3 Easy Ways to Detox This Spring

This is a guest post by Lisa Consiglio Ryan who provides ways to detox and embrace clean living.

Hello. Oh, hello in there! Wake up! Spring is here. It’s time to come out and play; dance your dance.

Spring is nature’s birthing season. A time for creation and development. So this is a good time to take a look at your life and make a new plan. What do you want to clear out as the past in your environment, within yourself? What do you wish to see happen this year? This can be a new start.

Speaking of new starts and new beginnings, this time of year reminds me of cleansing. AND a great way to supercharge the season is to detox.

Spring is the perfect time to do a detox because you can take a good look at habits and set health goals. During springtime, you are filled with inspiration and have more energy to achieve these goals. You’re more active, creative, and more apt to stick to your routines.

Once you experience a detox that incorporates whole foods and daily activities that support your body, there isn’t anything in the world that can compare to the feeling you get after a detox. You may feel increased bouts of energy, eliminate your cravings, lose weight, reduce bloating and get rid of belly fat. Your mind is clear and focused, and even your mood can improve. You might even glow!

Now doesn’t that sound lovely?

Here are my top 3 ways to detox during the spring:

  1. Eat whole, real foods: Try a gentle, clean food-based detox. The first step is to eliminate foods that have barcodes. This means avoid foods that come in a can or box; processed foods. I usually remind myself of this rule when I shop. Eliminate foods with added sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, soy, and animal protein. Stick to organic fruits and veggies for your cleanse. Lots of vegetables, fruits, greens, grains, legumes, beans…
  2. Pump the green goodness: Spring time foods consist of dandelion greens, spinach, parsley, watercress, asparagus, peas, fennel, and mustard greens. You can also add in additional dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss Chard, and collards. The chlorophyll from the leaves feed the blood, and help your body achieve balance. Therefore, ridding your body of toxins becomes easier. You feel cleaner.
  3. Determine the length of your detox: 10 days is a perfect time period to feel and see changes in your body. It’s just enough time to really get the full effects of a detox. It takes time to make changes, and your body needs time to adjust to eating differently, getting rid of toxins, and establishing habits. So a cleanse less than 10 days might not give you the full effects. If you are new to detoxing or want a power-boost to jump start healthy living, then 10 days is a good start.

Beauty Remedy Juice Recipe

(my signature juice perfect for spring plus gives a glow inside and out)

Ingredients to juice:

1 bunch of spinach leaves (or kale, just remove stems; approximately 6 leaves)
½ lime
1 apple
1 cucumber
½ inch fresh ginger root

Makes one 12 oz. glass of green goodness.

Are you ready to get your detox on this spring?

Lisa Consiglio Ryan is the founder of Whole Health Designs. She provides detox programs for women who desire to embrace clean living. Lisa is also developing her own line of raw juices.

Join Lisa for her popular Spring Renewal 10 Day Detox.

Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter.

Spring Detox: 4 Ways to Keep Your Detox Healthy and Safe

This is a spring detox guest post by Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs.

Spring cleaning; spring forward; jump into spring; spring detox. How many more spring-isms can I come up with? I just LOVE this time of year. Not only does spring symbolize renewal and rebirth, it also reminds me of cleansing. AND a great way to supercharge the season is to detox.

About 9 years ago I tried my first 10 day detox with my acupuncturist. It was hell. Really. I remember spending over $200 on supplements and a concoction that tasted like paste. The first few days were a fast, and I was starving! I got to add some broth near the end, but I was so weak and felt hungry all the time. Needless to say whenever someone mentioned detox, I ran for the hills. The words that came to mind were deprivation, starvation, and torture.

After experimenting with a few different food-based cleanses and researching detox programs during my nutrition certification program, I now think of detox as glowing, vibrant, energizing, and light.

So why the change? Once you experience a detox that incorporates whole foods and daily activities that support your body, there isn’t anything in the world that can compare to the feeling you get after a detox. You may feel increased bouts of energy, eliminate food cravings, lose weight, reduce bloating and get rid of belly fat. Your mind is clear and focused, and even your mood can improve. My hubby sure liked that one the best.

There are lots of “detox” regimens out there. Some are juice cleanses. Some require fasting or calorie counting. Some promise a flushed colon or invigorated spleen. While these types of detox programs (which mainly come in a box) seem safe, I do not recommend cleanses that eliminate whole foods. Many of us are so busy and active, and if you aren’t eating, you can set yourself up for illness, feeling weak and unproductive.

Spring Detox Recommendations

Here are my top 4 sure fire ways to keep your detox healthy and safe.

