Cleanse and detox are two pretty well-known terms now - January aka #NewYearNewMe month is completely saturated with these expressions, since so many of us make optimal health, one of our top goals.
Many take part in cleansing regimens annually, or practice daily detox habits such as drinking lemon water or organic vegetable juices. While the actual term 'detox' may be an overall misleading/incorrect term, which indeed - it is - as you are never able to fully 'detoxify' your body from all toxic matter - these practices, however, which are known to BE cleansing or detoxing, can serve much benefit, keeping in mind that it is still physically impossible for your body to be 'squeaky clean'.
Taking stress away from your digestive system by nourishing your body with pure whole foods, drinking more water, getting more sleep, eliminating caffeine, alcohol and toxic habits, are all examples of positive and beneficial cleaning/detox practices which may decrease your overall toxic load. This is why after completing a cleanse, most people experience an increase in energy, clear skin, elimination of bloating, improved digestion, better sleep, a vibrant mind and much more.
As a holistic nutritionist, cleansing is not new to me - in my life ventures and journey to where I am today - I have taken part in countless cleansing and detox regimens, and while i've felt many benefits (and side effects) - i've simplified my practices over the years. What I practice in my own lifestyle, and what I recommend to my clients and readers, is one in the same. I promote taking part in daily detox practices that work behind the scenes long-term, without debilitating you, like some short duration, high-intensity cleanses can.
Some ways you can detox daily include: drinking warm lemon water upon rising, eating organic when possible, including cold-pressed vegetable juices, eliminating trigger foods: wheat, cow dairy, refined sugar, inflammatory fats, processed and packaged foods, switching to natural personal care products, dry brushing, taking a detox bath with epsom salts, himalayan salts or alka bath, getting in optimal water intake, being mindful of caffeine intake and keeping alcohol for occasion.
Daily detox practices like this may be beneficial in decreasing your overall toxic load so that you can thrive & be vibrant every day!
During a change in seasons, at the beginning of a new year, and after a period of stress, are all examples of opportune times to emphasize cleansing practices by adding in something to additionally support your detoxification organs.
This is when I take my cleansing practices up a notch - without making anything complicated (I like simple!).
In this blog post I am going to share with you the detox elixir that I have been enjoying this January. I've enjoyed 1 cup daily for two weeks and have noticed positive benefits for my energy levels, skin and digestion. This in conjunction with my clean eating routine and daily detox practices, is what i've been calling my 'first detox for 2017'.
This detox elixir is simple to make, it's inexpensive and lasts when refrigerated - giving that you remember to pour yourself a cup before bed - the process is easy;,all you truly have to do is: pop off the lid, pour and enjoy! Making this the SIMPLEST reset cleanse for even the busiest bodies.
I call it the Dark Arts Elixir (anyone else in the HP fandom?), this elixir is so deep and vibrant in colour, it's like a form of dark magic! Made with few ingredients: filtered water, lemon juice, activated charcoal, pure maple syrup and himalayan salt.
While all of the ingredients serve a purpose in this elixir - for more than just taste - the activated charcoal provides several noted benefits for this 'black lemonade' to be an simple + effective cleansing option.
First and foremost, activated charcoal is not barbecue charcoal. So don't go eating coals from your bbq or fireplace. Activated charcoal is non-toxic and is designed for supplementation and personal care (it can also whiten your teeth and make a great face mask).
Activated charcoal is manufactured by burning a source of carbon, commonly wood or coconut shells. The high temperature removes all the oxygen and the steam activates the carbon, creating an an adsorbent material with very-fine mesh like pores, that are able to capture, bind, and remove certain poisons/toxins which have thousands of times more weight than the charcoal itself  .
Briquettes from your barbecue, on the other hand, are carcinogenic, these are designed to be used as fuel and are 100% NOT safe for ingestion. Charcoal briquettes are more similar to lighter fluid and all charcoal briquettes are toxic.
Just as with Diatomaceous Earth (which you can learn more about here), and how it comes in 100% food grade and then a toxic form, not safe for human consumption - the same for activated charcoal. If anyone asks me if they can use the coals from their barbecue to make this elixir - i'm going to lose my mind! See my product recommendations for safe activated charcoal below.
