The Time To Cleanse is Upon Us!

Yawn, stretch, yawn.  Hibernation is over.  The budding trees outside remind me spring has indeed sprung.  And like earth is doing right now, so should we be doing: CLEANSING!  Cleansing is a dirty, intimidating word to a lot of people that makes them be like:

But I assure you, if you do a cleanse that works with your body, you will discover the absolute necessity of cleansing throughout the year, (ideally quarterly).

First thing to note when considering a cleanse: THERE IS NO RIGHT CLEANSE FOR EVERYONE.   The age old cayenne pepper and lemon juice cleanse may be great for some constitutions, while it may kill other constitutions.  So I would choose a cleanse that is suitable to:

  • A) your will-power.  Do not choose a cleanse you know you cannot follow.  This is just setting yourself up for failure. 
  • B) Your lifestyle.  Think realistically about what you can do without completely disrupting your day to day life.  A cleanse will require you to sacrifice a bit of your time and perhaps social events (as most social events revolve around food)  but it’s only for a few weeks of your life.  It’s worth it and you owe it to yourself. 
  • C) Your Current Level of Health.  If you are a health nut already and eat a lot of raw foods, you may want to look at doing a deep colon cleanse using the aide of herbs.  If fruits and veggies are foreign to your diet, a more basic cleanse may be a good way to start. 

Regardless of your current eating patterns your body NEEDS to cleanse.  There are so many benefits to cleansing.  To further convince you to do a cleanse, I will highlight the more catchy reasons:

WEIGHTLOSS   If you follow your cleanse, you will notice pounds dripping off, for two reasons: 1) you won’t be eating junky foods    2)You will be giving your body a break from the hard work of digesting foods like dairy, carbs, processed foods, excess proteins, so it can focus on cleansing and eliminating the built up gunk in your system.  That gunk really packs a punch and can EASILY add an extra 5-15 pounds on the scale.  Once you begin to cleanse, that gunk caked to the sides of your intestinal tract will be released which will aid to weight and inches lost, primarily around the abdominal area.  Have I convinced you that a cleanse is a good idea yet?

ENERGY INCREASE   Just as I demonstrated in the first three words of this entry, people tend to feel sluggish as they come out of their winter hibernation, but are eager to shed their winter “coats”.  A cleanse is a great way to aide this process.  Cleansing will actually give you energy because you will be eating HIGH QUALITY FOODS, and the built up gunk (I suppose I’ll stick with the same, non-technical verbiage) will not be around to weigh you down.   REMEMBER:  it is possible to have long lasting energy without eating breads and animal products, both of which should be avoided while on any decent cleanse. 

DISEASE PREVENTION  Cancer, Candida, Hypo/hyperthyroidism, specific organ diseases, diverticulitis, allergies, Celiac, IBS are all diseases/conditions caused by poor digestion, caused by the standard American diet.   Just like teeth, our bodies produce plaque/mucus when we eat, as a defense mechanism to protect itself from chemicals, unnatural ingredients in our food.  There are over  12 organs involved in the digestion process, all with an estimated surface area to be the size of a football field!   That’s a lot of organs exposed to the foods we eat, both good and bad.   Cleansing allows your body to catch up on digestion, and clean the mucussey-hard to reach places inside the digestive tract where diseases like the ones listed above thrive.  Plaque/mucus build up is the perfect breeding ground for disease.  Similar to our teeth, we should schedule cleanings every 3-6 months for our bodies.  It only makes sense.

If you are unsure which cleanse you want to try, or don’t want to take the time to look around, might I offer a suggestion? 

For two weeks eat a diet composed only of fruits and veggies. This is not meant to be a two week period of starvation.  You should feel full at the end of every meal.  Your day should go something like this:

  • Eat as many fruits as you need to feel full throughout the morning.
  • Enjoy a huge DEEP LEAFY GREEN salad for lunch with as many veggies, nuts/seeds as you want
  • If you get the munchies throughout the afternoon, snack on raw almonds, or carrots
  • Eat a huge DEEP LEAFY GREEN salad for dinner with as many veggies, nuts/seeds as you want.
  • If you are craving sweets, figs will be your best friend. They are loaded with natural sugars and fiber.
  • If you’re absolutely dying from cravings and you feel your only options are to fall off your cleanse or eat chocolate, BUY CACAO NIBS

The deep leafy greens such as chard, kale, or spinach will act as a scrub brush throughout your digestive tract and are the best thing to help you rock your cleanse. The more you can eat the better.  DRINK TONS OF WATER  (tons meaning at LEAST 8 cups)

  

THINGS TO AVOID

  • Any beverage except water
  • Breads in any form
  • Pasta
  • Processed food
  • Baked goods
  • Animal Products
  • Dairy
  • Sweets

If you are looking for a deep cleanse, which I would HIGHLY recommend, I would trust no one else besides Vicki Talmage.  She is a life-saver, literally.  She will change your life and help you to view health in a way that you never have before. 

