Simplifying nutrition and using food as medicine - one bite at a time.

My goal with this blog is to set folks straight about what good nutrition really is! Starting by discarding the info we get every day from 'sponsors' that do not really have our best interests at heart, I want to inspire you to eat better AND realize it is much easier than you thought it would be!

Just about any health issues can be addressed with nutrition (and meditation), from mild to chronic to acute. We truly have the ability to heal ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually...

And you can use your daily routine as your vehicle to drive that change :)


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Quote of the Month

"When food, in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous"
~Wendell Berry

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

To Cleanse or Not To Cleanse?

At this time of year I get a lot of questions about cleansing/detoxifying the body: What are the best packaged cleanses? How long should I cleanse for? Is this the right time to cleanse?

Rarely am I asked: Is it appropriate for me to cleanse at all? Everyone seems to assume that they’ve been naughty so they MUST need cleansing to get rid of the ‘toxins’ they’ve taken in.

It seems that this time of year generates a lot of these questions as it symbolizes a new beginning, new goals, not to mention leaving behind that end of year indulging. If I were to choose, I’d say springtime is probably the best time to cleanse as it coordinates with our inherent bodily cycle which moves naturally into cleansing mode at that time of year. But it can be done anytime if it feels right for you.
This is a bit of a complex issue but I’ll try and keep things simple. I’d like to start by clarifying a few guidelines about the safety and appropriateness of ‘cleansing’.

First, please refrain from engaging in total fasting (no food at all), especially if you are not experienced in doing so and certainly not without supervision of a certified health practitioner. This can actually be dangerous if you do not know exactly what you are doing or how your current state of health is.

Second, consider the fact that many of us who suffer from symptoms that make us feel ill or low energy or even diseased are deficient and cleansing can worsen that state of deficiency. So, cleansing as we know it may not even be the way to go at all (speak to a Holistic Nutritionist or Naturopath for more specific guidance).

The grand paradox: we live in a society that generally over-eats, yet the majority of us are malnourished.
So many people assume that that ‘toxic’ feeling will be alleviated by cleansing – and, yes, often that does happen temporarily, as your body is relieved to be less encumbered, but it can set you up for more deficiency in the long run. When you have deficiencies your body may lack the building blocks to re-build what it needs to be well again.

Third, I recommend committing to cleaning up your diet, gradually but surely. A good start would be to designate one day a week to eat totally clean (see below for guidelines). This makes it less likely to get steered ‘off-track’ by trying to have a perfect diet right away (many are feeling so stoked right now to get started). Any drastic changes will greatly increase your likelihood of standing in front of the boxed cleanses again in a few months back where you started.
You’re wiser to find a sustainable diet that works for you and that makes your body feel better.

If your weekly ‘cleansing day’ works for you and you want to increase to twice weekly then go ahead and graduate yourself, you are on the right track.

If you really are confident that you can jump into something more intense because your diet was already pretty darn good then start by doing a week or two of really clean eating and then continue with one/twice weekly as maintenance-cleansing to prevent significant toxic build up from happening again.

Here are some great examples of simple meals to eat on your ‘clean day’:

Homemade organic veggie or bone stock (must be organic!)

Salads with easy-to-digest herbs and veggies: avocado, celery, onion, garlic, watercress, ass’t sprouts (including bean sprouts for those who seek more protein), radish, thyme, ginger, etc. Avoid raw salad greens/lettuces as they are difficult to digest and are relatively low in nutritional content

Veggie stir-fry’s with steamed brown rice + optional tamari sauce (a healthier soy sauce alternative that contains enzymes and probiotics bacteria - wheat free varieties would be ideal) or just cold-pressed olive oil or virgin coconut oil for enhanced nutrition and flavour.

Freshly juiced root veggies (ie: carrots, parsnips, beets, turnip, burdock, sunchokes) w/ cold-pressed olive oil or virgin coconut oil to enhance absorption of vital vitamins and minerals in the veggies and to keep you ‘grounded’.

Pre-soaked (8 to 24 hours) or sprouted organic nuts and/or seeds.

Non-glutinous grains ie: millet, quinoa, brown/wild rice, teff, buckwheat (not actually a grain), arrowroot,…w/ olive or coconut oil (as above).

Tempeh, au natural, or with a small amount of tamari

Fresh small fish (for those with higher protein needs), accompanied by sautéed veggies. *Use above mentioned oils and low temperatures for cooking.

Fermented foods (lactic acid fermented ones, that is) such as kefir (if you tolerate dairy), sauerkraut (no vinegar added!), miso, kimchi, dosa, crème fraîche, sourdough, kombucha…


Foods to AVOID (in general):

Conventional animal products

Conventional produce, especially the most highly sprayed ones (see www.foodnews.org)

Refined flour and sugar

Pasteurized dairy

Unsprouted, non-organic wheat

Alcohol

Soda/Pop (even the ‘natural ones’)

Coffee

Corn

Additives/Preservatives (almost anything in a can or box)

Artificial sweeteners

Anything modified/hydrogenated/skimmed

Canned foods

‘Fast food’ soy products such as soy dogs/burgers and various other texturized soy protein products.


Note: when I say ‘organic’ I always mean certified organic. Get to know your labels and what certification boards are legitimate (ask questions, demand honest answers!). These sites can help: www.eatlocal.org or www.organicconsumers.org

Best of luck in achieving a healthy, clean body!

Contact me if you would like to work with me directly to ensure a healthy sustainable diet is achieved; one that is specific to your needs.

2 comments:

  1. Very cool Lisa. Do you have more info on that organic bone stock? A link or a recipe? TY d

    ReplyDelete

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