I’ve decided to start a little series called Ricki’s Raves, in which I share some of my favorite items (both food and non-food alike) that I truly love and use all the time. Today, I rave about the products I’ve discovered that promote or enhance detoxificaton and general well-being. If you’re interested in the earlier part of the series, check them out at the bottom of this post.
Spring has finally arrived in the Toronto area–hallelujah! It’s been a weird winter this year, with temperatures in the 20s (70s F) in February and March, but this month mostly way down in the teens (50s F). Now that it’s finally green and the plants are all coming to life again–it feels like it’s time to refresh the internal landscape, too. And that means. . . some heavy-duty cleaning up!
Now, while it’s true that our bodies are designed to detox on a daily basis, my own feeling is that, with all the pollution, allergens, chemicals, additives and electromagnetic pollution out there, our detox organs may need a little help along the way. I’ve been looking into different approaches to clearing out the dross, and decided to share three more of my favorite finds.
Saunaray Infrared Sauna
[The SaunaRay fits easily into our small space!]
What it is
Years ago, when I first started the anti-candida diet, my naturopath suggested that regular detoxing would help to speed my progress after blood tests revealed quite a bit of heavy metal toxicity. He graciously allowed me to use the infrared sauna in his office for five months–for free. Needless to say, I took full advantage and sweated it out 5 days a week for the full time period. It made a huge difference and, in fact, it was after I started using the sauna that I began to see real progress in my symptoms.
Then, a couple of years ago at the Hippocrates Health Institute, I used an infrared sauna once again for three glorious weeks during my stay. Again, there were marked improvements in my health. I vowed that some day I’d acquire a sauna of my own–and now I finally have one!
Why you’d use it
Far infrared saunas are often named as the most effective for detoxification, as well as some other conditions. Because they heat the body from the inside out (instead of outside-in, like a regular sauna), they don’t heat the air as much, and the temperature can be kept lower, yet you’ll still sweat (and actually release toxins from deeper tissues).
I’ve also found it to be a fantastic resource in the battle against candida. Because so many people with candida are also carrying a toxic load of heavy metals, a sauna is a great way to help remove those from the body so the immune system can focus on the candida itself and other antipathetic microbes.
What I love about it
After reading Suzanne Somers’s book, Tox-Sick, I knew that SaunaRay was the brand I had to get (she also profiles the company here). Luckily for me, SaunaRay is a Canadian company (and even based in my own province of Ontario!).
As they mention on their website, their saunas are all “hand crafted in our toxin free factory in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. . . . We never substitute with cheaper materials that may contain formaldehyde, toxic glues, chemical fire retardants, plastic or fibre glass heaters. SaunaRay uses only natural and solid Ontario Basswood. We carve each piece to perfection and assemble your sauna the old fashioned way, one piece at a time. We finish your sauna by hand, with pure Canadian Beeswax. Every SaunaRay unit is a work of high function and fine beauty.” Unlike other wood, basswood is known to be non-toxic. Even the EMF emissions from the controls are so minimal that they are barely detectable in testing.
The SaunaRay is also space-efficient, and comes apart easily so you can move it to your next home, another room, or anywhere with an electrical outlet. They come with a lifetime guarantee on the entire cabinet and heaters. I’ve been thrilled with mine so far!
Saunas begin in the $3000 (Cdn) range and move up from there.
How I use it. . .
I’ve been popping into the sauna almost daily, but most people begin with once or twice a week to avoid any heavy detox symptoms (remember that the sauna will expedite the release of toxins, so you may feel those as they are making their way out!).
If you do get one and start a regimen, you should always start slowly (perhaps for just 5 minutes at a time) and raise the temperature one degree at a time. Be sure to keep hydrated throughout, and replenish your mineral and electrolyte stores as you go. Magnesium is the main mineral lost while sweating, with other minerals like calcium, potassium and zinc close behind. Find out more here.
I love to use my sauna time to relax, either meditate, write in my journal or read (with the occasional nap thrown in–because you can do that in an infrared sauna).
[Towels on the seat and floor to prevent sweat stains on the natural wood. Notice the ceramic heating element in the corner, with protective mesh so you won’t get burned if you happen to lean against it.]
Here are some books I’ve been reading:
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg (sitting inside my sauna above). I was besotted after reading The Power of Habit, Duhigg’s previous book, and snapped this one up the second I saw it. Not only does he provide incredibly well-researched material, he’s also an incredible writer. Think a business book can’t have you on the edge of your seat? Think again.
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders. After one of my coaching clients mentioned that she was reading this, I decided to get my own copy so I could let her know if I’d recommend it or not. After studying this information throughout nutrition school, I was surprised to see how entertaining this information could actually be. And I even learned a few new things.
The Longevity Book by Cameron Diaz. I’ve always admired Diaz, ever since I noticed that she seemed more interested in talking about real-life issues than her own luminous beauty, or even her acting skills. I’ve just started this book that, rather than examining how we can continue to look young over the years, instead tells us about the processes of aging and what we can do to ease the transition so that our lives remain vital and purposeful through the years. And besides, anyone who writes a sub-heading like “The Midlife
Crisis Celebration” is okay by me.
Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somers. I was fascinated by this book, and Somers’s story of her husband’s misdiagnosis, and how they both detoxed their lives in order to heal. Somers interviews some of the premier holistic and functional medicine professionals to compile a series of actions that can help anyone to detox their lives.
