The intention behind a detox or cleanse is understandable:

I’ll do this 5-day cleanse to re-set my system so that I can start eating healthier. And, hey, maybe I’ll quickly lose a couple of pounds in the process. Win-win!

There’s one HUGE flaw with the current detox craze – it sparks a cycle of detox-retox. We have a weekend where we binge on terrible food and lots of alcohol, then we think that a bottled juice cleanse will fix it.

And then we do it again the following weekend.

This is not a health-promoting cycle! It’s basically a short-term yo-yo dieting pattern, which really messes with your metabolism, your energy levels, your weight, and your digestive system. It can also cause a lot of stress on the body, which creates an even more toxic internal environment! Not that detoxes are all bad. When done properly and incorporated into a consistently healthy lifestyle, detoxing can help optimize your digestive system. It’s beneficial because humans were not structured to eat as often as we do, or even to eat the foods that we eat. The healthiest detoxes happen about twice a year, are usually about 5 days, include fresh (not bottled) vegetable-based juices, and are a part of a consistently plant-heavy way of eating. Detoxification is crucial for vibrant health. How can we best boost our body’s natural cellular turnover and cleansing mechanisms? With daily habits to support these functions! In fact, daily detox support is the optimal way to keep the body functioning properly.

Look over the tips below, and commit to incorporating at least 3 of these into your routine. I know you’ll feel a substantial difference in about a week!

• In the morning, before you brush your teeth or consume anything else, have a large glass of room-temperature water (at least 10 oz) with a bit of fresh lemon squeezed in it. This habit has been shown to flush out toxins and boost the production of bile for digestion (which is a good thing). It also strengthens the liver and promotes hydration; both help your blood carry out unnecessary junk from your system.

• Many professionals who work with energy (acupuncturists, reiki practitioners) recommend foot soaks in the evening with epsom salt to help clear toxins from the day through the feet. Aim for at least 3 times per week.

• The kidneys are essential in your body’s cleansing functions; find a nourishing kidney tea (organic, ideally) that you enjoy and drink 2 cups a day.

• Sour foods stimulate peristalsis, the contractions within the digestive tract that moves waste through the colon for removal. Pair these foods with a good amount of fiber and water for optimal waste elimination. Examples are citrus, green apples, and apple cider vinegar (consider drinking a large glass of warm water mixed with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar about 15 minutes prior to meals).

• Bitter foods boost the liver’s ability to cleanse – it has over 500 functions as a detoxifying organ! Try dandelion greens/root (dandelion tea is a great replacement for coffee), radishes, mustard, or artichokes daily.

• Fiber is invaluable to optimal health and proper digestion. Plus, most people in affluent countries are deficient in the nutrient! Along with fresh produce, consider adding figs, legumes, and chia seeds into your daily diet.

• Combine chlorohyll with iron-rich plant foods to support red blood cell formation. Some iron-rich foods are legumes, seeds, dark leafy greens, and blackstrap molasses. Top chlorophyll-rich foods include: microalgaes (chlorella), seaweeds, wheat- and barley grass, oregano, basil, parsley, and cilantro.

Happy eating, happy cleansing!!