3 Practices to Aid Your Body's Natural Detox Process


This time of year you may hear a lot of people talking about doing a detox or a cleanse. These detoxes, or cleanses may be a juice or smoothie cleanse or it might be taking a bunch of supplements that are promised to cleanse your system and rid your body of any residual toxins from over-indulging during the holiday season. I am here to say that no extreme measures are necessary to help keep your body’s natural detoxing abilities at top notch!

Your body is amazing, it works hard to keep you in a state of balance, or homeostasis, at all times. When given half a chance your body WILL heal itself. So why does it seem that we feel like we need a heavy duty detox and cleanses in order to be healthy? The fact is, we are exposed to A TON of potential toxins all day long. From the foods we eat to what we might drink to the air we breathe, potential harmful toxins are out there. Two primary toxins your body has to manage are the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol when they are flooding your body excessively. We are living more stressful lives and yet not necessarily managing the stress well. These practices below will help you keep your body’s natural detoxing channels working effectively and efficiently while creating more balance and reducing your stress!

For now, when thinking about detoxing, think about it in a way that allows you to consider how to maintain the natural detox channels within your body not as a one time thing, or only used if you feel you “over-indulge.” When you incorporate these practices below, you will give your body a greater chance of naturally detoxing the excessive environmental and internal toxins we are exposed to every single day.

Your body releases toxins through these primary channels: elimination through the bowels, elimination through the urinary tract, elimination through your breath and through your skin. All of the organ systems of the body are intimately interconnected and work hard to release toxins through these channels. Having a basic wellness routine helps to keep these systems of the body in optimal balance.

Here are three natural, safe and easily doable practices you can add into your wellness routine regularly in order to aid your body’s natural detoxing processes.

1.    Sweat + Rehydrate

Do you notice in the summer that you typically don’t get as many illnesses as in the fall, winter and spring? The body releases toxins through the skin by sweating and in the summer, we naturally sweat way more and focus on hydration than in the other months! Doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise will help you break a sweat for a sustained period of time. Exercise—which can be absolutely free!—is the best place to begin when focusing on detoxing using the skin as primary channel of elimination. Taking up jogging, cycling, getting to an aerobics class or high intensity interval training (HIIT) or even hot yoga can all be a great place to begin.

You can also use an infrared sauna for 15-40 minutes 1-3 times per week. This option comes with a price, but the benefits are many! As always, you want to start slowly and work your way up if you have not been breaking a sweat for a while! And of course, sweating more must come along with drinking more water! Hydration is key to continue to release the toxins through elimination as well!

2.    Oil Pulling + Tongue Scraping

This is a super simple practice to add to your morning routine. When you wake up, take a tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil and swish it in your mouth for 5-20 minutes, the longer the better. Be sure to spit the oil out into a trash can and not into your sink drain! A lot of microbes get into our system through our mucus membrane, and they enter the system right in your mouth. Oil pulling attracts the microbes and other toxins and releases them when you spit it out. After you spit out the oil, you might swish your mouth with water and spit that as well. Then, using a tongue scraper, gently scrape over your tongue 1-3 times, rinsing your mouth once again.

3.    Kapalabhati Breath

*Do not practice this breath if you are pregnant, have untreated hypertension, abdominal pain, heart disease or stomach problems such as ulcers or IBS. Stop if you feel dizzy or anxious. There are many wonderful breathing practices out there, so if this one isn’t for you, that’s ok!

The Kapalabhati Breath is a powerful breathing practice that helps to cleanse the sinuses and invigorates the digestive system. This breath is best practiced on an empty stomach. You will want to start with a low amount of repetitions and begin to increase slowly over time. Kapalabhati is translated to mean “skull-shining breath.” The meaning is believed to relate to the cleansing benefits of the practice, that it creates smooth and brightened skin—especially recognized on your face!

