3 Nutritional Ways to Aid Your Body's Natural Detox Process

 
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Earlier this week I posted about how this time of year is synonymous with a desire to create change, cleanse, detox and just overall feel more balanced and healthy. In case you missed it, you can catch it here! I wanted to follow up with a post about how you can address the concept of cleansing and detoxing from a nutritional perspective as well!

When your body is well nourished you create a solid foundation to find and create balance in body, mind and spirit. When you feel healthy and vital physically, you have an opportunity to focus your energy in many other fulfilling areas of your life. However, when you are feeling unwell and as is if your body is “toxic”, it can be challenging to live in balance or focus on wellness beyond the physical.

When your body is in a state of wellness and balance, there is no need for any major or extreme measures of cleansing or detoxing. As I previously stated (and will probably mention countless times in the future), your body is amazing. Your body is designed to find and remain in balance. When you create an environment of wellness, your body will work hard to heal itself!

If you started some of the cleansing practices I discussed in the previous post, I hope you are finding them to be useful. Below are three nutrition-based elements to incorporate into your wellness routine. These nutritional additions will assist your body in the process of maintaining balance by keeping its natural detox channels working efficiently and effectively. Here are three super simple and quite delicious additions you can add today!

1.    Chia Seeds

Many parts of our body are lined with a mucous membrane that secrete mucus, which is a thick protective fluid (I know—kinda gross to think about). The mucus helps to rid your body of toxins, microbes and pathogens. I remember learning in my anatomy training to become a yoga teacher that we swallow some disgusting amount of mucus daily. This mucosal lining helps assist these foreign invaders to the exit routes of elimination! The exits again are elimination through your bowels, urinary tract, your breath on the exhale and through your skin.

Here is where chia seeds come in! Many of us may have a slightly challenged digestive tract, so if you are like me, I’m sure yours can use all the help it can get! Chia seeds, when soaked in liquid, become viscous or gelatinous. The membrane that surrounds the chia seed—once eaten and as it swells—helps assist your body in the process of absorbing microbes, pathogens and toxins from the digestive tract and move them into the proper elimination channels: the bowels. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants, fiber, omega 3’s and protein. Try adding chia seeds to salads and smoothies and make chia pudding (there is a recipe on my resources page) as a super tasty and super nutritious treat! 

2.    Fresh Herbs: Spotlight on Cilantro and Parsley

While all fresh herbs offer a ton of nutritional benefits, cilantro and parsley offer some special super powers! Not only are these herbs rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants and delicious flavor (although there is a small slice of the population to whom cilantro tastes like soap—so sorry—it may not be so delicious to everyone!) they are also shown to bind to toxic metals, loosen them from your tissues and assist with eliminating them from your body! That’s pretty amazing.

Heavy metal toxicity is becoming more common with the amount of heavy toxic metals we are exposed to through our food containers, binders in vaccinations and otherwise. Heavy metal toxicity has been shown to decrease mental wellness and memory while increasing headaches, anxiety, depression—and it can cause disruption in the elimination systems and immune system. This is not good! Adding in cilantro and parsley regularly will help keep your body healthy in ways you may never have imagined. 

Try adding fresh organic cilantro to stir fry’s, salads, guacamole, dressings and other dishes. Add parsley to salads, sauces, dressings, and marinades to receive all of the powerful benefits.

3.    Turmeric-Ginger-Lemon-Honey-Super-Shot

The health benefits of fresh turmeric and ginger are many—add in some lemon and local raw honey—and you have a power shot to keep your body functioning in top notch form! I prefer to blend all of the ingredients together (recipe below!) and drink it as a shot. You can juice the turmeric, ginger and lemon and add in honey as well. 

Turmeric is known to be a helpful aid to your body’s natural detox processes as it helps your liver to efficiently process metabolic wastes and toxins. Turmeric heals your liver by rejuvenating liver cells and protects your bile ducts. It also soothes the digestive tract with its anti-inflammatory properties, helping to ease digestion. That’s pretty awesome—and this is only how turmeric benefits your body’s natural detox channels, it really does much, much more!

Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties and is used in typical “cleanses” because it stimulates digestion and circulation. Due to the warming qualities of ginger it induces sweating—another of the body’s natural channels for detoxing—elimination of toxins through your skin! The increased digestive power helps to cleanse any built-up waste and toxins in your digestive tract and colon. Healthy elimination equals a healthy body, and a healthy body helps to create the opportunity for a healthy mind, spirit and life!

Lemon is another powerful natural cleanser. It adds so much more than delicious flavor to this cleansing super-shot! Lemon helps to flush toxins and potentially harmful bacteria out of your body by giving your liver a boost with its high vitamin C content and increased hydration. Lemon juice also strengthens your digestive fires and encourages the production of bile. That’s some good cleansing that’s safe to do every day. 

Raw, local honey has many health benefits as well. When you focus on its ability to assist with ridding your body of harmful toxins, it is right up there with the other three ingredients in this super-shot. In addition, honey adds sweetness and allows the flavors to all come together. Raw honey offers many healing enzymes and bacteria eliminating properties that aid your body in finding balance and overall wellness. Adding honey to this natural cleansing power shot assists in healing your digestive tract and releasing toxins from your system through elimination.

