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2015 Clean Up: Week 1 is All Done!

As promised, I’m back to give an update on how the first week of my three week intensive cleanse went. I guess the first point is that I survived! Yay, me! Apart from 5 cherry tomatoes, I was 100% perfect! Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

So, what did I notice in this first week…

1. My worst sugar cravings happened on the first day

The kind of crazy you feel when you are craving sugar, HARDCORE!

The kind of crazy you feel when you are craving sugar, HARDCORE!

Yes, I had them all week. Cravings for sugar, fried foods, dairy and pastries. I persevered with only minimal amounts of whining, but that first evening was the hardest part of all. Suddenly at around 8 p.m. it’s like my body woke up and was like, “Hey, uh, I didn’t get any sugar today…hello? HELLO!!!!! FEED ME SUGAR NOW!!!” Or, maybe it was my brain saying it, I’m not sure but I definitely knew it was being said! I even had dreams of gorging myself on cakes and cookies that night, the whole time racked with guilt over what I was eating.

2. Water, water and more water

I drink a lot of water, but after a few days it was like my body was reset from always hungry to always thirsty. I’ve often read that we get our signals crossed on this and I feel like this particular cleanse is uncrossing those wires because I can’t get enough water, my body is constantly telling me to drink more. Not too long ago I could go hours without a sip, now I need that water bottle next to me at all times and I regret when I go somewhere without one.

3. The first week is EXPENSIVE!

Yes, in the long run I will be saving loads of money because I won’t be going out to eat…at all, but I had to purchase many ingredients that aren’t a normal part of my pantry in order to have healthy options for the length of the cleanse. If anyone is thinking of doing the Alejandro Junger “Clean” cleanse and use his cookbook “Clean Eats”, I would say make sure that you have an extra $150 budgeted for that first shop, because you are going to need it! Of course, after that it is much less expensive and will cost you your usual budget, plus a wee bit more if you aren’t accustomed to buying organic.

4. Yawn!!!

I was pretty tired the first couple of days, but I’m gradually finding that I wake up more easily in the morning, provided I got a good night’s sleep. For a long time, I’ve been one of those people who can get that solid 8 hours of sleep and still wake up tired. This week, when I got a solid night’s sleep of 7 hours or more, I woke up more refreshed than usual. I won’t say I sprung out of bed like a bad Viagra commercial, but there was more alertness and dare I say…more pep, than I would usually have.

Those have been my biggest observations so far, though definitely not the changes I’m feeling. My moods have been fluctuating, as well as my bathroom habits, but we’ll get to those.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in yourself the first week of a major dietary shift? Did they disappear after some time or did they stay with you the whole time ?

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Changing Labels and Your Health

Although I made some headway with my detoxing in 2012 and limiting my wheat intake in 2013, I have still gained weight. Sigh. I am currently at the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m not only heavy, I’m also what I would consider ‘dangerously’ out of shape. No, I don’t have trouble walking up stairs or anything, but man, if the zombie apocalypse hit tomorrow I would not be running for long!

I also have trouble with my knees, lower back, feet and movement in general. ‘Try Yoga’, I hear those yogis calling. Yes, I’ve tried that. ‘Try walking’, I hear others in perfect chorus. Yes, I’ve tried that as well. The truth of the matter is, I need help. In the past few months, I’ve come to realize this and I’ve sought it out.

Firstly, I knew that even when I was at my healthiest, I still subscribed to certain labels of myself that have not changed. These labels still haunt me to this day. With the help of an alternative practitioner, on my blog I affectionately call, ‘My Adele’, I have delved into some of these labels. She has been trained in hypnotherapy and we used this to look at the more prominent labels I have put on myself. The exercise was to take these labels, erase them and replace them with a more positive one.

The first label was ‘SELFISH’. When I told my husband this, he was flabbergasted. To him, I am one of the most selfless people he knows, but that doesn’t matter…this is about the way I see myself. I’m not sure why I’ve taken on this label. I can be as simple as something I was told as a child and internalized it. I took this label, erased it and replaced it with the word  ‘SELFLESS’.

