Episode 063: What's A Detox & Healthy Ways to Detox Safely
The word “detox” has gotten a bad rap because there’s been so much “noise” out there about how to detox, AND there’s different ways to do it.
In this week’s podcast episode, I break down:
What a detox really is
Why its essential in this modern world we live in
The three ways toxins enter your body
And I share ten practical and tactical tips for your detox!
Listen to the Episode:
Click Here to Read the Episode Transcript...
You might already be eating healthy foods, working out every day, but you just don’t feel like your best self. You’re stilling feel dull and blah, and just it's hella confusing.
Like I’ve shared many times before, I’ve felt this way too. In spite of years of eating healthily, cutting out gluten and dairy, training for marathons, and doing all the things, I still felt tired all the time, I packed on pounds, and I didn’t understand why. Why didn’t I feel vibrant, fit or energized?
What I didn’t realize then was that they were other factors that I never even considered, like the toxins that we’re exposed to every single day.
And the sad truth is that these toxic chemicals, things like bisphenol A (BPA), and PFOA and others have all been found in the bodies of average Americans, including myself, and even in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies!
Well, as you may have heard in my past episodes, you’re exposed to these toxic chemicals through your mouth, your nose, and your skin.
So let’s talk about how this happens...
Toxins enter your mouth through your food in the form of things like pesticides and herbicides that’s used in the soil that grows fruits and vegetables. They’re also in antibiotics and hormones that’s fed to the animals that you eat. This is why it's super important to eat organic produce and, grass-fed and pasture-raised animal protein - not because its the latest, fad, but because its the safer choice to make.
Toxins also enter your mouth through sugar, gluten, and processed foods, as well as in the packaging that that food comes in AND the cookware that you cook your food in.
When it comes to your nose, toxins enter from particles in the air like gas, exhaust, smoke - I’m in Northern California, and right we have terrible air quality, in fact, at one point, the Bay Area was like the number two on the list of worst air quality index in the world. It’s been crazy!
But you also inhale toxins from perfumes, colognes, air fresheners, Glade plugins, and other scented things like candles, and fragranced cleaning products.
So you ingest toxins through your mouth, you inhale toxins through your nose, and you absorb toxins through your skin. They enter your skin, lips, and nails through personal hygiene and beauty products like lotions, deodorant, sunscreen, aftershave, nail polish, lipstick, and other makeup. Many popular beauty brands use harmful ingredients in their products, and it’s perfectly legal for them to do so, due to outdated government laws.
Now, a single exposure to these toxic chemicals is not likely to cause serious harm, but we’re exposed to so many of them so often, that the small adds up.
In fact, let’s do a little exercise right now. I want to you pause this episode and grab a pen and paper, or open up the Notes app on your phone, tablet or laptop and I want you to start making a list of all of the things you use that I just listed.
- Do you eat conventionally grown produce and animal protein?
- Do your pots and pans have non-stick or Teflon coating?
- Do you use air fresheners and Glade plugins in your home or car or both?
- Do you frequently use perfumes and do your laundry with fragranced detergent?
- Do you use conventional makeup with ingredients that have been rated with health concerns?
- How many personal care and makeup products do you use every single day?
In total, how’s your list adding up?
Among the most toxic of these chemicals are the endocrine disruptors like BPA, parabens, and phthalates. What makes these chemicals toxic is that they mimic or block hormones and that can have major health impacts because they mirror the function of your real hormones and alter important hormonal mechanisms in your body.
Not only do these things disrupt your endocrine system, but they also affect your immune system. And as you know, your immune systems protect you against bad bugs and illnesses. So when your immune system is weakened, your risk of sickness and disease increases.
The cool thing is that your body has a built-in natural detoxification system. Your detoxification organs - your kidneys, your lymph or aka your lymphatic system, your skin, your liver - all of these organs process these toxins and moves them out of your system through your sweat, your pee, and your poop.
So in the last episode, Episode 062, I talked all about your liver and how its vital for good health.
And your liver is one of the key organs that battles the toxins that get them out of your body.
But when there’s just too much of it to handle, your liver has to work in overdrive to try and protect you by filtering them out. When this becomes too much for it to handle, then your liver becomes overloaded and congested.
And that’s when problems like:
- Weight gain
- Food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances
- Poop problems like constipation and/or diarrhea
- Gas and belly bloat
- Headaches + migraines
- Feeling fatigued, low on energy and having no stamina
- Insomnia and poor sleep
- Having a low sex drive
- Hormonal imbalances
- Candida or yeast infections
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Feeling anxious, moody, depressed and emotionally unstable
- Being frequently injured
- And even acne, psoriasis, and other skin issues
That’s when these things start to show up.