Recipe:

2 inches fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ teaspoon raw, (local if possible) honey

¼ cup filtered water

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

While there are certainly MANY other beneficial nutrient dense foods that aid in your body’s natural cleansing and detoxing processes, these three options are a simple and great place to begin. If you begin to incorporate any of these into your daily wellness routine, I’d love to hear how they work for you!

How to END Feeling DEPRIVED and START Feeling EMPOWERED by Your Food Choices

 
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Have you recently set out on a wellness journey where you want to begin eating healthier to feel good, build energy and feel more comfortable in your body? The momentum often begins with feeling strong and empowered and you have determined your WHY! Then, you are inevitably thrown into a situation where you are around others eating the very foods you have chosen not to eat because they do not support your wellness journey to feel healthy. Even though you know those foods may leave you feeling miserable (you know, feeling bloated, have an upset stomach, they zap your energy, give you skin breakouts and experience brain fog or another obvious sign that these particular foods are JUST NO GOOD FOR YOU) and yet you now feel DEPRIVED.

When you have turned the corner from making a choice that certain foods just DO NOT serve you, and you clearly know this (uh, remember the above miserable symptoms?), it does not mean that it is easy to choose not to eat them and that you won’t feel deprived.

It takes time and effort to change our minds about those types of foods and to create the shift from feeling deprived. Just because you have made the decision to no longer eat those particular foods, that does not mean that you are not human. That does not mean that there will not be cravings. That does not mean that you won’t secretly be jealous or resentful of everyone else who seems to be eating these foods with no problem at all (at least, so it seems).

Learning to listen to your body is a journey and it is definitely not a straight-line kind of a journey. Nope, integrating mindful and intuitive eating principles into your life often comes with many twists and turns. I know this personally from my struggles with leaky gut and SIBO that there are some foods that my body really does not like. At. All. One for sure is cows milk—which sadly includes cheese. You know, like the super delicious cheddar cheese, muenster cheese, swiss cheese... I pretty much used to be pretty much a chees-a-tarian. Ahh, I do love cheese, it just does NOT love me back. Do you think I didn’t test this many, many times? Of course I did! But with time and practice I had to come to realize that feeling horrible is just not worth it! It took a long time to not feel deprived when I didn’t eat cheese and I wanted it. And there are still cravings, (which are usually more emotionally based) and I have had to practice awareness and managing those desires for comforting foods when I am stressed, tired and anxious, in other ways. 

So how do you release the feelings of being deprived when you choose NOT to eat something you want despite how it makes you feel? Just like any other feelings, you have to learn to be present with them, to accept them and to ensure yourself that you are NOT ACTUALLY deprived. You are making a choice based on your wellness goals, based on what your body needs to feel vital and healthy!

When you connect with your specific WHY driving your decision to eliminate a certain food from your meals it will help to shift how you feel about your choice. Reminding yourself of your personal WHY and ensuring you are NOT restricting foods, not basing this on actual deprivation (like a diet) in any other areas, will help you refocus. My personal mantra is, “eating that gooey cheese is not worth an upset stomach.” I worked way too hard to heal my gut, I do NOT want to destroy it again.

Deprivation mindset is not healthy. When you deprive yourself and restrict certain foods out of fear of taking in calories, fearing weight gain, or to punish yourself because of your own negative body image it will inevitably lead to either malnutrition or a binge. Restriction and dieting do NOT work long-term and will set you up for bigger struggles with food. Research shows that the majority of diets fail and DO NOT last for the long term!!! That is significant and eye opening. IF you make a choice about the food you eat based on how you want to feel, you can simplify your decision-making process.

When you make your decision based on how you want to feel you create an internal experience of empowerment, confidence and self-respect. When you make choices based on building these feelings, you create a powerful shift internally. You regain a sense of control and mastery over your choices and respect your feelings and choices. Experiencing true health and well-being is a reminder that you are making progress towards your personal wellness goals. It is a process and a practice which will take time, effort, determination and focus.

One way to decrease your feelings of deprivation is to create healthy or adapted version of the foods you love. Another way is to explore any emotional food cravings and explore how to get your emotional needs met in non-food ways. An example would be if you find you crave comfort foods when you are anxious and tend to use food to calm yourself down, try a deep breathing practice, journaling, movement or talking to someone you trust about your feelings. Notice the impact of using this non-food-based tool and continue to practice it.

Having regular self-care practice and becoming more comfortable with feeling your feelings will help you choose a different way to eat, to be and interact with food and will help you begin to shift from feeling deprived to feeling empowered! Start each day with asking yourself how you want to feel (mentally, emotionally, physically and energetically) and notice how that begins to impact your choices.

The next time you notice a sense of feeling deprived in relation to a choice you make related to food, check-in and ask yourself: what’s really going on? Why are you choosing NOT to eat that particular food? Continue to be certain that you are not restricting because of a thought that it is a “bad” or “off limits” food due to calories or fear, but because it is a food that does not serve your health and wellness goals.

Are there any foods that you are working to shift your perspective from feeling deprived to feeling confident, empowered and strong? Remember that healthy eating, intuitive eating and mindful eating are form of self-respect. Let me know how this process works for you!

If you haven’t signed up for my 7-Day Kick Your Food Cravings to Curb Challenge, you can do so here!