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New Year, New You: Detoxing for the Best Year of Your Life

On January 1st, many of us awoke with puffy eyes, bloated tummies, slow motor skills, and a general feeling of “ugh.” That’s no way to start the most dazzling year of your life, is it?!
Heck no!  In this issue we explore some of the healthiest and easiest vegan ways to purify your body, add more spring in your step, center your mind, and get you ready to face the new year with glowing positivity and confidence.
You Are What You Eat
In the new year, the airwaves are inundated with fad diets, pills, and gimmicks that promise a gorgeous bod, endless energy, and a ballet booty.  However, the simple truth we often overlook is that radiant health starts with what you eat.  The principles for detoxification are just as straightforward: Focus on clean, living, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables so your body receives maximum nutrition with minimum stress.
Notes From a Newly Converted Juicer
Juice Cleanses:
  A juice cleanse can be a tasty and restful experience for your body.  Subsisting on high-quality, non-pasteurized organic vegetable and fruit juices floods your cells with nourishing micro-nutrients and oxygen, and gives your digestive system a chance to reboot and flush unwanted toxins. If you’re a regular juicer, you already know of and probably crave the benefits of a well-executed cleanse.  A cleanse done at home can save you big money, and you don’t have to be a veteran juicer to pull it off.  Need to spice up your recipe repertoire?  Check out this handy guide bursting with fresh recipes!If you don’t own a juicer, don’t fret!  Plenty of juice cleanses can be shipped right to your door.  While it’s best to scout out cleanses near you that use local produce (so the enzymes and nutrients are as fresh as possible), there are plenty of national cleanses that have received excellent reviews for taste, freshness, and convenience (but save your pennies – some of these bad boys can be pricey).  If straight juice feels impossible for you, cleanses like Kaeng Raeng allow you to feast on vegan smoothies and some raw foods while still getting the purification benefits.  Whatever you do, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking as much purified water as you please.

Raw Vegan:  If the thought of living by juice alone is just too much to bear, embracing a raw diet for a few days (or weeks) might be your ticket to purification nation. The focus here is on whole, unprocessed plant foods that are not heated above 104 – 118F degrees (the cutoff temperature varies within the raw community), as to not denature the plants’ naturally present enzymes.  Many raw foodists avoid gluten, soy, sugar, and flours, but it really depends upon the plan and the person.  Whatever level you take eating raw to, consuming more whole, unfettered with plant food is beneficial for body and mind (people report thinking more clearly).  At a loss for recipes that bring out the best and brightest flavors of unfussed-with food?  Check out these resources: The fabulous website, Choosing RawAni Phyo’s gorgeous recipesEat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish; and, The Fresh Energy Cookbook: Detox Recipes to Supercharge Your Life by Natalya Rose and Doris Choi.

Whole Living Juicing
Incorporating More of the Good Stuff: For many people, restriction invokes fear and that fear creates resistance.  Enter the health principle of “crowding out.”  And you’re going to be delighted because the concept is easy as pie (but might not involve eating said pie): Keep doing whatever you’re doing, just add some additional good stuff in there.  So, whether the good stuff is kale, a green juice, or an evening walk, your body will be delighted with the addition and will eventually crave more.  After a little while, these additions become healthy habits.  Crazy, I know.  But it works.  Perhaps your chosen detox goal is just to eat a little cleaner (fewer animal products and junk and more real plant food), or to incorporate more nutrient-dense superfoods in your diet.  If you want to ambitiously tackle clean eating and superchargin’ your diet, check out these gorgeous reads: Clean Food by Terry Walters and Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris.

