I hate to say it, but this beautiful summer is starting to come to an end. There is a chill in the air, it is getting darker earlier, and I have a pile of new school supplies for my daughter taking up space on the floor.
Now as much as I love summer, fall has always been one of my favourite seasons. And not just because my birthday is in September! Fall is a time of transition and new beginnings. And also a really great time to recommit to clean eating. Especially after a summer of indulgence!
Getting Started on a Cleanse
Take a few days to stop and pay attention to how you are feeling? Are you digesting and eliminating as well as you would like? Has your energy become sluggish? How are you sleeping? Do you feel rested in the morning? Do you feel your best?
Our body’s symptoms are the way it communicates to us. Keep a food and symptom journal and pay attention to how foods/emotions/stress influence how you are feeling. Listen to your body – it’s smarter than you!
Seven Day Real Food Cleanse
There are many types of cleanses out there but one of my favourite ones to get started with is simply the commitment to eat clean for seven days. Longer if you want, see how you feel. I have found that longer cleanses can sometimes be psychologically daunting and therefore people do them infrequently. Seven days can often be long enough to help break the cycle of sugar addiction and open the door for us to observe the changes that occur with simply eating closer to nature.
What Foods to Avoid During a Cleanse
Eliminate sugar and all refined foods, no processed food, no additives or preservatives. Read your labels! But preferably most of your food won’t come in a package! Take a look at your food and symptom journal, do you notice any patterns? Do you feel bloated after dairy, does your face break out if you eat sugar, are you more irritable after eating gluten? If something stands out then please refrain from eating that food during your cleanse. (Just to note though: the elimination of a food for seven days may not be long enough to determine with certainty that it is a problematic food)
What Foods to Eat During a Cleanse
Focus on real food! Take advantage of the bountiful harvest from your garden and your local farmers market. Focus on a plant based diet with at least seven servings of fruit and vegetables ( with an emphasis on vegetables). Eat a variety of colours. Make sure to include plenty of greens. Ensure adequate protein and healthy fats. Take a look at my health tips post – the universal laws of healthy eating for more information.
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Water helps to flush out toxins. And it is amazing how many symptoms are simply a manifestation of being dehydrated. Water also helps with digestion and can help regulate your hunger. Teas are a favourite way of mine to rehydrate especially as the days start to get cooler.
Numerous studies have started to explore the healing benefits of spending time in nature. These may be the last days to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin for awhile. Take advantage of it and go for a walk.
Disconnect to reconnect!
Try spending less time connected to your phone/tablet during this time. Refocus your energy on connecting with what or who is truly important to you. Experiment with meditation or some form of relaxation.
Will seven days be enough?
Maybe not. But it is a good place to start. Seven days provides us with an opportunity to move towards a healthier lifestyle. Most of us can do something for seven days. And seven days can help us reconnect on what we personally need to be doing on a more consistent basis to optimize our health. In the end, a healthy lifestyle is not about being perfect, it’s about being consistent. And sometimes we just need a little boot (or reboot) to get started!