Spring detox
  1. I suggest a gentle, clean food-based detox. The first step is to eliminate foods that have barcodes. Michael Pollen, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemmaand Food Rules, suggests that we avoid foods that come in a can or box. I usually remind myself of this rule when I shop. For your food-based cleanse stick to organic fruits and veggies plus lots of dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, collards.My favorite spring detox food is leeks. This veggie rocks, but most of all it is known to cleanse and purify the liver, the spring organ according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture.Try this yummy leek recipe from the 10 Day Reboot Your Body Detox. This recipe is adapted from The Flexitarian Table. Bean, Leek, and Pea Soup Recipe
  2. As you pump the green stuff, you also need to avoid the following: added sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, wheat/gluten, eggs, animal protein, corn, soy, and fruit juices since they are very high in sugar and calories.
  3. Of course eating foods that nourish and detoxify are necessary for your cleanse, but the next step is to incorporate exercise. Try gentle yoga, walking in nature, stretching. You don’t want to run for 12 miles or bike for hours during your cleanse. You will be completely exhausted. Your body is working hard to get rid of toxins, and she needs to rest to restore during the detox period. Taking time to breathe and meditate. This time is for YOU.
  4. Finally, determine the length of your detox. I recommend a program that is 10 days. Anything less than 10 days is not beneficial. It takes time to make changes, and your body needs time to adjust to eating differently, getting rid of toxins, and establishing habits. Usually my clients start to see changes around Day 8 and really feel the full effects by Day 10. If you are new to detoxing or want a power-boost to jump start healthy living, then 10 days is a good start.

Are you entertaining a spring detox?

Are you ready to try a spring detox? Have you done a cleanse before? Fill me in with your comment below. I would love to know your thoughts on getting your detox on!

Spring Detox

Lisa Consiglio Ryan is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach for busy, active women and their families. Areas of expertise include weight loss, stress management, detox programs, and special diets such as vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Services include private consulting and group seminars.

Contact Lisa at Whole Health Designs for more information. Connect with Lisa on Twitter and Facebook for more information about spring detox and healthy living!

The Hidden Dangers of Sugar & Unhealthy Sweeteners

This is a guest post by Veronica Rousseau from Life With Nature.

Sugar is omnipresent in our food culture. Just for fun, next time you go to the grocery store, pick any of the packaged food and look at the nutritional label.

I bet that any food you’ll pick up actually contains sugar in one form or another. And while it’s not rocket science to understand that high sugary treats are not part of a healthy diet, most people don’t realize how much it can sabotage their health.

Why avoid sugar?

Sugar is a potent pro-inflammatory substance that has a significant effect on your body. Sugar stimulates a physiological chain reaction that provokes adrenaline and cortisol release, and thickens the blood. This means that eating sugary food can actually have the same effects on your body as stress does. Eating too much sugar could make you sick more often, as it might lower our immune system by interfering with white blood cells’ function.

Sugar is also one of the worst foods for your skin. It induces severe oxidative stress, which is linked to premature aging. Sugar also fuels cancer cells, promotes fat storage, and prevents amino acids to effectively reach muscle tissue. Over time, sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance, which is linked to type II diabetes, and plays a role in many other health conditions including nerve damage and cardiovascular diseases.

What’s The Deal with HFCS?

High fructose corn syrup, aka corn sugar, or glucose/fructose, is basically glucose syrup made from corn in which about half of the glucose is converted in fructose. While fructose might sound not so bad as it is the form of sugar contained in fruits, in HFCS, it appears to be the key element behind the many negative health effects that gives bad press to this sweetener.

HFCS can contribute to liver diseases, get your bad cholesterol levels higher and can lead to leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone in charge of telling your body to stop eating. When your leptin doesn’t function properly, you continuously feel hungry, no matter how much you eat. HFCS can also be contaminated with lead, adding to your toxic burden.

What you must understand is that too much sugar, even from natural sources like agave nectar or dried fruits, can have a negative impact on your health. That being said, life should be fun and so should be your diet. If you kill all the pleasure of eating, chances are that you won’t be able to stick to your healthy diet for very long.

The key here is not to demonize all sugar forms, but rather to understand the health impact they can have on our body. Choosing natural sweeteners with beneficial nutrients in it like raw honey, maple syrup, dry fruits, or stevia are by far the best option to safely satisfy your sweet tooth once in a while.

veronica

Want more tips to detox naturally and natural living info, plus a free detox guide featuring delicious recipes? Visit Veronica’s blog at lifewithnature.com. Veronica Rousseau is the health nut behind lifewithnature’s blog where she shares her never-ending passion for natural detoxification, healthy eating and green living.

