New Year’s resolutions bring out a ton of different detoxes, cleanses and weight loss programs, but you don’t have to spend a small fortune to cleanse the holiday fun away!

Here’s the secret…your body knows how to detoxify just fine. It just needs a little help sometimes.

I go back and forth even using the word “detox” because it brings up so many gimmicky products on the market that I do NOT recommend. But I am a fan of encouraging your body’s natural detox pathways (and I am a fan of B shots for many other reasons than just detox support).

The fact is there is a lot you can do in your everyday life to support natural detoxification without spending an extra penny.

I’ve never been a fan of juicing or fasting (without medical supervision). Major blood sugar issues can occur when people are drinking juice without any fiber, fat or protein to help with the blood sugar spike. Drinking juice is similar to drinking soda from your blood sugar’s point of view (especially if you’re diabetic), so this is not something I recommend unless we are doing something therapeutic to aid in a particular condition where fasting has been proven to be effective.

Also, many industrial toxins are stored in fat. So if you start doing something extreme, like going on a liquid diet or severely restricting calories for several days, you are triggering rapid weight loss and mobilizing toxins in fat cells, thereby releasing all those toxins INTO your system. Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid? This can cause some major health issues, especially for people taking lots of medications.

Cleansing with diet and lifestyle , however, is much easier and safer to do.

There are all types of cleansing protocols out there, each touting their own particular secret weapon. But unfortunately, like many things, a lot of them are all hype.

Remember, there is no magic pill. So just be careful with all the marketing out there and use your common sense. Our bodies are smart. They know exactly what to do if you give them the right environment to do it in.

So, how can you support your body’s natural detoxification process without buying into a gimmicky piece of equipment or series of juices or pills?

1. Eat a clean diet .

This is the best thing you can do to promote effective detoxification. Why would you eat processed or chemical-laden food if you want to “detox?” Cut out all processed foods (including processed sugars), gluten (wheat, spelt, barely and rye), soy, cow dairy except for grass-fed butter or ghee (no, this does NOT include eggs even though they are in the dairy section), fried foods, alcohol (and other recreational drugs) and pretty much anything that comes from a package or a drive-thru window. A lot of people love the Whole30 program to cleanse and reboot healthy eating habits and I think that is a great place to start. The best part of cleaning up your diet for 30+ days is that when you start reintroducing the foods you cut out, you may notice that it causes a reaction. For example, gluten may suddenly make you tired or dairy may exacerbate your eczema. This is called an elimination diet and it is a great way to find out if you have any food allergies or sensitivities. Another secret…if you eat like this 80-90% of the time in general, you likely won’t need to ever do a detox!

2. Drink plenty of water .

Water not only hydrates us, but it helps us pee and poop, to put it delicately. Those are two of the best detox functions our body provides for us so take advantage of them! If you are not pooping at least once per day, you are not detoxing properly and diet change and water intake is often the only change needed (obviously use caution if you have a condition requiring you to limit your water intake).

3. Move daily .

Movement is essential for proper detox metabolism. You don’t have to go over the top and get a gym membership or have fancy home equipment. Walking is really all you need! Walking in combination with deep breathing helps us go from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest,” which helps us poop and absorb key nutrients from our food that is needed to metabolize and eliminate toxins. Yoga, light stretching, qi gong and tai chi are all great as well, and aerobic exercise is also helpful because it should get us sweating, which is another important way our bodies naturally detoxify.

4. Meditation .

Meditation is a detox for the mind and if you haven’t noticed, mind and body are indeed connected. You can’t have a healthy body with a toxic mind. Meditation and mindfulness can help reduce stress, which can significantly affect your health by reducing inflammation thereby improving detoxification and elimination pathways.

5. Deep Breathing .

Our lungs are actually a significant emunctory (an organ that promotes elimination). Just as the skin helps us detox by sweating, our lungs help us detox by filtering out toxins we breathe in and blowing out toxins we need to eliminate. So deep breathing can significantly support your body’s natural detox pathways…and it’s FREE!

Can B shots and teas and hydrotherapy and saunas and colonics and a whole host of other things help us “detox?” Sure (who doesn’t want to sit in a warm sauna in the middle of winter??). But you don’t have to do those things to help your body eliminate properly.

You can take all the pills and shakes and liver cleanses you want, but if you don’t lead a clean lifestyle, all your doing is stressing out and confusing your body.

By doing the basic 5 things outlined above, you are preventing the need to detox by supporting your body’s natural detoxification pathways and making it a little easier for your system to take care of itself. And it’s all at no additional cost!

Disclaimer: This article is for general wellness education only and is not meant to take the place of medical advice from your healthcare provider. Always discuss any diet or lifestyle changes with your doctor before attempting them yourself.

Thanks for reading! If you found value in this, it would mean a ton to me if you hit one of those fancy share buttons down there.
A naturopathic doctor and the owner of Bare Medicine , a general integrative practice in Southern Maine. She has been practicing since 2007 and has been educating on food as medicine for over 10 years. Her goal with every patient is to get them to the point where diet and lifestyle is their only medicine.