The second label I came upon was ‘UNDESERVING’. This one I already knew about. I often feel like I don’t deserve the happiness and love in my life. I had been working on this for the past year, so when I read the label during my session it was no surprise. This label I changed to ‘DESERVING’.

The third label I read was ‘GUILTY’. This is the second one I already knew about. In the past, I’ve felt guilty about everything. My husband gives me a hard time because I apologize all the time. Sometimes it got so bad I would apologize and he would say, “For what?”. Often, I would not have a good answer. I took that label and replaced it with ‘FREE’. My thinking was that in affirmation writing, you don’t want to write the negative word within your affirmation.

The last label I was able to change was a triple-threat. Three words were attached to the same ‘bottle’. The three were ‘FAT’, ‘SICK’ and ‘UNHEALTHY’. I had been trying to detox, get healthy, lose weight and all while carrying these labels internally. Talking about pushing a boulder up a hill! I changed that one to ‘HEALTHY’.

Now that I have my labels changed, I am ready to start a new journey. I have also retained help from a personal trainer named Andrea Portillo of Visualize Fitness. Andrea specializes in dealing with people who have injuries or physical issues that make it difficult for them to get fit on their own. I have been avoiding the gym lately because a big part of me is terrified hurting myself. With Andrea’s help I am going to rebuild my strength and regain my fitness. Wish me luck!

What labels do you have that you should change? What would you replace them with?

my new labels!

my new labels!

Tanning beds, vitamin D and Quebec

English: Woman uses a tanning bed.

English: Woman uses a tanning bed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About a year ago, I was driving in Montreal and I heard an ad on the radio. It was someone from a tanning salon, enumerating the virtues of using a tanning bed. They said something to the effect of, “Look great! Feel great! Help up your vitamin D during the winter months!” I couldn’t believe it! They were actually touting the ‘health’ benefits of using tanning beds.

The reason that I bring this up today is because I heard on the radio this morning that Quebec has legislated an age limit on the use of tanning beds within the province. I think that is fantastic. If I were less informed about the risks of using tanning beds in regards to cancer risks, I would have thought it was a great idea to get some extra vitamin D. While there is evidence that specific types of tanning beds can help us Canadians up our vitamin D levels, it is my opinion that the risks far outweigh the benefits. If you do decide to use tanning beds to get some vitamin D, make sure you do your research.

Make sure the tanning salon bed puts out UVB. That’s done with medium-pressure lamps. High-pressure lamps only put out UVA, which will not make any vitamin D. With UVB rays, you won’t get a burn, you won’t even get much of a tan, but you’ll get lots of vitamin D.” – Dr. Holick, (cbc.ca)

Considering that the tanning salon that was advertising on the radio was also talking about the wonderous glow you would have after the sessions, I doubt they were using UVB rays in their beds. It’s a tough time to be a consumer out there, reading between the lines when the lines are so skewed.

Quebec is putting a ban on use of the beds for anyone under the age of eighteen. This follows suit with many other provinces and countries who have already initiated similar age bans. Ontario (yay us!) and British Columbia are planning to do so as well. Studies have shown that the risk of getting skin cancer is significantly increased when people below the age of 25 use tanning beds, so we may be able to decrease the risks in many teens.

“…people who used tanning beds were 67% more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 29% more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than people who never used them. This risk was highest among people who started to tan before their 25th birthday.” (Webmd.com)

The good ole Nova Scotians are doing even better, their age ban starts at 19 years of age. Unfortunately, there is still the fact that most people have no idea that tanning beds can be bad for them, so many people will flock to the salons as soon as they are of age.

It is unfortunate for us Canadians, and many residents in the United States, that we suffer from a big loss of vitamin D in the winter time. Some people might think that going outside in the winter time with their faces exposed will help them produce some vitamin D. The amount of D your face produces is minute and a recent study shows that even if you were completely uncovered, it wouldn’t matter.