These are the organs associated with the digestive tract

I’m telling you, cleanses are great.  They will improve your health drastically.  Not gonna lie, you’re going to be crabby the first few days because you’ll realize how much you rely on food for entertainment, happiness, or comfort.  But cleansing will let you test your strength.  After the first week, you’ll be feeling pretty good about your health and it may be easy to justify stopping.  Don’t.  Tell yourself good job and keep cleansing.  If you think there’s nothing left to cleanse, keep cleansing.  The longer you can cleanse the better.  You owe it to yourself to at least give it a try.

 

 

PS I apologize for the annoying “text enhance” popups throughout this post.  Thank you WordPress.  Anyone know how to get them to stop?!?!

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So What is Health Anyway?

For being such a commonly used term, health is a very misunderstood concept.   I decided to do a little research to find out what the Confucious of our time, Google, had to say about it.  Google has 7,120,000,000 pages relating to health.  And when I asked Google specifically what health is, Google told me: “the state of being free from illness or injury”, “the absence of abnormailty”, ” the level of functional or metabolic efficiency”.  It also told me that Gerber, Nutrisystem, ask.com, and intermountainlive were the deep pocketed sponsors for that page.

My flawlessly designed, meticulously executed research confirmed my suspicions: health is a vaguely defined concept that everyone in the world (almost) tries to define and/or sell.  It is like religion.  Everyone has their own opinion; different religions work better for different people.   There is a right level of health for everyone.  But it takes time and attention to discover your personal level of health.

This is the main concept I have learned during the last year and a half of my schooling. Despite media propoganda, health should not be synonymous with skinny.   To suggest that is a very 2-dimensional version of health.  Health should be viewed as  achieving balance in every aspect of your life.

One of the main focuses in my schooling has been based around the above image.  As you can see, it suggests that in the center of health is the consumption of high quality water, veggies, grains, fruits, proteins, and oils (in that order).  Surrounding a high quality diet, are lifestyle factors: relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality.  I LOVE this pyramid because it encompases all areas of life, which so many other health regiments fail to do.  One cannot achieve optimal health simply by eating a fantastic diet or working out every day.  I’m sure we can all think of someone who is so obsessed with healthy foods or their gym time, that it consumes their life.  An imbalance  in physical exercise or diet leaches energy that should go to other areas of life, like relationships or career.

Another huge concept I focus on in my life and with my coaching is the concept of bio-individuality.  This is to say that each person has unique food and lifestyle needs.  One person’s food is another person’s poison.  I have tried and failed many a diet and lifestyle change throughout my life.  In the past I even hesitated to fully embrace becoming a health coach because I myself am definitely not perfect in my nutrition.  I am most likely the world’s biggest yo-yoer.  But the lessons I’ve learned through my health challenges have become as big a part of my education as my schooling.  They have helped me to embrace the reality of what being healthy is all about.

A common phrase I hear when I talk with people about their health is: “I’m healthy enough”.   And perhaps they are. But what we should be thinking is, how healthy can I be?  Ask yourself that question as you consider your current health, what you want it to be, and what you can do to get there.  Take the whole gambit of health into consideration and it will foster the pathway to a sustainable change.  It will make losing weight easier. It will help creating meaningful relationships easier. It will create a happier you.   If you have questions about the pyramid or how to apply it to your life, I’d love to answer them – feel free to contact me.

Farmers Market Time!

