While I’m currently healthy, happy, and radiant from the inside-out, it wasn’t always the case. Over the years I’ve experienced periods of total wellness, and others where I felt completely out of whack. Whenever I find I’m not feeling my best, I return to one of the oldest vitality tools - detoxing.
I remember back to finals week at Western Michigan University. I was 21, and had a final exam in 30 minutes. I found myself lying on the floor of my bathroom curled up in a ball with the most excruciating stomach pain I’d ever experienced. There were tears running down my face, I was sweating profusely, and in no shape to take a test. I had no idea what was going on, or what I was going to do. It felt as if there were knives jabbing my stomach.
As I was lying there, I realized I had eaten nothing but Wendy’s for nearly 2 weeks. “Single with cheese student combo, biggie fries, and biggie diet coke, extra ice.” I had ordered this daily for nearly 14 days and, I’m ashamed to admit it, but sometimes even twice a day.
I decided then and there I was going to stop eating fast food. Once I made that decision and began to act on it, I started to feel better. I never experienced an attack like that day again, but did continue to suffer from digestive issues.
Shortly after, I became a vegetarian, because I figured that was the healthy way to eat, right? When I moved out to Colorado after college, it was pretty easy to live a meat-free lifestyle, but I was consuming a lot of bread, pasta, and dairy. During this time, I suffered from pretty intense joint aches as well as digestive issues like constipation and bloating. I felt tired and foggy all the time, even though I was getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Although I was only in my 20s, I chalked all those issues up to aging and getting old. I figured this is why people complained about the difficulties of aging.
It wasn’t until my 30’s, after moving back to Michigan, getting married, and becoming pregnant, did I experience relief from all of those chronic symptoms. During pregnancy, I read a book by Dr. Gowri Motha, an obstetrician from the UK, who recommended pregnant women eliminate added sugars and gluten from their diets. She indicated this would reduce inflammation and support a healthier baby, pregnancy, and easier delivery. I was sold! I didn’t think I ate that much gluten or sugar, but when I started to really pay attention, I found it was hiding all over my diet. Within a week of no added sugars or gluten, my joint pain disappeared. I felt more energized, and began sleeping more soundly. But as time and life continued, my health fluctuated again.
After my second pregnancy, and nursing for over 5 years, my body was screaming for help. My diet had not stayed as clean as it was during my first pregnancy. I felt clogged and out of whack. I had now developed seasonal allergies that I attributed to pollen and mold. They kept me sneezing, coughing, and crying more often than not. My bowel movements were irregular and I went from constipated to diarrhea (and back again) on a regular basis. My joints were once again achy. I felt tired and fatigued. I tried to attribute this to the lack of sleep and self-care that comes with having babies, but knew that wasn’t all that was going on…
I knew that I needed to do something to overhaul the way that I felt, again. I remembered back to doing a few juice cleanses in my 20’s and early 30’s that really seemed to help reset my system - body, mind and soul. I knew that was how I wanted to feel, though, I didn’t want it to be as extreme as a juice cleanse. I searched for a way to naturally detoxify my body, and I found a naturopath in my area. She helped guide me through a series of liver cleanses and detoxes that nourished and cleaned out my entire system.
Within a few weeks of following the protocols from my naturopath, my allergies disappeared. It’s now 3 ½ years later and they are still nowhere to be found. That, in itself, converted me. Not to mention the brain fog lifted, the joint pain disappeared, my sinus issues went away, and my digestion finally regulated.
Not only did I feel better physically, but I felt healthier mentally and emotionally too. I was calmer, more relaxed and peaceful. Things that had gotten under my skin just weeks earlier were rolling off my back. I felt I had found the key to true wellness - and it was SO simple! The key is eating fresh, organic, whole foods.
Now, I’m not saying I always eat perfectly because I do not. What I do is eat clean most of the time, and if I ever start feeling poorly, I commit to a cleanse to detox my body and reset my digestion. This affects me body, mind and soul. It grounds me, and brings me back to myself. Each time I cleanse or detox I see new aspects of myself and become more in touch with the way different foods and drinks make me feel. Because I am more connected with myself, I feel more connected with nature, others, and the world.
I talk with my clients about the upward spiral. It’s not about being perfect all of the time, it’s about becoming aware of the foods that make us feel our best so we can eat more of them, and less of the other stuff. When people come to me suffering with disease or illness, a clean eating cleanse is the first thing we do. Within days most of my clients see a reduction in inflammation, improved sleep, better digestion, and a greater overall sense of well-being. It’s amazing what eating real foods can do.
Even though I’m not doing a serious cleanse every day, I still incorporate detox principles into my daily diet. Here are 3 simple tips you can incorporate into your daily life to improve your overall health and wellbeing:
Drink lemon water every morning with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, dash of turmeric, and dash of himalayan sea salt. In the evening, squeeze the juice of one lemon into a glass of purified water, add the other ingredients, and place it by your bedside. Upon rising enjoy this cleansing drink, and set yourself on the right foot for taking care of yourself all day long.
Eat real food that comes from nature, is minimally processed and easily recognizable. For example, vegetables of all colors, shapes, and textures are real food. Vegetables that have not been treated with pesticides or fungicides are full of nutrients that our body needs to function at it’s best. This means avoid processed foods. 80% of the food that you can buy at the grocery store has little to no nutritional value. Most fast food, packaged food, and sugary beverages have been processed to the extent that they no longer contain the valuable life force our bodies thrive on.
Listen to your body. Notice how you feel before, during, and after you eat. Before the meal - are you looking forward to your meal, are you hungry, is your food pleasing to look at? During the meal - are you enjoying your meal, are you rushing, how do you feel? After the meal - do you feel satisfied or not? Does your stomach feel upset? How are your emotions? Notice how you physically feel 30 minutes and 2 hours after you eat, as well emotionally.