Above Atlanta Georgia [in latitude], you can’t make vitamin D in your skin in the winter time. We did a study involving Edmonton residents. For six months of the year, they were unable to make vitamin D in their skin. Stand naked outside from the time the sun rises until it sets, freeze every appendage on your body and you will not make vitamin D.” – Dr. Holick, (Cbc.ca)

Thank goodness we’ve disproved another health reason for winter nudists! Hee hee. My vitamin d source of choice is just to use a good supplement. For more information about how much you should be taking in oral form, see my Vitamin D blog entry.

Do you use tanning beds? Have you ever asked about UVA versus UVB bulbs on one of your visits?

No more wheat for me!

I am a big believer in the view that everything happens for a reason. I think there was a reason that my friend brought the book “Wheat Belly” to my attention. A reason as to why I appeared on Rogers Daytime Ottawa the same day as Dr. Beauchamp, who was promoting the Ottawa Health and Wellness Show and her key note speaker, Dr. William Davis. Why the couple I had booked for a wedding meeting the same day as the show canceled and why I was reminded of the show a few hours later via radio announcement. It was all to get me to the presentation by Dr. Davis on his book, “Wheat Belly” and the innumerable reasons why we should not be eating wheat.

Now that my initial year of the detox has come to an end, I was looking for something else to continue my journey. I am happy that I was able to commit to the challenges that I put into place for myself. I am also happy with the changes I feel in my body. I am a little disappointed, however, in the lack of weight loss I was expecting. Although my exercise track record hasn’t been stellar, I still get moving almost every day. Except for the month I went without sugar, it still crops up in my diet occasionally, but no where near the amounts consumed on average by people who are obese. So, why am I still considered obese according to the BMI? Something felt incomplete about my detox…

Myself and Dr. Davis, author of "Wheat Belly"

Myself and Dr. Davis, author of “Wheat Belly”

After having seen Dr. Davis speak, I have a feeling it may be due to my wheat intake and blood sugar levels. Even when I was working out 6 days a week and at my healthiest weight, I still had a little belly. I barely ever had sugar, junk foods of any kind, and still I couldn’t lose that extra bit of pudge around my middle. I did eliminate refined grains in my anti-inflammation month, but I did not read every label to make sure there was no wheat in everything I consumed. Perhaps that was my mistake?

I won’t get in to all the research about wheat and what it does in this particular blog. I would like to finish Dr. Davis book and have a better grasp on the knowledge before I start to share it with the world, via Internet. Sufficed to say that I am going to go wheat free and see where that takes me as far as all this built up fat stores. As I’ve previously mentioned, belly fat is NOT GOOD. I truly believe that I was able to release a lot of toxins with my Year of the Detox and form some better habits, but I need to focus more on my unhealthy weight now. The journey starts tomorrow.

Have you ever gone wheat free or are you currently wheat free? What differences did you notice?

Lessons in juicing

So, this is the last week of my liquid life detox month. What a long haul. I admit, I haven’t always been able to do the liquid dinners. I found myself to be hungry as winter settled in, more than what my soup could do to fill me up. I have been pretty good with the juiced mornings though. I really like having the juice in the a.m. for breakfast. I find I need a light snack or an early lunch however, or my stomach starts its daily protest. Maybe November in Canada was not the best month to do a liquid diet…but I hope that won’t deter anyone from trying. You may really enjoy it once you’ve tried it. It is certainly a great way to get your nutrients and energy. Also, having juice first thing after your cup of water is another great way to get more hydration in your day!

Here are some tips of lessons I’ve learned this month:

1. Make sure your fruits or veggies aren’t too ripe.

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I found the juices to taste off whenever I used produce that was too ripe. So much so that I couldn’t even stomach the drink. I may be sensitive, but I definitely recommend using your produce within a few days of purchase.

2. Cut your juices with water.

That much sugar that early in the morning can shoot your blood sugar levels up without any fiber to slow that process down. Better to cut the juices with water so there is less sugar. The water also helps to hydrate you even more. It also helps break up some of that acidity if your juices are fruit heavy.

