Although we live on this beautiful Earth, which showcases stunning vistas of greens and blues, due to lack of awareness, greed and ignorance we have polluted it with numerous harmful chemicals and synthetic products that will stain its purity for centuries to come. Today we know that the quality of our water and air—the two basic needs for survival— are less than ideal in most places around the globe. We also know that our food comes to us after being grown and treated with various chemicals. And our personal care products, home cleaning products and most living materials are soups of various chemicals that are harming our health. This is the bad news.

The good news is that we are not doomed…at least not yet. More and more of us are awakening today to a higher level of awareness and personal accountability for all of our actions. We are starting to make clear connections between the quality of the food we put into our bodies and the state of our health, or the impact our unsustainable economies are having on the environment, and thus on us. As we awaken, we make better choices for ourselves and for others.

The other piece of good news is that our bodies were built in an intricately intelligent way. They are not weak or defenceless against all of these toxins and chemicals we have in our world. They have their own built-in systems to help deal with the toxins, chemicals and various elements we come into contact with each day.

Your body’s main cleansing and detoxification pathways include your liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines and skin. It is important to work with, rather than against your body, to keep these organs and pathways functioning optimally so that they can do their job in keeping us healthy by dealing with and removing harmful toxins from our bodies. However, as popular as formal cleanses have become, the great news is that you do not need to always consider a fancy, complicated, time-consuming or expensive cleanse to help your body. Oftentimes, it is the actions we take each day that can help so much in supporting your body’s natural cleansing and detoxifying ability. Let’s examine 11 things that each of us can easily incorporate into our lives to help cleanse and detoxify our bodies for optimal health, while decreasing their toxin exposure.

1. Drink Pure Water (and lots of it)

Water is the basis of not only keeping our bodies properly hydrated, which aids almost every biochemical reaction, but also keeping the insides “clean”. Water helps to “flush out” our kidneys, helps the liver with its detoxification and helps the intestines with their elimination. If you don’t drink enough pure water, constipation can ensue, as well as a sluggish liver and a host of other problems. Just by adding in pure, high quality water, in ample amounts to your daily life does wonders to work with your body’s natural detoxification systems.

To define what pure water is today is a little hard, as it seems so hard to actually find pure water in our society. It is not in your tap and it is not in the plastic bottles at the store. Best case scenario is a natural spring, or a high quality water filter at home. As for the amount, there are guidelines, but no magic numbers. My new rule of thumb is to keep it smart and simple. Basically drink a minimum of 1 to 2 litres throughout the day in between meals (not with), making water your main daily fluid of choice from morning to night.

2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

I know you have heard this one before, many times, but it really cannot be overstated. Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in water, fiber and vital nutrients. The water as mentioned above helps us cleanse and detoxify. The fiber does as well, as it can bind various toxins and ensures their quick transit out of our body. The numerous nutrients like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients all help in cleaning, detoxifying and regenerating new cells for healthy tissues and organs.

3. Ditch All Air Fresheners

This is one of the biggest wastes of your financial resources, environmental resources and a major source of air toxins that can enter your body via your respiratory tract. Our society promotes these through various sprays, plug-ins and candles, but we have to understand that masking scents is not a healthy solution, especially when we are masking non-harmful home scents, with harmful chemical products. So whether it is your house or car, ditch the air fresheners to decrease the amount of toxins in your life.

4. Remove Your Mercury/Amalgam Fillings

Mercury is one of the most toxic metals on Earth. No one in their right mind, who knows its basic chemistry will disagree with that. Yet, somehow the issue becomes clouded when we consider mercury in amalgam fillings in our teeth. To date some organizations and dentists attempt to overlook the harm of such fillings, saying they are not harmful. Unfortunately time and time again, it has been proven that mercury is released from amalgam fillings over time through our everyday oral activities, adding a major source of toxins into our body. From hot beverages to teeth grinding, various things can cause mercury from these fillings to be released into your body and cause various damage or illness.

This is why it is wise to get these fillings removed if you have them in your mouth currently, and of course to never allow them to be used if you need a filling. When you get your fillings removed, be sure to have it done by a dentist who is an expert in mercury filling removal, so that it is done in the safest way possible, not causing more harm than good.

5. Sweat

Sweating is one of the body’s natural cleansing and detoxifying responses. Yet in our society we almost try to do everything possible to block our sweat glands, causing an unnatural block in one of the paths through which toxins get released. To best utilize this natural pathway of cleansing and detoxification the first step is to stop using antiperspirants. Not only do they contain harmful chemicals, adding to your toxin load, but they also block one of your body’s key detoxification pathways. Instead, use deodorants, or other natural options to manage body odor. Secondly, engage in sweat promoting activities regularly. Anything from regular exercise that gets you sweating (don’t wear antiperspirants for them, as again it defeats the purpose), to more aggressive approaches like hot yoga, saunas or bedrock spa treatments.

