September 21st marks the autumnal equinox – the best time of year to detox the body after an indulgent summer. We talked to our naturopath, Dr. Penelope McDonnell, about how to approach your eating and living this season to maximize your fall detox.
“As the seasons change and the earth rotates, your cells begin to turnover making it the perfect time to transition to detox. Focus on detoxing the lymph system, which support the organs of detox: your skin, liver and kidneys.
First, restart hot yoga to release toxins from the body. Tip: make sure to add a pinch of high quality sea salt to water to re absorb minerals you sweat away.
Second, book an appointment for an infrared (IR) sauna session. IR saunas have been proven to impact below the dermal layer of skin, giving great detoxing benefits. Finally, begin incorporating dry brushing before showering. I recommend people dry brush only in the fall and spring when your body is primed for detoxification, and the ritual becomes most effective.
Making changes to your diet during the fall can help you transition into the season feeling your best. I recommend starting a sugar-free month, including alcohol, to give your body a rest. If a whole month seems to difficult, try alternating one week on, one week off. Start your day off with a glass of warm water with lemon in the morning to alkalize the body. If you have a history of heartburn or gastric reflux, skip this step - it can be aggravating and negate the wonderful alkalizing effect.
Throughout the day, sip on soups to meet your body’s natural desire for warmer meals as the temperature cools down. I love bone broth - its so nutritional and warming. I also recommending eating in season as much as possible.
In the fall, we have apples, pumpkin and squash which are all great for anti-inflammation. If you’re craving sugar, try adding cinnamon to your meals to help lower blood sugars.
Finally, end the day with a cup of dandelion tea. Make sure you choose a tea that has both the root – which focuses on detoxifying the liver – and the leaf – which focuses on the kidneys.
The turning of seasons is a great time for a mental detox. I recommend adding elements of mindfulness into your routine, such as visiting an acupuncturist or incorporating meditation into your days. I always tell my clients to try breathing in for four seconds, holding for seven seconds, and breathing out for eight seconds. This technique really calms the nervous system, and you can even do it while walking.
Detoxing also happens while you’re sleeping. Before bed, run a bath and add four cups of Epsom salts and two cups of baking soda. This will help re establish magnesium levels by alkalizing the body. Soak for at least 20 minutes to get the full benefits.
When you get into bed, I recommend putting frankincense on the bottom of the feet, which is a very powerful place to put essentials. Frankincense focuses on detoxing the digestive system, which is great to do while you’re sleeping.”