How Your Tastebuds Will Betray You & Why It’s Not Your Fault

Your tastebuds will betray you
Photo by Andrew Hill

Look from side to side to make sure no one’s reading over your shoulder. Is the coast clear? Good.

As I write this I’m leaning in, because what I’m about to say might shock some people.

“You know how you automatically react when you see someone attractive?”

“Um.. yeah, I guess?” you shrug, shifting uncomfortably.

“Sometimes it’s the flush of your cheeks, or a less obvious rush of blood in more obvious places.”

You nod quickly, “Get to the point Nathalie, what’s this got to do with healthy eating?”

“Well the way your body’s reaction betrays you when you’ve got the hots for someone is exactly how your body will sabotage your healthy eating efforts.”

Stick with me for a second while I explain.

Your Tastebuds React Whether You Like it or Not

Just like our basic human biological reactions to an attractive person, our body reacts to certain types of “attractive” food.

Why do our tastebuds and bodies seem to crave foods that we know with our minds aren’t good for us?

Just like we know that bad boy with the motorcycle isn’t going to stick around after he gets what he wants… we know that donut isn’t going to make us feel good in an hour after we’ve had our fun.

It comes down to a little evolutionary device that was actually put in place to help us survive.

Back in the day we wanted the tough alpha male so our babies would have strong genes. (Reverse this for men and having many beautiful offsprings.)

Similarly, back in the day it was hard to find foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. These were scarce resources that we weren’t able to get our fill of, so we evolved to seek them out for survival.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) today we’ve got more than enough sources of fat, salt, and sugar. In fact we’re practically drowning in them.

So that evolutionary pull that our tastebuds create for foods that contain lots of fat, salt, and sugar is an antiquated tool.

Taking This Analogy Further

If we just listened to our bodies all the time we’d end up in a sex-crazed, overpopulated society.

(Okay, you might say that we’re there already, but I’m an eternal optimist.)

Add to that the fact that the foods we crave so much are now highly available. Vending machines, street vendors, and refrigerators mean you’ve always got unhealthy foods at your fingertips.

I often hear that we “should just eat what tastes good to our bodies, in moderation.” And although I believe in the concept in general, I think that it doesn’t apply in our world of caffeinated beverages, salty crackers, and sweetened dried fruit.

Alas, our body’s natural “balance” mechanism has gone completely out of whack. Some studies were done on young kids, where the kids could choose what they could eat at will. At first all of them went for the “bad” foods that were sugary, salty, or fatty.

Confused?
Photo by Dan Foy

But eventually the kids balanced this out by eating vegetables and fruits. By choice. It was natural for them to want to eat something different.

The problem began when they started testing older children, who didn’t feel the need to balance out their consumption of salt, fat, and sugar.

Sound familiar? It’s not your fault, it’s all in the body’s mechanisms.

Our Bodies Are Just As Confused As We Are

We are constantly being bombarded with information regarding nutrition: you should avoid these foods they are bad for you, and you should eat more of these foods they’re good for you.

We get so gosh darn confused with all this conflicting information!

If you think our minds are confused, what about our bodies?

After eating a diet of standard American fare, our bodies lose their ability to recognize foods that it can digest.

As a child, our bodies know that fruits and vegetables are easy to digest. They also know that pop tarts and diet coke are not normal: we experience different side effects when they’re ingested.

The more processed food you eat growing up, the more confused your body gets. As you grow up, you loose your ability to trust your body’s original balanced instincts about food.

Everything Has Salt, Sugar, Corn, or Soy

All of the different packaged and processed foods contain certain ingredients: salt, sugar, oils, corn, or soy.

Manufacturers used these ingredients because they are addictive, make things taste good, and are cheap fillers.

Of course what makes good business sense for manufacturers, doesn’t necessarily make good health sense.

What about when moderation means that manufacturers put sugar, salt, and other “additives” in just about every since store bought product?

It’s much harder to eat these substances in moderation when they’re in pretty much everything you find at the store. Except produce, of course.

Trust Your Eyesight

It would be a bit cynical for me to say “trust no one”. But, there is someone you can trust, and that’s you and your eyesight.

Read the labels.

If there’s something you can’t pronounce, or where the first ingredient is one of the main culprits (salt, sugar, hydrogenated oils) then step away. You don’t have to buy these products, you can buy fresh produce or an organic alternative that doesn’t include all of these tricky ingredients.

Good luck, we’re all in this together.

Stay Tuned…

Next week I’ll be back with something that people have been asking me for a lot. I’ll be sharing my big epiphany, which goes hand in hand with this article.

