Digestion Help while on The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Many people experience different digestion while on the detox. Sometimes that is for the better and sometimes initially it can change for the worse. Here are some important things to know about digestion.

  1. Digestion begins in the brain. Smelling food, seeing food, or thinking about food can cause the hormones involved in hunger to be activated to prepare the body for food and digestion.
  2. Avoid drinking a lot of water before, during, and after your meal. Water weakens the stomach acid and the digestive enzymes and reduces their ability to help process and break down foods.
  3. Chewing is “pre-digestion” and it vital for optimal digestive function. Be sure you chew your food until it is soft and no longer resembles its original self.
  4. Sit, relax,and slow down for your meals. If you are stressed when you are eating (perhaps at  your desk), your body and your hormones are in “fight or flight” mode. When your sympathetic nervous system has taken over (as in flight or flight mode), digestion is “turned off”. The body prioritizes other functions instead, like vision and fast twitch muscles. For optimal digestive function, it is vital to slow down to eat.

Health begins in gut. Here are some tips for optimizing digestion:

  1. Remove irritating foods. While on the 21DSD, it’s likely that you have done this. Removing vegetable oils, wheat, grains, sugar, soy, and conventional dairy is important to optimize digestion.
  2. Increase your probiotic rich foods. Add foods like kombucha (watch the sugar in this for the detox. Here is a link to a 21DSD compliant kombucha – original flavor only), sauerkraut, yogurt (full-fat and plain only while on the 21DSD), kimchi, beet kvass, and kefir (look for a plain kefir for during the detox).
  3.  Heal your gut lining. Consider adding L-glutamine, an amino acid that is vital for gut health, bone broth, aloe vera juice, vitamin c rich foods, and collagen peptides.

Seven Tips for Self Care

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s actually really important for your health and wellbeing. It’s also important to focus on self-care during The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Here are my Seven Tips for Self Care:

  1. Create. Whatever you like to do to be creative, schedule some time for yourself. Some ideas include: playing an instrument, cooking (although you may be tired of that during the detox! :-), home DIY, adult coloring books, sewing, scrapbooking, painting, writing. The list can go on and on.
  2. At-Home Relaxation. Schedule a playdate for the kids, hire a babysitter, or call in a favor from a family member. Do whatever you need to do in order to have some time for some at-home relaxation. The great thing about these suggestions is that they are low/no cost. Winning!! This is can include an at-home facial, a relaxing bath with epsom salts, diffusing some calming essential oils, unplug from devices, an at-home foot soak, scrub, and foot massage, or self-massage with a foam roller and/or Yoga Tune Up balls (this is my personal favorite!).
  3. Relaxation. These relaxation suggestions will set you back a bit of money, but are so worth it if you can budget them in. Ideas include: massage, reiki, acupuncture, chiropractor, manicure, pedicure, facial, or even a spa day. These are also good ideas to use as rewards for yourself when you complete the detox. 🙂
  4. Quiet Time. In our modern world we have so many auditory inputs that it can be very taxing on our system. Sometimes we all just need a little piece and quiet! Because we are also living such scheduled lives, it can be hard to know what to “do” during quiet time (sounds a little ridiculous, right?). Here are five ideas for your quiet time: read, write, keep a mental or physical list of things you are grateful for, meditate/pray, or even sleep!
  5. Personal Connection. Humans need human interaction and not just virtual interaction, the live and in-person kind too. Try to schedule some time to connect (or even reconnect) with friends, family, or your children. My personal goal is to have a connection with friends and family at least once per week. You may also consider joining a group of like-minded individuals to provide you with more or different personal connection. Maybe you can join a book club, hiking group, bunco group, sewing group, or a meet up group in your area to increase the amount of personal connection in your life.
  6. Exercise. It’s good for your body and your mind. Our ancestors walked 6-12 miles per day! In our modern world, most of us do not get nearly that much movement in. Whatever you like to do, make time to do it each week. The options are endless, but here are a few ideas: yoga, cycling, crossfit, running, swimming, walking, hiking, tennis, pilates, barre workouts, HIIT, and so on.
  7. Treat Yo’self. Treat yo’self to a 21DSD compliant dinner out. It’s likely that you’ve been cooking more than you normally do and it can be exhausting. Treat yo’self to night (or day) of not having to cook. Sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment of not having to shop, chop, cook, and clean up. Ahhhhhh.

