Dietary Changes Can Be Life-AlteringAnchor
Food means any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth. Nutritious means nourishing, good for health or efficient as food. The word detoxification is used a lot lately, but it is not a new concept. Our bodies do it automatically. It is a natural process that the internal organs continually undergo in order to reach homeostasis, the baseline of our health potential. Detoxification is one of the main functions of the liver, kidneys, large intestine, and lymph, as well as the lungs and skin. The digestive organs not only work hard to break down and integrate the food we put into our mouths, at the same time they also work to remove anything that does not belong.
When the body is given nutritious foods, it works like a well-oiled machine; when given foods that are unnatural, the system gets bogged down, health issues crop up and a chain reaction begins, often leading to inflammation and disease. The most direct way to support natural detoxification is to eat well and consistently follow two simple steps: remove what irritates the body and consume what supports the body.
What the Body Loves
- The body loves fresh, whole foods grown in healthy soil close to home
- Clean water, plain or with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a splash of raw apple cider vinegar
- Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables
- A daily dark leafy green salad with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of Himalayan pink salt
- Nuts and seeds, especially walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
- Healthy fats, including coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, avocados, walnuts, organic butter or ghee, nut butters, wild-caught fish such as salmon and haddock
- Lean, pasture-raised and grazed, and hormone-free or wild animal proteins
- Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, peas, beans, whole grains and vegetables
- Fresh herbs, especially parsley, cilantro, lemon balm, mint, oregano and tulsi
- Vegetarian meals
- Freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices
- Fermented foods such as kombucha, raw sauerkraut and kimchi
- Raw local honey and pure maple syrup
What Harms the Body
- Food and food substances that have been manufactured, overly processed, saturated with chemicals and/or preserved to be shipped and stored for great lengths of time
- Added sugar
- Artificial chemicals and sweeteners
- Artificial dyes
- Factory-produced meat and eggs
Eating well doesn’t have to be a struggle. Often, it is a matter of restructuring time, budget and social expectations. It is a lifestyle change, and change is not always easy, but where long-term health is concerned it is certainly worth it.
People that follow a clean eating program for as little as 10 days have reported benefits that include reduced bloating, indigestion, gas and stomach pain, balanced weight, improved concentration, improved mood, increased energy, improved skin tone and clarity, improved joint health, reduced body pain and discomfort, reduced anxiety and depression, balanced hormones, and improvement or reversal of disease states such as diabetes.
When embarking on a clean eating program, there are several strategies to ensure success. Have two to three meals and two to three snacks over the course of the day and a consistent supply of water to reduce the risk of low blood sugar and cravings while stabilizing mood and energy levels.
Eat until satisfied, not overly full, knowing that the next meal or snack is right around the corner. Practice mindfulness. Sit to eat to allow the body to digest food most efficiently. The body enters a “rest and digest” phase when relaxed. An enjoyable dining space, free from clutter is key; adding flowers, music, or beautiful dinnerware and good friends and family is even better.
An organized kitchen adds efficiency and order, and typically promotes the desire to cook at home. When food and appliances are easy to reach, food prep is much more manageable. Plan a few days’ worth of meals ahead, write a grocery list and spend a few hours prepping to make the week easy. Eating is a lifelong endeavor—eat to live well—because a healthy life is beautiful.
Nicole Erin Sharkey RDN, LDN, LMT is the owner of Nutrition Naturally, located at Mending Roots Wellness, 2138 Market Street St., in Camp Hill. For more information, call 717-850-7120 or visit MendingRootsWellness.com.