Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong

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And...it's making you fat and tired! Seriously.

HOLY COW...nutrition and diet info is everywhere!  And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?  Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health.  

Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The whole “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.  

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn't work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn't we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don't forget to also pay attention to what you eat.  

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. (Eat a rainbow!)

  • Enough protein.  Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).

  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, chia, hemp hearts and eat your avocados.  You don't need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.  Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.  Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.  Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.  This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don't forget about drinking your food.  Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.  

Don't get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don't gulp it down too fast.  If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal, try adding in a spoonful of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.

Summary:

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

  • handful spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • 1 chopped peach
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they  contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

References:

http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes those holiday feasts, birthday dinners and potlucks are just amazing!

And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days. But it doesn't always stop there.  Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals:

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

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Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.  Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (...just sayin').

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.  Win-win!

Tip #2: Try eating “Mindfully”

You may have heard of mindfulness a lot lately,  but have you applied that to your eating habits?  This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.  When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.  So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.  But don't start there. (Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They're “satiating”.  And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

If you're not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

  • Slices of lemon & ginger

  • Slices of strawberries & orange

  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick

  • Chopped pineapple & mango

  • Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

What the Heck is Metabolism Anyway?

So what IS Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.  Boost your metabolism! Is your metabolism slow?Well, you know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

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Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do. Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).

  • Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).

  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.  Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.  

 Metabolic rate:

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!). So those calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat- EEK!).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later. Makes sense, right?!

Now, there are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

So, what affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: A LOT!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.  But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too!  Yep, size matters!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!  As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you're not working out! Yes, those muscles keep on burning calories even when they're sitting on the couch. This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.  

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.  Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

Did you know type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate?!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF). You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.  

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.  Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Remember, we are all unique.  What works for one person may not work for you as there are many more variables at play when it comes to bumping up your metabolism.  By increasing your lean muscle (ie. lifting stuff), making better food choices, managing stress and getting your ZZZZ's you will get your metabolism headed in the right direction!

Try this super simple Hummus recipe for a great protein boosting snack!

  • 1 can Chickpeas (look for no-salt added and/or organic)

  • 1-3 Cloves of Garlic

  • 1 Lemon

  • 2 Tbsp Tahini

  • Sea Salt to taste

Juice your lemon and pour into your food processor or high-speed blender.  Drain and rinse your chickpeas and add to the lemon.  Add the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth.  If your mixture is a little on the thick side, add 1-2 tbsp of water  or lemon juice to get the right consistency.  And then enjoy! No cooking or waiting, your hummus is ready to eat straight away!  The recipe makes about 2 cups.

Want to mix it up a bit? Try adding 1/2 tsp of cumin, smoked paprika or chili powder to give your hummus an extra kick!

References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

My Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets

So in case you haven't noticed, I like to cook!  Now, I'm not a Chef by any means, but I do enjoy getting my hands dirty in the kitchen.  But with kids and work and life in general, I find that I don't have as much time in the kitchen as I would like.  Which means, time is of the essence. 

So I like to work faster, not harder when I'm cooking up a storm.  Over the years I have acquired many kitchen gadgets.  Some I use almost daily, and others are collecting dust in a cupboard or I have passed on to someone else.  There's been a lot of trial and error, but what I have come up with is my Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets list that will make cooking a whole lot simpler.  So here it goes.

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My Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets

  1. Vitamix - yes, this piece of equipment is very near and dear to my heart. I have had mine for probably close to 7 years and it's still going strong. After burning out many cheapo blenders, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Vitamix. This high-powered blender kicks some serious butt! From smoothies to hummus, cashew sour cream to soup, I can blend/puree just about anything in minutes. Definitely worth every penny! I even grabbed the Dry Container to use for making my own flours and powders.

