It’s over folks. Put away the parkas and get ready to clean house – your inner house. Spring is here and it’s time to re-establish personal health goals and get busy with your body. It’s also the perfect time to detox after a long, cold winter. Common signs of toxicity overload include headaches, joint pain, fatigue, congestion, back pains, digestive complaints, bad breath, and even insomnia.
Rest assured, you don’t have to be an extremist in order to benefit from a spring detox plan. Cleanses can be gentle AND effective. They are your gateway to setting good nutritional habits that can become routine for the long haul. You just need to spring forward and realize your goals!
If you’re new to detoxification, simple dietary changes will help you naturally cleanse your liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and even skin. Focus on eating WHOLE foods. That means real food – not processed. Say YES to vegetables and fruits to help alkalize your body. Choose quality sources of lean protein like chicken, fish, legumes and beans. Embrace healthy oils such as avocado, seeds and nuts. And experiment with non-gluten grains like quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and amaranth – consumed in small quantities (ideally at breakfast or lunch).
Say so long to sugar and caffeine which cause havoc on our blood sugar balance (and therefore our mood and energy). Sugar is found in grains (crackers, breads, muffins), alcohol and even vinegar (such as balsamic). Try natural options such as stevia, agave, honey or maple syrup (in moderation). Herbal tea like ginger, peppermint, nettle or green tea will provide the same “warm feeling” as your morning java, but with cleansing benefits.
Finally, avoid common allergens (soy, dairy, wheat, corn) to help reduce inflammation. Ironically, processed foods are laden with these allergens. Hmmmm… I wonder if there is a connection? If you’re interested in food sensitivities, The World’s Healthiest Foods (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=30) provides a great overview.
The elimination of dairy can be controversial (and personal) for some. Temporarily limiting dairy from the diet does no harm. In fact, it may help reduce any inflammation or congestion. If you feel you can’t live without it, limit your dairy intake to one serving of plain Greek yogurt, so at least you get the benefit of added protein.
Water is your ticket to a squeaky-clean lymphatic and digestive system. It helps remove the toxins and excess hormones from our system. We all have different requirements, depending on our weight – and that can range anywhere from 8 – 13 cups of water daily for maintenance, plus an additional 1 – 3L of water during high intensity workouts. If you find water boring, try adding fresh fruit or citrus to your glass, and use your phone to send reminders when it’s time to drink!
There are so many packaged detoxes on the market and they can be confusing. Some tried and true brands include Renew Life (herbal), Seroyal and Heel (homeopathic), Thorne and CanPrev (nutritional). These are all introductory detox products that work to gently support your goals. If you are on prescription medications or have plant allergies, please speak with healthcare professional about contraindications so that you can select the best cleanse for your body type!
When cleansing, it’s always easier to have a partner to help motivate and keep you on track. If your friends aren’t interested, your friendly, talented physical trainer at DETOX is a great option, as is a food journal. Marking down your diet every day will help you remain accountable to yourself as well as identify any challenges that could compromise progress.
Ideally, you will take 1 week to slowly eliminate foods and then follow your cleanse guidelines for 2 – 3 weeks. As you withdraw from chemicals and begin to detoxify, you may experience headaches, fatigue or achy joints, but symptoms should subside within a week. As your body adjusts, I guarantee that you’ll feel so great that you’ll want to keep eating this way. Suddenly, detoxing isn’t so daunting and you’ve become an “eat clean” eating machine.
Best of luck!
Vanessa Bond, CNP
Vanessa specializes in customized holistic nutrition to support individual and family health goals and lifestyles. She works with private clients as well as in the corporate world with CanPrev Premium Natural Health Products and Orange Naturals. She can be reached privately at 416-271-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.