Love, Nathalie

Homemade Acne Treatments? How About Foods that Prevent Acne

This article has been a long time coming, and it is hard for me to post pictures and write about my journey with acne. I started getting lots of pimples when I was eleven years old, and tried everything to get rid of it.

Finally, after years of struggling with facial and body acne, I feel like I am ready to share what I have learned to stop zits and breakouts. I’m by no means an acne expert, I share only what has worked for me.

Homemade Acne Treatment
Acne photos – before and after high raw diet

Hormonal Acne, Pimples, and Sugar

I started having lots of acne and breakouts when I was 11 years old. At that point in my life candy was a staple in my diet, and so were processed sugary foods like cakes and cookies. I also drank soft drinks left and right.

Oh, and I should mention that my favorite restaurant growing up was McDonald’s. For the toys.

Since I started breaking out at a young age (no one else had acne yet) my parents and I tried all kinds of things. I went to the dermatologist, the esthetician, and bought every type of cream and “system”.

I kept hearing “rumors” that acne was caused by chocolate, or soda, or sugar. When I asked my dermatologist, the answer was a flabbergasted – of course not! Diet has nothing to do with breakouts, it’s all hormones. (Now I know that the body is a sum of the whole, and that nothing is ever isolated!)

Nothing really put a dent into the acne, no matter how much on the spot acne treatment stuff I applied. The years went by and I continued to eat peanut butter sandwiches, lots of sugary snacks, junk food, and soda.

Acne and Birth Control Pills

Finally in an act of desperation when I was 16 I went on the birth control pill, as recommended by my dermatologist.

I saw a slight improvement in my skin, even though the acne never completely went away. Unfortunately the birth control pill would go on to affect a lot of other things in my body.

I gained about 20 pounds in one summer when I started on the pill. This exacerbated an already messed up relationship with food and emotions.

It also put my hormones out of whack. In fact when I decided to stop taking the birth control pill 5 years later, I had a hard time getting my period back.

Oh, and when I stopped taking the birth control pill my acne remained at the same level. So really, I think the pill did more harm than good… especially when you take into account the side effects and how it threw off the balance of good bacteria and yeast in my body.

Homemade Acne Treatments

So what do I think is the best homemade acne treatment? A change of diet, quite truthfully. I’ve tried all the creams, all the homemade masks, and the closest I’ve come to clear skin is by eating right.

So what do I consider to be “eating right”? Eating lots of high water content fresh fruits and vegetables, reducing or even eliminating sugar, wheat, and dairy.

Here’s a little bit of what might be going on underneath your skin, and why what you eat really influences acne and breakouts:

  • You get breakouts and pimples when oil glands get infected with bacteria, causing an inflammation response and filling up with white blood cells and pus.
  • Eating foods that boost your immune system will help your body fight the bacteria, thus reducing the inflammation. Immune system boosting foods include those high in Vitamin C like oranges, kiwis, and broccoli.
  • Sugar causes spikes in energy and blood sugar, and generally leads to a compromised immune system, low energy, and a cycle of eating more sugar.
  • Sugar also feeds the yeast, causing an imbalance of good bacteria in the body. Without the good bacteria to protect you, you are more vulnerable to breakouts.
  • Stress has an impact on the immune system, essentially shutting down our digestion and other auxiliary “services” to undertake the fight or flight response. That’s why you get more breakouts when you’re stressed.
  • Toxins and other unwanted substances can get lodged in the body, either through the foods we eat, the air we breathe, or the products we put on our skin. If you observe breakouts after using certain products, discontinue their use.
  • Allergies and food sensitivities cause your body to go into an immune response, leading to constant inflammation, and reducing your body’s immune response sensitivity over time.
  • Water is essential for flushing out the toxins, hydrating the body and the skin. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day.

Acne Tips

Here are some other acne tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Check out Acne.org for videos on how to wash your face to reduce inflammation.
  2. Picking pimples is not recommended, it causes scarring, and just encourages more pimples in the same spot.
  3. Be gentle on yourself – a lot of this is about mindset, and change is never an overnight transformation.

Finally, I need to say that I’m not totally blemish free. I still get some acne and pimples, but it’s much more manageable.

In fact, I usually know exactly why I am getting breakouts. Lack of sleep, too much stress, not eating right, a certain type of make up or lotion, that time of the month, etc.

Got Any More Acne Treatments or Tips?

I’d love to hear your acne story. If you found a natural way to reduce or stop your acne, let us know in the comments!

We’re all in this together and the more we share, the better for future visitors who are in need of advice.

Love, Nathalie