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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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!).
- 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. 🙂
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
For those of you brave and committed souls (BIG UPS TO YOU!) that are a part of my 21 DSD group, here are my best suggestions for being successful while on the the 21DSD.
- Participate in the 21 DSD with a buddy. Spouse, parent, child, friend, or neighbor – it’ll be much easier than going it alone. BUT being a part of our group also provides that “buddy” support.
- Meal Plan. When you have planned your weekly meals ahead of time, success is much easier. We intentionally start the 21 DSD on a Monday so that you can go grocery shopping and do some meal prepping on the weekend beforehand.
- Meal prepping. All of my most successful “healthy food weeks” were successful because I spent time on the weekend cooking 1-2 meals, cutting veggies, reviewing recipes, etc. This is true for most people that I encounter.
- Try some recipes from the cookbook ahead of time. Find a few favorites and work out the kinks. This will help to ensure a smoother 21 DSD.
- Grocery Store Hacks. It’s no secret that grocery shopping on a Sunday is NUTS! But there are other great ways to save time buying groceries.
- Thrive Market. This is essentially the same as the pantry aisles at Whole Foods. You choose your groceries online and they are shipped right to your door. It takes about 3-5 days to arrive. Everything on Thrive is discounted from the typical Whole Foods prices. Register for a 30-day free trial – you get 15% off your first purchase. If you decide to becoming a paying member (like Costco) it is $59.95 per year. Free shipping for all orders over $49. This is a HUGE time saver for me. Here’s a referral code: http://thrv.me/iYVWfd
- Join a weekly CSA – have local fruits and veggies delivered to your door. This is another great option to help save time. This website is helpful for finding the right CSA for you. http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
- Saving time with these grocery shopping hacks will free up time for you to spend prepping and cooking meals. If you aren’t used to cooking most of your own meals, this step will be HUGE!
- Dining Out? If you’re dining out here are a few tips:
- Avoid being starving. I always have some snacks at my desk, in my car, or in my purse. This will keep you from being tempted to eat the free bread. Better yet – tell your server not to bring any bread to the table. [BTW – If you’re always starving, you may want to up your fat and starchy vegetable intake.]
- Look at the menu ahead of time. Have a game plan for a couple of options of what you can eat at that restaurant (and know what you’ll have to ask them to remove). I always ask for double veggies instead of rice. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Servers are more than willing to be accommodating as long as you ask nicely!
- Avoid choosing the restaurant that serves your favorite [insert non-21 DSD food here]. If you love and cannot resist pasta, don’t go to Maggiano’s or The Spaghetti Factory. If you love and can’t resist fries and a milkshake, avoid going to The Counter.
- Stay tuned for my local dining out suggestions!
- If cooking and meal prepping are new to you or you’re just feeling BUSY and overwhelmed, here are a few hacks:
- Buy the pre-cut veggies at the store
- Buy a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods
- Smoked Salmon (ready to eat from TJ’s or Whole foods)
- Buy the pre-washed lettuce and salad fixings for quick and easy salads
- Crockpot meals!!
- Pressure Cooker Meals (even more !!! than crockpot meals!)
- Use a food processor for quick chopping of a bunch of veggies
- Cook in bulk. I ALWAYS cook enough for leftovers. My bare minimum goal is four meals from every recipe (i.e. dinner and lunch the next day for both Jim and I). But usually I try for even more meals than four.
- Soups. They are relatively easy to make, they’re healthy, and they provide 6+ meals. You can also freeze extra soup!
- When I’m feeling overwhelmed with too much to cook and do in the evening, I choose the quickest dinner possible out of the available options and I get that chopped, prepared, and cooking. While tonight’s dinner is cooking, I ALWAYS do some additional food prep/cooking. [Just continue working in the kitchen until dinner is done cooking.] Whether it is just cutting up veggies for salads the next day or prepping my salmon to roast in the oven. [Side note: I’m ALWAYS listening to a Podcast or an Audible audiobook – just ask Jim. I feel much more productive if I’m chopping and “reading” or washing dishes and “reading”.]
- When you’re feeling like quitting, remember these two things:
- It’s only three weeks. You can literally do anything for three weeks. 🙂
- Don’t focus on the things that you are giving up. Instead, focus on what you gain: freedom body pains and problems, control over food, and health.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You can do this!!!!
Hugs and Health <3,
Ten Free Things to Improve Your Health
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Relaxation – Find some way to relieve stress and relax each day. Exercise and/or prayer/meditation are good ways to relieve stress.
- 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.
- 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