This breathing practice helps you to release stress and toxins from the mind and body. It helps to cleanse the lungs, increases oxygen to your cells, improves digestion, clears your mind and increases focus and attention. This breathing practice helps to improve your mood and increases energy. The practice consists of a forceful exhalation through your nose where you quickly draw your navel in towards your spine followed by a natural inhalation through your nose. The movement primarily involves your diaphragm. Begin slowly, starting with five repetitions quickly in a row. Over time you can slowly increase the repetitions as it becomes more comfortable. I now do a round of one hundred repetitions in the morning.

Try these three practices and notice how you feel. If one of the practices works for you, continue using it, if it does not, there are many other practices and options to encourage the natural detox process of your body.

If you do try any of these, let me know how they work for you!


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


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!

3 Strategies to Eat Mindfully Throughout the Holiday Season


The holidays offer a time for fun and fulfillment, yet they can be stressful, tiring and overwhelming at the same time. Maintaining mindful awareness throughout the season will help you remain connected to yourself, remain healthy and well while keeping any stress or emotional eating manageable and at bay.

During times of increased stress you become more likely to be in a rush and tired, which leads to making choices that are often rushed and favor convenience. This may cause an experience of not being fully present which can cause eating to feel like just one more thing on your to-do list. Rushing, not being present with your food and not choosing nourishment can cause the internal experience of stress to only become worse.

Mindful eating is paying attention to what you are eating while deriving pleasure and nourishment from your food. When you are eating mindfully, you enhance the experience of eating while acknowledging the opportunity to nourish your body and your mind. Mindful eating is paying attention to the sensory experience of your food.

Just the sight of the food you are about to eat begins the process of digestion. Mindful eating begins by taking in the visual elements and aromas of your food, before you even take one single bite! This mindful process enhances the experience of eating and pleasure of tasting your food.

The holiday season can trigger emotional and stress eating simply because of the stressed and rushed nature of the season. Additionally, this time of year more “comfort foods” tend to be always available and just about everywhere which can trigger the desire to eat irrespective of hunger. Cravings can be caused by just seeing or smelling food AND because of stress and emotional distress.

The three following strategies are intended to help maintain mindful eating throughout the holiday season in order to manage emotional and stress based cravings effectively. When you use these strategies you create an opportunity to be present with your food, to be engaged with eating in a mindful, calm and relaxed manner. This creates an opportunity to derive true pleasure and nourishment from your food, while at the same time reducing stress and emotional tension in general.

1.    Practice 1 minute of deep breathing before eating.

When you are breathing deeply and in a state of relaxation you are engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the rest and digest mode, which is the mode we want to live in—unless of course there is a true emergency. Often when we are rushed or stressed during the holidays, we eat more quickly to get to the next thing on the to-do list. Try slowing down, and breathing deeply for one minute before you eat in order to calm your nervous system. This will allow your body to assimilate the nutrients from you food more effectively while also creating a sense of inner calm as you release stress and tension with your breath.

2.    Before you eat, set an intention to eat mindfully.

When you set any intention, you set in motion a powerful force that helps you focus. When you set your intention to eat mindfully before you take your first bite, you will be far more likely to do so. Setting an intention helps you create a sense of ritual and care for the process of eating and the nourishment and pleasure you will derive from your food. Try setting an intention to eat mindfully before you eat and notice how this simple practice can shift your awareness and sense of focus from your to-do list to the present moment.

3.    Practice gratitude before you eat.

After a bit of deep breathing and setting your intention to eat mindfully, offer gratitude for the food you are about to eat. When you express gratitude for your food, you create a space for deriving pleasure from your food in a big way. This can be a powerful practice to reduce stress and emotional eating as gratitude helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. When practicing gratitude for your food before you take a bite, recognize the preparation and the life giving nutrients in your food—as well as the pleasure you will experience by eating it. Be grateful and notice the impact of gratitude on your physical body as well as your mood state.

Try these three mindful strategies to remain present, focused and engaged as you make choices about what you eat and how you eat it this holiday season. Taking time to slow down, breathe, set an intention to eat mindfully and practice gratitude will allow for health and fulfillment throughout the entire holiday season.