Leah's Top 5 Detoxing Tips for Artists

Leah's Top 5 Detoxing Tips for Artists

Even though I now use only natural art materials in my studio, I have to admit that I spent most of my 20s and early 30s practically bathing in mineral spirits and leaving heavy-metal-laden oil paints on my skin to seep into my bloodstream. I never had good ventilation while in art school and slept in the same room that I painted in. No one ever brought up the subject of safety in high school, college, art school, or beyond so I didn't worry about it! 

I later paid the price in my thirties when I began having multiple health issues and my doctor suggested that I take a heavy metal blood test. Surprise! The test came back with very high levels of cadmium, cobalt, and lead. I spent the next 6 months getting monthly (and very expensive) chelation treatments where I sat with an IV in my arm for an hour as the toxins were being flushed from my system. My hope is that no other artists or art students have to go through this and that these suggestions will help lessen the toxic load that they carry. Even if you had the same toxic experience as me, doing these regular detox routines will greatly help your health and longevity.

By the way, even if I wasn't an artist, just living on this planet means we need to detoxify or lessen our toxic load regularly (since it's impossible to completely detoxify). I attended a great cleansing program led by two renowned naturopaths who were also experts on detoxifying your system. They first told us that most humans on the planet have around 200 types of toxins in their bodies already and that there is no place on Earth without toxins. Also, most newborn babies are born with around 170 types of toxins in their bloodstream (tested only minutes after birth). Times have changed and we now need regular cleansing efforts EVEN if we eat all organic food, have clean water, and have air filters running in our house.

The more you cleanse and take a few steps to detoxify, the better you feel - more energy, vitality, fewer colds, illnesses, and diseases, the benefits are endless. I'll mention a few of the daily and weekly detox habits that they suggested.

1. Daily Practices: 

Dry Brushing and Hydrotherapy: Begin every morning (or every time you shower) by dry brushing your entire body with a loofah mitt or brush. It doesn't have to take long, just 60 seconds or so. Then coat your body with organic sesame oil and take a warm shower (no soap except on the underarms). Next, do a little hydrotherapy by turning the shower to hot for 30 seconds (not scalding but just a little hotter than comfortable), then cool for 30 seconds (not freezing, just refreshing), back to hot, and then end with cool. This does A LOT to get those toxins out through the skin.

Oil Pulling: This is an ancient Ayurvedic technique of putting a TBSP of oil (organic coconut, sesame, or olive oil) in your mouth and swishing it around for 5-15 min. Spit out in the trash and rinse your mouth with water. It's best first done in the morning.

2. Weekly Practices: Eat only fruits and vegetables for one day a week, along with some good fats (coconut oil and olive oil).

3. Monthly Practices: It's suggested to do seasonal (at least once a year), month-long cleanses that go much further, preferably guided by a facilitator - a naturopath or Ayurvedic practitioner.

4. Food: Cilantro is the only known food that removes heavy metals from your system. I chop it up on almost everything I eat (scrambled eggs, pasta, stir-fry, etc.)!

5. Art Supplies: And lastly, of course, phase out or get rid of all of those toxic supplies and replace them with natural, archival, safe supplies! Eco-solve, Natural Oil Paints, Natural Acrylik Paint, Natural Varnish, Eco Gesso, and More.