Start in your bathroom with the products you use most. Things like makeup, shampoo, lotion, soaps, toothpaste, etc. Anything with chemicals and fragrances are good candidates for switching out. Then move to the kitchen and laundry and take an inventory of the cleaning agents. Steadily migrate over as your products run out or simply throw away and start over. With online marketplaces like Amazon, Thrive Market, and independent retailers like Honest Company and others, reducing your overall chemical load is easier than ever.
Eat more organic, whole foods. By now this is an obvious recommendation. But what I’ve noticed is that people can over-complicate this one. Stick to simple foods. Instead of buying organic apple chips in a bag for $4.99, buy a real organic apple for $0.59. Get back to the basics and keep it simple. Minimize your purchase of foods that come in a bag, box, or container, and stick to the produce isles to load up on tons of whole plant foods. Bonus: start playing around with growing your own food. Carrots are an extremely easy food to start with. Your thumb may be greener than you think! When it comes to water, for most, the simplest solutions will be to filter tap water with a high-quality filter or buy spring water from a local distributor. If you can, use glass jugs or stainless-steel containers to store water – avoid plastic. If you’re in the US, check out http://www.findaspring.com to find a local spring near you.
For many of us, this one takes a little discipline to change our habits. In the era of overstimulation, detoxifying the mind-space requires a consistent awareness. It has become quite difficult for most of us to sit in silence, walk in nature, or give our undivided attention to any one task. We’ve adjusted to multitasking and the constant barrage of sounds and images. One of the best ways to reduce the inputs are to turn off notifications from devices for a set period of time. It might be 30 minutes or 2 hours, but the more you do away with electronics stealing your attention, the more space you give your mind to operate in the here and now without distraction. Perhaps you might even delete social media from your phone…or delete your account all together? Give it a try. I promise you’ll live. If nothing else, it will give you a sense of just how addicted you might be.
It wouldn’t be 2019 without mentioning meditation. One of the most beneficial trends in the western world, meditation helps train the mind to focus with minimal distraction – whether it’s a focus on the breath, a mantra, or bodily sensations, meditation offers an opportunity to retrain the mind and allow thoughts to come and go without attaching meaning to them. Even just ten minutes twice a day can be magical.
This is a big one. And while I’m not sure of a quick fix, in my experience, eliminating toxic emotional patterns is extremely important. To be clear, no emotion is toxic in and of itself. They all serve a valuable purpose when it comes to survival. But I venture to say just about all of us still operate in emotional patterns that we picked up in our past (usually childhood), that can be detrimental to our present condition. There are libraries of books written on the topic of emotional states affecting physical health. But a good place to start might be The 5 Personality Patterns by Steven Kessler and The Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson.
In 1998 the CDC and Kaiser Permanente published the Adverse Childhood Experiences study showing overwhelming correlation between traumatic childhood events and increased incidence of a wide variety of adult-onset chronic diseases. Fortunately, we have the ability to resolve childhood traumas, even as adults. As we resolve the emotional traumas and repattern the nervous system, both acute and chronic conditions can dramatically improve or resolve. It can be quite amazing. Tare some techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique (aka tapping), vipassana meditation, qigong, yoga, and sound therapy that you can do to make some headway on your own. For deeper work, you may want to enlist an experienced practitioner to assist you in releasing trapped emotions and to repattern your system. Some useful techniques include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), somatic experiencing, cranial sacral therapy, family constellation, hypnotherapy, or shamanic healing techniques.
So, this detox season, by all means grab the green juice and superfood smoothie – just don’t forget to cleanse and detox the rest of your life as well.
Jason Prall is a former mechanical engineer turned entrepreneur, filmmaker, and Health Optimization Practitioner. Due to 20 years of his own health challenges, Jason was given the opportunity to discover the reality behind his symptoms. Over the years, he transitioned from working as a practitioner in the integrative disease care model to a model of health optimization and lifestyle medicine. In May of 2018, his extensive research and experience were distilled into a documentary film series called, "The Human Longevity Project", which uncovers the complex mechanisms of chronic disease and aging, and the true nature of longevity in our modern world.