According to traditional chinese medicine practices, each season comes with its own Qi (or energy). Responsible for detoxifying the body, it is only natural that the liver is associated with spring’s sense of renewal. After a long winter hibernation, most of us are yearning for a fresh start, to cleanse our body of damaging habits and restore our health and overall wellbeing.
Detoxes are a popular way of freeing up the body’s energy by taking the stress off the organs that are tasked with processing it’s toxins. They can range in approach depending on one’s medical history and current lifestyle. However, there are also many other ways we can reboot our system without adhering to the limitations of a typical cleanse. Here are a few tips to help you get back to basics and create long lasting healthy habits.
Cut Out Added Sugar
Now is the time to rid your panty, fridge and freezer of highly processed foods that have excess salt, fats, preservatives, carbohydrates, and yes, sugar. When shopping, stick to the outside of the store rather than the middle where most things come in a box, bag or can. While sugar can be found naturally in most dairy products, fruits and even vegetables, added sugars are to be avoided as much as possible. Many favored drinks, sauces, cereals, and granola bars for example masquerade as healthy options, yet contain either added sugar or artificial sweeteners that are harmful to our system.
Get in the Kitchen and Cook
Now that you’ve tossed out all those frozen or prepackaged meals, you can better control the nutrients that you’re feeding your body. Chances are you’ll have a better relationship with food if you take the time to understand what goes into every meal. Additionally, meal prepping for the coming week is a great way to set yourself up for success and avoid falling into the pitfalls of easy, old habits.
Choose Healthy Fats
Not all fats are bad. When cooking, opt for healthier options such as olive oil over butter and meats with lower fat ratios. Incorporate nuts, avocado and fish products as well into your lifestyle.
Ditch the Carbs and Opt for Fruits and Veggies
Spring is a great time to visit your local farmer’s market and enjoy all the fresh produce our community has to offer. When making desserts, utilize fruits instead of sugar and carb based recipes. Vegetables can also replace many carbohydrates that we take for granted everyday. Substitute lettuce for bread and taco shells, make vegetable sides, and turn squash into pasta!
Don’t Cook Down or Blend Your Foods
Did you know that digesting fruits and vegetables raw actually allows our body to break down and burn the calories more efficiently than it does when they are cooked down or blended? Raw produce also delivers the most amount of fiber and other important nutrients that our body so desperately needs. Be cautious of overcooking or blending your fruits and vegetables, as doing so breaks down the food for your body thus increasing the amount of calories absorbed.
Look at the Color on Your Plate
Is there too much brown? Add some color! The pigments in our foods can be a great indicator of the vitamins and antioxidants that lie within.
Stay hydrated with water and green tea and stop drinking liquid calories. Water and green tea are good for your metabolism, help detoxify the body, boost the immune system, increase blood flow, and lubricate our joints. Add a boost of flavor by adding fruit, or a sprig of mint!
Consider a Probiotic
Probiotics help regulate and maintain our gut and digestive health by providing the body with good bacteria. Though there are supplements you can take, probiotics can be found naturally in some yogurts, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, sauerkraut as well as cheeses.
At River City Wellness, we offer lifestyle recommendations for those looking for more balance. Everything from the foods we eat, to the amount of exercise we get and even our mental outlook can be contributing factors to our health. If you’re looking to make some changes or detox this spring, feel free to schedule an appointment by visiting us online or contacting us at (502) 822-0626.