April 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
And while we’re at it, Happy Easter, too!
Please, at the very least, take a moment to be grateful for the earth today. Without it, where would you be? Here’s the post I wrote on Earth Day last year.
We need to save it for the next generation and all the generations yet to come.
While I’m not a religious person (spiritual, yes. “Religious,” no), on Sunday and, in fact, today on Good Friday, it would be nice if you thought about why we’re celebrating this holiday weekend. It really has nothing to do with a bunny and chocolate eggs.
With that said, enjoy the holiday and the time spent with family. And stay out of your kids’ Easter baskets. Really, that candy is nasty. Just read the ingredients label. If you need a sugar fix, find a piece of good quality dark chocolate, or heck, a bowl of chocolate chia seed pudding!
Have a great weekend!
March 4, 2011 § Leave a Comment
How are you? The weekend is almost here!
This exercise is all about the future, goal setting, and creating the life you want to live. As Joshua (the founder and lead teacher of IIN) said during this particular class:
“Be clear about the future and it will happen. Most people are very vague about the future. Stop being a victim.”
Joshua is possibly the wisest, most plain-spoken person I’ve ever met. He says the simplest things in the simplest way. But simple or not, his words usually cause me to have an Aha! moment. This exercise was one of those moments.
Basically, you pick a future date and first write down how old you’ll be, how old your spouse will be, your parents, your siblings, the ages of all the people closest to you. Second, write down what you’ll be doing in your life at that time, professionally and personally. Be specific!
But, let’s first start with a small timeline to get into the swing of things.
1. Write down what you’re going to do before this coming Sunday night.
When I did this exercise back in November 2006 (before I was pregnant), here is what I wrote:
Do before Sunday night:
Take train home, have a glass of wine, eat dinner, do my nails, organize school stuff. Shower, take train to class, go to school, have lunch with MA girls, go to hotel, visit Nathalie.
2. Write down what you’re going to do before next Friday, March 11.
From November 2006:
Do by Friday:
Go to Fast Track on Monday, go to office on Tuesday, have dinner with Deb and Katharine. Have MRI on Wednesday, work, make chocolate cake for Thanksgiving, go to Erin’s and enjoy Thanksgiving. Friday spend time with Pete.
3. Write down what you’re going to do by Easter.
From November 2006
Do by Christmas:
Go to all med appts. to figure out what’s wrong with my feet (ultimately, MS diagnosis), work, shop for Christmas, read for school, go to yoga, go to gym.
4. Write down what you’ll do by Easter 2012
From November 2006
Do by Christmas 2007:
Start a new job in health counseling, get pregnant (accomplished!), buy a new house (accomplished!), pay down credit cards
Okay, now let’s jump into the future. Now is when you should write down your age and the ages of those closest to you.
How old will you be and what will you be doing in:
Here are some of my future projections:
From November 2006
Doing in December 2008:
I’ll be 38, Pete will be 32. Living in CT with Pete and two kids, working as a health counselor, writing, teaching yoga, cooking healthy meals.
Okay – so I actually ended up living in MA with one child, still working in publishing, not writing much, not teaching yoga, cooking somewhat healthy meals! Oh well!
Doing in December 2011:
I’ll be 41, Pete will be 35, Dad will be 65, Mom will be 62, Terry will be 66, Kerry will be 35, Erin will be 34. We will live in CT or PA or Western MA, we will be earning a lot more money because Pete’s company will have taken off and I’ll be working as a successful counselor/author.
Well, I can tell you now that we will still be living in central MA in Dec 2011. We’ve recently come to the realization that we’ll probably be here for another 5 years. That’s actually what made me think about this exercise. I did the math and was shocked, SHOCKED to realize that Peter will be 9 years old in 5 years! It’s mind-boggling. Five years doesn’t seem like a long time when you’re an adult, but when it comes to kids, it is a significant amount of time. He’s going to be in 4th grade in 5 years!
Oh, and my husband closed his business soon after Peter was born in 2007. But he’s very happy working for another great company and is doing well. And I’m working as best I can to be a successful health counselor/author! It looks like we’re on our way to creating my projected December 2011 future
So that’s it. I hope you find the exercise to be fun and helpful!
BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR FUTURE AND IT WILL HAPPEN.
February 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
How are you? What a gorgeous, bright morning here! The sun is shining and the sky is pure blue. I know it’s freezing out there, but at least it’s pretty!
I know that school vacation week may not be the best time for introspection, but I thought you might be able to catch a break at night (or during t.v. time. Please tell me you have t.v. time in your house) and work on this Circle of Life activity (see link below. You’ll need to print it out). It’s an exercise that I had to complete while I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and it’s also a segment of the 6-month wellness program I offer.
I don’t talk about it much in the blog, but as you can read on my “About” page, I’m a health counselor who is accepting clients–virtually (phone/Skype) or in person. The program is really a whole-life program as opposed to a strict nutrition program. We discuss way more than calories and Vitamin D, for sure.
My schedule is a little limited since Peter is with me the majority of, well, the majority of my LIFE (edited to add: and I wouldn’t want it any other way ), but if you’re interested in improving your health and the health of your family, send me an email at email@example.com and we can work something out.
Anyway, I think this little sneak preview of the program is a super-helpful visual representation of where one might be a bit unbalanced in his or her life. I hope you find it useful and enlightening.
Have a nice Tuesday!
November 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
Not. It’s not funny at all. As you may have inferred from the title, I’m talking about diarrhea, folks.
Ugh, I know, I’d honestly prefer not to have to write about this, but my husband has been sick off and on since Thursday night, and Peter just started with it last night. I’ve been spared so far, but I can only imagine that my misery is right around the corner. (And right about now my husband is probably planning to divorce me for discussing his intestinal disorders on the internet yet again. Sorry, dear.)
We were away this weekend to take part in my sister-in-law’s utterly magnificent wedding (congrats Ange & Brian!) (Pete got through the weekend as best as he could, poor guy). We got home late last night, so first thing this morning I hit the books to accumulate a list of natural remedies for fighting this most unpleasant illness.
Since my boys aren’t the only ones in the world battling a stomach bug, I thought I’d share what I’ve found with the hope that one or more of the tips might relieve you or your loved ones who are plagued with a bug:
From Food and Healing, p. 279, by Annmarie Colbin
“There are two very effective old remedies…
- cooked white rice;
- grated apple with skin, allowed to turn brown”
From Healing with Whole Foods, Third Edition, p 383, by Paul Pitchford
“General remedies for all types of diarrhea:
- rice or barley broth (this would be the water in which you cook the rice or barley. Boil 1/2 c rice in 3 cups water for 45 minutes. Drain rice, reserving water in a bowl or cup. Drink throughout the day. Also eat the rice. - pwa)
- blackberry juice
- garlic (especially good for diarrhea from bacterial contamination) (I am currently eating a clove of raw garlic as a preventative measure – pwa)
- string bean
- sunflower seed
- umeboshi plum
- crab apple*
- aduki bean
- sweet rice
- button mushroom
*These foods are considered “obstructive” and tend to retard the flows and movements in the body.”
From the above list, you could make a tasty, beneficial soup from rice broth (maybe mixed with vegetable broth), minced garlic, cooked rice, cooked aduki beans, diced carrots and button mushrooms.
From Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing, Third Edition, p. 327, by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
- “Do not drink apple juice, as this can make diarrhea worse.
- Avoid high fiber food, which may stress the digestive system. Instead, stick to foods that are easy to digest, such as cooked potatoes, rice, bananas, applesauce, or toast.
- Do not consume any dairy products (except for low-fat soured products.) They are highly allergenic. Moreover, diarrhea causes a temporary loss of the enzyme needed to digest lactose (milk sugar). Limit your intake of fats and foods containing gluten, including barley, oats, rye and wheat. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods.”
And from the purewellnessamy department of common sense: STAY HYDRATED. Sip water, warm herbal tea (ginger root or peppermint are good choices), carrot juice, or rice, chicken, and/or vegetable broth. I hesitate to add flat soda to the list because I am staunchly anti-soda, but I do realize that the old-school flat ginger ale remedy appeals to a lot of people. So, if it will make you feel better, go ahead and drink it.
