What does it actually mean to detox? How important is it to detox and is the only way to do it by starving ourselves with a 5 day juice cleanse once a month? Because, between you and us, we’re super over that practice. The term “detox” gets thrown around quite a bit and we wanted to get the full story, once and for all. Because we’re super down to eliminate toxins from our bodies, but would love to know what that actually means.
We spoke with one of our favourite “Healers of Humans”, Dr. Erica Grenci on the topic of detoxification and her tips for how we can incorporate the practice of detox throughout the summer and in our daily lives.
Quick background; education, training and what brought you to start your own clinic?
My background all began with a passion for health and learning how to become the most vibrant version of myself. After university, I entered the 4-year Naturopathic Medical program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine which gave me a strong foundation in both clinical medicine and natural healing modalities. From there I branched outward into learning more about my favorite modalities and so I’ve pursued my masters in herbalism, certification in regenerative detoxification (by the incredible Dr. Morse!), advanced training in homeopathy, certification in facial rejuvenation acupuncture, bio-electric cranio-sacral therapy, reiki, and yoga. I believe that healing occurs on all levels – physically, emotionally, and energetically, and so I sought out tools to bring about this balance in all its forms.
With immense gratitude in my journey of gathering this knowledge and experience, I yearned to start giving back. So just this May 2018 I opened my clinic at Keele and Dundas St. West.
WHAT IS A DETOX?
There is a lot of “detox” advice floating around out there. Can you explain a bit about what it means to detox and what the benefits are?
Detoxing is integral to living – what comes in, must come out! Especially since we live in a world where it’s impossible to escape environmental pollutants, it’s essential to assist the body’s natural cleansing mechanism so it doesn’t become overburdened and stressed. Your body does a fantastic job on its own, however, combined with unhealthy living practices it may well need a boost. When the body is overburdened we begin to see lots of fatigue, mental fogginess, afternoon crashes, poor skin health, headaches, digestive issues, hormone imbalances, and more. Essentially these are all signals that the body is sending for our attention that something is amiss. If we suppress them (i.e. with pharmaceutical medication) it does not correct the root of the issue but instead places a temporary band aid. Why do this when we can dig a little deeper and nourish the body’s ailments from within? This is detoxing and it’s benefits include balancing the body so that it may heal itself – the most powerful form of medicine.
Essentially, detoxing supports the body in all its eliminative capacities. This is through the bowels, kidneys, lungs, and skin, as well as the supportive organs such as liver/gall bladder. Often as well, other organs need to be supported if there are any imbalances – for example, the pancreas may need some love if there are any digestive issues at hand, the parathyroid should be considered if there is a lack of calcium utilization (i.e. depression, varicose veins, easy bruising), the adrenal glands if there is a lack of energy or appropriate sugar metabolism, and even the pituitary gland if there are menstrual issues or hormonal imbalances, etc. The body is an intricately beautiful symphony of life!
In practice, detoxing includes dietary modifications (choosing the right foods to strengthen and cleanse your system), lifestyle practices (a targeted exercise regimen, self-care tools), herbal/botanical medicine (i.e. milk thistle for your liver, poke root for your lymphatic system, juniper for your kidneys), and supportive habits (i.e. meditation, deep breathing, positive thoughts).
DO WE NEED TO JUICE CLEANSE?
For those of us who are over the “juice cleanse” and fasting, are they easier, more nutritional ways to detox? If so, how often should we be doing them?
Mmmmm, simply add more fruit to your diet! Fruits are very special and the highest food form of choice for detoxing because they are self-cleansing, alkaline, astringent, and carry the highest electrical vibration of all the foods (12,000 angstroms in raw fruit vs 9,000 angstroms in raw vegetables vs. 1000 angstroms in cooked vegetables vs. 0 in meat). Fruits are absorbed the quickest by the body (under 30 minutes) and don’t require the digestive energy it takes to process other foods. Therefore, your body can utilize this energy to repair itself instead of always being in digestive mode. As well, the astringent factor of fruits work to pull out toxins from the interstitial fluid of our cells – whereas no other food can do this for us? This is a practice you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. I always tell my patients to start their day with a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemon water and keep their first meal only fruit to take advantage of these benefits. My favorite detox fruits are: red grapes, blackberries, lemons, and watermelon.
SIMPLE SUMMER DETOX PRACTICES
What are some simple daily practices we can incorporate this summer to ensure our bodies are detoxing on a more regular basis?
There are so many wonderful and easy practices to assist your body’s natural cleansing process. For one, I absolutely love dry brushing (aka lymphatic brushing) – this is a natural bristle brush that is massaged onto dry skin in circular movements along the lymphatic channels. By stimulating your skin in this way, lymphatic flow is also stirred and so is the movement of toxins. This simple method even improves circulation and leaves your skin exfoliated and glowing! I use the Province Apothecary Face Brush and the Saje Body Brush to cover my entire body.
Another tool I absolutely love to use on my face & body is called a “Gua Sha”. It’s used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to reduce inflammation and promote healing and this is credited to the fact that it’s excellent for moving lymph and toxins, while enhancing circulation and blood flow. Even more, it’s often used as an anti-aging tool on the face since it’s stimulating action also increases collagen production. Simply glide the tool with firm pressure in the direction of the arrows over your face until you create redness (best to do this in the evening before bed! This can be a daily practice.)
Photo credit: Pinterest
Another daily practice for detoxing is using a customized herbal regimen. Herbs are fantastic because they are targeted to specific organs and body systems to tonify, cleanse, and maximize their function. These are programs I create in office on an individual basis, however, there are also detox herbal teas I created which are an excellent and gentle way to get you started. I alternate the Detox Passport herbal teas daily or whenever I feel a bit sluggish and could use a boost. I also love drinking the liver tea after I’ve had a night out of celebratory fun 😉
This ancient spiritual practice has a tremendous cleansing effect. There are multiple levels of cleansing and often it’s easy to forget about the energetic aspects of it all. Smudging with sage or palo santo for example, is an excellent way to clear the air of any negative energies and intentions, help to remove blockages, while also providing a renewed sense of energy.
Something else that really gets the lymph flowing is rebounding! Keep in mind that your heart pumps your blood to circulate your body, but your lymph requires the movement of your muscles to get around. In fact, something as fun and simple as jumping on a trampoline can increase your lymphatic flow and drainage up to 20 times its normal rate! Combined with a regular exercise routine, this will support your body to rid itself of the accumulated bacteria, toxic waste, trapped fat globules, and cell sewage.
What products do you recommend for this and how (and how often) should we use them?
Province Apothecary Face Brush – I use this x3-4/week
Saje Body Brush – I use this x3-4/week
Gua Sha – Daily in the evening
Detox Passport Tea (Colon, Lymph & Blood, Liver/Gallbladder, Kidneys) – I alternate these teas daily (I love the kidney and lymph ones the best!)
Sage Bundle – I do this daily for renewed energy or whenever I feel the energy is a bit stagnant in the air.
Mini Trampoline (aka Rebounder) – A few times/week.
Click on the images below to find out where to purchase Erica’s detox picks.