The trendiness of “detoxing” kicks off again on January 1st. The carb loading holiday season is over. Hail to pumpkin pies and green bean casseroles, the delicious cakes and cookies, the offices filled with the overflow from recreating our grandmother’s favorite sweet things; halt fast food and eating out binges because “who has time for that” when you’re shopping and preparing for holiday guests. We feel the weight of the holidays, literally. Now as the clouds lift, our new year kicks off and we long to drop the after holiday blahs. Here are a few tips on how to safely shift and get through the sugar shakes after the holiday season.
1. Don’t go “cold turkey”. I don’t mean put the cold turkey on a sandwich and eat it (we know it’s delicious-my husband LOVES the leftovers.) What I mean is give yourself a break. Begin to incorporate those healthier foods back into your diet. Less sugar, more vegetables. Each meal is a chance to include something good. Be mindful of your plate. Every opportunity to give yourself nutrient rich food counts. It may not happen all at once, so be aware that if you splurge on one meal, then your next meal is another chance to eat well.
2. Slowly replace those bad food choices with better ones. Remember the plate they used to show you in health class? The one that had it all portioned out. They said this is what your plate should look like. Well, I’m not a “nutritionist”, I’m a working mom. So I HATE this model. The truth is, sometimes I have smoothies for dinner and that’s okay. I can actually get more into a smoothie that provides benefit than I can fit on a dinner plate. A typically smoothie for me would include almond milk, spinach, flax seed, coconut oil (I know, but stay with me here)…strawberries, banana and almond butter. So I’m getting more benefit from my food than if I had mindfully designed a plate to eat. Quite honestly, most of my days don’t allow me the time to do this (and maybe you can you relate?). So consider replacement options like smoothies and instead of a full dinner plate and consider foods that you know will help you to feel good. (Disclaimer: pizza does not blend well, so I apologize in advance if this is your first thought.)
3. Consider substitutions. Have you tried a non dairy milk? What about flax eggs? Applesauce for oil in baking? There are a vast array of healthy substitutions that are great for easing into a cleaner diet. Don’t believe me? Google it.
4. Cleanse. Okay, this is not for the meek. However, it is a great way to reset your body’s system by giving it a gentle break from the junk. The Standard American Diet (SAD) that we are all inundated with on a daily basis can be difficult to avoid. We are used to consuming difficult to break down foods and eating empty calories simply to survive until the next meal that we don’t consider how hard our bodies are working to pull out the good stuff every day. Cleanses can be a great way to simply gift your body gentle foods that can be absorbed quickly. These can come in the form of juice, smoothies or clean/raw food diets, so consider some of these options as a way to reset.
5. Grace. My FAVORITE word. If you miss it one meal, try for the next. If you have a bad day, consider it just that. One. Bad. Day. Don’t spiral and think that you have failed. Good food is just one meal away. I live by the motto that I eat well 80% of the time so that I don’t have to say “no” to those foods that I love to indulge in the remaining 20%.