January is an opportunity to “reset” for health and habits. December always brings excess sugar and flour, stress and craziness – happy crazy but crazy nonetheless. Smart eating, routines, and exercise go out the window. So how do I reset this first month of the year?
- From the inside: Detoxify my body and my family through renewed menu planning and cooking.
- On the outside: Detoxify my kitchen. Remove the candy, cookies, processed treats etc that crept into my pantry from Halloween to December. This “outside” detox, makes possible the inside detox and sets the playing field for healthy eating throughout the year
Detox sounds like a trend. But the human body has a miraculous capacity to detoxify and eliminate waste. The problem is the explosion of processed and fast foods over the last century AND exposure to environmental pollutants humans never experienced before. “Detox” is a necessary conscious choice to support a natural process.
In a healthy body, the process of detoxification runs smoothly. But we’re exposed to a staggering amount of toxic chemicals in the air, water and our food (pesticides). Add to that, from Halloween in October through New Year’s Day we pile on excessive sugar, white flour (same inflammatory effect as sugar) and stress.
When excessive toxins build up, our livers get overwhelmed; toxins remain active longer than our systems can handle. This impedes normal metabolism, causes fluid retention, bloat, and puffiness. As waste builds up, we get fat and sick. Did you know that most environmental chemicals like pesticides and plastics are stored in our fat tissue?
“We are exposed to 6 million pounds of mercury and 2.5 billion pounds of other toxic chemicals each year. Very few have been tested for their long-term impact on human health.” Mark Hyman, 10 Day Sugar Solution
Nearly every chronic disease is linked to toxicity, including food allergies, and digestive issues, dementia, heart disease, and autoimmune disease.
When our detoxification system becomes overloaded we start developing symptoms and get sick. It may take years of accumulated toxins and stress to get to that point, but why take the chance of chronic, possibly fatal disease?
So January rings a bell in my head to recommit to a nourishing eating lifestyle. I know from experience that detoxifying makes me feel better, more vibrant, happy and full of energy. Adios fatigue, brain fog, headaches and lethargy!
Let’s reboot! Detox drinking water (half your body weight in ounces of water and with simple, delicious foods.
Foods that help detoxify
Focusing on plant-rich meals, quality protein and fats from nature. These are foods not only detoxify our body but can reignite our metabolism and reduce inflammation.
“70 to 80 percent of all major chronic diseases are lifestyle diseases, so the only way to treat them effectively, and even reverse them, is to change the lifestyles that led to them in the first place. Primarily that’s what we put in our mouth. The number one cause of death in the United States — and the number one cause of disability — is our diet. Cigarettes now only kill about a half million Americans every year, whereas our diet kills hundreds of thousands more. Food — what we eat three times a day — is killing more Americans than cigarettes. Michael Greger, How to Not Die.
I’ve posted many times about the importance of phytonutrients (natural chemicals in plants to for survive against pests and infection). These phytonutrients can help detoxify our bodies, strengthen our immune system and help us function better. Eating organic food provides higher concentrations of these protective detoxifying, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
So what to eat?
- Organic green tea in the morning instead of coffee (green tea boosts liver detoxification)
- Half your body weight in filtered water a day (for example if you weight 140 lbs, aim for 70 oz of water); prepared herbal detoxification teas are a nice option
- Avoid white sugar and white flour
- Eat detoxifying food: 8 to 10 servings of dark leafy greens and colorful produce daily, (kale, spinach, arugula, Swiss Chard etc), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower), garlic, berries, celery, cilantro and rosemary
- Eat clean. Focus on organic produce and high-quality animal products to eliminate the toxins, hormones, and antibiotics in our food
- Add lots of detoxifying and anti-inflammatory herbs and spice like turmeric, cayenne pepper, thyme, rosemary, chili powder, cumin, sage, oregano, onion powder, cinnamon, coriander, cilantro, paprika, and parsley – hello ethnic foods! …curry, chili, tagines…)
- Fast at least 12 – 14 hours from dinner to the first meal the next day
Food choices help enable important normal detoxification mechanisms. Fasting signals our immune system to discard old cells and waste, shifting our body into a mode of maintenance and repair.
“The body has detoxification mechanisms that are working all the time, both healthful eating and intermittent fasting accelerates those processes. The body enhances the removal of toxins when not digesting food and burning fatter for its energy needs. Our fat supply stores toxins, and when we lose body fat we release more toxic waste simultaneously. The body also needs adequate phytochemical and antioxidants for the liver to most effectively process fat-soluble toxins so they can be excreted via the urine. Fasting stimulates autophagy, an important self-repair process. Autophagy removes damaged components from cells and tissues.” Joel Fuhrman, How To Live
Chili and Curry
For More Empowerment
Includes 10 Simple Steps to Enhance Detoxification
Originally posted January 2019