4. Employ a Seasonal Detox to Help Achieve Optimal Results.

Those neon-colored chips you’ve had more times than you care to admit. The hours you spend navigating smoggy traffic. Your dish soap. Your shower gel. Your skincare cream. Ever think about the onslaught of all you ingest, inhale and absorb? Your body has to metabolize and excrete your chemical intake and the higher the toxin load, the more stress the process puts on your body. Time to detox? We think so. In fact, we whole-heartedly recommend the practice twice a year, come Spring and come Fall.

“Processed foods, pollution, and the chemicals in our everyday environment wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to inflammation and lowered immunity”. “The concept of detoxification, whether it’s done with foods or juices, is that you’re allowing your digestive system time to rest and repair while flushing out toxins through the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin.”

Think detoxing isn’t necessary? You might want to reconsider. Sure, it’s easier to stick with the status quo. And yes, your body does have its own natural detoxifying process, but consider how many chemicals we’re up against these days. A seasonal detox is like giving your body a dietary time-out, a respite that offers a bevvy of rewards. “The process creates an environment in which metabolism on all levels works at best capacity”. “From a health standpoint, it can lessen inflammation and potential cellular damage and from an athletic standpoint, it can ultimately optimize performance.”

We think that’s a win-win. So here’s the game plan: Give it 10 days and cut out acid-forming foods like meat, corn, dairy and gluten. (These can alter the acid-base balance in the body, creating the inflammation you’re trying to avoid). For now, skip the nightshade vegetables — tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and potatoes. They can be inflammatory, too. Focus instead on seasonal fruits and veggies in both whole food form and juice. You heard that right: We advocate using food to detox, not just juice. Juice is great as an adjunct, but it lacks fiber and toxins bind to fiber, aiding elimination.

These detoxifiers should be front and center on your shopping list: Broccoli and broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, onions, garlic, ginger, artichokes, beets, parsley, and dark leafy greens like kale, collards and swiss chard. Include some protein-rich quinoa, raw walnuts and almonds (sprinkle them in salads and stir fries), and thyroid-stimulating sea vegetables like kelp, nori, and wakame. Add a good dose of healthy fat and creamy texture with avocado, and incorporate alkalizing lemon and cayenne plus anti- inflammatory turmeric whenever you can. Want more protein? Blend up a shake made from pea or artichoke protein, rather than whey. 






3. Eat Minimally Processed Foods without Added Sugars

Forget the proverbial Ah-ha moment. Eating sugar provides the quintessential Ahhh moment — euphoria that brain scientists liken to the feeling of romantic love. How can we resist? But that sugar high is fleeting at best and damaging on the cellular level at worst. Chronic consumption of sugary, processed foods sets off a chain reaction in the body that goes way beyond the superficial “moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips” consequence. Nowadays, your health is at stake.

“Processed foods made from sugar and white flour like cookies, cakes, crackers, and breads contain loads of sugar — one reason we’re eating more sugar than ever before. Consumption has increased 50% in the last 30 years”. “Sugar itself is inflammatory and when you eat a lot of these foods, your body produces insulin in excess, which increases inflammation. Insulin is a growth hormone, so too much of it in the bloodstream can also lead to metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes.” Even if you don’t end up with a future diabetes diagnosis, metabolic syndrome is nothing to ignore. It manifests as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and increased abdominal fat — the health-damaging kind that ups heart disease risk.

Part of the problem is that today’s processed foods are super-charged, steroid-like versions of junk doctored by big-brand food makers so that they’re even more addictive. The processing of high fructose corn syrup, for instance, actually increases the fructose level. Throw some salt, fat, and synthetic additives into the cake mix and it becomes even harder to say no. “The body has difficulty metabolizing fake sugars, preservatives, and what’s known as ‘natural flavoring’”. “And this leads to even more inflammation.” And while you don’t see this internal inflammatory response, you can experience life- impacting symptoms: Stiffness in your joints and muscles (bound to impede athletic performance), too red or too pale skin (inflammation affects circulation), allergies (think itchy, watery eyes and a stuffy nose), digestive issues, and fatigue.

Sadly, we’re not done with the lesson here. There’s another health-derailing aspect to highly processed foods. The pesticides and preservatives used in the manufacturing process and the packaging itself can disrupt the endocrine system, interfering with your natural hormonal balance. “These substances can inappropriately activate the estrogen receptors in the body, leading to weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss, and even cancer”. (Bisphenol A, a compound found in plastics and the lining of cans is particularly problematic, so try to minimize exposure).

Time to step away from the cupcakes, don’t you think? We’ve done our best to redirect your thinking, so do your part and redirect yourself when you hit the grocery store. Head to the outer aisles where you’ll find plenty of organic produce, lean meat, and fish. The idea is to go from loading up on bar-coded boxes to filling up bags (preferably the re-useable cotton-canvas type) with fresh, minimally processed fare.

Make it a habit.