What it is
MagPop! is a magnesium supplement with a difference–designed to be used like a drink mix, enjoyed throughout the day as you’d sip on any fruity beverage. With a fun fizzing action and delicious taste of tangy orange (from orange juice powder), once mixed up, the drink also provides 100 mg of magnesium; vitamin C; and a host of key electrolytes (such as sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate and potassium carbonate) that are often required because of sweat, exercise, or simple deficiencies.
What I love about it
MagPop!, like all the products from Orange Naturals, was developed and designed by naturopathic doctors, for professional, high-quality results. Ingredients are natural without artificial colors or flavors, and chosen for their optimum performance and health benefits (for instance, they use magnesium bisglycinate, the most bioavailable form of this mineral). MagPop! is also vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and (of course) sugar-free.
Clean ingredients are great, of course, but taste trumps all! I loved the citrus tang and the gentle fizzing (sort of like a cooler made with mineral water–sooooo good!). See below for how I combine the powder with other drinks for a great evening sipper, too.
MagPop! comes in handy single-serve packets, so you can mix up one glass at a time, enjoy the fizzing action, and have the rest waiting for later. The packets are also great to grab-and-go for busy days out of the house or for travel. And perfect to spruce up that glass of water at the office.
Canadian? Get your own free sample! MagPop! offers free sample packets within Canada. Get more details and claim your drink here.
A box of 35 packets sells for around $14.99 Cdn . Many online retailers also ship to the US.
How I use it
[A favorite way to enjoy MagPop!–combined with unsweetened cranberry juice.]
After detoxifying in a sauna, it’s critical to replenish electrolytes and minerals lost due to sweating. Since most of us are deficient in magnesium to begin with–and those of us dealing with candida tend to be highly deficient–I was thrilled to discover MagPop! as a way to both boost my magnesium and replace lost electrolytes intake while still imbibing more liquids during the day.
I bring a glass into the sauna with me and sip throughout my session. I’ll often have a second glass later in the day as well, perhaps combined with some unsweetened cranberry juice for a great fruit punch-like flavor; or even some to a glass of iced herbal tea (I like to use fruit flavors there as well).
(Note: the powder is sweetened with xylitol and stevia, but it also contains a modicum of maltodextrin. While the maltodextrin isn’t corn-based–it’s derived from tapioca–some people in early stages of an anti-candida diet should exercise caution. I’m hoping this ingredient isn’t essential to the formula and perhaps can be removed in future).
With summer coming up soon (fingers crossed!), I know I’ll appreciate some ice-cold, refreshing and magnesium-rich beverages that are easy to mix up, tasty, and replenishing all at the same time!
What it is
Oddly enough, herbal teas aren’t actually tea. Unlike your typical black, green or white tea, herbal teas (also called “tisanes”) are made from dried fruit, flowers, seeds, herbs or roots, that are then steeped or boiled in water (if boiled, they are called “decoctions” instead). As a result, they tend to offer a lot in terms of medicinal or healing qualities as the phytochemicals and other compounds within the plants dissipate into the liquid that we drink.
Herbal teas are also typically caffeine-free (which is great for those of us who like to sip while working at the computer into the wee hours of the morning. Who, me?).
Why you’d use it
As I mentioned, herbal teas confer some great health benefits (if they’re made with real herbs). You can drink tea to calm down before bed, to ease digestive distress, or to help fight candida. Effects of drinking a cup or two of herbal tea are usually milder than what you’d experience from a concentrated supplement; plus you get to enjoy the soothing action of sipping something hot (in cooler weather) or something cool (in the summer months). Teas are a great adjunct to pretty much any holistic approach to healing.
What I love about it
As I mentioned, herbal teas don’t contain caffeine, so they’re safe for pretty much everyone to drink. Plus, they offer an affordable, real food-based option for people who are looking to enhance their treatments for various conditions. They’re also versatile–you can drink, or, in some cases, use as compresses as well (either using tea bags themselves, or soaking a cloth in cooled tea). I have some kind of herbal tea daily.
In general, a box of good quality herbal tea ranges from $5.00 to $8.00 (both US and Canadian).
How I use it . . .
[“Faux Kombucha” made with herbal teas.]
I use herbal teas both for their medicinal properties and simply as a refreshing beverage. In summer, I use teas as the basis for my faux kombucha. I also love to steep a couple of different fruit-flavored tea bags along with a dandelion tea bag, then cool, add stevia and water, and refrigerate for a “cool-aid” type beverage (adding a splash of raw apple cider vinegar is optional). Since I’m not fussy on the taste of dandelion tea on its own, I’m able to take advantage of its liver-loving benefits this way without having to taste it (since the fruit dominates in this drink).
Teas are also a perfect means to cook foods that require soaking or boiling. I often use tea instead of water for oats, and it works really well to cook grains like rice or quinoa, too. Switch up the tea flavors depending on the ultimate use for your grains.
Finally, you can also add teas instead of milks to your smoothies.
Note: Information on this site is intended for educational purposes only, and nothing is intended as medical advice or to replace the advice of a medical professional. Please always check with your own healthcare practitioner before you begin or make any changes to your diet or lifestyle; if you choose to try any of the items on this page, please consult with your practitioner first to ensure that they are safe for you to use.
Disclosure: Parts of this post may contain sponsored content, and some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own, and I never recommend anything that I don’t already use and love myself. If you choose to purchase using these links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.