5 Detoxifying Habits to Start This Winter (Guest Blog)

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As many of you know, I think Mindbodygreen always has great, practical tips for everyday living, and as the holidays are here, I figured this would be a great re-post for today’s guest blog:

5 Detoxifying Habits to Start this Winter

Health guru or not, we generally let our healthy routines slip — holiday party stock photoeven in the slightest — during the holiday season. Maybe we eat foods we aren’t accustomed to, skip workout days or drink more alcohol than usual.

It’s a challenge to stay “on” during this time, but we allow it because of tradition. And our hope is that our love for family and friends will carry us through the holidays, free of guilt and sickness.

Then reality sinks in. We start the New Year feeling sluggish, low energy and unmotivated. We want to so badly get back on track, but it’s hard to step out of the hole we’ve unintentionally created.

So how can we manage guilty-free fun at holiday parties and gatherings while simultaneously handling the harsh reality of repeated exposure to toxins? What are some simple, quick hacks that we can put into practice before, during and after our indulgent moments to cleanse our systems and maintain our vitality?

Here’s what I suggest:

1. Hydrate

This one sounds simple, but staying hydrated is very often pushed to the back seat in social situations.

My suggestion is to drink a tall glass of water before heading out the door and again between alcoholic drinks. This prevents dehydration and the ensuing constipation and fatigue. I often bring a water bottle with me to ensure instant access. Even if you store it in your bag and only notice it on the way out, it’s a great way to remind yourself to re-hydrate at the end of the night.

2. Breathe

Yes, we all know how to breathe, but how many of us are actually intentional about our breathing?

The practice of bringing your attention to your breath can be very helpful in social and stressful situations. Stop and take a few deep breaths, allowing your mind to clear and body to relax. It’s calming, grounding and prior to a meal, it’ll help activate your digestion. To help you remember, place a sticky note on your smartphone or set a vibrating alarm on your device.

3. Digest

If you overload your system and can’t properly digest the food you eat, your body can’t process, absorb or eliminate it effectively. The result: discomfort, gas, bloating, and in some cases, inflammation and low energy. Poor breakdown of food is common in social environments when you’re trying to get the food in your mouth quickly so you can get back to chatting.

The quickest fix is simply to chew your food and manage your portions. But in the case that you didn’t or if you’ve over-eaten, you can give your system a boost by taking digestive enzyme supplements.

4. Add fiber

Fiber is the unsung hero of regulating energy and digestion. It’ll healthy foodhelp you manage spikes in blood sugar by slowing down your digestion and it’ll keep your bowels moving regularly. Fiber is found in plant-based foods in their most unprocessed form like nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

While at your party, identify some fibrous foods to complement the processed and sugary treats. And before going to bed, have a fiber supplement to make sure you wake up with happy bowels. Soaked chia seeds are my go-to source for fiber, but there are several to choose from.

5. Pay attention to your liver

Alcohol is often the great lubricator of our festive traditions and given the high volume of parties over the holidays, you’ll want a strategy to support your liver. Why? It’s the ultimate detoxification system and energy regulator in the body and when it’s stressed or overloaded, it doesn’t work so well. The liver relies on the activity of vitamins and minerals to help it with detoxification but these agents often get depleted during instances of toxic overload.

So make sure to load up on foods that will help reduce alcohol toxicity.

Besides supporting you over the holidays, these detox hacks can also be applied daily to maintain long-term optimal health. If you feel great over the holidays using these hacks, why not include these as part of your new year’s wellness plan?

The Saturday Post: Sophie’s Way

The Saturday Post

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cheese head beerI live in northeastern Wisconsin, not exactly the enlightenment, one love, open minded capital of the United States.  We’re known for cheese heads, factories, and binge drinking.  Lessons come daily, sometimes hourly; and positive focus is hard but it is very possible.

couple-laughingWhat brings on this heavy hearted talk?  Today, yesterday now, I was in a big box store grocery shopping.  I saw many situations that made me smile, couples laughing together, excited grandmothers in the craft isle, two handicapped people racing on their motor carts;  Ok, that one made me laugh.

But the moment that stuck with me, that really struck my heart was in the checkout.  I had searched out my favorite cashier and took my place in line.  As I know about the psychology used in designing junk food packaging, I try to people watch instead of looking at the candy while I wait my turn.  The man with his two daughters in front of me were my subjects, I watched.

My favorite cashier, Sophie, was delightful and bubbly as ever asking the man how his day was after he shoved the two girls along and firmly instructing them to stand there and not to move from that spot.  He proceeded to inform Sophie how the two girls could not behave in the store properly, standing in the middle of the isles, not getting out of the way for other shoppers, and just being general space cases.  He seemed very drained and upset.

At this point, I felt waves of anger rush over me regarding this man for is insensitivity towards his girls whom were still young and standing there, listening to him speak about them.  Resisting the urge to tell him off, I watched Sophie swoop in with her usual calm and cheery demeanor to save the day.  She softly comforted the man making his concerns feel valid also adding a hidden complement to the girls making them smile.  By the time their short transaction was completed, all were smiling and on their merry way.

