In Balance


Posted by karen
karen's picture

What is a cleanse? Think: house cleaning time for your body.

If your daily home routine is stuffing scattered socks and what-nots out of sight in a drawer, sweeping the kitchen and making a pass under the table, wiping out the bathroom sink with a soiled washcloth at the end of the day - I'd guess a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday the vacuum is roaring, laundry is getting caught up and the toilet brush is in action.

This home(l)y example is a partial and simplified example of cleanse for your body. Maybe cleaning isn't on your list of favourites. I can relate. There are benefits to cleaning, besides knowing where you store your library books, that can make your body "sing"!

First some groundwork material about Cleanse.

Who should cleanse? Almost everyone.

Stick with me here. Visions of physically intense measures, dire dietary deprivation, investing big bucks for a desert spa, or scenarios based on what you're reading, watching or hearing are not the pattern for most cleanses. 

What might be reasons for you to cleanse?

It could depend on your accumulation of toxins that:
- come from without, i.e. air pollution, chemicals/cleaners/pesticides, noise, medications, etc.
- come from within, i.e. waste from bacteria and cellular metabolic function, unmanaged stress, pent-up emotions, etc.

Entering a new season:
- on the heels of dietary indulgences, i.e. holidays, cruise vactions, week-long family reunions (eating marathons?!)
- following exceptional stress, i.e. work, relationships, grief/death
- according to the calendar - spring is an ideal time for rejuvenation and renewal

Wanting to break addictions from sugar and refined grains (a smart dietary shift for a body in balance) - to allow your body to begin re-calibrating to what your body needs and wants!

( Click here for recipe: refined-sugar-free and grain-free "granola".)

Symptoms often associated with toxicity: digestive tract pain, gas, bloating, skin problems, fatigue, decreased immunity, depression/anxiety.

What might a cleanse look like for you?

Click here for Green Winter Juice recipe.

- two weeks without any fast food or any kind of processed foods 
- a weekend of juices, broth and vegetable soups 
- a two-week gentle dietary cleanse like the one I use with wellness and weight loss programs
- a more restrictive diet cleansing program
-----brown rice 
-----anti-inflammatory 
-----alkalinizing
-----elimination 
-----detoxification   

Cleansing your body on a regular basis:

- start your day with a glass of water with a Tbsp. lemon juice to activate the janitor (your liver) and drink water throughout the day - 6-10 glasses
- eat dark leafy greens in salads, smoothies or juices
- include beets, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli), garlic in your diet
- breathe deeply - to the bottom of your lungs
- meditate, relax, journal, seek out beauty, enjoy healthy relationships, be in nature

Bottom line benefits: based on where you start and what kind of clean(s)ing you do.

- feel less bloated
- you've kick-started your way towards a healthier living regime
- feel less sluggish after going through some heavy eating
- have more energy
- more clarity in your concentration and less "brain-fog"
- you feel more in balance - hormones and blood sugar levels are happier

Will a cleanse take work?

Like all things we value, effort and planning for a cleanse are required. Perhaps link up with a friend for moral support.

Getting one-on-one coaching to walk you through the "how" and the steps of a cleanse will help significantly in setting you up for seeing results.

I would love to work with you: contact me to arrange a consultation

(P.S.For more regular updates on recipes, fitness and what Real Food Matters is offering, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.)

Your body can fix itself if given half a chance - treat it well with some routine housecleaning.

(Credits for first and last photos to my daughter, Renee, at FIMBY.)
 

Posted by karen
karen's picture

Emotions.

 
Need 'em - to add spice to our lives, fleshing out the spectrum of feelings associated with living.
Love 'em - for their ethos, their passion, their need for expresssion - particularly on special occasions like February 14th!
Hate 'em - their power can be frightening, depressing, confusing.
 
Emotions can be sneaky, tricky - creating a hunger that we think can be satisfied with food.
 

Here are some tips to help us decide if our hunger is a physical or emotional one.

 
* Emotional hunger comes on in an instant - with an urgency that's overwhelming. Physical hunger doesn't usually demand, "I need food right now!" (unless you haven't eaten in a long time), it gradually sneaks up on you. 
 
* Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods, e.g. usually the refined sugars and refined grains kind - that provide an instant rush. It sends the message you NEED cheesecake or chips. Now. Physical hunger calls out, " I'm about to expire here, sure could use a spinach omelette, or a loaded salad, or chicken and stir-fry - even granola and fruit sounds good!"
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to eating a whole bag of chips or a pint of ice cream without so much as giving it a thought - and probably not really savouring it. You're usually more aware of what you're doing if you're eating in reponse to physical hunger. 
 
* Emotional hunger wants you to eat - and keep eating - often until you're uncomfortable. Stuffed. Physical hunger usually is satisfied when you are comfortably full.
 
* Emotional hunger doesn't have a growling hunger pang gnawing in your stomach. It's more tuned in to things like crunchy, salty, and other aspects of texture and smell. 
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt or shame. (Negative emotions that tend to get stuck on the "repeat" button in our brain.) Physical hunger is nutritionally satisfied..
 

At some point, we all are challenged by the temptation of using food to meet an emotional hunger.

The first step is start being aware of recognizing it as such.
 