3. Clean your juicer ASAP.

As soon as you are done, rinse and wash that juicer. This point has several reason for being. If you don’t clean it right away, you might forget and your juicer will be all clogged the next morning when you go to use it. Also, the little bits of pulp and skin can get caked on really easily if they are allowed to dry. Then your cleaning time will be doubled!

4. Drink slowly.

If you drink your juice too fast, you might have an upset stomach. Take your time and enjoy the flavours!

5. Brush your teeth afterwards.

Most of my juices had fruit in them, and often included a beet. Fruit is very acidic and beets tend to stain the enamel. Better to brush right after and prevent any staining or damage to your teeth.

From me to you, these are the best tips I have if you want to wander into the world of juicing. If you are an avid juicer yourself, please feel free to add some more tips in the comment section. Maybe I can learn something from you!

Top 5 reasons to juice

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. ...

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. 12th century; Anagni, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you have major blood sugar issues, juicing could be something that will help you get your body the nutrients and energy it needs! Juicing has been around for centuries dating back to ancient times in India, Rome and Greece. Ayurvedic medicine has long promoted the benefits of juicing. Actually, it describes the body’s best health to be when all of its juices are flowing properly and abundantly.  In ancient Greece, Hippocrates was known for being a proponent of using diet to heal. Among his favoured ‘prescriptions’ was different types of juices. He was known for teaching that it was better to be full of drink than full of food. I wonder if he includes vodka in that thought? Hmm…probably not. Influenced by his predecessors, Galen of Ancient Rome also studied and proposed juices for maintaining health and treating health issues. In fact, though he couldn’t know why at the time, but he suggested that cooking juices made them lose some of their beneficial properties. This was hundreds of year before we would discover enzymes! So, if you thought juicing was a fad, now you know the facts. Juicing has been around for a very long time.

So, why juice?

1. Enzymes

If you follow my blog, you know how important I think enzymes are. They are the little workers that keep our bodies going, helping in every little function we need our bodies to do for us on a daily basis. Without enzymes, it doesn’t matter what else you are eating or drinking. They have to be there to break down all your nutrients so they can get where they need to go. You can see why this is reason number one. Most enzymes can only thrive in a ‘raw’ or ‘uncooked’ piece of food. Our bodies produce some of them, but we need to ingest many of them as well. Our bodily enzymes are not infinite, so maintaining a healthy diet, ripe with enzymes is very important.

2. Vitamins and minerals

We’ve all been told over and over throughout our lives that vitamins are important. Minerals, too. Honestly, they really are! If you are lacking in any of the vitamins or minerals your body needs, your bodily functions can become highly impaired. Unlike enzymes, our body cannot produce the vitamins or minerals we need and we have to get them from food. (Apart from vitamin D, which we can get a bit of from the sun). With most North Americans, and now nations becoming ‘Americanized’, the standard American diet is eaten by a large part of the world’s population. The aptly acronym holding ‘SAD’ diet is devoid of many vitamins and minerals.

3. Quality over quantity

Combine our ‘SAD’ way of eating with the fact that our agricultural system is producing food that is less  ‘organic’, it would be nearly impossible to get everything you need, every day. The nutrient load of the foods we eat are getting lighter and lighter. Sure, many of us supplement in pill form, but a quart of vegetable juice can give you the nutrients that you would otherwise need to eat five pounds of solid vegetables to get! Crickey! I know a quart may seem like a lot, but over the course of a day, it’s not that bad.

4. Chlorophyll

I’ve already written about the amazing benefits of chlorophyll, but a lot of people may have trouble drinking the supplement version of it. Vegetable juice is a great way to get a dose of chlorophyll. With a molecule so close in structure to human hemoglobin, it has amazing detox effects!

5. Essential Amino Acids

There are eight amino acids we consider ‘essential’ because our bodies need them to function and yet we are not able to produce them ourselves. That means we absolutely need to get them from our diet. Like enzymes, vitamins and minerals, without enough amino acids, our bodies would develop serious health issues.

Sure, there are many more reasons why juicing is good for your health and why more of us should be doing it. I will be covering some of them in the next few posts, but for now why don’t you mull over these ones. They pack a pretty powerful punch. Do any of these reasons make you want to try juicing? Why or why not?