Peter has gone into the refrigerator twice this morning to take out his container of plain yogurt. I respected his body’s request for this and gave him two small bowls along with some grated brown apple. I think it’s kind of amazing that he is craving yogurt — a food rich with healing probiotics. It is a dairy product, but it is a “soured product” that was said to be acceptable in Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing.
Generally, diarrhea simply needs to run its course. But if you or your child is sick for more than 3 or 4 days, you should call your doctor. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child has:
- a high fever (over 101 degrees)
- blood in the stool
- stool that looks like black tar
- severe rectal or abdominal pain
- signs of dehydration, such as wrinkled skin, excessively dry mouth, or if there is no urination in any 8-hour period.
If your baby has diarrhea, be safe and contact your pediatrician immediately. Babies quickly become dehydrated and should be closely monitored.
Finally, if you’re feeling a little sore in a certain area, try using moistened wipes instead of toilet paper.
I now have to go attend to my sick little buddy. I plan to administer this old remedy: lots of Mommy cuddles, hugs and kisses. Along with a cup of rice broth.
October 28, 2010 § 2 Comments
…and sadly it’s not one of mine! Oh well, I have to give credit where credit is due. I read this post at “My Body Is My Hobby” yesterday and it has stuck with me. I think Stewy said all the right things and included enough statistical information to support his belief that our American food culture is essentially killing us.
Honestly, the illustration at the top of the post and the charts within the post speak volumes.
If you have a few extra minutes today, I encourage you to read this post and think about the way you eat:
If you see yourself as the “typical” American who eats fast food multiple times a week and is a proponent of quantity over quality, well, you may want to re-evaluate your lifestyle. For your health’s sake.
October 13, 2010 § Leave a Comment
…yet another time-sucking activity. As if reading blogs and watching t.v. weren’t doing a good enough job of helping me waste my life away, today, thanks to Urban Gardens, I’ve found OlioBoard. A site where I can create my own design mood boards. Here’s the board I created for our bedroom in 5 minutes flat:
I didn’t put much thought into it; I just selected things that caught my eye. My style is part modern/part shabby chic/part rustic-vintage. Although right now my style is largely Target. The economy, you know, it’s the pits
Anyway, the items on OlioBoard are more on the modern side. There are thousands of items in their library and they source from brands such as Ikea, Crate and Barrel, and West Elm.
I’ve recently started design inspiration folders, mainly to thin out my ever-growing Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Crate and Barrel catalog collection.
Now it’s just a matter of moving from inspiration to reality! One of these days…
September 28, 2010 § 2 Comments
A while back, Emily at Cupcakes and Cashmere wrote a post about the simple moments in life that make her happy.
That post has stuck with me and thought I’d borrow the idea, especially after a rather trying night with Peter.
He woke up at 1:00 a.m. wanting to sleep in our bed. I told him that it was still night-time and that he could come snuggle with us in the morning. When he persisted (he is relentless) I told him that there wasn’t enough room in the bed for the three of us. He then yelled at my husband: “Go sleep on the couch!” The arguing and good cop/bad cop acting (I’m the good cop, Pete is the bad cop) lasted for 3 hours.
I woke up a little grumpy and tired this morning (yes, I eventually got some sleep from 3:30a.m-6:30a.m.) and tried to remind myself that what happened last night, happened last night. Today is a new day and to get in a happier frame of mind, I thought about some simple things that make me happy:
1. Dancing at weddings.
2. Sipping hot apple cider at the orchard on a crisp autumn day.
3. Watching Peter play with his cousins or other kids his age: playing tag, talking their 3-year old language to each other, and laughing.
4. Preparing a healthy meal that everyone says is delicious.
5. Finding a pair of jeans that are comfortable, stay up where they’re supposed to when I bend over, and look good on me.
6. A satisfyingly sweaty exercise session.
7. Walking in the woods.
8. Partaking in good crusty bread, good cheese, good wine, good olives, and good grapes with good friends.
9. Browsing at flea markets and antique stores and finding interesting old books.
10. Spending time with family and truly appreciating the moment and the people.
What are your favorite simple things?
