Spring Detox: Putting it into Practice!

by Barbara Mendez, RPh, MS on April 14, 2014

Happy Spring everyone!

After a very l-o-n-g and snowy winter, spring is here, though at times it feels like it’s in a death match with winter. Mornings and evenings are still chilly, but the warmth of the sun is finding it’s way between the clouds.

As the weather began to change, I felt myself slowly emerging from my cocoon. In total hibernation mode these months, I found inspiration in front of the fire, mining the well of creativity for my book. These days though, I want to get out more, go hiking and start engaging with friends again. Where winter is introverted, spring is extroverted. What I began to cultivate in the peaceful quiet of winter, I want to bring more fully to life with the energetic essence of spring. My body though, was still in winter mode so I decided to do a little spring cleaning.

I enjoyed loads of homemade soups and stews and even a few scones this winter. Cooking and baking were great creative outlets for the writing. These wonderful few months gave me the opportunity to create the foundation for what I want the remainder of the year to be about, which is to steep myself in writing and that which most moves me. It’s been a slower, more reflective time.

As the weather warmed, looking to feel more engaged and energized, I decided that detoxing my body was the fastest way to get me there.

In Chinese medicine, spring is the time of renewal and regeneration. It is also associated with the element of wood and the organ systems that correspond to this are the liver and gallbladder, the body’s main organs of detoxification. It is vitally important to your overall well-being to keep these two organs in top health in order to look and feel your best. Detoxing in spring is an optimal way to help you achieve that.

Rather than embarking on a 5-day juice fast, which I know is not enough nutrition to get me through long days in a focused and productive way, I decided to put together a cleanse of my own based on the information I know to be true. I’d rather engage in detoxing habits for a month or more than a quick-fix that will leave me feeling depleted and hungry, setting me up to overeat when the five days have passed.

In last year’s Spring Detox video, I discussed principles to follow when endeavoring to cleanse. Since I am already in the habit of avoiding wheat, dairy, sugar and refined and processed foods, for me the detox was about honing my diet. Rather than black tea in the morning, which is my favorite way to start the day in the winter, I switched to lemon juice in warm water followed by green tea. Additionally, I eliminated all alcohol and grains. I also increased my fresh juice consumption from one quart a day to two and rather than a soup for lunch, I have a detox smoothie. Dinner is a hearty salad dressed with flax dressing that allows me to include loads more vegetables into my diet, focusing on arugula, avocado, asparagus and cruciferous vegetables, all excellent for liver health. Sometimes I’ll have asparagus soup instead. The fiber in the veggies help with eliminating toxins that are being released into my gastrointestinal tract.

I’ve also upped the ante on my workouts. During the winter I maintained a 3-day a week running schedule and the occasional Physique 57 class. Now I am working out every day. Whether it’s a run, a class, or a core and arm workout, I make myself sweat every day because in doing so, I am eliminating even more toxins through my skin. What keeps me motivated for these daily routines is my trek to Annapurna Base Camp in October. I am officially in training!

Two weeks in, I feel amazing! Admittedly, the first week was rough and I struggled with classic detox symptoms such as mild headaches, mood changes and fluctuating energy levels. But now I feel like I could run the Annapurna circuit! After I crossed the hump, it was as though my body unleashed all the trapped energy of winter, helping me feel rejuvenated and renewed…just like spring itself.

If you feel your energy is still in winter-mode, then you may want to consider a cleanse of your own. Start with the suggestions in the Spring Detox video and see how that feels. Remember though, if you have any medical conditions or are on any medications, discuss any radical change in your diet with your health care provider.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Are you detoxing this spring? If so, what are YOUR detox habits? And how you are feeling as you move through the process? Please share your experience with me in the comments below.

Have a great week everyone! Stay happy and well! And enjoy the spring!
xo
B

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7 Habits to a Stable Blood Sugar

by Barbara Mendez, RPh, MS on April 7, 2014

Hey everyone and Happy Monday!

A few weeks ago I posted a video about the 5 foods to stabilize blood sugar and boy, did it resonate. I got personal emails from viewers about how valuable they found the information. Clearly there are some of you out there experiencing the effects of an unstable blood sugar.

In today’s video, I am taking it a step further. I am going to share with you the 7 habits you need to be including in your diet and your life to stabilize your blood sugar and help you shed those pounds.

Symptoms of an unstable blood sugar can be feelings of lethargy even though you are getting plenty of sleep, increased cravings and appetite, disjointed sleep patterns, inability to lose weight even though you’ve reduced your calories, and even irritability and mood disorders. As you see, it is very important to get this under control in order to start feeling and looking your best.

It is so important to manage your blood sugar, because if not, over time it can lead to serious health issues such as insulin resistance and diabetes. In turn this will eventually compromise your overall health and well being.

So check out today’s video and start practicing the habits that will get your metabolism in gear. And once you do, I want to hear from YOU. Do you have an unstable blood sugar? And what habits do you incorporate into your life that make the biggest difference in helping you control it? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a great week everyone and stay well!
xo
B

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