As we say goodbye to the winter holiday season and welcome in the new year, many of us are likely realizing that we may have not always made the healthiest food choices. A few too many sweets. Too many salty treats. Big festive meals that left our bodies feeling weighted down rather than light and limber. And then the holiday drinks! Even those of us who made mindful food choices most of the time still may be feeling sluggish, worn out and overfed.
This is the time of year that that slightly mysterious word “detox” flies around. We may hear of friends stocking up on lemons and cayenne pepper. Others may try spend a day or two being “good” with what they eat, (or not eating anything) only to ping-pong back to comfort food and indulgences within a short time.
But what does it mean to detox? Every day our bodies are bombarded with toxins – from the air we breathe, to the products we put on our bodies, to the food we eat and beyond. The body is designed to deal with the toxins it encounters. But when the burden is high – when our air, work and home environment and personal care products are loaded with toxins; when we rely heavily on processed foods, sugar, meat and other potentially taxing foods such as wheat and dairy – we are outmatched, and our health suffers.
Rather than going to extremes with fad detoxes, we believe in supporting the body with real food. To aid in the detox process, take a day or two or more (listen to your body for clues on how best to go about this) and commit to eating food that is as clean and pure as possible. Focus on vegetables and fruits and purchase organic if possible. If you have a juicer, drink freshly pressed juices throughout the day. Some of our favorites are carrot and kale-wheatgrass-apple-lemon. But really, the sky is the limit: juice some cabbage, red beets, broccoli stems, melon – and create your own, good-for-you cocktail!
Along with the fresh juice, we love to make a big pot of soup! Perfect this time of year and so easy to make! Start with some stock and then chop up and toss in every type of vegetable – root veggies, cruciferous friends and also some leafy greens. Eat chunky as is or puree for a smooth soup.
As you are cleaning up your eating act, make sure to support your body with lots of water and herbal teas (dandelion root is great for supporting the liver, a critical organ in detoxification), movement (brisk winter walk, anyone?) and some quiet time to reflect and renew.
When you are ready to add in more beyond juice and soup, include some whole grains (try quinoa, oats or millet), more raw and cooked veggies and clean protein. Nuts and seeds are great winter protein sources and spices and herbs are cancer-fighting and add a kick to your dishes.
By supporting your body and your health in this way, you’ll feel better, have more energy and be off to a great start in 2013!