With a new year now upon us, we might tend to feel more pressure to jump into the latest “cleanse” or “detox” fad that has hit the store shelves!
Our bodies are actually wonderfully designed to detox themselves. In a perfect world, of course. You see the 7 channels of detoxification (the colon, liver, kidneys, blood, lymphatic system, lungs & skin) are all powerful eliminators of toxins and the breakdown by-products of bodily processes.
If everyone maintained a “clean”, whole foods diet and avoided all inflammation causing foods, alcohol and other gut irritants, then the body would be well-equipped to stay physiologically balanced.
However, eating well all the time can be at times quite challenging to do – this may be a reason to bring a little extra nutritional support on board.
Here are 7 easy steps to get your health back on track – no harsh detox programs required
Be kind to yourself
Research indicates that showing self-compassion (and accepting the weight gain, if that’s also the case), will allow for a more successful implementation of lifestyle changes and habit that will set you up for success in many areas of your life – including your health routine.
You’ve heard it numerous times: restrictive, impossible-to-maintain diets don’t work.
So instead, strive for a whole foods eating plan to optimize nutrition and fuel your body well while keeping you satiated and regular.
As mentioned, our body is wonderfully designed to detox itself on a regular basis. If you want to do a more targeted cleansing-type regimen to help you achieve certain goals, feel better or correct an underlying issue, we recommend you work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who specializes in detox. If you already have a whole foods lifestyle then maintaining this during this time will continue to help support pathways of elimination and nutrient needs during a more intense detox.
Better with a buddy
Research shows that a person does much better with a buddy or an accountability partner. They don’t have to be following the same plan or routine as you, but so long as they’re in place for emotional support – that’s what matters most.
So, be sure to put it out there verbally to a few close friends or family members who you trust and who could also use the reciprocal support.
Move your body and break a sweat
Vomit-inducing exercising is not necessary, nor encouraged. What is encouraged, however, is daily exercise of some sort. Just move your body regularly in some fashion – preferably something that causes you to break a sweat. Aim for continuous movement for a minimum of twenty minutes 3 times a week.
Heading outside for your daily movement might give you a chance to catch a daily dose of Vitamin D (if the sun is shining) — enjoy how fresh air and sunshine can change how you feel!
Sleep, sleep, then sleep some more
Both your sleep hygiene and quality of sleep were likely derailed over the holidays — keeping up later hours as well as all the extra social events. But, now it’s time to get back to doing what your body does best: resting. Sleep is something that is still so underrated as a way to truly optimize your health!
Our health experts say that getting in 7-9 hours of deep, restorative sleep is a critical factor in such things as:
- decreasing stress levels
- increasing energy & athletic performance
- enhancing immunity
- stabilizing blood sugar levels
- maintaining an ideal body weight
- keeping mental focus sharp and mental/emotional health in check
“We all need between seven and nine hours of sleep in order to think clearly, and most of us just don’t get enough. One or two nights a week of decent sleep just doesn’t cut it.” says Registered Nurse and Homeopath Janet Neilson.
Get your nutrition and digestion back on track
Here are a few nutrition-specific ideas to implement into your routine to get you kick-started again, especially after a period of heavy indulgence:
- Drink lemon water
You’ve heard it many, many times – but one more time won’t hurt, because it’s just too simple, and effective NOT to try it: drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning before you do anything else.
Why? Freshly squeezed lemon juice is alkalizing to the body, antioxidant-rich and high in Vitamin C, and has blood sugar stabilizing + liver and kidney flushing properties.
Pure lemon juice is known to stimulate gastric juices and increase bile production. Combine this with room temperature or slightly warmer filtered water and you’ve got the easiest “cleanse” imaginable!
- Prolong the fast and eat protein + good fats for breakfast
- Shut the kitchen right after dinner, optimally by 7 pm. Then have nothing but water (or herbal tea) until breakfast, no earlier than 7 am the next day.
This allows the digestive system to have a much-needed break by “fasting” for at least 12 hours (but don’t worry, you’ll be sleeping for most of it), and then easing into the day with a high- protein, easily-digested meal.
Breakfast sets your day’s metabolic tone and with this in mind, your optimal first meal could be a plant-based protein shake. One that combines high-quality protein with healthy fats, green leafy veggies and slow-release high-fibre carbs to keep you full and focused all morning.
If you found that your digestive system went completely off the rails from over-consumption during the past holiday season, then you might need to give those juices a boost.
Gastric juices containing hydrochloric acid (HCl) that break down food in the stomach, are negatively affected by poor eating choices and habits like consuming large portions.
In addition, our digestive enzymatic activity slows down for those same reasons as well. This creates the perfect storm of burping, belching, trapped gas, heartburn, intestinal cramping and flatulence!
The natural bacterial flora of your digestive system will also likely have gone astray.
This is where therapeutic grade supplements can be especially helpful, so be sure to use a good quality probiotic to get your microbiome back in check and restore that “happy gut” environment.
Eating naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha are full of digestion-friendly probiotics as well.
7 easy steps and actionable ways
So, there you go, 7 easy and actionable ways to get your health back on track, holistically and without doing yet another harsh, restrictive detox or diet!
We at CanPrev hope your year is already filled with much health and happiness!
If you’re looking for additional digestive support:
We do always suggest you work with a qualified healthcare practitioner, Naturopathic Doctor or Nutritionist before beginning a new natural health product regime.