BONUS: Sunshine. Go get some sunshine! Make some vitamin D and feel the sun’s glorious rays on you. The stack your life version of self-care would be walking with a friend (exercise, sunshine, and personal connection) or swimming with your kids (exercise, sunshine, and personal connection).

What will be Your Catalyst for Change?

Many of us want to make a change in our diet, lifestyle habits, or routines, but something holds us back. Maybe because it pushes us out of our comfort zone? Maybe because it takes work to change our habits? Maybe it is hard to fit in the budget? Whatever your barrier is, it is holding you back.

Health complications that typically develop later in life are a result of diet and lifestyle factors that have been accumulating over many years. Think of when a smoker develops lung cancer. When that person develops lung cancer, it’s highly likely that they wish they would have quit smoking earlier or never started smoking in the first place. I would venture to say that the same is true for most major health problems. Whether it is an Autoimmune condition, Cancer, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, Fibromyalgia, or even Leaky Gut, most people’s first reactions include wishing they had made different choices in the past. The problem with this approach to change is that it is reactionary. It’s filled with wouldas, couldas, and shouldas. It’s also filled with a lot of self-blame and self-hate.

There were three words that left me speechless and petrified. “Katie, I’m sorry to have to IMG_0521tell you this, but it’s cancer.” In the days, weeks, and months following my diagnosis, I asked myself what I could have, should have, and would have done differently. The list was endless: I would have been very strict about my monthly self-exams, I wouldn’t have taken the HRT (hormone replacement therapy) to help combat my cycle-driven migraines, I would have pushed my doctors to get that mammogram at age 30 that I had told myself I would get because I have a strong family history of breast cancer, I would not have taken countless rounds of antibiotics for acne as well as for sinus infections, I would have found ways to manage my stress levels more appropriately, and I would not have taken bottles and bottles of NSAIDs to deal with my headaches. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. (I’m definitely not encouraging people to blame themselves, but to wonder what we could have done differently is only natural.)

The problem with this reactionary approach is that while we can make changes going forward, often times, the damage has been done. However, the bigger problem to this approach is that there are usually warning signs that something is “off” and we ignore those signs. Acid reflux/ heartburn, also called GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is common and is therefore thought of as “normal”. It is not normal. It is a sign of a bigger issue. Most people just pop a few antacids (a Band-Aid) and continue on with their lives, never stopping to get to the root of the problem. It starts to become “your new normal” and then just normal. And since so many people have it, the root cause is rarely questioned. The same could be said for headaches, stomach-aches (actually, they usually are pains in the small intestine or large intestine, so the term gutache would be more accurate), skin rashes, acne, and other so-called normal problems. These are warming signs that our diets and lifestyles need an overhaul.

Allow me to digress. While reading, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber I came across the section about sustainable organic farming practices. The farmer that Barber interviews discusses his approach to weed management. Soil is living and filled with microorganisms. Good farming practices ensure the health and fertility of the soil. Soil is also full of micronutrients, when it has the appropriate micronutrient levels, there are no weeds. However, when there are micronutrients missing, weeds begin to appear. Each weed indicates a specific deficiency and when that deficiency is addressed, that type of weed disappears. The overarching idea is that these weeds are indicators of larger systemic problem that can be addressed by adding back the missing micronutrients. Now I realize we aren’t the soil, but let me continue to digress just a bit more. If you extrapolate that idea to humans, it might play out like this: minor health problems (the weeds) are a sign of a systemic problem (nutrient deficiency, lifestyle factors, environmental factors, gut issues, etc.), so to address the minor health problems you need to address the systemic problem and circumvent any larger health problems down the road (a garden overtaken by weeds). Thanks for allowing me to digress. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 11.29.07 AM

You can stop this cycle. You don’t have to have a frightening diagnosis. You can return to health. I bet you have even identified the “normal problem” that you’ve been mostly ignoring.