I mean, isn’t it crazy? I don’t know about you, but I never thought to link these things to toxin exposure. It's definitely not something that I’d been taught or that I had on my radar.
So what do we do when we’re exposed and overloaded?
Well, unless you’re ready to live in a bubble or a hyperbaric chamber, it's tough to avoid toxins 100%, but you can do your best to avoid them!
And when you can’t control being exposed to them, that’s where doing a detox can help!
And that’s what we’re discussing today - what exactly is a detox & healthy ways to detox safely.
I kinda feel like the word “detox” has gotten a bad rap, because there’s been so much “noise” out there about how to detox, AND there’s different ways to do it. Some are better than others. Some are more effective than others. And some are definitely safer than others.
I admit I used to roll my eyes whenever I heard someone say they’re doing a detox because I thought they were just taking a shortcut like they were doing yet another fad diet. I used to think that if they would just eat real food and exercise, they wouldn’t need to do a detox.
I naively thought that everyone who did detoxes just wanted a quick fix.
And I’m sure there are some who want that, but as I know now, even if you eat “clean” and only buy organic and hormone-free foods, you can still be at risk for toxicity, making doing a detox a necessity.
Even if you think you’re completely chemical-free (which by the way, I see this said a lot, and it really isn’t possible to be “chemical-free” - air is a chemical, water is a chemical...just saying…
You’re still at-risk for toxins exposure just by - living.
And when you’re exposed and become toxic, your body can’t metabolize properly, can’t detox properly, can’t absorb nutrients and minerals from food, and it can’t even stay hydrated.
Your liver goes to work overnight, between 11 pm and 3 am, and I mentioned how poor sleep and insomnia can be a sign of toxicity. And when you can’t sleep, your body can’t sufficiently rest, recover and repair itself which means it has to work overtime to combat the extra stress from the lack of sleep and toxin overload. And too much stress is also a toxin, so it just becomes a frustrating cycle.
So detoxing, is vital in this MODERN world that we live in.
Now a detox is not something that you need to be afraid of.
Detoxing isn’t only about drinking water, green juices and only eating soups and salads. Detoxing can actually be an exciting, fun experiment, especially when looking at how you feel before and how you feel afterward.
And if you think about it, a detox is about is helping your body and it’s cells get back to the way it’s supposed to work. It’s merely just helping your body to move toxins through and lessen your toxic load. It’s like taking out the trash.
I like to think a detox as “unclogging your pipes” or in other words, getting your lymph, or your lymphatic system working optimally again to get the toxicity out of your body.
To me, a detox is simply a tool to restore balance to your body.
Now a big plus to doing a detox is that detoxing also support your gut health and healthy digestion leads to less inflammation, and less inflammation leads to less disease and injury.
In fact, it was Hippocrates who said that “All disease begins in the gut?”
In Functional Nutrition, we’re taught that when we look for underlying, root causes that we start with the gut. So this was recognized even in ancient times, that all things start with the gut.
But when your body is toxic, then your gut, your digestive system is at-risk for being weak and compromised.
Now earlier I mentioned how toxins affect your immune system which then increases your risk of illness.
Well upwards of 70% of your immune is IN your digestive system so you these two things are tightly connected, and you can’t talk about your immune system without also thinking about your gut or your digestive system.
Now, you might be wondering, “Well if a detox isn’t about only eating soups, salads and drinking green juices, what exactly do you do during a detox?
Well, some detoxes involve only pills, powders, and supplements. I’m not into those kinds of detoxes.
Instead, I like to start a detox by cleaning up my plate with some clean eating which I dedicated an entire episode to in Episode 053, so make sure you listen to that one.
But a quick synopsis is that clean eating merely is removing processed and packaged foods (remember - food packaging also a source of toxins!) and eating real, whole, nourishing foods instead. This alone can help to remove a lot of the toxic gunk that’s built up in your digestive tract, your liver, and your colon too.
When doing a clean eating detox, you may also want to consider incorporating elements of an elimination diet into it, which can then help you to uncover hidden food allergies or intolerances, ultimately, helping you discover what foods are best for YOUR body.
This is how I run my 21-Day Sugar Detox programs because combining all of these practices have been a home run for me and its been a game-changer for my clients.
Now, I know that removing foods like sugar, caffeine, wheat and gluten, non-cultured dairy, fried foods, foods with preservatives and even alcohol - things that have might be a regular part of your diet, and really your life for years and years - maybe even a lifetime - is really hard! And perhaps even more so emotionally than physically.
So to help my clients through this phase of a detox, I ask them to focus on what new foods they’re adding to their plates instead mourning what they’re taking off off it.