Month 11: Liquid Life

juicer

juicer (Photo credit: Shockingly Tasty)

Wow, it seems as the year comes closer to the end I am getting lazier and lazier about these postings. Sorry!

So month 10 was a bit of a change up and had more to do with what I was putting on my body, rather than in it. Month 11 will be going back to what I am putting into my body.

Your digestive system is an amazing machine. If you haven’t realized this by now, it is time for a wake up call. It takes everything you put into your mouth to nourish you and converts it into the energy you need to function every day. It is constantly working, constantly and tirelessly. Isn’t it time to give it a bit of a break? Well, you can’t really stop eating. I mean, maybe you could, but not for long. In our fast paced and demanding society, a complete fast is nearly out of the question. Some people choose to go really hardcore and go on the Master Cleanse, which is basically lemons, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. I’m not sure I could ever be one of those people, but you never know what the future holds. Instead, I have decided to give my digestive system a less substantial, but sure to be appreciated break for the month of November.

Rules for this month:

1. Breakfast is freshly made juice from fruits and vegetables.

2. Dinner is either completely blended soup or a protein shake.

And those two rules are it. Simple, yet very, very time consuming. Also, it is completely necessary to have a juicer for your breakfasts.

I’ll admit, it hasn’t always been easy. I have had to ‘cheat’ with store bought juices on one or two mornings. I’ve also had to forego the liquid dinner on a few occasions. When you are eating out or invited to someone’s house, it isn’t really easy to have that liquid dinner. I have managed to make my liquid dinners in the majority however, so that is something to be proud of. Also, there’s a lot of liquid dinners to go. At lunch I make sure to include healthy decisions and protein so that I’m not lacking in those. Juicing does not yield a ton of protein, nor does it allow for much fiber. If you are thinking about juicing for the first time, make sure that you research it and if you can, talk to a nutrition expert.

Have you ever gone on a juicing spree? Did you notice any effects it had on your body? Mind? Spirit?

Epsom salts: Relaxation and detoxification

Soaking

Soaking (Photo credit: swister_p)

One of the things I’ve been doing on a regular basis this month is to bathe in epsom salts multiple times a week. You may be wondering what that has to do with benefiting my skin. Well, the answer is not much, in a direct sense anyway. What the epsom salts do for my entire body, however, is a whole other story. Epsom salt is a mineral that has been used for years to treat many different ailments, through external and internal use. It occurs naturally and is composed of magnesium sulfate. Its composition is important because although many of us are aware of rampant calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, a lot of people are also magnesium deficient as well.

“Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate, which can help improve health in numerous ways. A lack of magnesium—which helps regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes in the body—can contribute to high blood pressure, hyperactivity, heart problems and other health issues, doctors warn. Sulfate is essential for many biological processes, helping to flush toxins and helping form proteins in joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins.” – Epsom Salt Council

Remember talking a few months ago about the importance of enzymes? If we can help out more than 300 of them simply by regulating our magnesium levels, so much the better! Another pondering you might have is why I am bathing in the salts rather than just taking them internally for my enzymes. Your skin is a fantastic creation that allows you to absorb nutrients through it. When you take your warm epsom salt baths, your pores open up and absorb all the nutrients in the water. Not only that, the process of the bath combined with the salts relaxes your muscles and draws out toxins. I don’t know about you, but even as I sit here typing, I feel tightness in my shoulders and neck that could use some ‘epsoming’ !

Epsom salts have also been reported as useful in so many different areas of your health, here are just a few:

1. Reducing inflammation

2. Regulation electrolyte imbalances which restores proper nerve and muscle function

3. Restores magnesium levels depleted by stress which works to produce serotonin and relax you

4. Taken internally, epsom salts can aid in digestion
(if you are thinking of trying this, make sure you consult a health care practitioner first)

How to use epsom salts in your bath:

It’s rather simple really, just add 1 – 2 cups in your bath, depending on the size of your tub. I like to add them as soon as I have the bottom layer filled. That way as the water pours in, it mixes them up nicely. Make sure that your salts are all dissolved before you get in. You don’t want to be sitting on them, the undissolved salts won’t absorb as well into your pores and might irritate your skin.
Bathe for about 12-20 minutes, or do a foot soak (using less salts) for 20 minutes. After that, you’ve likely absorbed what you can from the salts and you don’t want to reabsorb the toxins that have been released from your skin. There is some debate about the best length of time, but you can do some personal research and see what feels best to you.