In my own personal experiences I have been successful in my ventures with activated charcoal to whiten my teeth, make a bomb face mask, alleviate gas and bloating, eliminate digestive issues while travelling and of course, drinking my Dark Arts Elixir for a short term digestive cleanse.
Activated charcoal is used in the medical field to treat drug overdose or poisoning, due to it's ability to bind to toxins in the body, which prevents the body from absorbing them (known as adsorption) . Unfortunately, studies on activated charcoal are very inconclusive on which toxins activated charcoal can and cannot eliminate. Since doing my own research on the matter, i've found activated charcoal to be called both a miracle supplement and a load of crock. Now, I am not making any claims on this product, as so there are so many views on this supplement - but not enough conclusive studies, in my opinion. HOWEVER, I like to work from experience, so don't stop reading now.
I've been making and drinking this Dark Arts Elixir everyday for a two week period now, and I have personally noticed a huge improvement in my digestion, I have not been bloated, I feel lighter, my skin is clear and glowing, I have been having amazing #2's, I've been sleeping like a baby and I wake up with more energy and vibrancy than what's normal for me. That says something about the effectiveness, does it not?
I've also got clients, family and random strangers loving this elixir because of the positive effects! The best part is that I have experienced all of this positive radiance, without changing anything else in my diet or lifestyle, and that's a good note in my book for my dear friend, activated charcoal.
BTW activated charcoal literally saved me in Peru from a terrible digestive experience I had 1 month into my 3 month trip.
I've also been using this product to brush my teeth, and I feel squeaky clean and bright like I just left the dentist. You can see what else I do for natural teeth whitening, here. But back to the good stuff -
Here is how you can make this simple detoxing elixir to kick things up a notch, while still keeping things simple!
Dark Arts Elixir
Makes 4 servings
What you need:
4 cups filtered water (I use reverse osmosis with trace mineral drops)
1/3-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (more or less to taste, I like more)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B or No.2)
1 tsp (about 3-4 capsules) activated charcoal (available in powder or capsules)
Pinch of Himalayan salt
What to do:
-Juice your fresh lemons using a citrus juicer - this handheld juicer will maximize your lemon juice yield and make your citrus juicing life way easier. Add your fresh lemon juice to a pitcher.
- If you're working with activated charcoal that comes in capsules, like this - gently squeeze and twist the capsule to open it, and carefully pour all of the contents into your pitcher with the L juice. Activated charcoal can be messy, so be mindful!
-Add the rest of your ingredients to the pitcher, then whisk well to evenly combine and refrigerate
-Enjoy on an empty stomach, 1-hour before a meal or before bed. You will have to stir the mixture again as the charcoal likes to settle at the top/bottom.
-Portion out servings into seal-able mason jars for convenience (optional)
-Lasts 5-days when refrigerated
-I like to prepare this in a 1L mason jar, I adjust the water accordingly so that everything fits, to prepare I simple add my ingredients, screw on the lid - shake, shake, shake and refrigerate.
-Activated charcoal is designed to detox - symptoms include, but are not limited to: headaches, nausea, foggy brain, skin breakouts, irritability and low energy. With any new regimen, start slow and listen to your body! These symptoms will pass and then you should experience increased energy, clear skin, decreased bloating, better sleep, positive vibes and more.
-You can enjoy this for several days as a cleanse, or you can prepare as needed.
WHO SHOULDN'T USE ACTIVATED CHARCOAL?:
Do not use activated charcoal if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult with your practitioner if you are taking any other medications before consuming. Activated charcoal is a powerful detoxifier and is not selective on what it flushes out. Using activated charcoal may decrease the effectiveness of your medications. Always take activated charcoal on an empty stomach, away from food or other supplements as it can interfere with nutrient absorption. Drink and cleanse responsibly & yes, activated charcoal may change the colour of your #2's.
Don't forget to check out Your Guide to Detox - complete with detox approved recipes + blog posts + online programs - all to make for a successful cleanse!