In theory, cleansing is a great way to reboot your mind and body—by adopting a good diet, practicing positive lifestyle habits, and phasing out anything that isn't exactly serving you and your wellness, you consequently feel energized, healthy, and generally amazing. Of course, our definition of detoxing has mutated into something a tad different: fad diets, fasting, and juice cleanses so unsustainable that we often never even get to experience the benefits listed above. Not only that, but isn't it pretty backward that in pursuit of optimal health, deprivation has become the go-to strategy?
Can you blame us for raising a wary eyebrow whenever we hear the word detox?
So what if we spun cleansing back toward that original definition? Something that's based more on positive lifestyle habits rather than whittling away to a beach-ready physique? Something that promotes powerful endorphins rather than hallucinations of dancing tacos (or really any solid food)?
By adopting smaller wellness habits that are easier to digest (so to speak), the pursuit of health isn't just easier, but more sustainable. In other words, it's possible to keep your body in a perma-detox state without choking back so much as a single flax cracker. (You're welcome.)
Keep reading to see how.
While we (and any expert worth her salt) would definitely advise against giving up solid foods and/or dwindling your daily calorie content into the three-figure range, let's be clear that eating a nutritious diet with minimal junk is the cornerstone of feeling great.
"You are what you do the majority of the time, so eating [healthfully] for most of the year is the best way to see transformational results that really last," Sakara Life founders Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise told us earlier this year.
To see (and maintain) the best results, this means steering clear of obvious offenders—alcohol, sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods especially. (Many experts also suggest giving up dairy, at least temporarily, to see how that impacts your system.) If de-bloating is part of your game plan, then maybe consider trying the alkaline diet, too—the emphasis there is on clean, fresh, healthy foods without restricting calories.
Of course, maintenance is the operative word here—and that's a lot harder to do when you're feeling deprived. So by all means, allow yourself the regular treat or glass of wine—just try not to make it too regular, and make sure you're still getting your fill of all the healthy stuff, too.
Just adding a supplement or two can do wonders for your energy levels, especially if you're prone to the 4 p.m. slump. But beyond that, keeping your nutrient levels in check is essential for optimizing all of your body's functions, from a speedier metabolism to better skin and hair. On the flip side, if you're feeling fatigued or as if something might be out of whack, it might be a good idea to visit your doc and ask for a blood test to ensure that low iron, vitamin D, or any other nutrients aren't the culprit.
Drinking enough water is the world's easiest (and cheapest) way to feel like a million bucks. Don't underestimate it—aside from sheer survival, science shows that proper hydration aids with everything from a better memory to metabolic function to—you guessed it—flushing out toxins.
Not a fan of knocking back H2O? Try one of our six easy hacks to trick yourself into drinking more.
Most herbal teas offer different benefits, but make it peppermint, ginger, dandelion, or green if you're looking for a detoxifying boost.
Stress isn't just a matter of feeling anxious about an impending deadline—when your cortisol levels are elevated, it can throw your entire body out of whack, from your hunger cues to your digestion to your energy levels. Adaptogens are a school of herbs that have the powerful ability to help your body adapt to stress, restoring balance and allowing your systems to start running smoothly again. Maca, cordyceps mushroom, ginseng, and licorice are some of the most well-known adaptogens.
The benefits of regular exercise abound, from boosting your metabolism, immunity, and endorphins to regulating stress. Some experts believe that sweating also helps flush out toxins, and a recent study even found that exercise can help flush out toxic thoughts.
Whether that's a tall glass of lemon water, five minutes of meditation, or a quick dry-brushing session, kicking the day off with these self-care habits can help set a positive, healthy tone for the hours ahead. (Seriously—some of the world's most successful people swear by their morning routines.)
Wellness arguably involves the mind more than it does the body, so finding ways to keep your thoughts focused and happy will allow you to better attune to your needs and better ensure that everything is in sync. Meditation is proven to be helpful for this—research shows that it's useful for weight loss because of its positive impact on stress and cravings. But if sitting still with your eyes closed doesn't do it for you, you might consider other brain-boosting pursuits like journaling, yoga, or exercise, too.
Our skin absorbs a very high percentage of what we put on it, so if your go-to products are chock-full of chemicals and toxins, you could be nullifying any internal measures you're taking to cleanse your body. The good news? Making the switch to cleaner ingredients is easier than you think.
Even if you've diligently checked off every other item on this list, it can all swiftly unravel if you're not getting quality shut-eye. Make sure you are logging seven to eight hours on a nightly basis, even if that means pushing pressing items on your to-do list to the following morning. (Your health and sanity are worth it—trust us.)
What's your go-to wellness practice? Tell us in the comments below.