It's a new year – out with the old, and in with new. And a short detox that promises to cleanse the body and reset the mind just is where to start. With a focus on healthy, unprocessed foods and infrared heat to eliminate toxins, with a little cannabis thrown in to keep the body in balance, this seven-day detox can help you ring in the new year on a healthier, happier note.
What's a Detox?
Detox – short for detoxification – regimens come in many forms, but they all aim to help cleanse the body from toxins absorbed from foods and the environment. Advocates say that detoxing creates a "clean slate" that prepares the body for a new, healthier way of living.
We take in toxins every day from a variety of sources. Many are found in foods, including additives like artificial flavors and preservatives, colorings, and heavy metals, mainly from fish and other seafood. Heavily processed food that contains large amounts of fats and sugars can also add a toxic load. The body can also absorb toxins from polluted air, unfiltered water, and household solvents. Toxins in clothing can also be absorbed through the skin.
The body has its own system for clearing toxins – the bloodstream, liver, and kidneys. But detox advocates say that specific detox regimens designed to eliminate toxins can help those organs and systems function better and remain healthy.
Mainstream medical professionals aren't so sure, though. Many point out that the body's filtering system will naturally take care of toxins. Medical professionals say it's more important to focus on boosting the immune system and staying healthy than undertaking a detox.
In some cases, too, detoxing can be dangerous. Some detox regimens involve fasting, limiting the intake of certain foods and beverages, or other strategies that could pose risks for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart problems.
In general, though, doctors say that for most people, a short detox likely isn't harmful and could be beneficial if it eliminates unhealthy foods and promotes exercise or other healthy habits.
Detoxes can be as short as a few days or as long as a month, and they can include a wide range of activities and food choices ranging from intermittent fasting to juice cleanses and "green eating." Many detoxes also include sweat-inducing activities like saunas, hot yoga, or exercise to help clear toxins through the skin.
This 7 day New Year detox combines all of these elements, emphasizing rebalancing the body's many systems and boosting its natural defenses against disease.
Cleanse With Cannabis
In times past, cannabis would have been one of the things you detox from, not with. But today's research reveals that cannabis in its many forms has an important role to play in maintaining balance among the body's many systems. The cannabis sativa plant contains more than one hundred cannabinoid compounds, including the well-known psychoactive THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), an immune-boosting compound with no psychoactive effects.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a vast network of cell receptors found in human organs and tissues, including the brain and skin. It responds to natural cannabinoids produced by the body, including cannabinoids from cannabis and a few other plant sources.
This system plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in functions such as regulating temperature and modulating immune responses.
Cannabis compounds like THC and CBD appear to be adaptogenic – they work with the endocannabinoid system to damp down over functioning systems and boost the responses of those that aren't performing at optimum levels. In that way, cannabis can support immune functioning, reduce inflammation and moderate mood.
That's why some cannabis advocates think that cannabis can be a beneficial addition to a detox routine. To try it out, make healthy eating the centerpiece of your detox week. Omit processed foods, sugar, unhealthy fats, and alcohol. Focus on eating plant-based foods that include plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables with no additives or preservatives.
Cannabis can be worked into your detox in a variety of ways. Make your own cannabis-infused edibles, or try vaping or a CBD tincture. But smoking cannabis can defeat the purpose of your detox because it can create toxins of its own from combustion.
Healthy Heat with an Infrared Sauna
Sweating is a natural way to eliminate toxins – and if you're generally healthy, an infrared sauna can be a safe way to add the benefits of sweating to your detox without exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.
Infrared light is used in pediatric hospitals to keep vulnerable newborns warm, and for adults, it may have benefits including pain relief, support for wound healing, and improved flexibility. Infrared saunas – an enclosed area bathed in infrared light – are often used by physical therapists and chiropractors to help loosen tight muscles and relieve aches and pains. Some research also suggests that infrared sauna treatments can benefit conditions such as congestive heart failure, dementia, and diabetes.
Personal infrared saunas are available from natural wellness and home furnishing companies in a range of sizes and prices. You can also wrap yourself in an infrared sauna blanket, which provides the same sweat-inducing heat in any comfortable place. Medical experts say that an infrared sauna provides benefits similar to moderate exercise, such as working up a good sweat and elevating the heart rate.
A Plant-Based Vegan Diet
Many harsh detox plans place tight restrictions on eating and drinking. But basing your detox on a plant-based vegan diet is good both for your health and for the environment. A weeklong detox that's fueled by plenty of fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins such as lentils, tofu and chickpeas can provide energy and a long list of essential nutrients that support the immune system and reduce inflammation.
To make the switch to vegan plant-based eating, eliminate dairy products, animal proteins, eggs, and processed foods. Substitute almond, soy or oatmilk for dairy milk, and switch out meat for the many alternatives that range from the familiar veggie burger to plant-based versions of things like tuna, sausage, and deli sliced meats. Or consider the humble but versatile tofu as a base for many dishes. Cannabis can also be added to a wide variety of veggie-based foods for added immune system and detox support.
A short detox program can help to cleanse both the body and mind of accumulated toxins. Our detox suggestions can help rebalance and nourish the body for a healthier new year – and beyond.