  2. Omega Juicer - this was a gift from my husband when I said I wanted a juicer. And boy did he get me a juicer! Now this gadget is pretty impressive with a strong motor, amazing warranty and the ability to make other things (nut butters, nut milks and even pasta!) My Omega Juicer tackles just about every fruit and vegetable out there. Even greens can be juiced with very little waste. What I like about this juicer is that it's low speed and masticating. But what does that mean? Well... you're not destroying all those healthy vitamins and enzymes with an appliance that generates heat as it juices. So you're keeping all those lovely fruits and veggies raw and the extraction is amazing meaning that you're not losing a whole bunch of juice in the pulp.

  3. Crockpot - yep, a good old crock-pot is a life saver in the kitchen. I use this guy a few times a week. I love being able to throw a bunch of stuff in my slow cooker and not have to worry about it until dinner time. Chili, curry, spaghetti sauce, soups and stews are staples around here. Plus, not having to watch a pot constantly means more time for me to do other things. I even use it for desserts and fruit butters! I love this Crockpot because it's large enough to make dishes that will feed us a couple times. I mean, if you're going to cook, you gotta make sure there's leftovers, right?! And as far as gadgets go, this one is super budget friendly and easy to use. A definite must-have!

  4. Sprializer - man this thing is a lot of fun! This gadget has been amazing at increasing our veggie intake. The kids love the cute curls and twirls and it makes eating carrots, beets and zucchini so much more fun! Plus, you look like a total kitchen master when you serve up a salad with beautiful veggie spirals on it. Now this Spiralizer is a pretty entry-level one, but it's perfect for what I use it for. I definitely suggest starting with a basic one before splurging on a big one. What are some of my favorite things to make with it? Well, veggie noodles to start! Zucchini, sweet potato, rutabaga are just a few of our faves. And once you've made your noodles, a quick sautee to soften them and then serve with your favourite sauce. It's a super simple way to cut down on carbs and increase your veggies. I also love doing carrots & beets for salads. And baking ribbons of potatoes makes delicious homemade chips!

  5. Dehydrator - not even kidding! My dehydrator is a pretty sweet addition to my kitchen arsenal. It's super easy to use and a wonderful way to make lots of awesome healthy snacks and foods. The kale chips alone are worth it! Whether you're looking to go raw, or just want to make your own unprocessed snacks, a food dehydrator is a great way to go. I love it for drying my own herbs, making fruit roll ups, veggie chips and crackers. Plus, it's a great way to incorporate more whole foods into your life.

Now, there are tons more gadgets out there, but these are the ones that I have and use on a regular basis.  Could I live with out them?  Probably.  Would I want to?  Definitely NOT!

Have you got a favorite gadget?  Let me know what makes life easier for you in the kitchen, so I can check it out!

Surviving Allergy Season

Do you have a love/hate relationship with August and September? Well, I sure do!  These months have some of the best weather but they also like to drive me nuts with copious amounts of pollen.  For me, it's the Ragweed.  Gets me every time!  Somewhere around the second week of August the scratchy throat, itchy/watery eyes and non-stop sneezing and running nose begin.  And it doesn't let up until the first frost - GAH!

Seasonal Allergies

In case you're wondering, yes I do take antihistamines.  Do they help? Ummm....sometimes?! If nothing else, for my stubborn allergies they help take away some of the itch and drippy-ness.  But they do have side effects, so I am kinda hit-or-miss with taking them.  But I have found that adding in some natural remedies really makes a difference on my symptoms. 

So here's a few things you can try to help ease this miserable time.  Try some, or try them all and see how it helps.  And just remember - this too shall pass!

