Almost everybody wishes that they were healthier. And almost everybody is convinced that the key to improving their health is with basic nutrition and regular exercise. While these things are helpful, improving your health involves a lot more than just eating a salad instead of a burger and taking the stairs once in awhile. To truly improve your health you need to focus as much on getting rid of the unhealthy as you do on the intake of the healthful. Let’s talk about a few ways that you can do this.

Out, Out Darn Spot!

Every day we consume a variety of substances that are terrible for our health–not just in terms of physical health but also our mental and emotional health as well. The first step in getting healthy is to identify all of the bad stuff you’re consuming and, to put it in excessively simple terms, stop.

For some substances, this is going to be more difficult than it will be with others. For example, when you decide to stop drinking, say the experts on the Luminance alcohol detox blog, you are likely to face several unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

This withdrawal can last as long as a week! If you are a regular user of toxic substances like drugs and alcohol, this will likely be your first and hardest battle in your fight to get healthy. Don’t try to do this alone. Instead, work with professionals to help deal with the complex ideas/emotions that are driving you to those substances in the first place so you face a lesser chance of relapse later.

You Are What You Eat

Yes, in our introduction we said that there is more to getting healthy than simple nutrition and regularly working out. Nutrition and exercise are important, of course, but it is important that you engage in the right kinds of foods and workouts if you really want to see a difference.

You have undoubtedly heard of the Whole30 . If not, here’s the deal: for thirty days you commit to only eating 100% natural foods. This means no pre-packaged foodstuffs, nothing with any sort of artificial or even added sweetener (not even Sugar in the Raw), nothing that you don’t cook yourself from scratch using fresh and natural ingredients (no pre-bagged frozen chicken breasts!). You also forego dairy, grains, gluten, and legumes. It’s similar to Paleo but on steroids.

While most doctors would not recommend doing Whole30 for the long-term, committing to 30 days can be a good way to clear out any toxins or health-degrading chemicals that you might have ingested, according to some health experts. As always, before embarking on any radical change consult your doctor or healthcare provider. It may also help you kick your addiction to junk food, which is a cornerstone of weight loss. After the month is up, switching to the more practical DASH diet is a good idea.

Ambient Toxins

Toxins are not only ingested by eating or drinking. Sometimes they can enter your system by simply breathing or even via touch! There are plenty of harsh chemicals used in furniture building, home construction, heck even just cleaning that can be harmful to your health. This is leaders in the consumer industry have formed a coalition to start what they call the “What’s It Made Of?” initiative.

One way to keep these ambient toxins from eroding your health is to opt for natural products whenever possible. For example, making your own household cleaners out of natural ingredients is a cheap and easy way to ensure your house gets clean without your breathing in anything nasty. Another great way to reduce your consumption is to keep plants throughout your home. Plants are natural “air scrubbers” and will help you breathe a lot easier.

Mental and Emotional Health

We’ve all heard the adage about removing the toxic people from our lives in order to improve our mental and emotional health. If only doing so were as simple as it sounds! What this simple instruction ignores is the fact that often toxic people, as much as environments, can cause lasting damage to those who experience them. Trying to work through these lasting effects on your own can be incredibly difficult. It is worth your time and budget to find a qualified therapist or counselor who can help you learn self-care as well as some tools to help you cope while working through previous traumas and damage.

These are just a few of the ways that you can rid yourself of toxins and introduce healthier substitutes. Have you been focusing on improving your health? What has worked for you?