Updated to add some of my favorite pictures from the woods:
All of the pictures were taken at Garden in Woods, in Framingham, MA
September 25, 2010 § Leave a Comment
When I went for my mid-life (I hope at least mid-life) physical back in August , I had my blood tested for various things, and unsurprisingly the results showed that my B12 and Vitamin D levels are low. I don’t eat meat or fish, so I knew that my B12 would be low and these days everyone is low in Vitamin D. Like wearing socks with heels , Vitamin D is currently quite trendy.
My doctor ripped me a new one scolded me when I admitted that I tried to get my Vitamin D from the sun. In other words, I’m a little lax with the sunscreen application. She gaped at my pale and freckled skin as if I were covered in oozing lesions, and then basically told me I was stupid. I defended myself by telling her that I was wary of chemical-filled sunscreens. And then she gave me the names of some relatively chemical-free products (Neutrogena Sensitive, Coppertone Sensitive, Blue Lizard). Touché, doctor. But from where should I get the Vitamin D that I need if I can’t expose my skin to the sun? A supplement, of course.
Gah. I dread taking pills, whether it’s aspirin, medicine, or vitamin. I blame it on the Tylenol poisonings of 1982. In addition to the pill dread, I have an uneasy relationship with vitamin supplements in general. How do I know what is really in that pill or capsule? How do I know that it’s not going to hurt me? As I mentioned, Vitamin D is hot right now, just like Vitamin E was hot a few years ago. Where’s Vitamin E now? Just like hair scrunchies and acid washed jeans, it’s totally out of fashion. Don’t get me wrong, Vitamin E is still needed for good health, but research has found that “caution is warranted” when taking high-dose supplementation.
(The little nag in the back of my head is now swinging on my brain stem and singing “don’t take too much Vitamin D and B12, fa-la-la-la-la-laaah, cau-tion is warr-an-teddd…”)
However, I can’t ignore the evidence that Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies can wreak havoc on the central nervous system. What if my MS symptoms are really caused by a vitamin deficiency? Maybe I don’t actually have MS (MRI images and brain lesions, be damned).
I made up my mind. I will take supplements.
I’ve read about people having difficulty absorbing B12 when it’s taken in pill form. For some reason my intuition tells me that I have absorption issues. I considered B12 injections, but my sister–who is an awesomely amazing nurse–talked me out of going that route (injections open the risk of infection. And they hurt).
I heard about the B12 patch from Kevin Gianni over at Renegade Health. I receive his daily newsletter and he spent 3 or 4 issues discussing B12 and vitamin D deficiencies and solutions. After much reading and contemplation, I decided to purchase the patch.
I was/am skeptical of it. I mean, how does it work? But then I thought of the quintessential patch, The Patch, yes, the Nicorette patch: it’s been around for quite a few years and it seems to work for people, right? Somehow the medicine on the patch is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. (Which circles back to my sunscreen quandary: what kinds of lotion do you put on your skin? What potentially harmful ingredients are being absorbed into your bloodstream each day? With that question in mind, I recently returned to using coconut oil as my daily moisturizer.)
So, basically I’m running an experiment on myself. I’m going to wear the patch as directed for the next two months and go back for another blood test to see if my level has elevated.
I also purchased the Vitamin D3 that Kevin recommended and I’ll have my Vitamin D tested in November, as well.
I’m by no means recommending these products to you; I’m just sharing my experience and hopefully getting you to consider the real value of supplements. I am, in fact, recommending that you don’t take supplements willy-nilly. Consider what you’re taking and why you’re taking it. Are there any risks? Are you reaping any true benefits?
And I also hope after reading this that you seriously think about what you’re putting on your skin. I am, of course, not telling you to stop wearing sunscreen. My Dad has skin cancer. I am fully aware of the ramifications of sun exposure. I am suggesting that you find a good sunscreen that doesn’t have a heavy chemical load. I’m also suggesting that you read the ingredients list of the products you use on your skin and hair every day. All of the chemicals in that paragraph are entering your bloodstream. It’s a little creepy, isn’t it?
