Each season has a unique quality, doesn’t it? For many of us, fall represents a time to embrace transformation and fresh beginnings as the temperature begins to drop, leaves start to change color, and efforts are made to bring more warmth and coziness to our days.
With the change in season, it may be the perfect time to reflect on where you want to be in a year from now with respect to your health and wellness. The change in season may be a symbolic way of embracing behavior changes that you’ve been wanting to make but have been putting off for one reason or another.
As a health coach and registered dietitian, I’m often asked my opinion about cleansing, not only as a way to lose weight but also as a way to reset the system. For some reason when the seasons change, detoxing is hyped up and is promoted in various ways. In my opinion, there are safe and healthy options to reset your nutrition or detox from substances that you know aren’t helping your health.
Think about foods or beverages that have been making their way into your daily life, whether that has been a way to provide comfort or as a result of habitual additions. Then consider if you’d like to focus on a gradual elimination of these things. Do you think a cleanse or detox is really required to improve your health?
While there are some crazy cleanses out there, I’m not a fan of those temporary quick fixes. There are some healthy and simple ways to gently detox from foods or beverages that haven’t been serving you well. As a way to kickstart your quest to get a bit healthier before the holiday season is upon us, let’s review 4 simple tips to improve your nutrition, eliminate things like simple sugars or refined foods, and naturally introduce a sense of warmth and lightness into your life:
✔ Keep it simple – Focus on eating real, whole foods, and eliminating foods that are more difficult to digest such as fried, packaged, or processed foods. Think of any and all food items that you can purchase from the grocery store that don’t come with a nutrition label, such as avocados, leafy greens, berries, lean protein sources, and raw nuts. These foods help to assist your internal metabolic processes. Incorporate simple salads of leafy greens or savory soups, and add an easy to digest protein such as eggs or boiled chicken. Eat your largest meal around lunchtime, and then limit what you eat as the sun goes down so that you can focus on getting some high quality sleep.
✔ Sip some warm water – Warm water is said to aid the body’s digestive processes by increasing circulation to the gastrointestinal tract. Water allows for the elimination of toxins more easily while providing purification of the blood stream. It may be best to wait an hour after eating before drinking large amounts of water, especially if you have digestive issues. Try sipping small amounts of warm water during meals and throughout the day as this has been shown to help maintain a balanced mental state by “detoxing” harmful nervous system chemicals. One easy tip to assist with this change is to drink a warm glass of water upon waking and before you have your first cup of coffee or caffeinated tea.
✔ Allow time for proper rest – When you choose to eliminate processed and harder to digest foods, your body has to work harder as part of the natural detoxification process kicks in, so it is best to conserve your energy if and when possible. Resting will let your body do the hard work required to help flush out harmful or toxic substances. Allowing time for rejuvenation and restoration will enhance the detox on a deeper level, even enhancing the mind-body connection.
✔ Move your body – Even though I just talked about how important rest is, remember rest and work are synergists. Moving your body leads to improved circulation, which can lead to better overall health long past a fall detox or reset. Working up a good sweat not only nourishes the cells of your body, but again, it nourishes the mind! Your body is intended to move, so honor that, and rely on movement as a way to energize your system rather than using chemical substances like caffeine or sugar.
Let’s embrace the change in season as an opportunity to bring back some healthy habits that may have slipped away as part of the carefree and celebratory nature of summer. Let’s “fall back” into nourishing the body on all levels so that you can look, feel, and perform at your very best.
Which one of these tips can you begin to implement today? Comment below and let us know!
Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver