detox

Sugar Detox

Last year, after receiving the diagnosis of a rare autoimmune skin disorder, I committed to doing everything in my power to get to the bottom of it and ultimately to the end of it.  

So after working with a great naturopath and getting several tests done, I've been experimenting with my diet. I decided to transition to a more paleo diet and reduced my sugar intake to almost null. Being someone with a strong sweet tooth, it wasn't easy.  

My pitta nature craves sweet taste to take the sharp edge off, to ground my energy and to cool my fiery tendencies. I have a propensity to get laser-focused on whatever I'm working on to the point where it becomes all-consuming (great for productivity, not so great for work-life balance).  

Sweet taste has a dulling, sedative affect (once you get over the sugar high) and is associated with the emotions of love, connection, compassion, joy, happiness, and bliss. It's no surprise we love our sweets!  

However, the evils of sugar are hard to ignore. Sugar leads to inflammation, premature aging, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, hormone imbalances, high cholesterol, skin problems, and more. Even if we are choosing "natural" sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or raw cane sugar, they still carry many of the adverse effects (despite having some nutritional benefits as well).  

So over the past few months I've stopped eating most fruits (except low sugar fruits like berries), grains, legumes, and sweeteners of all kinds. I know this is extreme and I don't suggest everyone needs to do this but if you're dealing with auto-immune disorders, gut issues, health problems, excess weight, low energy, moodiness, or skin problems, it would be well worth the effort to do a sugar detox.  

Having gone through one myself, I've discovered a few tips that make it a bit easier. Make no mistake - it's still hard, but strapped with these, you'll be less likely to find yourself with your hand in the cookie jar! 

d3c7dee0-802e-48fc-ad33-7f8e9dce0416.jpg

Self massage

Remember the emotions associated with sweet taste - love, connection, compassion, joy, happiness, and bliss? When we crave sweets we want to feel grounded, taken care of and comforted. Self-massage, or abhyanga in Ayurveda, is the body practice of rubbing oneself with oil. It's a way of generating self love. It increases oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone' which allows us to feel those same qualities we're looking for when we search for something sweet to eat. 

How to: Make your own oil with high quality unprocessed almond, coconut, sunflower or sesame oil. Use sweet essential oils like vanilla, bergamot, or lavender to feed your senses 

Licorice candy (made with 100% licorice) 

This only works if you like licorice. Not only does licorice pack many nutritional benefits (anti-inflammatory, demulcent (soothing), antioxidant, immunostimulating), but they are naturally sweet and will satisfy the sugar cravings. 

Find them at your local Italian grocer and make sure they are made with 100% licorice and no sugar or other additives. Valorosa has them in Kelowna. 

Meal Plan  

I talk about meal planning ad nauseum but it truly is the way I can follow a clean and healthy diet. Make sure each meal has lots of healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut and olive oil), a good source of protein and plenty of nutrient dense greens and veggies. 

Instructions on how I meal plan here 

Spicy Herbal Tea

If you're used to dessert after eating, make a naturally sweet spicy tea instead. Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar and has been shown to reduce sugar cravings.  

I like Bengal Spice by Celestial Seasonings and Market Spice by Chai Baba. But any caffeine-free chai blend should do the trick. 

Peppermint

This uplifting and invigorating scent is a natural appetite suppressant. It's also a great stress and tension reliever, helps with mental focus and even soothes upset tummies.  

How to use it: drink it in tea, diffuse the essential oil, or place a few drops in your palms, rub together and inhale deeply.  

And last but not least, focus on making your life sweet. But that's really what we really want - not that extra piece of chocolate : ) 

 
xo,
Dana

10 Tips to Detox Daily

I'm currently in the middle of an annual spring cleanse with my mastermind group. I've come a long way from my first attempt to detox several years ago. My husband often reminds me of the day I bought a bag of lemons determined to do the master cleanse, and threw in the towel by 2pm on the first day.  

I didn’t give up though! I still yearned to clean up my diet and have healthier cravings (I.e. get over my sugar addiction). My second try was a more gentle detox of mainly fruits and veggies with a heavy emphasis on eating as many greens as possible.

After enduring the first few days without my favorite vices of caffeine, sugar and wine, I felt amazing. My energy shot through the roof, my taste buds came alive and I craved more greens, veggies and fruits. It felt great. 

Since then, every spring my body craves the reset. It's the best way to refine your diet, upgrade your food habits and let go of old addictions that you're ready to evolve out of. The best part of a detox is that every time you cleanse, your continue to eat a bit better and your health steadily improves. Each time a few of your detox habits stick and become an everyday reality.  

Below are some of the ways I detox daily. This doesn’t replace detoxing regularly, but does help counter a lot of the daily toxins we ingest in this day and age. 

  1. Inner bath: Drink at least 2 cups of warm water upon rising. Add a squeeze of lemon to make it more alkaline. Heat promotes downward movement through the stomach and intestines and supports elimination. 

  2. 18" every morning. That is 18" of fecal matter that has the consistency of peanut butter (pardon the visual!) one hour upon arising. If you are not pooping everyday this is a big problem. If you don't eliminate the junk, it gets reabsorbed back into your system. Get that *%#@ out!  (these everyday detox tips will help with this) 

  3. Sip hot water between meals. I've talked previously about the hazards of snacking. Stick to 3 meals a day to allow your body to fully digest your food. Undigested food is toxic and adheres to weak tissues which leads to disease. 

  4. Start your day with a green smoothie or green juice. Leafy greens have bitter and astringent tastes which are inherently detoxifying. In general, include as many leafy greens in your diet as possible: in green juices, smoothies, soups, salads, cooked, raw, etc. 

  5. Get your yoga on. Twist, bend, invert and breathe. Asana practice opens up the subtle energy channels or nadis which stimulates the lymphatic system and brings freshly oxygen into the organs. Try the class below.

  6. Meditate daily. In meditation we practice letting go of toxins in the form of negative thoughts, worry, anxiety, anger and fear – which can be more harmful than any bad food we might eat. 

  7. Dry brush. Dry-brushing activates the lymphatic system, stimulates blood circulation, and enhances toxin elimination through our body’s largest organ — the skin!  

  8. Love the skin you're in. Lotion is made of oil and water – a solution that doesn’t mix. In order to create the creamy texture, emulsifiers and preservatives are added which are often toxic. Basic tip: anything you put on your skin you should feel comfortable eating. Replace your lotion with oil (best quality coconut, almond, sesame, sunflower oil). Self-massage to increase circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system and remove toxins. 

  9. Eat clean and green. Processed and packaged food, refined sugar, alcohol and genetically-modified foods create toxicity. Eat a whole foods diet with plenty of fresh, organic produce to support your body in healthy elimination and optimal functioning. 

  10. Get enough good-quality sleepStudies show that your brain gets cleansed of toxins while you sleep. During deep sleep (prime hours are between 10pm and 2am) your body goes into detoxification mode. Make it easy on your body to do deeper house-cleaning by eating an earlier, lighter dinner. 

Our bodies are incredibly resilient and self-healing when we support it with the right tools and lifestyle practices. Incorporate these daily detox habits into your life and get your body in tip-top shape!