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Jul 7th

Cleaning up your Act, Part 1

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stressed outBeing in school, or going through any stressful time can wreck havoc on your healthy eating plan, I know it did for me! Getting back on track and breaking those bad habits picked up while studying has its challenges. For me, a big priority this summer is getting back on that healthy lifestyle wagon and feeling my best again.  Thank goodness it’s summer! I find summer the easiest time to implement changes in diet and lifestyle, with the hot weather making us naturally crave refreshing light fare and the abundance of delicious fresh produce at the farmers market makes healthier choices just easier. Added hours of sunlight and warm weather also make allow us to incorporate a lot of activity into busy daily routine without a lot of extra planning.

What about a Detox?

Many people kick off their lifestyle change wanting to do a detox and over the years I have been asked by many people how to do one. With their increased popularity in recent years, there are literally hundreds of choices in products and protocols, it’s no wonder people are confused! First of all it is important to understand what a detox is and how it affects your body.

…so what is a detox?

Detoxing is simply the process of eliminating waste and toxins that have built up in our bodies. Sometimes our ability to clear these waste products is hindered, usually by exposing ourselves through food and environment beyond our healthy body’s ability to clean up. Stress, lack of sleep and illness can also contribute to toxic build up in the body. When toxins can’t be properly eliminated they build up and our bodies store them in our cells and if too many toxins build up we can begin to feel the effects. When this happens it is possible to help the elimination process along by following a detox protocol. These protocols will encourage the stored toxins to be released making it possible for the body to release them. As the cells release their stored toxins it is not unusual to feel much worse before you start to feel better and that is usually when most people quit.

Who should be careful?

You should use extra caution when attempting to detox if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • Smoke
  • Have an underlying medical condition
  • are on prescription drugs
  • Frequently eat processed food and non organics
  • heavy consumers of sugar and caffeine
  • have tattoos

People in these categories carry a higher than average toxic load and should be especially cautious when attempting a detox as the sudden purging of toxins into their bloodstream can make them very ill.  Purgative detox protocols utilizing herbs should only be done under supervision by a health practitioner who can support you through the process.

Is there anything else I can do?

selection of foodMy advice is always for people to start with a simple clean diet especially if this is their first time, and of course seek the guidance of a holistic health practitioner especially if you are on medications or have an underlying condition. An elimination diet or whole food diet that restricts sugar, alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy, and processed foods and instead focuses on lots fruits and vegetables, gluten free grains, beans, nuts, seeds and a little free range and organic meat and of course lots or water can have a huge impact of your health without the need for drastic purgative protocols. By reducing the toxic load it frees up your body to get rid of all that stuff that has been building up gently and naturally.

What else?

Of course food isn’t everything, and a big part of cleaning up your act is incorporating some other healthy habits such as being physically active to encourage the elimination process as well as meditation to help detox emotionally as well. Because our mind and body are so intimately connected it is not unusual for a detox to bring stuff up from the past that we had tucked away. It is important to understand the reasons for the “bad habits” and how we get off track with our health, as much as a detox is about outward purging it is also about inward exploration.

Where do we go from here?

This is where I will be focusing myself over the next month, changing the bad habits that I have picked up and getting back to feeling my best. I invite you to walk along this journey with me; the next few posts will focus on some of the challenges to making positive lifestyle changes and formulating a plan that works best for you. Forming healthy lifestyle habits takes a lot of work, but the rewards are well worth it.