  • Essential Oils - Try adding Lavender, Peppermint, Menthol or Eucalyptus to your diffuser.  They help open up nasal passages and lungs making breathing easier.  Plus they improve circulation and help relieve stress. (Did I mention stress makes allergies worse?)
  • Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids - Vitamin C reduces histamine release and makes histamine break down fast.  And those Bioflavanoids enhance the Vitamin C activity and stabilize mast cells that produce histamine.  Without getting too technical, the mast cells release histamine which generates an immune response that is responsible for all those unpleasant allergy symptoms.
  • Quercitin - is one of those flavanoids that stops the production & release of histamines. (think antihistamine)
  • Zinc - is great for the immune system and it also helps improve adrenal fatigue (which is caused by stress). Remember, stress makes the symptoms of seasonal allergies worse!
  • Windows - of course fresh air is great, but during allergy season you may want to close them up.  Pollen counts vary day to day and even time of day.  Warm, breezy days are worse than cool, rainy ones.  And pollen counts tend to peak around lunch time, so try keeping your windows closed to help decrease the amount in your house.
  • Cleaning - as much fun as cleaning your house is, if you can keep dust levels down, you'll also decrease your pollen exposure.  Also remember to wipe down pets and even change your clothes after being outside as they act like giant pollen sponges bringing even more of that nasty stuff inside your house!

Let me know what natural remedies work for you! I love Summer & Fall and I don't like having to hide out because of my allergies.  By taking care of myself, eating well, getting lots of sleep and decreasing my stress levels, I am hoping to keep my allergy symptoms to a minimum.

Fingers crossed!

 

Dried Beans - Skip the Can!

Beans, beans, the magical fruit...

We all know the rhyme, but what you might not realize this that you should have more beans (legumes) in your life.  Black beans, pinto beans, black eyed peas, chick peas etc... are mighty little powerhouses of nutrition. We're talking fiber, protein, vitamins & minerals!

beans

Now I know it's super easy to pick up a can of beans at the store and be on your way, but what I am about to tell you may just change your mind.  Skip the canned beans...go for the big bags of dried ones!  Yep, those intimidating sacs of dried little things are worth their weight in gold.  OK, maybe not gold, but definitely worth it!

Why should you buy dried beans you ask? Well...here's a few reasons I made the switch:

  • I'm cheap! Yep, I'm not afraid to say it, but I loves me a good deal! And the price of dried beans is way less than buying canned.
  • The taste.  After cooking my own dried beans at home, I was shocked by the difference in flavour of canned vs. dried.  I never was a big fan of eating plain cooked chickpeas out of a can.  They were always saved for hummus or to be tossed into a dish.  But after making my own, I can grab them by the handful as a quick snack.  No seasoning, no sauces, just plain old chickpeas.
  • No additives.  Canned beans, although convenient, have the unfortunate addition of various additives and chemicals.  Take a look at the ingredients if you don't believe me.  Most tinned beans will have added salt and preservatives and don't forget the plastic lining in many cans.  The food in those tins can leach out some unpleasant chemicals (like BPA) right from that lining.

I am sure many people think the idea of cooking beans is way too difficult.  And yes I am guilty of grabbing a can now and then when I need beans NOW.  But, I can honestly tell you it's not that hard at all.  Last night, I put a couple cups of beans and chickpeas into bowls and covered them with water and let them sit overnight.  And right now I have 2 pots on my stove simmering away.  I also discovered I can cook chickpeas in my rice cooker to avoid having to watch a pot on the stove if I have other things going on.  Once they are cooked, I drain and rinse them, and let them cool. 

More often than not, I don't have a specific plan for my beans and simply keep them in the fridge.  They're great for adding to salads or pasta. Plus, we eat a LOT of hummus in our house so it's super simple to whip some up when you've got the chickpeas all set to go.  And in the cooler months, there's always lots of stews, soups and chili to use up those beans.

So next time you're in the grocery store, grab a bag and try it out.  Your wallet and your body will thank you.

10 Day Whole Food Detox Recap

For the past week and a half I have been doing the 10 Day Whole Food Detox from Vanessa at Our Natural Connection.  So now that its all said and done I'd thought I would share my thoughts and experiences with you.

