Now that we’ve discussed how important it is to be mindful of your self-care—and you’ve had a chance to try some of the mindfulness strategies for achieving health and serenity, because, you know, good self-care is a head-to-toe undertaking that starts at the top— it’s time to clean house.

How we begin each and every day is important. If you aren’t eliminating waste regularly, it is virtually impossible to naturally detox. It is crucial to set your day up for success and to get in the habit of allowing yourself to have as complete an elimination as possible first thing in the morning.

This means that right when you wake up, do not eat immediately. When we eat immediately upon waking, digestion is forced to focus on the food that just entered the system, instead of focusing on removing what was put into it yesterday. By giving it some space, we allow the body to focus on elimination.

Instead, start the day with hot water and lemon.Try skipping your morning coffee and trading it for a big cup of hot water and lemon to jump start your digestion. Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C, which helps the bowels relax. Pectin fiber in lemons is great for colon health because it helps flush out toxins and encourages the production of bile. Give your body the time and space it needs in the morning to move, groove, and remove.

Five tips for healthy digestion

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Water is an essential component of a healthy bowel movement: it helps move things along and softens the stool. Without sufficient water, your digestive system, like the rest of your body, suffers.

Try setting a goal of drinking a liter of water before 12 pm to help flush out your system. Drinking more later in the day won’t seem as daunting. Hate drinking water? Get creative: add some lemon, or cucumber slices, or even some strawberry. No excuses.

Eat More Fiber

Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are the best sources of natural dietary fiber, which is essential to a healthy diet and healthy digestion. Fiber helps keep us from overeating, and keeps us regular. We will talk more about healthy forms of fiber to eat in the next post, but a quick way to ramp up the fiber in your diet is to throw a spoonful of chia or flax seeds to your smoothies, or sprinkle them on your dinner. Dive into a bowl full of raspberries for a snack that’s full of fiber.

Consider Probiotic

Probiotics are the microscopic world’s gift to us. The “good” bacteria that our bodies require for good digestive health. Fermented foods such as yogurt contain these bacteria naturally, but probiotics are also available in supplemental capsules. By making probiotics a part of your nutritional routine, you will find that they improve digestion and intestinal function.

Specifically, probiotics fight the “bad” bacteria that cause diarrhea and keep the lining of the intestine in top form. They help us avoid constipation. Probiotics have also been found to improve our immune response. Start your day by taking a probiotic capsule with your hot water and lemon.

Drink Aloe Vera

Extract from the aloe vera plant is a very soothing and hydrating tool for the bowel and the body. Think of a sunburn that you put aloe on to soothe and heal the rawness of the burn. Drinking aloe helps to soothe, relax and lubricate the intestines. I love the brand George’s Aloe Vera.

Enema or Colon Hydrotherapy

If you are in a real bind and feel like you need more help than all of these tips, talk to your doctor about an enema or a colonic. Colon hydrotherapy is a safe, effective method of removing toxins and waste from the large intestine. For most of us, however, modifications to our diet are sufficient to promote regularity and good digestive health.

In the end—no pun intended—our colons are only as healthy as what we eat and drink. That’s why at minimum incorporating water, fibrous foods, and probiotics into our diet are so important.

My hero, Crazy Sexy Kris Carr, sums it up better than anyone else:

“Consuming crap food creates crap thoughts, sleep and health”; in other words, “when you eat like crap you feel like crap.”

Stay tuned for the next installment in our Detox 101 series on how to eat for regular and healthy detoxification!