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5 Simple Ways to Detox this Holiday Season

The Holidays (and Holiday parties) are Upon Us!

Christina Markos

With Thanksgiving a week behind us, Hanukkah winding down today and Christmas fast approaching, the holidays have been demanding this year! This is the time of year that it seems impossible to resist all the goodies and treats, from parties to family gatherings galore this is the time to eat, drink and be merry! Although it happens only once a year it can leave many of us feeling sick and run down. There is a simple way to recharge and reboot your system after one too many egg-nogs or a week of leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes.

When you hear the term detox, what comes to mind? Scary lemon and water cleanses? Juice fasting? Starving yourself? While many of those cleanses are to help the body detox from the bad stuff, they are also  not healthy and leave your body in a total state of confusion. The term detox should be about getting your mind and body back on track so they are working in harmony and not against each other. It isn’t about a fad diet or a way to starve yourself skinny.

You can detox in a healthy way, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet. “Extremes like colonics, starvation, and prolonged juice cleanses are not recommended. But if you view detox diets as a way of ‘clean eating,’ then it means eating natural, less-processed foods that are closer to the earth without artificial ingredients,” she says. (Web MD)

 This is the time of year we tend to treat ourselves to loads of extra sugary sweets and refined carbs. If you are feeling bloated, off, or lethargic here are some simple and healthy ways to detox and feel better! Why wait until Jan 1 to do something good for your mind and body?

1.  Try Clean Eating. This isn’t as extreme or scary as it may sound. It simply means cutting out the processed, preservative-laden foods from your daily diet with a focus on eating foods in their purest form. Make your own homemade oatmeal instead of reaching for your regular sugary cereal or instant oatmeal package (both tend to have tons of added sugars and preservatives). Eat a piece of whole fruit or nuts. Instead of having a loaf of banana walnut bread, eat a whole banana and a handful or walnuts. Make your own salad dressings. Simply combining EVOO, white balsamic vinegar, lemon, and lemon pepper makes a really delicious and healthy dressing. Do you normally add tons of coffee creamer to morning cup? Try drinking green tea with lemon. If you can’t say goodbye to the coffee I understand, but try this easy homemade creamer instead: Unsweetened almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp raw organic agave nectar, and  a dash of cinnamon. Anytime you find yourself reaching for something pre-made go from something clean instead. Eating clean will help your body eliminate the extra toxins and leave you feeling lighter and more more energetic in just a few days.  For more info and some great clean eating recipes that are all under 30 mind check out this favorite from Cooking Light.

2. Drink More Water. To help your system get back on track after a sugary binge or too many cocktails, drink plenty of H2O! This may sounds simple, but most of tend to drink iced tea or carbonated beverages with meals or throughout the day instead of water. To enliven your water, add cucumber and lemon slices (they also provide toxin eliminating properties and are great cleansers).  Try drinking water with every meal and in between meals. A good way to wake up your immune system and metabolism in the morning is to have a cup of hot water with lemon. Any way you can add more H2O to your regular routine is going to really benefit you, you will feel more refreshed and your skin will look more lively as well!

3. Exercise and Stretch. Many of us skimp on our exercise routines during the holidays. With so much going on its often very difficult to find the time to fit in a walk or class. Your body will reward you tremendously by exercising! Even if you fit in a short 30 minute walk before work or during your lunch hour- do it! 30 minutes a day will truly make an impact on your overall health and wellness. The stress of the holidays can be great, and exercise is a quick and easy way to combat added stress. Stretching is a great way for your body to eliminate toxins. Yoga is a great example of this. Make sure to make time to stretch, even just for a few minutes as you are waking up, it really makes a big difference.

4. Check Yourself. During the holidays, we tend to get very stressed. While this time of year should be the merriest, it often is a time of stress and anxiety for many. Added events, company in town, trying got buy gifts on a budget, the list goes on. This time of year can be difficult and the days feel so short! It is a good time to check in with yourself. Detoxing means more than just eating healthy, but detoxing your mind from added worries and anxieties as well. Your mind and body should be working together. Make sure you find time for yourself during these chaotic weeks. A great way to detox your mind from unwanted negative thoughts is to try and meditate, read a great novel, or practice positive self talk. Some holiday seasons are better than others, but that doesn’t mean you are a failure. It is OK to get stressed out. Say no to a party you don’t want to go to. We are so worried about hurting other people’s feelings we forget to check our own feelings. If you are feeling totally beat, say no to something you don’t feel up to. Your mind and body will thank you!

5. Sleep Well. This one sounds simple right? Well many of us suffer from inadequate sleep or inability to fall sleep and/or stay asleep. Our body needs and craves rest, as it helps restore us and keep us healthy. Lack of sleep can severely effect our productivity, moods, and metabolism just to name a few. We all know that feeling when you can’t sleep and the next day becomes quite a challenge to get through. While we are sleeping our body begins to restore itself and in doing so it lowers your blood inflammation proteins, increases creativity, and reduces stress (Huffington Post). If you are trying to eat healthier and exercise more, sleep is extremely important so you have the energy you need and so your metabolism doesn’t slow down. For the serious effects of lack of sleep check out this article from Web MD.