your system--all of which optimizes the detoxification process.

2. Eat Green to Spring into Health

The green pigment in plants, chlorophyll, is structurally similar to the hemoglobin in the human body--the iron-containing element in blood. It increases red blood cell production and improves oxygenation, detoxification, and circulation. Be sure to eat several servings of fresh green vegetables every day during your detox. Try this super-cleansing broth as a quick way to up your veggie and therefore your chlorophyll intake.

Detox Broth: Add as many of these ingredients as you can buy from your local farmer's market or organic grocer into a large pot of filtered water: collards, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, dandelion, Brussels sprouts, daikon radish, watercress, seaweed, shitake mushrooms, cilantro, garlic, leeks, fresh fennel, anise, and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour or two. You can make in a large batch and refrigerate for up to a week.

3. Dry brush to a new you

Dry skin brushing stimulates your lymphatic system--the part of the immune system that traps toxins and slowly eliminate them through the lymphatic circulation that often become sluggish due to lack of exercise, poor diet and infections. Use only natural bristle body brush. Besides, dry brushing will slough off your dead skin, leaving you literally renewed.

4. Take an Invigorating Herbal Soak

Soak for 20 minutes in a revitalizing herbal bath. Help draw out toxins by infusing your bath water with any of the following essential oils together with Epsom salts: eucalyptus, wintergreen, peppermint, pine or lavender. The volatile oils in the herbs help open the skin pores and stimulate circulation while the magnesium minerals in the Epsom salts draw out acids from your muscles

5. Supplement Your Detox

Take herbs and dietary supplements to help enhance your body's detox process and to support the organs hard at work to eliminate toxins from your tissues. Take a daily supplement of 1 tablespoon of flax seed oil, walnut oil, or deep-sea fish oil. This will help activate your gall bladder to release bile, which contains the toxins dumped out by your liver.

• Dandelion and Milk Thistle both purify the blood and help the liver detoxify. Studies have found that they protect and support the liver from damage by chemicals. You can take the herbs in capsule.

• Ginger is a bowel and kidney cleanser besides being known as a digestive aid. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory that helps reduce muscle and joint pain. Make yourself tea from fresh ginger root during your detox.

• Peppermint is traditionally used in Chinese medicine for cleansing the liver, brightening the eyes and clearing the head of pain and brain fog. These symptoms are sometimes present during detox as a result of toxins in the blood stream or caffeine withdrawal. Put a few sprigs of fresh mint in hot water to make a tea.

An herbal formula containing the above herbs that I use for myself and my patients during detox is the Internal Cleanse, a special combination of natural herbs to detoxify, calm nerves, clear the mind, promote emotional balance, and ease digestion. To learn more about natural detoxification using specialized Chinese medicine protocols, click here.

Spring is the traditional time to undertake the ritual of cleansing your body, but you don't have to wait until then, you can start right now! Detoxification and cleansing is a healthy maintenance program for all seasons.