Start with that nagging problem. Start a journal to find patterns and trends. See if you can tie your headaches/heartburn/breakout/etc. to a food, habit, or environmental factor (like cleaners and body products). A basic daily journal would include the following:

Breakfast – foods and liquids: _________________________

Snack – foods and liquids: ____________________________

Lunch – foods and liquids: ____________________________

Dinner – foods and liquids: ___________________________

Additional liquids: _________________________________

Supplements (dose and time):_________________________

Medication(dose and time):___________________________

Exercise: _________________________________________

Sleep: ___________________________________________

Relaxation: _______________________________________

Mood/Emotions: ___________________________________

Nagging Problem? Time? Duration? ______________________

After a 3-4 weeks, it’s likely that you’ll see a trend, which can then lead you to a hypothesis. With the hypothesis, you can then seek additional help from Dr. Google, books, your doctor, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, a Nutrition Consultant (ME!), or a naturopath. By choosing to gain control of the nagging issue, you can remove yourself from the path to the bigger and scarier health concern that was down the road.

Obviously I cannot guarantee that because you have a minor common health problem that you are going to get a larger, scarier health concern. No one knows that. But what I can say is that even the minor health concern is negatively impacting your life. Why not make a change and a commitment to feel the best that you possibly can?

What will be your catalyst for change? What are you waiting for? Will you wait for things to get worse? Or will you heed the warning signs that your body is giving you?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

DISCLAIMER 

References:

Barber, D. (2015). The Third Plate: Field Notes from the Future of Food. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Lavender

This week’s food is LAVENDER! While I really do love lavender (Just ask my husband, Jim) I don’t eat it very often.  Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making lavender infused drinks – which sound absolutely divine! I have become quite famous on our Annual Cookie Bake Off for making lavender shortbread, which is quite spectacular. Have you tried cooking with lavender?

Facts

  • Lavender is very relaxing – it can help with sleep and it can relieve headaches
  • Lavender oil can be used to treat burns, heal rashes, and as a natural insect repellant
  • It is anti-bacterial
  • Bees love lavender! This is great because we need more honeybees (they are an at-risk species).

Lavender

From The 52 New Food Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee

10 Free Things to Improve Your Health

Ten Free Things to Improve Your Health

  1. Chew Well! – This is like pre-digestion. Your digestive system will be able to absorb more nutrients and work more efficiently with well-chewed food.
  2. Sit & Relax During Meals – When you are eating while standing, driving, sitting at your desk, or eating while stressed, your brain is in “fight or flight” mode and that’s all your body can do. When you eat, in order to truly digest food and absorb nutrients, your brain and your body need to be in “rest, digest, feed, and breed” mode. Take the extra time during each meal to sit, relax, and enjoy your food.
  3. Meal Planning – Planning your weekly meals at the beginning of the week and before heading to the store can help lower your grocery bill and help you stick to your eating plan.
  4. Drink more Water – Are you drinking 64 oz. of water each day? Try keeping track of your fluid intake to see how much water you drink.
  5. Exercise Each Day – Make sure you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Nearly every health condition can be helped with physical activity.
  6. Sleep – Try making your bedroom as dark as a cave. Using technology (especially tablets and smartphones) before bed is not recommended. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended. Your organs repair and regenerate while you sleep, not enough sleep means much more than just feeling tired.
  7. Elimination – How often are you having a bowel movement? What is the consistency like? Everyone is different, but adults should be having at least one to two bowel movements each day (should be semi-firm).
  8. Relaxation – Find some way to relieve stress and relax each day. Exercise and/or prayer/meditation are good ways to relieve stress.working in my garden
  9. Socialization/Connectedness – This is another way to help relieve stress. Humans are naturally social beings and today we are often very isolated from others. Joining a club or organization is a great way to get connected.
  10. Go Outside! – Get some sunlight and vitamin D and connect with nature. Try “Earthing” by walking barefoot and absorbing the Earth’s energy and negative ions.

Health & Hugs <3

Katie