First Post of 2011: Crafting and Detoxing

5 Jan

The feasts have been eaten, the presents opened, the tree trimmed and untrimmed. The parties have been given, the champaign drank, the hangovers suffered, the holiday season has come to an end.

Now what?

In my last post I suggested setting some goals for the new year- to give the year purpose and direction. To please the creative creature inside of me, I set my 2011 goals in the form of an inspiration board.

This board will hang in my closet and remind me of my goals everyday.

What are my goals, you ask? Here’s a few…

In 2011 I will… continue blogging, aim for one post per week and begin posting a workout of the week, and expand my readership.

In 2011 I will… set a half-marathon PR.

In 2011 I will… become a CPT (Certified Personal Trainer).

In 2011 I will… learn to better manage my stress and commit to a regular yoga practice.

In 2011 I will… make an effort to use my cookbooks and recipe collections (to get us out of our dinner rut).

The new year is also a popular time to give your body a clean slate. The sluggish, bloated, overfed feeling of the holidays becomes blatant, and the urge to detox, fast, and cleanse ensues.

A lot of controversy surrounds detoxing in the scientific world. Is it safe? Is it necessary?   Does it work?

Three Beliefs About Detoxing

It will help you lose weight.

The Truth: Most detox programs (fasting, juicing, etc.) are very low in calories, so weight loss is an obvious side-effect and most of the loss will be water. Because these diets are not sustainable, long-term ways of life, the weight loss probably won’t last. As soon as you return to your normal eating routine (or even just a healthy calorie level) you will likely regain some weight. The worst part about extreme fasting is that it will eventually slow your metabolism and make it harder for your body to burn calories! Detoxing/fasting is NOT a quick-fix way to lose weight.

Your body needs to be cleansed.

The Truth: If I have learned only one thing in my education, it is that the human body is an incredible contraption. It continues to operate even under the most abusive conditions (ahem, Western Diet). When treated correctly, our bodies will detoxify themselves without extreme fasting and cleanses. Our bodies don’t want to be filled with laboratory chemicals and additives. There are many innate detoxifying mechanisms working inside of us everyday. All you have to do is treat your body right (see guidelines below) and it will clean itself.

You have to go all out or it won’t work.

The Truth: Many detox programs are very extreme. The most popular example is the Master Cleanse. The only thing consumed in the Master Cleanse is a water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup concoction. These types of cleanses can be very dangerous and do not, in my opinion, embody a healthy, balanced lifestyle. The side effects of extreme cleanses make it very difficult to lead a normal life. Think unpredictable changes in bowel movements, stinky body odor and breath, breakouts on the skin, nausea, and severe lethargy due to the low nutrient/energy intake. I believe that a healthy, cleansing lifestyle should include exercise and most extreme detox programs advise against exercise because of low energy levels. There’s just something not quite right about that…

Detoxifying your body doesn’t have to consist of starvation. You shouldn’t have to tuck yourself away in your house for a week with a bottle of lemon juice to sleep and purge away all of your toxins. Try these easy tweaks to feel cleansed and healthy.

A Safer (and easier) Way to Detoxify Your Body

*remember that I am not a registered dietitian yet. These recommendations are based  solely on my personal experience and education thus far.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

The best way to heal your body from holiday abuse is with good old-fashioned fruits and vegetables. Your body wants and needs fruits and veggies! They will help to naturally detoxify, nourish, and repair your body. Boosting your intake will make you feel clean and energized in no time. My favorite way to boost my fruits and veggies? Spinach fruit smoothies and green juice (green juice post coming soon!)

Ditch the Chemicals

Cut out highly-processed foods– restaurant meals, fast-food, condiments, prepackaged foods, and sodas. These foods are full of artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, and other additives. Think of it as putting poisons into your body. Our bodies don’t recognize these laboratory chemicals and their presence wreaks havoc as our bodies try to figure out how to process/store them. The same goes for non-organic fruits and vegetables which are covered in pesticides and other chemicals. The best way to detoxify your body is to stop putting toxins into it. Simple.

Give Veganism a Chance

Or at least cut back for a day or two. Animal products are usually more processed and harder for our bodies to digest than plant foods. By decreasing your meat and dairy consumption and increasing your plant consumption you are giving your digestive system a rest. If you do continue to consume animal products, stick to low-fat versions in small portions.

Lose the Sugar High (And Sodium Too)

As discussed in this post, added sugars distress the body. And after weeks of pumpkin pies, candy canes, Christmas cookies, and cocktails, your body is probably begging you to lose the sugar high. Cut out the added sugars in your breakfast cereal, soda, ice cream, venti mocha caramel latte with whipped cream, etc. and you’ll be on the road to recovery. These same processed foods are also loaded with sodium. If you’re feeling bloated, cutting back on sodium intake will make you feel better.

Hydrate With H2O

Just like guideline #1, the best way to detoxify and cleanse the body is with good old-fashioned water. Water has probably taken a back seat to all the egg nog and hot toddies, so there’s no better time to start guzzling. Many holiday staples such as high-sugar foods, caffeine, and alcohol dehydrate the body. Water consumption will help rehydrate, fill you up, and flush out toxins. Shoot for at least 8 cups a day.

Following the above recommendations for a week, a few days, or even just 24 hours will help heal the holiday fun damage and make you feel lighter and healthier.

Happy 2011 and thanks for reading 🙂

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3 Responses to “First Post of 2011: Crafting and Detoxing”

  1. emily January 6, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Love your craft project…goal setting is so important, and I think you captured your goals in a very creative way!

    I also like your review of detoxing. When someone tries to go on a special “detox” diet, they might also release a flood of toxins at one concentrated time, which may overwhelm the body’s detox mechanisms. I think it’s better to make small steps, as you suggested, for improving health over time.

    Happy New Year!

    • Mom January 7, 2011 at 9:29 am #

      Loved your board! It reminded me to get mine out, review it, and add to it. I’m also getting back on the H2O and limiting my Dt. Coke to 1 a day. You are my inspiration. Love you!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Drink Your Greens « Running on Sunshine - January 3, 2013

    […] posted about detox diets in more detail here. Check it […]

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