Post-Turkey Detox: 4 Cleansing Steps

After a day of getting stuffed with stuffing, crammed with cookies, and saturated with cider, a cleansing day is a great idea. Celebrations call for indulgence, and sometimes, despite out best intentions, we overdo it. This holiday season, detoxify and recover naturally with these four simple steps!

1. The Morning After: Lift with lemon water

For centuries lemons have been used as a tonic, astringent, lotion, and diuretic. Drinking the juice of one lemon with twelve ounces of warm water in the morning can help activate your liver to flush out toxins and cleanse your intestines. Lemons also contain almost half your daily value of vitamin C, which is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants. So for today, forget the morning cup of coffee and start your day with refreshing citrus instead!

2. Midmorning: Soothe your stomach with herbal tea

After a simple breakfast—think warm oatmeal or a slice of honey-toast with an apple—take time for delicious herbal tea. Certain herbs contain natural digestive enzymes that have been used for centuries to help promote healthy digestion. In fact, in many healing traditions, herbal teas are taken on a daily basis as medicine. Dandelion, peppermint, and chrysanthemum are herbs that help the body detoxify. Mint, chamomile, licorice, fennel, and ginger will keep your digestive system running smoothly and help you get the most nutrients from your food. Sip on a soothing cup of tea made from one of these herbs. You can find teabags in most grocery and health food stores.

Want to make your own? Simply steep one tablespoon of the herb (thinly sliced ginger root, fresh mint leaves, or fennel seeds—your choice) in a cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to stand for five minutes, strain, and enjoy!

Bonus Tip: For a gentle but powerful cleanse using Chinese herbs, Internal Cleanse is a formula of specially selected herbs that increase the ability of the liver to cleanse the body.

3. Afternoon: Walk it off

Aside from producing proven benefits for your heart, walking is the perfect gentle exercise for cleansing your lymphatic system, increasing your circulation, and improving your digestion by helping food move along the digestive tract. While the body is naturally equipped with a self-cleaning process, too much sugar, caffeine, processed foods, stress, environmental toxins, and too little exercise can slow the body’s natural detox function to a slow pace. Your body will process and eliminate many of the toxins that enter it, but overflow gets stored in your organs—which can result in chronic illnesses down the road. Physical activity unclogs your body’s systems, helping it to eliminate wastes more efficiently. So get out there in the brisk autumn air and take a 30-minute walk!

4. Before Bed: Soak in herbs

Soak for 20 minutes in a revitalizing herbal bath. Help draw out toxins by infusing your bathwater with cinnamon, Epsom salts, eucalyptus, fennel, peppermint, and wintergreen. Put one teaspoon of each in a tea ball or a drawstring bag made of light fabric and place in the warm bathwater one to two minutes before you get in. Another choice is to add to bathwater a few drops of Tonic oil, which contains menthol, camphor, eucalyptus oil, wintergreen, fennel oil, and sesame oil.

There are a number of tasty recipes for detoxing and living a long life in the Secrets of Longevity Cookbook. You can find more about cleansing practices in my bookSecrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, available on Kindle.

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May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.