I hate to end a post on an ominous note, so I’ll end with this, my Saturday night snack: a spoonful of organic peanut butter studded with organic dark chocolate chips. And a glass of red wine. Who says I don’t know how to party?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend~
April 9, 2010 § Leave a Comment
A friend who suffers from seasonal allergies recently asked me about natural remedies. She uses a neti pot (nasal irrigation), but feels that it’s just not doing the job on its own. So I consulted some of my reference books and the websites of Drs. Mercola and Weil and culled this list of natural remedies. It’s an overwhelming list, for sure, but information is power, and if you try one thing for a while with little or no results, you can try another tip, or tips, from the list.
Here we go:
My #1 recommendation is nasal irrigation. For severe allergies, rinsing can be done four times a day until symptoms are relieved.
If you need further relief, you may want to try one of these herbal recommendations:
1. Stinging Nettle (recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil. Supplements are available on Vitacost.com). This is definitely the most talked about herb I could find with regard to allergy treatment.
2. Quercetin (also recommended by Dr. Weil. Supplements are available on Vitacost.com)
3. Homeopathic remedies from BioAllers (recommended in the book “Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing”
4. Visit an acupuncturist who practices Chinese medicine. There are herbal formulas in Chinese medicine that are known to help relieve allergy symptoms. Acupuncture itself may also relieve symptoms. (If you live in central MA, I recommend Root and Branch Oriental Medicine. Geoff and Eileen are just great.)
Now, I don’t have personal experience with these herbs, so I can’t tell you if they actually work. I can tell you that you should not take herbs if you’re pregnant or nursing or if you’re taking another antihistamine. I can only recommend that you research all four of the suggestions and determine whether you feel comfortable trying one of them.
Here are some suggestions from Dr. Joseph Mercola (Note: some of the links will lead you directly to a video clip [what I'm saying is, it's noisy. So be careful clicking if you're at work]):
1. Strengthening your immune system: Eliminate or limit sugars and grains from your diet as detailed in my nutrition plan and even more in-depth in my book Take Control of Your Health.
2. Exercising: The rate of hay fever among inactive kids is more than double that of healthier, more active youngsters, so regular exercise is an important tool to help prevent allergies from forming in the first place. (Note: the same can be said for adults)
3. Addressing your emotional stress: The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is one profoundly simple, inexpensive and effective tool to address the underlying emotional traumas that can devastate your immune system and allow allergies to flourish.
4. Getting plenty of animal-based omega-3 fat: The omega-3 fat in fish oil and krill oil helps reduce both allergic and inflammatory response.
5. Optimizing your vitamin D levels: Healthy amounts of vitamin D can also help to lower inflammation.
6. Taking a high-quality probiotic: Good bacteria (probiotics) may help lower levels of an antibody that produces allergy symptoms while raising levels of a different antibody, called IgG, that may play a protective role against allergic reactions.
7. Considering an air purifier for your home, to help remove airborne allergens (Dr. Andrew Weil adds this: I recommend a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which removes particles in the air by forcing it through screens containing microscopic pores. These devices work well and aren’t too expensive. Get one for the main rooms in your house, or move one from room to room regularly. Avoid air-filtering equipment that generates ozone (HEPA filters don’t).
And some more tips from Dr. Weil:
•Follow a low-protein diet and try to eliminate milk and milk products. Excessive protein can irritate the immune system and keep it in a state of overreactivity. The protein in cow’s milk is a frequent offender. (Dr. Mercola’s advice and this advice may make you wonder what you should actually eat, but I think limiting sugars and dairy products are your best bet. Especially dairy since it’s mucous forming.) (Note: there are two words that you will never hear me speak. One is “mucous” and the other is “moist”)
•Try hypnosis, which can lessen or completely prevent allergic reactions and facilitate the immune system’s unlearning of its pointless habits (in this case, an inappropriate response to pollen, dust, mold or animal hair or other substances that cannot really hurt us).
•Consider whether stress impacts your allergy and, if so, take steps to reduce it. I’ve seen long-standing, severe seasonal allergies disappear when people switched jobs, left a relationship or otherwise eliminated a source of stress.
