lemon water

By Megan Sewards MS, RD

After a month of indulging on sweets, alcohol, salty foods and many other glutinous foods/drinks our digestive system and organs need a break. Detoxifying and cleansing out your body is essential for fighting illness and improving your energy levels at the start of the new year. The goals of detoxification often include yet are not limited to releasing unwarranted water retention/bloating, regulating your metabolism, flushing out and removing toxins, re-balancing one’s blood sugar levels, losing weight, and improving your energy.

Below are common tribulations that often develop during a month or more of uninhibited eating along with suggestions on how to help get you back on track:

Excess intake of fat, carbs, sugar, salt, and alcohol, which often leads to increased cravings of high fat/sugary foods
Research suggests that sugar/sweets can cause addictive affects such as drugs/alcohol, which lead to a vicious cycle of cravings/binges. Solution: Cut out sugary foods for at least 3-7 days, meet your craving half way by continuing to allow yourself items that may be sweet (ie. fruits), dress them up in a way that may trick you into thinking your eating a dessert: cacao, greek yogurt, make own low sugar fudge bars or fruit sorbet at home.

Overeating/Poor portion control
Leads to weight gain/feeling unsatisfied with regular meal intake post holidays.
Solution: Smaller/frequent meals, don’t skip meals as can lead to overeating, stick to a plan, incorporate high fiber foods such as fruits/veggies, whole grains, lean proteins that help lead to satiety, nutrient dense snacks (smoothies, trail mix, protein bars etc).

Excess Alcohol Intake
Alcohol contains 7 calories/g vs 4 calories/g  CHO/protein. It also promotes dehydration as it is a diuretic and places you at risk for decreased nutrient absorption of folate, thiamine and other pertinent vitamins/minerals.

Keep in line with suggested serving sizes: Serving: 5 oz wine, 1 oz hard liquor, 12 oz beer

Solution: Cut down on alcohol

General tips to help expedite the detoxification process after the holidays:

  1.  Hydration, Hydration, Hydration-Push 64-100 oz fluids/day to flush out organs and promote removal of toxins. Incorporate high water containing fruits such as melons, coconut waters, lemon water etc.
  2. Promote Bacterial Gut balance by adding natural probiotics into diet along with other gut friendly foods. Probiotics help promote alkalinity/fight inflammation of GI tract. Natural sources include, yogurt with active cultures, kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut. Drink bone broth as it helps decrease inflammation of digestive tract as well as promotes increased absorption of nutrients. Bone broth is also great for bowel regulation. Cook/flavor with fennel. This herb/spice is great for decreasing bloating/aiding in digestive health
  3. Eat/drink foods that help expel water/decrease bloating (ie .natural diuretics). Lemon: add to warm water in the morning or liquids throughout the day. Juice and add with ginger for an added immunity/anti-inflammatory boost. Season veggies/broths; uses of lemon are endless.
  4. Bowel Rest. Consume more liquid based food items to help allow digestive tract/intestines rest. Suggestions include Soups, smoothies, and juice
  5. Consume Metabolic-boosting foods: Green Tea, Cacao, Chili Peppers, Whole grains, Lentils/Legumes, and Asparagus to name a few.
  6. Activity/exercise. Note only will help you burn those extra calories consumed throughout the holiday season, yet will encourage weight loss, improved digestion, decreased bloating and increase one’s energy levels.

Lets get back to the grind; let’s treat our body’s right! Time to cut out foods that can make you sick and time to start nourishing your body for ultimate health. It’s 2018 and this is the year to be the best you. Use these tips to help you get back on track!

Be sure to stay connected to Megan by following her on Instagram and LinkedIn! For additional information or detox recipes contact foodrxrd@gmail.com. weSPARK Cancer Support Center is located in Los Angeles and offers completely FREE programs, workshops, classes and individual therapies to cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones.  Remember to take a look at our monthly program schedule for more information about the services we offer.

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