THE CLEANSE YOU CAN STAY ON FOREVER
Some foods are like bad boyfriends. It’s tough to break up with them, but once you do, you feel liberated. You wonder, “Why did I think I needed that in my life?”
You know the dietary deadbeats we’re talking about: refined, processed and chemically laden foods that give our bodies that much more work to do while putting us at risk of many chronic illnesses.
No wonder springtime inspires some of us to do a short-term cleanse or detox. But here’s the thing: if you make whole, organic foods the cornerstone of your diet, clean eating doesn’t need to be a spring fling. It just becomes a way of life.
We may take it for granted, but our bodies are detoxifying powerhouses. Each day the products of metabolism are broken down and excreted through our skin, lungs, bowels and kidneys: key players in the body’s detoxification system.
The liver is a hub in this elegant system, transforming toxic compounds into substances that we can safely release. Unfortunately, common conditions like diabetes, obesity and inflammation can impair our liver function, putting the brakes on our ability to eliminate unwanted substances. A constipated digestive tract only makes matters worse.
The best way to rev up our natural detoxification process is simply to eat nutritious whole foods to support and balance our bodies. We can achieve this through choosing a gentle, sustainable approach to eating.
But first comes the breakup.
BREAKUP #1: SKIP THE SPOONFUL OF SUGAR
“YOU USED TO BE SO SWEET …”
High worldwide rates of obesity, diabetes and poor dental health have prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to propose that each person consume no more than 12 tsp (50 g) of sugar per day. Reducing sugar consumption to 6 tsp (25 g) would have an even more substantial impact on health, according to the WHO.
Sugar-sweetened beverages account for a lot of our sugar intake. Nearly two-thirds of American youths and half of American adults drink a sugar-sweetened beverage on a given day. When you consider that a 20 oz bottle of soda contains 15 to 18 tsp (60 to 75 g) of sugar, you can see how that adds up. The high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten many soft drinks has links to metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease and diabetes. Even pure apple or orange juice may contain 5 tsp (20 g) of sugar per cup, potentially raising diabetes risk with only three servings per week.
Eating a healthy diet is the first step in an effective detoxification plan, but if you need some additional support, consider these options with the help of your health care practitioner.
Curcumin, an active component of this traditional Indian spice, helps to reduce inflammation in the intestinal tract.
Add chia, flax or psyllium to your diet and increase water intake to help ensure regular bowel function.
Dandelion has a long history of use in traditional medicine as a cleansing agent and is a natural diuretic.
This plant may provide natural support for liver cells and aid in their regeneration.
BREAKUP #2: ELIMINATE PROCESSED FOODS
“YOU’RE NOT BEING REAL WITH ME.”
Although convenient, processed foods burden our bodies with an abundance of extra fats, sugars, salt and calories.
What are the consequences of an ultra-processed diet, aside from bursting global waistlines? Fat-laden, fiber-free foods leave you hungry for essential vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients. Even worse, their arsenal of mostly unpronounceable additives, preservatives and stabilizers only heightens the need for detoxification in the body.
THE NEW RELATIONSHIP
BE WOOED BY WHOLE FOODS
Sometimes you want to go back to your ex. We’ve all been there. Resisting the pull of processed foods may be easier with these strategies.
Trade the unhealthy chocolate bar or chips for some nuts and an apple. Stow snacks in your car, office or stroller for on-the-go-options any time.
INCREASE YOUR KITCHEN EFFICIENCY
Take half an hour to plan your week’s meals and shop once. Simple protein/vegetable combos will nourish and satisfy. Make double batches to freeze for a rainy day; try cooking with friends and family members for fun and inspiration.
CHECK OUT HEALTHY FOOD DELIVERY
Local chefs and plant-forward startups offer health-conscious prepared meal services. If cooking simply isn’t an option, make this investment in your health.
GO FULL PRIVATE EYE ON YOUR GROCERIES
Expose the sugar hiding in your kitchen condiments, breads and even salt. Switch to low-additive, high-fiber foods.
By Gillian Flower Alive.