What I really enjoyed about the program was it's simplicity.  There were no weird foods that were hard to find, no challenging recipes and the food prep was quick and easy.  I love the fact that every part of the 10 Day Whole Food Detox was about getting back to basics and using real, natural foods to reset and retrain your body.

This is not some crazy lettuce diet or liquid fast.  The10 Day Whole Food Detox is just that - whole food.  The emphasis on foods that are nutrient dense, easy to digest and aid in the detox process.  I also like that near the end, good clean proteins were reintroduced.

Of course, with any of the cleanses or detoxes I have done in the past, the hardest part for me is kicking the caffeine.  It's not so tricky skipping coffee, but the withdrawal headache usually around day 2 or 3 is less than pleasant.  At least that only last about a day and then after that I start to feel much better.

So how did I do with the detox? Well, I wasn't hungry or starving and the meals were simple and delicious.  And oh my....the smoothies....AHHH-MAZING!!  I totally felt like I was doing something bad every morning as I indulged in their decadence.

After 10 days, I felt lighter, calmer and more energized.  And I even lost 3 pounds! The 10 Day Whole Food Detox was a great way to get back on track, clear out some old gunk from my body and feel alive again.

If you're looking for an easy to follow, natural and effective detox, I highly recommend Vanessa's 10 Day Whole Food Detox.  Not only does she help you with continuous support through the process, she also provide loads of valuable information on various forms of self-care, from tips to de-stress to how to start meditating.  It's the whole package!

Wanna try it for yourself?  Well...you're in luck, the next 10 Day Whole Food Detox starts June 1st!!  What a great way to kick off the summer and feel alive!  You'd better hurry though, registration closes May 29!  Register HERE.

Have you tried a whole foods detox? What was the best/worst part for you?

Disclaimer: A huge thank you to

Vanessa from Our Natural Connection 

for allowing me to try this  program free of charge.  I did not receive compensation for this post and as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Halfway Through the 30 Day REAL Food Challenge

So it's the morning of the start of week three; 14 days done of the 30 Day REAL Food Challenge.  So what does that mean?

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Well, here's what I've discovered in the past couple of weeks:

  • I have never eaten so many greens in my entire life!
  • It's shocking how delicious and flavourful simple and clean meals can be.
  • I think I may have mastered the art of picking and eating an avocado.
  • No cheese, no coffee, no meat, no chips and I'm still alive!
  • Clean eating involves a little bit of prep-work, but is actually fairly easy.
  • My body runs better with better fuel.  i.e. real food
  • Resisting temptation is an on going struggle.
  • Sometimes a cheat day is exactly what you need to see you're on the right track. 
  • Retrain your taste buds...it's unbelievable!
  • Don't worry about what others think, just take care of you!

We are starting week 3 and that means a whole new round of recipes that I can't wait to try.  Out of all the 40+ recipes I've made over the past couple weeks, I think there were only 2 or 3 that I wasn't a big fan of.  The rest were amazing, fantastic vegan recipes that were surprisingly tasty and filling!

And now for the weigh-in...

Now this wasn't the only reason we decided to do this program, but both my husband and I definitely wanted to shed a few of those holiday pounds.  As of today, I am down 7 lbs and Mike is down 6 lbs!  Pretty amazing, even with our cheat day this past weekend!

Now bring on Week 3!

How to Survive Your Detox

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It's January, a new year and new resolutions and I'm sure lots of people (myself included) are trying a little detox from the holidays. Maybe a body reset to clear all those cookies, treats, drinks and snacks from your body. Or perhaps you're just wanting to feel a little happier and lighter?

Now whether you're doing a juice cleanse, a food cleanse or just cutting out some of your favourite indulgences, the detox process can be a little unpleasant to say the least.  So here's my top 5 tips to help get through your cleanse and on to a happier, less-toxic you!