Treat Your Body Right
A nutritional cleanse works from the inside-out to purify your body, and you can help the process along and enhance the effects by engaging in gentle exercise and time-tested body rituals that are as purifying as they are relaxing.  Here are just a few that complement any cleansing regimen or lifestyle and won’t break the bank.
Gentle Exercise: Yoga, pilates, and light walking are all fantastic supplements to a cleanse because they energize the body and encourage flexibility without taxing it.  Try a restorative or yin yoga class, an easy pilates workout, or a good old fashioned walk outside.  Focus on breathing and how your body feels.  Yes, sometimes it’s just that simple.Meditation: Mindfulness is always a fine addition to your day, and there’s no better time to tap in to your innermost thoughts and serenity than when you’re detoxing.  You don’t have to be a Swami to reap the benefits either!  Check out this simple guide and get ready to flourish in stillness.

Whole Living: 5 Tips for Yoga Beginners

Use Natural, Simple Products: You’re working so hard to remove toxins from your insides, so why ruin it by smothering your body with toxic beauty products?  Read the ingredients and opt for products that are singular (like coconut oil – one ingredient, many uses), natural, and simple.  Our Vegucated Guide to Beauty Without the Cruelty can help you refresh your routine and welcome truly green, clean vegan products in to your life.  We really dig this therapeutic oil that contains Triphala (meaning “three fruits”) that moisturizes and topically assists with detoxification.

Quality Sleep: While your dozing, your body is working hard to clear away impurities, digest, and shore up your wellness.  Deep, restorative ZZZ’s are vital to any cleanse, so give yourself the best shot at having a good night’s sleep.  If you have trouble winding down, try a warm bath with lavender oil, a comforting foot massage, reading a good book, or sipping some calming tea.  Avoid the television or computer (unless you’re reading this, of course…) at least two hours before it’s time to hit the sack.  This will give your mind a chance to wind down and prepare for slumber.

Healing Rituals: Feeling more adventurous?  Many detoxers use therapeutic massage, a neti potinfrared saunascolonics, and dry brushing to purge impurities from the body.

Cleanse Your Environment
Cleansing isn’t just about removing and managing inner clutter.  Our homes and work environments can often be reflective of inner chaos and stress.  So, why not give your detox plan a fighting chance by making your spaces more serene and conducive to purification?  Here are some simple ideas that will have your living spaces feeling as fresh and full of possibility as your deserve.Guide to Creating a Minimalist HomeSimplify Your Stuff: If your life is overflowing with stuff, get rid of the things you no longer need.  Anything superfluous (something that either does not have function, bring you joy, or make you money) is just cramping your style.  Consign or donate unwanted items and clear space for the things that truly enrich your life.  You’ll be surprised by how this physical gesture yields transcendental benefits.  Check out master organizer Mary Carlomagno’s Secrets of Simplicity for guidance on how to pare down your life.

Add Some Life to Your Space: Bringing nature indoors has a refreshing effect.  Add some plants to your space or adopt a companion animal.  A little extra life in your home can completely reenergize other parts of your day and leave you smiling.

Cleansing Breaths: Forget chemical air fresheners, whose ingredients have been scientifically linked to depression.  Try diffusing a natural, refreshing oil in your home or lighting a soy wax candle.  Breathe deeply when you need a reminder to stay present and content.

Stay Motivated & Inspired

Whether this is your first time or your fiftieth time detoxing, support is always a welcomed addition to the experience.  Gather a group of like-minded friends to participate with you.  Feel your resolve slipping?  Watch some great documentaries (like Vegucated!) on cleansing transformations, like Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead (much more uplifting than the title lets on), Hungry for ChangeCrazy, Sexy Cancer, all of which feature people changing their lives and health through juicing, clean eating, and of course, a vegan diet.  And, anytime you’re craving community, might we suggest joining the totally free and fabulous Vegucated Schoolhouse Online Community?  With nearly 700 members, we have lots of wisdom and inspiration to share!

Have a favorite cleansing recipe or tip you’d like to share?  Spill in the Vegucated Schoolhouse Community Forum!

Ashlee Piper

Ashlee Piper is Writer & Community Manager at GetVegucated.  She is a social worker and AADP-certified Holistic Health Counselor who shepherds people toward a more compassionate, cruelty-free, and joyful lifestyle.  Her no-nonsense tips and insights for a happy veg life can also be found via her mischievous blog, The Little Foxes