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Do you want to start the new year with the latest detox? Save some time by reading through this expert advice first! Find out if you are approaching your detox with the right mindset and why it’s important to go beyond the physical. 

Detoxing From a Place of Self-Love

Kathryn Gates, a psychotherapist and fitness specialist who works with people to develop acceptance and intimacy within themselves and their relationships, said that the motivation behind doing a detox or cleanse is key. “The ‘why’ is going to drive whatever outcomes you have. If you are doing something because you hate yourself, the outcome is going to be different than if you want to make improvements from a place of loving yourself. A cleanse or marathon is not going to change that embarrassment of shame you feel of your body.” 

She explained that being on a diet or doing a cleanse is simply serving as a distraction if we have not already done the “inner-work” — which is really the braver and more important challenge. Many of us might never get there, because we are always doing a diet challenge or trying to get that next raise. 

“We often embark on cleanses or diets to achieve a sense of accomplishment," Gates said. "I could meditate every day this week, but it’s not as concrete. But it’s so worth it to change how your brain functions.”

I asked if she discouraged her clients with a history of an eating disorder from detoxing or cleansing.

“Yes, especially if your recovery is newer, it’s going to be with the wrong intentions," Gates said. "It’s going to be out of a desire for control.”

Claire Siegel, Snap Kitchen’s Lead Dietician and real food advocate had a complementary perspective. “We often enter these health journeys, diets and resets out of a sense of hatred for our own bodies – subconsciously restricting," Siegel said. "So much more effective and more enjoyable is coming from it out of a place of love. It’s about love and gratitude for your body — even if you are trying to lean down and get fit.

Thank your legs for carrying you and your stomach for digesting the food you eat. This allows you to enjoy the process. If you are in a negativity bubble, you are trying to get out.” 

She explained that approaching a health goal (such as a detox or diet) from a place of negativity inevitably breeds failure. In fact, she does not use the word detox in her personal nutrition, health or wellness vocabulary. 

“I feel like it implies that there’s a linear journey from a dirty and toxin-filled state to becoming 'pure' or detoxed,'" Siegel said. 

"A healthy lifestyle has much more ebb and flow than that. It’s an ongoing journey — not something with a finite starting or stopping point. Not to mention that your detox organs like your liver, kidneys and skin are working to remove toxins all the time, whether you’re on a juice cleanse or not."

Detox the Home

If you have a history of an eating disorder or still have some aforementioned inner-work to do, it's recommended that you focus on ways you can remove toxins from your home and lifestyle rather than diving into a strict dietary detox. So, I compiled TreeHouse CEO Jason Ballard’s tips on how to create a healthy living space. Austin-based TreeHouse is the world’s first home upgrade company specializing in curated products and home project services that promote healthy and sustainable spaces with an emphasis on high performance and design.

Lifestyle tips

Our homes should ideally be places of comfort and happiness. Comfort is a difficult thing to pin down and can vary from person to person, but we know that it is affected by temperature, humidity, sound, light, smell and ergonomics/design. Strategies for increasing comfort include properly functioning heating, air conditioning and ventilation; exterior noise reduction; adjustable light; preventing irritating smells; and sound reverberation reduction.

Your first steps toward a healthier home

Air Filtration: Make sure you change your filters regularly, and consider adding a more advanced air filtration system if you know you have poor air quality, allergies, pets, mold or chemical sensitivities.

Water Filtration: It’s important to remove harmful elements and chemicals out of your drinking water. You can do something easy like a table top (and beautiful) Soma; a more advanced yet still sleek filter like those from Berkey (our favorite, photo below); or a whole home system like those from Aquasana or Kinetico.

Test: You can purchase kits (starting at $10) to test your home for mold, toxins, lead, bacteria, pesticides and more. 

Choose Products Wisely: Make sure you know what is in that cleaner, laundry detergent, water bottle, insulation, candle, flooring finish and carpet. Non-toxic alternatives are now widely available. 

Healthy Food Prep: Make sure your surface cleaners are non-toxic and that you are working on non-toxic, antimicrobial surfaces like stone or a cutting board. 

Ditch the Teflon: Upgrade your cooking supplies to ceramic-based, non-stick or cast iron pans that are a safer alternative to traditional Teflon-based non-stick pans. 

Tree-hugging: Bring some plants into your home. They improve air quality, and being around nature is good for the soul.

Sleep Smart: Get LED lights with softer colors (no blue or white) installed in your bedroom to improve sleep — and save energy!

Find our favorite air filter and non-toxic products on the next page.

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