Healthy Affirmations for the New Year
The New Year is an exciting time—an opportunity to start anew! What a great time to make a new affirmation for the year… I want my family to live a cleaner and healthier life. The holidays have ended and with it, a time of celebration through excess. Many feel bloated and lethargic. January is a perfect time to commit to a cleaner lifestyle through dietary and supplement intervention. Here are some suggestions for ‘cleaning up your body’ and feeling great!
Avoid Inflammatory Foods that can Make Us Feel Bad
Certain foods can be considered ‘pro-inflammatory’ which means that when we ingest them, we create more inflammation or swelling in the body. This inflammation can be the root cause of disease and illness. By changing our diet and avoiding these foods, we can begin to feel good again.
Eat Clean! Following the holidays, many of us can feel bloated, uncomfortable, general malaise, headaches and so on… The best way to feel better is to eat clean. Clean eating is not complicated—it’s probably the simplest diet. This diet can be performed for two to four weeks to ‘clean up the gut’. Here is how you get started. Limit your foods to the following: Fresh organic vegetables and fruit (can be raw and cooked) and natural proteins (no growth hormones, antibiotics, or additives such as preservatives in the meat). If you season your food, use natural sea salt and natural fresh herbs and spices with no synthetic additives. Avoid grain and dairy (milk, butter, cheese) during this period. Following this month, you will very likely feel much better.
At the end of this period, you may continue the suggestions above or maintain the following dietary recommendations to create a healthy gut and immune system:
1. Gluten Elimination: For many of us, gluten sensitivity or intolerance is an obvious. But equally, for others, they do not feel symptoms from eating foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Often, oats are contaminated with gluten as well. Gluten is considered a ‘pro-inflammatory’ grain. This is partly because of the over-processing of glutinous grains over the last many decades. A great first step to feel better and having a healthier body is to avoid gluten in your diet. For more information on how to perform a gluten elimination diet, visit: http://www.instituteofimt.com/gluten-sensitivity.php.
2. Avoid Refined Sugars: Refined/processed sugar is toxic to our body. It creates illness and disease. This is evident in today’s rise of diabetes in adults and children. Limiting refined sugars in our diet helps to create a healthier environment in our body that is more conducive to learning. In times of stress, whether it be emotional or other, avoiding refined sugars is ideal. These types of sugar can promote more stress in the body and mind. Limiting sugar intake to natural sweeteners is ideal. Examples of natural sweeteners include: Raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, palm sugar, brown rice syrup, molasses, and stevia. For more information on how to avoid refined sugars, visit: http://www.instituteofimt.com/sugar-as-a-neurotoxin.php.
3. Avoid Processed Foods and Preservatives: Processed foods have an abundance of chemicals and synthetic additives. These chemicals are not easily broken down by the liver. The liver is responsible for detoxification which is the process of breaking down toxins in our body for excretion. The liver has a hard time even recognizing many of these additives and preservatives. Without a healthy liver, toxins collect in our body and this can lead to inflammation, illness, and disease. Ultimately, for us to feel good, we have to be healthy. A healthy liver is essential to healthy living.
4. Water, Water, Water! Water can be very helpful in flushing out toxins and reducing inflammation. Increasing the amount of water that we drink can help us feel better.
5. We are all unique and therefore, have unique dietary needs for health. In addition to the above suggestions, there may be additional foods that we don’t tolerate. If you suspect a particular food is creating symptoms, you can avoid that food completely for a period of 4-6 weeks and then reintroduce the food slowly. During this time, you can catalog how you feel and determine if you are sensitive to that food. Some examples of possible food sensitivities include: egg, dairy, corn, soy, nuts. Before performing this type of elimination diet, consider first making sure that the versions of these foods that you are eating is unprocessed. There is always the possibility that you are reacting to the processing of the food rather then the food itself. For example, upwards of 70% of all the soy in our country is genetically modified (GMO). It is optimal to avoid GMO foods in our diet to maintain a healthy gut and immune system.
Nutritional Supplement for a Healthy Digestive System
In addition to eating healthy and maintaining a clean diet, the following recommendations can be helpful to further clean the gut and support optimal digestion of food:
1. Daily Probiotics: There is a lot of press today about the benefits of daily probiotics. Essentially, probiotics are friendly bacteria for our gut. We need this ‘good bacteria’ to help create a defense in our digestive tract to fight off the ‘bad bacteria’ that we encounter every day through our daily intake of food and exposure to pollutants. In addition to promoting immune strength, daily probiotics can also help to reduce digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation.
2. Daily Essential Fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids or omega 3’s are an important part of healthy living. For many persons, the membranes their gut lining are weak. This weakness can create reduced absorption of nutrients as well as increased toxicity in the body. This is called ‘leaky gut syndrome’. Taking daily omega 3’s can help to strengthen the lining of our gut and promote our immune system.
3. Green Tea: Green tea has been widely researched over the years. It has been shown to promote healthy liver function as well as prevent many forms of cancer. Drinking green tea daily is a great way to support the liver and promote a healthy body. (It is ideal to drink loose leaf green tea rather then bagged because often, there are synthetic chemicals that can leach into the water from the bags.) For more information on the benefits of green tea, visit: http://www.instituteofimt.com/green-tea.php.
4. Dr. Tom’s Ginger Lemonade! This ‘medicinal’ lemonade is a wonderful drink to have warmed or chilled. Ginger is a wonderful immune booster. It has also been shown to help significantly with aching muscles as well as reducing muscle cramping. Lemons are also wonderful for our immunity by way of being a strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent. Lemon juice aids in digestion as well. Ginger, honey, and lemon provide gentle liver support. See below for this wonderful recipe. Enjoying two to four cups per day of green tea and ginger lemonade can be very helpful in achieving our ultimate goal of a healthy body.
Dr. Tom’s Ginger Lemonade Recipe:
Immune booster, increases vitality, great tasting, fun for the whole family!
½ lb raw ginger, washed and chopped (peeling is optional)
6 medium lemons, juiced
1 cup raw honey
1. Place chopped ginger in 1 quart of water
2. Bring water to a boil
3. Lower heat to simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes
4. Strain ginger while liquid is still hot
5. Add raw honey into hot liquid
6. Add 3 more quarts of water
7. Add juice of 6 lemons
8. Chill liquid in fridge
9. Enjoy hot on cold winter day or chilled on hot summer day!