Besides eating liver-supporting foods like leafy greens, beets, turmeric, citrus fruits, and cruciferous vegetables, some other detox foods I recommend are:
- 100% pure, organic dark chocolate: Yep, chocolate - real cacao, not processed cocoa is a natural mood booster!
- Protein which helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady
- Turmeric: Turmeric has properties that can enhance mood and help with anxiety and depression.
- Berries (the darker, the better! - Berries have antioxidants that promote dopamine, which make it a natural mood booster!
So having a clean plate helps your diet and your gut health - two birds with one stone - efficient!
But besides eating cleans foods, you can also support your detox with body support tools like:
- Tongue scraping
- Dry skin brushing
- Oil pulling
- Castor oil packs
- Epsom salt baths
- Exercising (sweating removes toxins!)
- Contrast showering - switching between hot and cold temps
- and even saunas!
- You can also practice mind-conscious activities like journaling, making time for yourself, meditating, and positive-thinking can also help too! Don’t underestimate the power of these practices!
Now, I realize I might have completely lost or overwhelmed you, especially if you haven’t heard any of this before. I mean, I just dumped a whole lot of information on you that might have your head spinning. I get it, so let me get practical and tactical, and give you ten tips to focus on staying healthy & detoxing naturally:
When you wake up, drink some filtered room water with lemon and raw apple cider vinegar. If you’re feeling especially daring, try adding a dash of cinnamon or cayenne. This supports your digestive function and builds up your stomach acid. One trick to doing this is to leave a glass of water with the lemon, ACV and cayenne pepper out on your counter before you go to bed so its the first thing you see when you walk into the kitchen in the morning. It reminds you to do this and takes the thinking out of it for you when you’re still groggy from waking up.
Start your day with positivity by writing in a journal, doing a 5-min meditation or saying a daily affirmation that inspires you.
Allow your mind, even if it's just for one minute, to get quiet and tell yourself, “I release what doesn’t serve me.” If you’re rolling your eyes thinking this is getting “woo-woo” first of all, there’s nothing wrong with “woo-woo.” Typically, “woo-woo” people tend to be some of the healthiest people that I know. Why is that? Because what being “woo woo” really is, is about owning your own power.
Drink fresh, green juices or make your own! You all know how much I love my Press Juicery freezes, but I love their juices too. I like their Greens #4 or Citrus #3, but you can easily make your own too with some cucumber, celery, really any leafy greens and you can also enhance it with some chlorophyll, lemon, and lime too!
Aim for one meal per day that’s super easy to digest. Digestion is one of the hardest things your body has to do in a day, so give it a really rest by having a smoothie, green juice, or soup.
Get moving - mindful exercise is one of the best ways to detox your body. I say mindful because it's important to be really in tune with your body and what it needs on that day. I used to be super regimented about my training schedule and would push myself and my body to do a workout even though my body was would scream that it couldn’t and shouldn’t do it. That only led to adrenal problems, so be so in tune to your body that you can recognize the messages its sending it to you - hint #2 and #3 can help with this!
Drink plenty of water - it's easy to let the day slip away and forget about this, but hydration is essential. Enhance it by adding lemon, lime, or grapefruit which can help to flush the toxicity.
Dry skin brushing is my favorite way to fire up my lymph and get my lymphatic system moving!
Do some tongue scraping after brushing your teeth. Your mouth can be a super toxic place in your body!
BE Happy & grateful for life.
It’s unfortunate that our world has become so full of toxins.
But the good thing is that your body’s resilient with a built-in natural detoxification system.
But that system isn’t meant to withstand the enormous amount of toxins it’s exposed to, and so it needs little extra support in the form of a detox.
I know that a detox can feel hard at first, but on the other end of it is:
- Good sleep
- A sense of resilience and calm
- Freedom from cravings
- The ability to feel energized all day long
- And a whole lot more!
So how’s about it - are you ready to give a detox a try?
I hope that I’ve given you some things to think about and if you’d like to learn more about starting with a sugar detox, plus all of the things I mentioned in this episode, I’ll be running a beta group for my brand new program that covers all of these things!
It’ll open in early 2019, and it’ll be limited to a small, selected group. So head on over to to the show notes for this episode at www.livefablife.com/063 to get on the waitlist for the beta round.
And while you’re there, be sure you join my email list for insider exclusives and weekly updates. You can also connect with me over on Instagram, which is my favorite place to hang out daily on social media.
As always, thanks so much for listening. I appreciate your time and your attention, and I’ll see you back here again next week!
Naomi Nakamura is a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, programs, coaching services and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop!
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