We’ve entered the month of May, which means Coachella is over (although the magical memories will live forever) and festival season is in full swing. It also means summer—and the long days and longer nights that come with it—is going to kick into high gear before you know it. Bring it on. But not without doing a little mindful spring cleaning in between the madness.
Being healthy: The problem is what should essentially be a lifestyle is usually a method for dropping weight fast, flushing all the bad stuff out of your body fast (read: booze, junk food, drugs and other general crap), or a way of booting and rallying. Detox to retox, anyone? But that’s no way to think about it. Meanwhile, do most of us even know what the word “detoxification” really means? It’s any means of cleaning out our internal systems and organs, the idea being to remove whatever toxic substances are lurking around and give our organs some help in the process. Our bodies (specifically the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph and skin) are constantly in the process of detoxing. But the air we breathe, the food we eat, even some of the water we drink all have a way of putting strain on these organs. So let’s give them a hand for the long haul with a variety of easy methods, some more fun than others.
1. Ditch the master, mega or downright morose meal-restricting cleanse.
While undeniably beautiful super-humans like Naomi Campbell and Beyoncé have lauded the benefits of the Master Cleanse, the one in which you live off lemon juice, B-grade maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 14 days/as long as you can stand it, it’s not necessary to be quite so masochistic. It’s also not a long-term solution to feeling good and looking better. Start your detox off by thinking about adding, rather than subtracting. Juicing can be great for giving you a jumpstart, but eating more high-fiber, antioxidant-loaded and uncooked foods is always a positive move. Unless you’re desperately craving a burger more than anything in the world. If so, just get the burger.
2. Focus on a few good foods.
First shocker: The less dairy, sugar and red meat you consume, the better. Now on to what you should eat. There’s a reason lemons are a mainstay of most cleanses. Not only do they have plenty of Vitamin C, they’re alkaline, so they’ll help with your body’s pH balance, along with your immune system. Just ask models like Miranda Kerr: Kicking off every morning with fresh lemon squeezed into warm water is a smart way to start your day.
Like lemons, there’s nothing new about kale (I’d be happy if I never saw another tongue-in-cheek “Kale”—instead of Yale, get it?—sweatshirt again), and there’s a reason it’s known as a healthy-chick mainstay. Along with spinach, Swiss chard and collard greens, it contains chlorophyll, a substance that acts like a magnet for chemicals, heavy metals and pesticides while it’s being digested in your body, helping you get rid of them faster than you can say “herbal senna laxative.”
Next time you go grocery shopping, look for broccoli sprouts instead of straight-up broccoli (although that’s good, too) because they are particularly detoxifying, as well as globe artichokes, known to assist with liver function (hello, lushes) and contain lots of prebiotics, which create healthy bacteria. Speaking of which, prebiotics along with probiotics, the good kind of gut-cleaning bacteria, are awesome for your skin. Kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, asparagus and kefir all have both. Finally, turmeric has been turning up on the radar lately, thanks to its active ingredient: Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory substance that benefits the liver as well as general digestion.
3. Simplify your beauty routine.
We know real health starts from the inside, but there’s something to be said for focusing on the surface-level stuff. Treat this time as an opportunity to do a whole product overhaul on your medicine cabinet and cosmetic arsenal, if you have one of those. No, don’t go chucking everything in the trash, although you should throw out any mascara you’ve had for longer than three months (yep, that’s it); foundation and concealer that’s been around for six to 12 months, depending how much it’s been exposed to sunlight; lipstick that’s two-years-old; and lip gloss that’s hit the one-year mark.
Give yourself and, more specifically, your skin a break for a few days. Use next to nothing, and then think simple and straightforward. As it goes with foods and what their nutrition fact labels reveal, the best products use natural ingredients and not too many of them, either. Coconut oil is as effective a makeup remover as any; avocado, olive and sweet almond oils alike all do a lovely job moisturizing your skin; and diluted apple cider vinegar can be your new pH-balancing, acne-busting toner.
4. Break out the CBD.
Plant-based healthy food delivery service Sakara Life was founded in 2012 by two friends who wanted to make eating clean more appealing. Enter their CBD-infused chocolates, which came out in October 2016 after co-founder Whitney Tingle discovered the beauty of the cannabis compound on a trip to Colorado. “I can get stressed out, and CBD offered a nice, mellow way to take the edge off without opting for a glass of wine or taking time to meditate.” So, yeah, these antioxidant rich dark chocolates won’t get you high, but they will help “reduce stress and anxiety, calm the nervous system and provide a mood-lifting, blissful effect.” Theirs sold out so fast Sakara is still scrambling to make more, but you can buy these award-winning CBD chocolates by Cannabinoid Creations right now and congratulate yourself when you don’t reach for the booze instead.
5. Take a bath.
Soaking in the tub isn’t just relaxing, it’s potentially detoxifying. All you have to do is exchange your foamy bubble bath, luxurious as it may look, for a more deeply beneficial addition. Sprinkling in some clay powder will pull out dirt, toxins and free radicals from your skin, and you can also make your own cure-all concoction. Mix magnesium, sea salt, Epsom salt, baking soda and peroxide—a single cup of each, so nothing complicated to measure out here—and pour it in the water. The concoction works just as well to alleviate sore muscles as it does to make you feel literally squeaky-clean. Or better yet, pick up some CBD bath salts, like this blend of magnesium chloride, essential oils and cannabidiol extract by Ambika Herbals.
6. When in doubt, walk.
By “when in doubt,” I mean “when unmotivated and lazy.” A regimented yet reasonable gym routine will always be recommended by anyone with common sense, but you can take the term “gym routine” loosely. Thinking of every activity as potential exercise, rather than the 30 minutes you devote to the elliptical machine, will change your life. The best activity for ensuring a long, healthy life? Walking. That’s it. Since the simple repetitive, low-impact motion, essentially a laidback form of cardio, repairs damaged cells and improves cognitive function, it’s anti-aging. Legitimate studies have proven that a mere 20-minute daily walk can add seven years to your life. Yet another reason a sedentary lifestyle is bad news. Not to mention the fact it will help keep you slim. I probably don’t need to tell you this because you’re not stupid, but the faster you walk, the better it is for you. Pick up the pace and keep it up through the sweaty summer months. If you need a pick-me-up, bring some Bliss, courtesy of Hmbldt, along for the walk.