I was stunned.  Sophie is a light worker and she probably doesn’t even know it, and a hell of a good one I might add!  Had she responded how I felt, rudely and insensitive toward the man, he probably would have become more agitated and scolded the girls further in the car on the way home.  But no, by being kind and understanding before all parties she set forth one of the best examples I have seen of how to diffuse a seemingly negative situation through kindness and active listening.

Well done Sophie!  What a wonderful example she sets for those around her.  No wonder I seek her out every time I’m ready to check out of the store.  It just goes to show you, lessons are everywhere, even at the check out of a big box store.  It’s up to us to find them and see the light in the darkness.

couple drinking tea

Oh, and next week Sophie promised to bring me some of her favorite recipes!  What a joy life is!  Namaste!

Training Camp for Christmas!

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Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the marathon that is the holiday season.  It seems no matter what tradition you hail from, this is a busy time of year for all.  Shopping, cooking, cleaning, baking; the to-do lists get longer and longer even though we keep checking tasks off day after day.

When will the madness end?!

It won’t, the madness is self perpetuating and it is created in our minds.  We are the only ones holding the proverbial whip, beating the proverbial drum, forcing ourselves to do all of these crazy rituals.  On of the best ways to take notice of what’s going on is to take a step back and watch what’s going on.

To me the real purpose of the holiday season is to care for one another as we care for ourselves.  But how do we care for others if we don’t even care for ourselves?  Many have forgotten to do so or never knew how.  Self love is the first step to loving mankind and embodying the spirit of the holiday season.

  1. Focus:  Think good thoughts and have a positive focus.  If you don’t enjoy what is happening or what you are thinking then please feel free to do and think something else.  We need to do things that feel blissful in order to make others feel good.
  2. Sleep:  Nothing keeps us in the best of spirits like a good dose of galactic energy.  Sleeping, in whatever schedule works for you, is the second best way to gain this energy.  Allow others to sleep in, they need it and so do you!
  3. Meditation:  Quiet alone time, best spent on meditation is THE best way to get that juicy galactic energy!  This can include traditional meditation, yoga, meditation walks, moments of mindfulness and sacred movement.
  4. Eat Light Foods:  Light foods are anything that makes you feel satisfied without feeling heavy and lethargic afterwards.  These include but are not limited to: Fruits, vegetables, teas (hot and cold), vegan and vegetarian dishes, gluten free desserts and my personal go-to, juicing!

Which brings me to the main focus here: Juicing.  It is my personal opinion that juicing not only keeps your body in excellent conditions for all of those must do tasks, it also keeps your emotional state sky high.  What better way to enjoy every possible moment and keep yourself in high spirits during the holiday season than to fuel yourself properly and feel your best?  To me, this is the best possible way to help others:  Get yourself so jacked up on good vibes others can’t help but be inspired to do the same.

But, BUT!  If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, even if it’s the best thing in the world for you, you’re not going to keep doing it.  Plain and simple, make juicing as fun as it possibly can be.  If you’re using a juicer from the last decade or a poorly put together product that spews juice all over the counter and really doesn’t DO what its supposed to then you’re not going to have an enjoyable experience.  If the darn thing is so hard to clean that even taking it out of the cupboard brings on a small panic attack then you’re not going to use it and therefore you won’t get the benefits.

  1. Keep the juicer on the counter if at all possible.  The more convenient the process the more you will be inspired to juice.
  2. Fill the sink with soapy water and put your produce in for a little soak.  It’s a good idea to wash the produce properly even if it is organic, shipping is a dirty business.
  3. Wash, rinse and cut up your produce as needed.  Have everything ready to go when you begin the juicing process.  Juice:  Giggling, laughing and snorting are a plus during this part, have fun with it.
  4. Do Not Juice Bananas!  If you want bananas in there, put them and the finished juice in a blender and whip it up.  I add stevia to almost all of my juices, I have a sweet tooth.  Pour the juice into a pretty cup and stash any excess in the fridge although it is best to enjoy right away or share with friends.
  5. Remove all parts of the juicer/blender , rinse and place in the sink of soapy water and WALK AWAY!  Go enjoy the fruits of your labor before you clean up.

Play some music or a video you have been wanting to listen to in the background.  Again, we are trying for the most enjoyable experience possible.  The last step is actually the most important part as far as I’m concerned.

The dishes will be there when you’re done, they really will.

When you enjoy your juice before clean up you are literally rewiring your brain.  “Healthy stuff is easy!”  That’s what your telling yourself.  “I can do all that clean up stuff later!”  I swear, unless you live with your parents like I do, you’re mother is not going to storm in your front door and make you wash all your dishes right away.  And if she does, SO WHAT!

As my father so succinctly pointed out the other day, “Thanksgiving is just training camp for Christmas.”  Enjoy life, enjoy the holidays, and most of all enjoy yourself.  Namaste.