•Dust-proof your bedroom by eliminating wall-to-wall carpets, down-filled blankets, feather pillows and other dust catchers.
•Substitute window shades for Venetian blinds, which can trap dust; be sure to wash curtains regularly in hot water to kill dust mites.
•Encase your mattress in an airtight, dust-proof plastic cover; dust your furniture with a damp cloth; and damp-mop floors regularly to pick up dust.
And from WebMD:
According to New York University allergist Clifford Bassett, MD, if you suffer from ragweed or other weed pollen allergies, “you should avoid eating melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, chamomile, and any herbal supplements containing echinacea, all of which can make symptoms much worse,” he says… (Note - I’ve seen recommendations to take echinacea for allergies, so there’s definitely some contradiction going on with that herb.)
And finally, also from WebMD:
…In addition, both Hardy and Frieri caution that if allergies are moderate to severe, you should not self-treat — even with seemingly benign natural products — without checking with your allergist first. When you are ready to try some alternative care, Hardy says one key to success is starting treatment before allergy symptoms kick in. The ideal time to begin, she says, is “three weeks before allergy season is scheduled to start.”
I hope you can find some relief using one or more of these suggestions. But, please, consult your doctor or allergist if you’re currently taking any other medications before you take any herbs. Just because herbs are “natural” doesn’t mean they can’t have an adverse effect.
March 18, 2010 § 4 Comments
This awesome weather and the official approach of spring this weekend has me thinking and craving things green, clean, and fresh. My blog’s theme is appropriate, isn’t it? I tend to “match” the season (my old theme had a green background. I’m a compulsive theme-changer –pwa). For instance, we were married in October 2004 and my invitations were brown, the wedding theme was autumn leaves, and I made my bridesmaids wear dead leaf (aka: poop) -brown satin dresses. We even gave maple syrup in leaf-shaped glass bottles as wedding favors. In retrospect, I may have gone a little overboard in the matching department…
Matching one’s wedding to the season may not be a great idea, but matching one’s eating habits to the season is a fantastic idea. With spring getting all up in our business now, I thought I’d talk about cleansing and clearing out the winter crap that has accumulated in our bodies. Do you feel a little bloated, clogged, sluggish? To be honest, I do. I haven’t been able to exercise as much as usual and over the winter I was a little too flexible with the food I chose to eat. I’m ready for some lightening up.
I’m sure you’ve heard about “doing a cleanse” and perhaps you have already done one. (If you did, how was it for you? I’d love to read about some of your experiences, so feel free to fill up my comments.) There are many different ways to cleanse, some are hardcore like the master cleanse, but others are more gentle and practical. I’m not knocking the master cleanse, if it works for you, great, but it just doesn’t speak to me.
If you Google “spring cleanse,” you will receive no less than 1,600,000 results. That is a lot of talk about cleansing, and after much reading, I think that these are the key points to a gentle and practical cleanse. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but I think these are realistic things that just about everyone can do safely (except for pregnant and nursing women – no cleanse for you). If you want to try some funkier methods you found on your “spring cleanse” search, go for it. But don’t do anything too crazy without consulting your doctor.
Try these things for one week. I think you will feel amazing on day seven — lighter, cleaner, and more focused. You should sleep better and poop more regularly. You may decide to adopt one or more of these points when you return to your “normal” life to keep that good clean feeling going. I suggest you get all of your supplies and make your appointments this Saturday, the first official day of spring, get mentally ready on Sunday and then jump right in Monday morning with your first glass of morning water:
- Drink more water. By “more water” I mean at least 8 8 oz. glasses a day. The most important glass of the day will be the one you drink first thing in the morning. Leave a full glass on your nightstand when you go to bed and chug-a-lug when you wake up. Think about it, you haven’t a had drink in 5-8 hours–your body is thirsty, give it water. Keep in mind that our bodies like room temperature water more than ice-cold water. Do not drink water from a plastic bottle–do yourself and the environment a favor. If you don’t have one already, buy a Brita filter, or another brand of filter, and an eco-friendly water bottle to carry with you throughout the day.
- Consume less caffeine. In all its forms – coffee, tea, chocolate, and God-forbid, soda. Don’t even get me started on soda. Just don’t drink it. Ever. Notice that I didn’t say “Consume no caffeine.” Caffeine is a hard and unpleasant habit to break, especially if you’re a coffee drinker, so you need to do it gently. During this cleansing period, if you don’t feel that you can go cold turkey, try changing your caffeine source. If you drink coffee, switch to green or white tea, which contain less caffeine (and have other health properties to boot). If that isn’t appealing to you, at least try reducing the number of cups of coffee you have a day. If you usually drink 3, have just 2. If you normally have one venti, switch to the grande. Reduce your intake as much as possible. If you gradually reduce your intake throughout the week, you may end up being caffeine free by the end of the week.
- Do not drink alcohol. Sorry, that’s not negotiable. No booze.
- Get a massage. A massage feels wonderful and it helps to release toxins that are hanging out in your body.
- Start skin brushing. Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s worth getting up a little bit earlier to do this beneficial self-care routine.
- Eat more green vegetables. In the Northeast, the first one to poke its head up through the ground is asparagus. Despite the stinky pee it gives me, I love asparagus. Arugula, peas, sprouts, artichokes, and maybe some baby lettuces can be found locally (if you’ve read my earlier posts, you’ll know that I’m on a local food kick). For the purpose of this cleanse, you may want to venture outside of local food and eat organic kale, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli. All of these vegetables can be prepared simply–sautéed, roasted, or tossed raw in a salad–or they can be fancified into a substantial meal or side dish. Why don’t you peruse some food blogs (hint: look at my blogroll) or recipe sites and see what you can find? Try to eat greens at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Drink your green vegetables. I admit that sometimes chewing greens can be tiresome. You may have seen some of my other posts about green smoothies? Why don’t you make up your own concoctions. Smoothies can be a filling and nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner. I would also recommend juicing your vegetables, but I know that not everyone has a juicer. If you do have one, juice away. If you want to invest in a juicer, awesome! Drinking fresh vegetable juice is very cleansing and just plain good for you.
- Snack on fruit and vegetables. That’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Eat whole grains. These will replace the refined carbohydrates (see below). Have you tried quinoa yet? No? Try it. Replace your white pasta with whole wheat pasta, white rice with brown rice. Fix some oatmeal for breakfast.
- Do not eat refined carbohydrates (aka “white food”). Don’t eat white bread, bagels (even “whole grain” bagels), white pasta, pretzels, popcorn, white rice, and sugary stuff like candy, cereal and ice cream. In a perfect world, you shouldn’t eat these things even if you aren’t doing a cleanse.
- Limit or exclude dairy products. Dairy is mucous forming and clogs up your body. If you can handle it, don’t eat dairy for the week. If you can’t live without cheese on your salad, use it sparingly. Also, this means that if you choose to make a green smoothie, you should use water instead of yogurt.
- Limit or exclude meat. Both white meat and red meat. If you eat fish, eat it in moderation.
- Exercise. Sweat. Release those toxins, drink more water, and sweat again. You don’t have to run a marathon. Just walk, jog, do yoga, lift some weights, whatever. Get your body moving and your blood pumping. Ideally you should exercise outside and enjoy the fresh warm(er) air.
- Keep a journal. Before bed, maybe while drinking a cup of warm herbal tea, write down what you ate during the day, how you felt during the day and how you feel now before bed. Write down everything, good feelings and bad feelings. You may not feel wonderful on days 1 and 2, but by day 3 your body should start lightening up. While you’re at it, why don’t you jot down a few things that you are grateful for. The journal will be a nice thing to have in the future when you feel like you’re in a sluggish rut again. You can review what worked for you during this cleanse and try it again.
How do those suggestions sound to you? Doable? I hope so. I’d love to hear how your cleanse week goes and I’d also be happy to answer any questions you may have. Remember, the point of the cleanse is to budge the sludge, move out some toxins that may have formed over the cold days of winter. It’s not about losing weight or being perfect. Enjoy next week. Baby yourself. Although I say this is a one-week process, it is truly the way we should treat our bodies every day of our lives.