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“I love the rain the most, when it stops”, sings the sultry Joe Purdy.  I couldn’t disagree with him more.  I adore the rain.  However, these rainy days are soon to fly the coop for good.  And we will be left to greet the sunshine and summer solstice with open arms and pale skin. 
When I think of summer, one of the first things that comes to mind, are farmers markets.  I get excited just thinking about the food to be sampled, live music to listen to, jewelry to ogle, and meals to be made from their ingredients!  Utah has an abundance of farmers markets, which have gained quite a bit of momentum in the past five years.  To find one near you, check out this website.
For those of you in the Salt Lake area, the downtown farmers market starts TOMORROW from 8:00-1:00!  So gather  your cash and reusable bags and head on down to enjoy the sunshine, delicious food, and local vendors.  They are held weekly at Pioneer Park: 300 South 300 West, SLC.  Street parking is limited. However there is a parking garage directly across from the park on the west side of the street, that a lot of people overlook.   It’s the building with the large “Parking” sign on the front.
Farmers markets are great for so many reasons:
–           They are fun and entertaining for people of all ages, with great homemade foods, activities for kids, live music, and occasional hoola hooping father-daughter duet
–           They allow us to shop locally, which is a great way to keep our community’s economy  nice and healthy
–           They allow us to eat fresh, locally grown food.  When food is shipped from around the country (or world) it loses both freshness and nutrients, so the closer we are to where our food is grown, the better off we’ll be
–           They give us the opportunity to talk with the growers/farmers face to face and ask questions regarding growing techniques of their produce and/or meat.  This is a great way to foster relationships and help us realize where food actually does come from.  It’s easy to think it just comes from a grocery store.  Talking with people who actually grow food is a great way to get rid of that ignorance
–           They allow us to be involved with our communities, meet new people, and try new things
–           They are a great way to network, whether it’s for recipes, a business venture, gardening tips, crafting, or simply a weekend date, you’ll surely meet someone looking to do the same at a farmers market
–          They are a great way to support local entrepreneurs 
Here’s kind of a guide to what you can expect to see at the markets, depending on the month:
·         May; bedding plants, greens
·         June; strawberries, greens, lettuce, green onions, carrots
·         July; raspberries, tomatoes, assorted veggies
·         August; raspberries, peaches, assorted veggies, corn
·         September; watermelons, cantaloupes; assorted veggies; blackberries
·         October; gourds, squash, late melons, pumpkins, greens
See you all there!

Kale

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Ahhh Kale.  If a vegetable could be nerdy, Kale would be.  It’s one of those “smart” foods many people have never even heard of, or only consider to be guinea pig food.  So to explain Kale’s greatness it’s only appropriate to do so in a nerdy-like fashion:
K – Vitamin K: Kale has oodles of vitamin K, which aides in blood clotting, and bone calcification.  This is great in preventing osteoporosis, and, well, uncontrollable blood squirting.  Kale also has lots of well-absorbed calcium (meaning calcium in a form the body can actually absorb, before it is digested), again, helping in the prevention of osteoporosis.
A –Anti-Oxidant: Kale has an extremely high concentration of beta-carotene, and other carotenoids: really helpful anti-oxidents linked to the prevention of cancer and heart disease.  They boost our body’s own antioxidant defense system, enabling it to fight against damaging free radicals we’re all inevitably exposed to.  Side note: carotenoids help keep UV rays from damaging our eyes, which causes cataracts.
L – Laxative: Kale is unusually high in fiber.  It helps to clean out those, for lack of a better phrase, hard to reach places inside the colon, which is pivotal to overall health, digestion, and disease prevention.  As a general rule of thumb, the greener the vegetable, the better it is for you, especially for the digestive system.
E –Esophagus  cleanser: Who knew one’s esophagus needed cleaning?!!  But as the standard diet transitions from home cooked meals, to packaged/preservative meals, the esophagus deserves a little attention.   When we eat highly processed, sugary, artificial foods, the body produces mucus, as a way to “protect” the body from foreign substances.  Over time, this mucus builds up wherever food touches the body, so essentially the entire digestive tract.  Kale, and it’s fiber laden edges, act as a scrub brush and as we swallow, scrub the mucus (“phlegm”) off our esophageal lining and down the shoot, so to speak.  Why does this matter?  Try including more Kale in your diet (and other veggies) and cutting out processed foods.  Then try your normal exercise routine.   You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to breath, and how much farther you can push yourself when you can breath deeply in as you exercise. And you won’t gross passerbys out by spitting so much.  I wish all guys would eat more kale/veggies for this reason.  Loogies are gross.

 In a nut shell, EAT YOUR LEAFY GREENS! Especially Kale.  If the kale taste is a little different at first, try steaming/boiling it at first and drizzling it with salad dressing, or something with a more familiar taste.  Try cutting some up and mixing it in with your iceberg lettuce salad.  Do what it takes, so that you can incorporate it into your diet.  A little is better than nothing at all.  I didn’t even know what Kale was until three years ago.  And when I started eating it, it was such a foreign taste and texture, I thought I was poisoning my body with something designed solely for hippies to eat.  But now, a salad composed of anything else, just isn’t a “beefy” enough salad.  If you want to be as happy as this lady, eat your Kale!!!