Declutter your body and mind | Health column

A monthly health column about naturopathic medicine.

  • Sunday, March 8, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

By Dr. Allison Apfelbaum

Special to the Reporter

We are beginning to see some signs of spring, and this is a great time of year to practice some detoxification. The best part about detoxification is that it brings mental clarity as well as a physical reset for your body. I am going to discuss some ways you can incorporate detoxification into your daily routine.

In the morning we are essentially breaking a fast, “breakfast”, after hours of being asleep. Some people like to extend this fast a few more hours to get additional benefits. When the body is in a short fasting mode, it can rest from the hardwork of digestion. It can start breaking down stored calories as fuel, and repairing oxidative damage that we all have inside our bodies. Oxidative damage can come from sugar, general aging, environmental toxins, inflammatory foods, and stress.

Fasting can be done in increments of 12-16 hours, and during this time water, tea and plain coffee is allowed.

When you break the fast, you should have food that won’t spike blood sugar. For some reason, many breakfast foods happens to be very high glycemic index. Choose something like a smoothie, protein, Greek yogurt or eggs, chia pudding or chia oatmeal for example with some fiber. This will help keep your blood sugar balanced.

Another way to incorporate detox is to add leafy greens into your daily meals.

Green vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach for example, help support the detoxification phases in the body. In the morning you can easily throw these into a smoothie, and for lunch a salad or soup, and dinner throw them into whatever you are cooking.

If you add the greens into the cooked meal at the end of cooking, you will retain more of the nutrients and the bright color of the vegetable. Organic blue-green algae like spirulina is a natural detoxifier and can help the body get rid of environmental toxins, as well as act as a natural source of B12.

When the body is able to sweat, it can get rid of toxins that are stored in fat. The way to do this is through exercise and also through heat. Sauna is a great way to detoxify. The body loves to let go of those toxins through the largest organ it has, which is the skin.

If you do a lot of walking for exercise, you can easily add in some aerobic exercise through jogging or walking uphill. Infrared sauna is a great way to sweat, and it provides a slow deep heat that you are able to stand for a longer period of time. If you do perform detoxing through sweat, it is important to replenish electrolytes after, along with water. Hydration is very important to flush out toxins with any kind of detox.

Along with diet, exercise and sauna, clean up the environment around you as well.

Switch to natural organic household cleaners, soaps and detergents. Buy organic produce and dispose of junk foods. Get rid of old trash, shred old mail, organize your desk. Take out clothes from the closet that you don’t need, reorganize your drawers. You will feel amazing and have a clear mind when your surroundings are clean.

Take 5-10 minutes a day to just breathe. Place your feet on the ground, clear your head, relax your body and connect with yourself. Spring is a great time for a reset.

Allison Apfelbaum is a naturopathic doctor at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine clinic in Woodinville. To learn more go to or call 425-408-0040 to schedule.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.


More in Life

Shot from the city’s 2018 National Night Out event. Photo courtesy Julie Underwood
No city-sanctioned National Night Out event on Mercer Island this year

In light of COVID-19, the city is encouraging residents to still find safe ways to celebrate.

Shot from a previous Art UnCorked event. Photo courtesy MI Art UnCorked Facebook page
Art UnCorked, postponed to 2021, gets new official date

For now, the next Art UnCorked event is set for Sept. 10, 2021.

Graphic courtesy SJCC.
SJCC announces ‘senior hours’ for sidewalk café

Starting Aug. 4, seniors will be served exclusively from 10-11 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Top row, L-R: Councilmember Jake Jacobson, Mayor Benson Wong, Deputy Mayor Wendy Weiker. Middle row, L-R: Councilmembers Lisa Anderl, Craig Reynolds, David Rosenbaum. Bottom row, L-R: Citizens of the Year Kendra and David Uhler and Councilmember Salim Nice. Screengrab courtesy city of Mercer Island
Mercer Island ‘Citizen of the Year’ announced

David and Kendra Uhler received the honor at a recent council meeting.

A photo from this year’s production of “Rent,” which debuted in March. YTN only got through a few performances before having to cancel remaining dates due to coronavirus concerns. Photo courtesy YTN Facebook
Youth Theatre Northwest making unprecedented adjustments amid pandemic

The Reporter caught up with executive director Mimi Katano to discuss how the theatre is transitioning, what has/hasn’t worked and what concerns she has about the future.

Ezra Teshome. Photo courtesy Mercer Island Rotary Club
Mercer Island Rotary Club announces upcoming speakers

Ezra Teshome will be presenting at the July 21 meeting, Rick Newell on the 28th.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid. Courtesy photo
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid | Car review

There’s a reason Honda’s CR-V has been America’s top-selling crossover vehicle over… Continue reading

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading