After splurge-filled holiday fun, many of us look at January as the month of quick-fix cleanses and fasts. While cleansing serves a purpose, its become a misnomer for extreme dieting. Society has sold us juice cleanses as the cure all /fix all but all it's really selling is a shortcut to disordered eating patterns, perpetuating the binge + starve cycle in disguise, as well as sending our hormones and blood sugar levels off the charts. If you have cancer, maybe a cleanse is good. If you have gallstones and liver issues, maybe a cleanse will help. But if you want to do it because you overdid it on the holidays, all you're doing is fueling disordered eating, which is probably what got you where you are in the first place.
Right now, it's easy to feel guilty after all the holiday parties and dinners. I've been there! It's tempting to be swayed to do a week of cold, liquid beverages to starve away the delicious holiday meals and treats. I've been there too. But does it ever last, or better yet, does it work? Of course not. When you deprive your body of nutrients after overloading it, it thinks it's going into starvation mode, therefore retaining more when you start eating again.
Daoist medicine teaches us that it’s not so much about cleaning out but about making your body so strong that it has no room for anything else but nourishment. Rather than punishing your body, nourish it. Rather than depriving your body, strengthen it. Let go of the phlegmy foods for a few days, like dairy and wheat. Cut out the inflammatory foods, like sugar and alcohol. Eat REAL foods that nourish the body, balance the hormones , and strengthen the nervous and endocrine systems. Think fresh fish, grass fed meats, vegetables, and low sugar + seasonal fruits. Let go of the destructive cycles. Let's welcome 2016 by consciously choosing to treat our bodies like the incredibly powerful and magnificent vehicles they are and stop punishing ourselves for enjoying life and everything it has to offer.
Here are a few tips on how to post-holiday strengthen your body into health and wellness rather than depriving it:
HYDRATE - Making sure you are drinking enough water is KEY after splurging. It helps to wash toxins out the cells and calm inflammation throughout the body. Adding lemon or lime to your water will help to alkalize your body after days of too much acidic foods such as sugars, alcohol, and caffeine. I love to add mint and rosemary to my water as well, with a touch of sea salt to ensure that the water gets delivered into the cells of the body.
ELIMINATE - Elimination is crucial in order to assist in the release of toxins from the body and prevent bloating. Keeping your bowels moving is essential. I love Triphala, an Ayurvedic herb that helps to regulate, strengthen, and cleanse your digestive system. It’s seriously one of my favorites!!
BALANCE - Keeping your blood sugar balanced is so, so important to having a lean body, balanced hormones, and feeling energized. After holiday indulging, we tend to feel boggy, bloated, and puffy, leading us to skip meals, and starve ourselves. DON’T!!! This signals to your body to actually STORE more, holding onto fat and excess pounds to prevent what your brain thinks is you going through a famine. Eat small meals throughout the day:: breakfast an hour after waking with protein + greens, lunch 3 hours after breakfast with veggies + good fats + complex carbs, a small snack 3 hours later with protein, and finally, dinner 3 hours after that with protein + good fats + veggies
NOURISH - Stick to lean meats, lots of veggies, good fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, low glycemic fruits like berries, and bone broth to help soothe the digestive system. Eliminate sugar (yes, honey and agave are sugar!), gluten, dairy, alcohol, and grains. This will help to reduce bloating, lean you out, and make you feel so energized!
MEDITATE - Holidays can be stressful and add the guilt and shame cycle so many of us experience after one too many sweets, well, your mental state of being can actually wreck more havoc on your system than grandma’s cookies. One of my favorite meditation to do for three minutes a day is Ego Eradictor. And guess what…it also boosts your metabolism and strengthens your digestive system! My favorite song right now to play while doing the meditation is Chattr Chakkr Vartee by Snatam Kaur. Set your timer for 3 minutes and go!