Beat Inflammation with an Easy Detox Program
Posted on Jan 6, 2015
Happy New Year to all! I hope that 2015 is off to a great start for all of you.
I know that for many of us, the last few weeks of 2014 were unusually full of indulgences. Whether you filled up your plate with sugar cookies, attended wine and cheese parties, enjoyed extra portions of rich meats, or some combination of all of these, it’s likely that you were eating and drinking differently than you normally do. As you know from my previous posts on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, these indulgences can build up over time and lead to inflammation throughout the body. This means that the aftermath of all those cookies might still be in your system, making you feel puffy and sluggish, contributing to headaches and low back pain, and leading to a wide variety of digestive problems. As winter sets in and temperatures drop, this inflammation is made even worse by the cold weather, making your muscles stiff and your joints achey. Since this is the time for New Year’s resolutions, it’s also a good time to nip this inflammation in the bud. Most people think of January as the perfect time to start a new exercise regimine and lose weight, but it’s important to remember that exercise alone won’t be enough to help you trim down if you’re suffering from inflammation. If you want to feel your best as you enter the year, you also have to start being mindful of what you put into your body.
Now is the perfect time to detoxify your system by taking a break from rich indulgences and focusing on eating mostly organic vegetables and other plain, easy to digest foods. Enjoy a vegetarian diet for just a few days to give your system a chance to clear out the inflammation that’s built up. For 3-4 days, eat only lightly cooked, non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, green peppers, zucchini, salad greens, green beans, etc.), eggs, broth and broth-based soups, and healthy oils. Incorporating high-quality oils such as coconut or walnut oil into your meals throughout the day will help keep you full and satisfied during the detox period. It’s also important to drink plenty of water during this time. Staying well-hydrated will ensure that your body is able to flush excess toxins and inflammation out of your system. Add a pinch of himalayan pink salt to a bottle of water and keep refilling it throughout the day.
Many people use this time of year to do a juice fast or juice cleanse, which are becoming increasingly popular. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, winter is not the best time to try one of these programs. Consuming only cold juices will force your body to expend extra energy to warm up your stomach before it can begin digestion. If it’s already cold outside, your body will have an even harder time processing cold foods and liquids, which can lead to even more puffiness, increased cramping, and discomfort. If you really want to encorporate freshly-pressed vegetable juice into your detox regimen, limit it to one meal per day, preferably at lunchtime, when temperatures are a bit warmer. Add ginger to the juice, or follow it with ginger tea, since ginger naturally warms the stomach. You can also try green smoothies, to benefit from the fiber in the vegetables, or just switch to vegetable soup, which is better suited to the winter season.
Take a few days to pamper your body and fill it with nutritious foods, and you’ll be amazed to see how quickly it changes!
Filed in Diet & Nutrition
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