6. Drink Fresh Vegetable Juice

Juicing has been one of the most popular ways to do a formal cleanse. However unless you would like to do a formal juice cleanse, you can get a lot of benefits to support your body’s natural cleansing and detoxification ability, just by incorporating fresh, homemade vegetable juices, often called “green juices” into your daily routine. The benefits of juicing transcend cleansing and detoxification and provide so much support for your body and health. All it takes is having a juicer, and making a daily or regular juice from fresh produce your priority. Be sure not to be fooled by any commercially made, pasteurized juices in the stores as it is not the same thing and does not provide the same experience or health benefits fresh, homemade produce juices do.

7. Choose Organic Foods

One of the major sources of toxins for our bodies today are the numerous chemicals put onto our everyday foods. To help decrease your body’s load of the toxins it has to deal with, choosing organic foods is a smart way to go. Organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, using ecological farming techniques. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are especially susceptible to containing a high degree of toxins, as they don’t normally have any thick shells to protect them and we normally eat them whole. If you eat animal products, going for organic options is super important as well, as their non-organic counterparts normally contain various drugs and hormones, not to mention the animals themselves are given non-organic, chemically treated food. Of course do not fall for organic processed foods. Processed foods, no matter how good sounding will never be an optimal choice for your body’s health, and will almost always add more harm than good.

8. Choose Whole Foods

Just like chemicals are used to grow our foods and put onto our foods, there are numerous chemicals put into our foods. This applies specifically to most processed foods. Pick up any package in the grocery story and read the ingredient lists. You will find various chemical names, artificial colours, flavours, and so many odd ingredients that should not be found in our food. Our food is meant to nourish us and keep us healthy, but when it is heavily processed it takes away from our health and causes us various disease. Therefore, choose whole foods as much as possible, not processed and refined foods. And always read your ingredients! This alone can help you make better choices to minimize the amount of chemicals entering your body that it has to find ways to detoxify and cleanse.

9. Minimize and Use Natural Personal Care Products

Thanks to clever marketing we are made to feel that we need many products to put on our bodies. So many scents, colours and consistencies out there to help us feel better about ourselves. The truth that is not told however, is that good, healthy skin and hair is made from the inside out based on the quality of your diet and lifestyle choices. No cream, shampoo, potion or lotion will “fix” unhealthy skin and hair. In fact, your skin is a major organ that daily absorbs the chemicals you put on it through the use of the numerous personal care products.

To help lessen the load of toxins entering your body, for starters minimize the amount of products you use. We don’t need more than half of what we think we need! A simple hair and body wash is normally more than enough. The numerous creams, lotions, perfumes and body sprays are again a major waste of your financial resources, and source of increased toxins in our lives. Once you minimize, choose a few high quality, natural products for your personal care needs.

10. Minimize and Use Natural Cleaning Products

Just like with our personal care products, another major source of toxins that we are adding to our body personally come from the cleaning products we use on a regular basis. And just like with the personal care, clever marketing tries to make us think we need numerous products each for a particular job of the strongest type to “kill the germs”. The interesting part is that at the rate we are going, the chemicals in these products will kill us faster than any of the so called “germs”. The typical cleaning products people use in their homes have various chemicals and toxins that are mainly inhaled, with some being absorbed if there is skin contact. Therefore one of the best ways to lessen the load of toxins entering your body, helping to cleanse and detoxify is first to get rid of most of the conventional cleaning products. Secondly, find high quality, natural products that can easily keep your home clean like water (amazing what that substance alone can do!), vinegar, baking soda and my favourite the Zielisnky Universal Stone, which is versatile to wash all of your sinks, tubs, tiles and so much more with no chemicals or odours.

11. Open Up Your Windows

Indoor air quality is super important, especially that most of us lead lives that do not allow for daily outdoor exposure to enjoy ample fresh air. We normally sit inside our homes or workplaces for the majority of most days of the year. Indoor air quality is extremely poor in most homes and workplaces containing all sorts of toxins, as well as microbes. From the cleaning products we use, to the personal care items, the off-gasing of our chemically treated home parts, furniture and more, most people have no idea how polluted their indoor air is. As already mentioned above, masking any scents with air fresheners only adds to the problem. Instead open your windows and air out your home (and workplace if possible) regularly. Even in the winter, allow for even a 5 minute flow of fresh air. During fair weather, leaving your windows open as much as possible is the best option to ensure you breathe the best quality air possible and minimize your inhalation of as many toxins as possible. If of course you live in a highly populated city and have smog alerts, especially on hot days, then other options should be considered like getting a high quality air filtration system.

Ultimately, remember that YOU must take accountability for your health and what you choose to expose yourself to. Every choice and action matters, so make them count to be the best options possible where your body and health are concerned!