Note: I have seen epsom salts with added fragrance. Just be careful that there aren’t chemicals added for that effect. If you want to have a nice smelling bath, go to a health food store and buy an essential oil that tickles your senses. It is likely much safer than what has been put in there otherwise.

So, while I’ve put epsom salts in my detox month regarding skin, it has so many different benefits. I’ve really noticed a calming effect whenever I take a bath. I can’t speak to whether it has reduced my inflammation or restored my electrolytes, but I can definitely say I feel better using them. That’s half the battle, right?

How about you, have you ever tried epsom salts? Does all this information make it a ‘must try’ for you?

The trials and tribulations of edible shampoo

English: Potato flour. Français : Farine de po...

English: Potato flour. Français : Farine de pomme de terre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know, I’ve committed to only use products that are edible to cleanse my body, with the exception of good ole fashion soap. My first attempt at a shampoo was an utter failure. I tried to make a potato shampoo from a recipe in “Natural Beauty for All Seasons” by Cox. I bought this book from a book club when I was fourteen. For some reason I thought being in a book club would be cool, it just ended up being expensive. At least it was for fourteen year old Jenn. Over the years I’ve tried a few recipes from it, my fave being chocolate lip gloss. I made some for my husband’s family the first Christmas I spent with them. Apparently, the boys thought the lip gloss was delicious. Unfortunately, them licking it off resulted in chapped lips worse than when they started! But I digress…

The potato shampoo was basically made with potato flour and apple cider vinegar. It took over an hour to make and looked like lard in a jar. Not uber appetizing, but still technically edible. Needless to say, it didn’t work too well and smelled even worse. Also, it grew a healthy dose of mold within days of its making. I don’t want to have to remember to take my shampoo out of the fridge every time I hop into the shower. If my towel wasn’t hung right next to the shower curtain, I’d be wandering around my house dripping and naked on a daily basis. Not that my husband would complain, but it’s getting chilly out people! The same day I made my potato shampoo, I ventured into facial cleansers. From the same book I found a recipe for a lettuce facial cleanser. It was easy to make, apart from the fact that I couldn’t find one of the ingredients at any store in my end of Ottawa. Tincture of benzoin. I’m sure it would have made it better, although, it did work gently for the first few days. Now my laziness has fully taken over and I’m just using soap. I know there are women out there who swear by just using soap, but I am not one of them. I really find that it dries my face out and actually leaves me with more acne. So, basically I’m still looking for a facial cleansing solution for dry skin…any suggestions? My favourite recipe from the book involves lilacs. Sadly, those are out of season.

Right now, from a reader’s suggestion (thanks towardshealthylife !), I am ‘washing’ my hair with baking soda. I use the term washing loosely. It may just be my lifetime dependence on bottle shampoos talking here, but it just doesn’t feel as clean. However, if you are looking for safe to use and chemical free hair wash, this is the way to go. Comes right out of the box, ready to use. I then rinse with water and then rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar. Yet another attack on the sense of smell as it does not smell good. It is bearable, but only just. It also takes an hour or two to dissipate. If you were planning on going out on a date or to a fancy function, this is not the best way to end your hair care routine.

If I’m going to blow dry my hair, I put a little dab of Moroccan argon oil. It has a bit of a musky smell but works wonders on the hair. You may have heard of Moroccan oil before. It is being marketed heavily right now. Don’t be fooled, it is not the same thing. The “Moroccan Oil” that they have in stores right now is chalked full of yucky chemicals. They’ve done a great job of making it seem like it is a traditional, Moroccan secret come to light in North America, but it totally isn’t. All in all, a very simplistic routine for my hair.