Number two is being mentally prepared for alternative non-food solutions to meet that hunger:
** phone your grandkids or kids and treat yourself with a "visit"
** make yourself a cup of a special tea you've been saving for such a time as this
** get outside for a walk or if you work in an office building, do a short stretching session and walk the stairs to the next level
** pull out a handwork project or read a few chapters of a book (even in the middle of the day)
** go to the florist and buy yourself one Gerber daisy
** etc. etc.
 
Number three: as you gradually "read" the signs and meet the emotional hunger with ways that feed your emotions, you will be developing your will power muscle and become stronger in determining between the two kinds of hunger. 
 
We were created with emotions - and thankfully so. Embrace the discovery how you are emotionally wired.
 
Valentine's Day is this week -  a perfect day to experience and celebrate the gift of life and love. Be kind and gracious to those you love - and that includes you too. If chocolate speaks your" food love language", make this simple and delicious raw chocolate pie. Enjoy it with intention, pleasure and without guilt!
 
 
Click for recipe → Chocolate_Cream_Pie
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Posted by karen
karen's picture

For the last 10 days I've been on a sugar-free, grain-free cleanse. This has also meant no natural sugars, including fresh and dried fruits. The night before I started it I had a huge fruit smoothie - does that tell you anything about my relationship with fruit?!

 

This choice was made for several reasons:

- I'm presenting an In Balance wellness and weight loss program that has a gentle dietary cleanse as part of Finding Your BALANCE, and I thought I   should experience the process to understand what I'm teaching/asking the participants to do.
 
- I've never done a cleanse for an extended period
 
- I live in a real world with real toxins so my body could use some house-cleaning
 
- I wanted to start a habit of eating more vegetables than fruit rather than the other way around
 
- I wanted to test my self control
 
- I wanted to see how it would affect me - physically, emotionally, mentally
 
- I was curious to see how my body would react without grains
 
 

I've discovered a few things:

 
- it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be,  (i.e. I'm not feeling continually hungry and craving foods )
 
- when my husband grinds the coffee in the morning, it doesn't bother me all that much, that instead of java I will be drinking caffeine-free, herbal tea (I've renewed my friendship with Rooibos)
 
- as much as I love nuts and seeds, I have my moments when I feel like a squirrel
 
- I miss my fruit - cranberries are on the okay list, and I'm so very grateful for Terra Beata, a local bountiful cranberry bog)
 
- I rarely go out for lunch but two times in the last week it happened. One little cafe had the best roasted veggie soup that I could have asked for. (Well, thinking on it, there was more oil in it than I would have used.) Everything in it was legit - and the roasted flavour was delic. (Probably thanks to the oil :)
 
- the preparation and planning period has value, and not only in practical terms,  (i.e. even though my pantry and refrigerator was stocked with cleanse food ingredients, the first morning it took a few minutes to shift from my almost-daily default menu - home made granola or cooked hot cereal)
 
Here's what I whipped up: sauteed leeks and red peppers, scrambled in a couple eggs and served it up on a bed of greens. Protein and veggies - yummy!
 
 

Some Conclusions:

- I have plenty of energy (even without eating grains) - I was a little concerned that my running and other fitness activities might need to be curtailed. Thankfully, not so. 
 
- I can't help but think how very blessed I am. I decided to use self control in my food choices (which meant eliminating some regulars) -  compared to the huge percentage of people who exist on the barest of nutrition and food options because they have to.
 
- will I do it again? I might. After today, I have 3 days left of my two weeks and I don't foresee why I will cave now.
 
- I fortunately had only one day of a very low-grade headache (can a habit of one- (sometimes more) - cup of coffee/day really make you that addicted?)
 
- my mental alertness and stamina has been at par if not better than normal. 
 
- I got to digging through recipes to add some variety to " how many ways can you eat broccoli, cauliflower, greens, carrots, etc." and there are many delicious options
 
- I miss eating quinoa and brown rice and sweet potatoes  
 
- would I recommend a cleanse? A variety of variables weigh in here: the type of cleanse, the reason for the cleanse, if a person has strong cravings for refined sugar and other refined foods, the timing of doing the cleanse, etc. Generally, I'd say most people would probably benefit from an occasional  cleanse.
 
- Has it been dreadful? Not at all.  I have understood the feeling of being even more intentional about what foods I eat. And it's not about denial, but understanding some of the recalibrating my body can do when I say "no" to foods that I thought, "But I always have .... for breakfast."
 
- And this week I found an acceptable substitute for granola. Yeah!! So of course I'm going to make it to the end.
 
Click → Printable recipe for Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola
 
 

Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola

1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes (could also be shredded)

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pecan pieces

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger powder

 

Pulse ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

To Serve:
 
Scoop 1/4 - 1/3 cup of granola into a bowl.
 
Pour 1/2 - 2/3 cup almond mik or yogurt over top and let sit for about 5 or 6 minutes.
 
Spoon fresh (or thawed) cranberries on top and enjoy!
 
Optional:
 
- sprinkle with hemp seeds for extra protein
 
- lightly toast granola before serving, using heavy stove-top skillet
 
 
 
Have you done a cleanse? I'd be interested to hear your experience and if/what you felt were the benefits.