5 Ways to Survive your Detox

  1. Water - wow, I can't stress this enough!  Water, water and more water.  If you are doing a cleanse you need to flush those toxins from your system and the best way to do that is with lots of water.  Start your day with 2 cups of water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it to boost that liver detox.
  2. Rest - yes, you will need rest.  As your body goes through the detoxification process it releases lots of icky stuff from your cells.  And as those toxins get released they can cause some unpleasant side effects.  Can you say tired, cranky, headaches and mood swings?  So if you are feeling like you're dragging your butt, than take that cue from your body and take a break.  Have a nap, put your feet up for 20 minutes and give yourself a few moments to recharge.  Detoxing is hard work!
  3. Tea Time - depending on what type of program you are doing you most likely will be reducing your food intake, or altering it significantly.  So stock up on some yummy herbal (non-caffeinated) teas.  Having a big mug of hot delicious tea can really help stave off those cravings and a lot of the herbal teas also contain ingredients that aid in the detox process.  Look for all-natural, caffeine-free and preferably organic teas.
  4. Support - one of the hardest things about doing a cleanse is doing it alone. Team up with a friend and tackle the challenge!  That way you can support each other but also have someone who knows exactly what you're going through.  Don't have a buddy?  Try finding a support network online instead.  The Internet is full of various groups and message boards for everything and it's a great way to ask questions, get feedback or vent.
  5. Exercise - now that may be the last thing you feel like doing starting a cleanse, but getting moving can really help your body and mind through the detox process.  Even if it's just a walk outside, getting your body moving and your lymphatic system pumping will help get those toxins moving out of your system. Breaking a sweat is a great way to get rid of more of those nasties and it's also great for helping with any irritability, moodiness or crankiness.

So who's doing a cleanse or detoxification this month? How's it going? What has been your biggest struggle?

The First 3 Days #cleanse #detox

Well, here I am starting day 4 of the 30 Day REAL Food Challenge and I thought you all might like a little up date on how things are going so far.  So here it is:

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Day 1:

I went into the first day being pumped about my journey to real food.  I was all prepared for the recipes and everything was coming together beautifully.  The recipes were simple and the food was delicious. Until that afternoon...cue raging caffeine withdrawal headache!  It was like someone had hit me in the forehead with a sledgehammer.  And it was unrelenting.  By the time hubby got home I was walking around like a zombie.  Tired, cranky and in pain.  So that's detox for ya!  And my hubby was no better.  He had the headache and went on this rant about what was this crazy diet thing and it's not enough food for him and his job and blah, blah, blah.  Needless to say we were both in bed by 9:30pm that night.

Day 2: 

When I woke up I felt somewhat better.  That caffeine headache was still there, but not quite as severe.  Again, all the food was amazing and I was sharing my lunch with my co-workers; singing the praises of these clean eating recipes.  By Tuesday night the headache finally disappeared and I shocked that I couldn't actually eat all the food that I was making.  Who knew just veggies could be so filling?!

Day 3:

So Wednesday I woke up and actually felt good.  What the heck?  I wasn't dragging my butt and even at 5:30am I felt perky and alive!  And that was without any coffee!  After we got home from work my husband even admitted that he was feeling pretty good.  And that his anti-food-cleanse rant from Monday was merely induced by caffeine withdrawal and those fun detox side effects.  He even commented at dinner that I was glowing! Yup, GLOWING!  And I was...a bit.  Winter here in Canada can be rough and I'm usually left with a pasty white complexion or what I like to call the fluorescent light tan.  But when I looked in the mirror I didn't look off-white and sickly.  The rosy glow had returned to my cheeks (I  didn't even have to run on the treadmill or shovel the driveway to get it) and my complexion looked fantastic!  I couldn't believe it. Me and my hubs looked more alive than we had in months.   And to top it off, each of us lost 3 lbs!  Not to shabby for the first few days.

Now that most of those nasty feelings of detoxification have left I'm super excited to see what the next week brings.  We get a whole new plan of recipes and I can't wait to see how all these amazing foods change our bodies and minds!