Have you come across some great, all natural recipes you’d like to share? Something easy and gentle on the nose? I’d love to hear your favourites!

Top 5 Reasons to Dry Brush

Typical body brushes

One of the things I’ve been doing for my detox month on being ‘skin kind’ is dry brushing. This is not something I ever did before, although I’d heard plenty about it. As I do it more and learn more about it, I realize that I should have been dry brushing throughout my entire journey! Crickey! Dry brushing would have been especially helpful to my lymphatic system, one of the major bodily functions that help in detoxification.

For those of you who aren’t sure exactly what dry brushing (also known as skin brushing) is, let me describe it. Basically, you use a dense but supple brush like the ones in the picture to brush your skin when it is dry. You should always be brushing towards your heart to help your lymph flow in the right direction. I’ve attached a chart with the directions to help you out in case you need clarification. It is important to honour the directional travel of your lymph as the vessels can be sensitive. You want to work with your body, not against it.

When you first start to use the body brush, it can be a little painful if you have sensitive skin. Start with light, short strokes. Eventually you can work your way up to longer strokes, with more pressure behind them. If you are in pain, you are doing it too hard. You want to make this a habit, and doing things that don’t feel good is not the place to start if you can avoid it. In my research I’ve noted that there are some people who say they prefer circular motions when they dry brush. I’m not sure this would be as effective as long sweeping motions if you are dry brushing in order to help your lymph move back to your heart, but helpful as an exfoliation process alone.

Make sure that after you’ve used your brush a few times that you clean it. Rinse it with some warm water and soap. Even though you are just brushing your body with it, it can still get unhygienic after more than a few uses. Some might suggest to clean it after every use, but in my completely uneducated opinion, that seems like overkill. Unless of course you  have some sort of rash or skin condition. In that case, you will definitely want to clean it after each use. You don’t want it to spread.

 

So, I’ve explained how to do it and touched briefly on some of the benefits, but here are your top 5 reasons to dry brush your skin:

1. Using a dry brush helps to slough off the dead skin on your body

This has a couple benefits to you. Firstly, it helps to keep your skin looking more radiant and young. Many people actually choose dry brushing over moisturizing. It is certainly a great way to cut down on the chemicals we are rubbing all over our bodies. Secondly, by removing the dead skin barrier, your body is more able to detoxify through your skin as you sweat.

2. Dry brushing helps your lymph to move through your system

Your lymphatic system is a highly valued member of your detoxification team. If you dry brush in a manner directionally compatible with your lymphatic system, it makes its job easier. Your lymph system will be able to transport toxins out of your body more quickly. The faster the better as far as toxic escape is concerned. Remember, your lymphatic system does not have its own pump. YOU are the pump, through exercise and activities like dry brushing, you move that lymph along allowing to collect and bring the toxins to the places in your body that will filter and expel them.

3. Dry brushing can boost your immunity

Your lymph system also transports some nutrients to where they are needed in your system and helps your immune systems to locate foreign or threatening particles. By helping your lymph system deliver the nutrients needed to the areas they are needed in, your body is better fed. Also, because your lymphatic system is so integral to the detection of foreign bodies, these threats will be found and dealt with much more quickly. There is even some suggestion that stimulating your lymph may help to clear cancerous cells.

4. Dry brushing stimulates hormone producing glands

Glands that produce hormones including your thyroid, parathyroid, ovaries, testes and adrenals are all positively stimulated by dry brushing. This can help you maintain or promote metabolic balance.

5. Dry brushing may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite

Some people agree on this one, some don’t. Basically, the dry brushing stimulates the muscles and tightens them to reduce the appearance of cellulite. I have read some articles that suggest it ‘disperses’ cellulite, but none that I would be willing to trust fully. I say if it can help reduce the appearance of it at all, that is great just in itself!

I’ve been dry brushing on a semi-regular basis since I started this month of my detox. I haven’t really noticed a huge difference yet, visually. However, I really feel like things start flowing after I’ve dry brushed. The feeling is nice and tingly!

Have you ever dry brushed? What did you like or dislike about it?