Updated: Jan 11
Welcome to week four! I hope you are thrilled with your progress and take the time to thank yourself and honor how far you have come (no matter how small). Week four is all about nutrition and deep nourishment.
Now, you are probably wondering, why as an herbalist, I have yet to cover herbs in detail. To be honest, these eight weeks are about the pillars of health that holistic herbalists, like myself, educate about because no amount of herb or medication on the market will fix poor nutrition, lack of sleep, a poor environment, or sedentary behaviors (though herbs can help). There is no "quick fix." When I work with clients, I support and ready them for the long haul.
Addressing your diet will improve thyroid function, and hormone balance, decrease inflammation, increase metabolic flexibility, reduce cancer, regulate blood sugar, clear skin, and aid hair and nail growth. As a bonus, proper nutrition also greatly improves your outlook on life by decreasing anxiety, depression, and that sluggish state of mind.
I have spent a decade-plus in the wellness space and public health, and during that time I have witnessed ridiculous fads, and false and harmful information when it comes to nutrition. While you can turn to a holistic herbalist to design a personalized dietary plan supercharged by herbal medicine, at the core of it all, you know your body best. If you do not feel good on a diet, it is not good for you. With the caveat, of course, if you are detoxing from sugar, caffeine, or in rehabilitation for an eating disorder - it may feel uncomfortable for a while till you have reached a healthy baseline.
Here are some top strategies to get you started in week four of the HW Spring Reset:
Learn what your food sensitivities and allergies are. Do you feel bloated, tired, or experience brain fog, gut cramping, skin rashes, trouble losing weight, or headaches? Chances are you may have a food sensitivity or allergy. Some of the leading causes of food sensitivities are gluten (all wheat-containing products, and other grains), dairy, eggs, soy, beans, and corn. These also happen to be ingredients and food items most contaminated with pesticides and toxins, preservatives, and antibiotics. Try cutting these items out of your diet for at least one month, then re-introduce them one by one and take note of how you feel. Don't be surprised if you feel soo good, you never reintroduce them! Need more structure, a Whole 30 Diet is a good guide.
Choose local. Buying local means fresher food for you, and many times it is cheaper! Look out for local farmer's markets near you! Supporting local supports your community.
Avoid heavy metals. Avoid tuna of all sorts, and screen the source of your matcha tea. Matcha tea and tuna contain mercury and other metals that cause GI tract, kidney, skin, heart, and nervous system disorders and damage, including cancer and birth defects. Did you know that just one can of tuna contains 0.32 parts of mercury alone? Yikes!
Choose organic. Get familiar with the Dirty Dozen. Check out this guide to see which foods are safe to not buy organic and which ones are a priority to avoid toxins.
Eat calmly. Take three deep breaths before you eat and eat calmly to ensure that you absorb all the nutrients within your food. Chew, and chew your food some more to help break it down and ease up on the work your gut has to do.
Timing. Come up with an eating schedule (for example breakfast 8:00 AM, lunch at 1:00 PM and dinner at 6:00 PM), and try not to skip meals (for some breakfast may be optional). This will help you establish metabolic flexibility, and give you time to digest each and every meal. Try not to snack and allow at least three-four hours between each meal.
Fasting. Digestion is an expensive process on the body. Your body can not repair itself if it is busy digesting food. Give your body fasting breaks to allow it to do the repair work and effectively detox. For example after dinner at 6:00 PM, give your self a 12-16 hour window of fasting (most of which you can sleep through).
Basic supplements. There are two high quality supplements that everyone should take: 1. is vitamin D, and 2. magnesium. Vitamin D is needed for most functions in the body, hormone regularation and immunity, and magnesium is just as important and regulates stress. Think less stress, anxiety, ditch the sore muscles, better sleep, and the list does not stop there. Now if your multi-vitamin contains some trace amounts of vitamin D and magnesium - it is not enough. Taking additional vitamin D and magnesium will ensure better health outcomes. Choose quality vitamins that are third party verified or have the good manufacturing processes (GMP) stamp of approval. My go to brand is Xymogen, is sold at most naturopathic physicians offices. When in doubt, speak to your doctor, and better yet run a panel to see if you are deficient in other minerals and nutrients.
Spice it up. Add spices to your food! Spices (hot or not) help you digest your food and are antiinflammatory. Load up on the pepper, cinnamon, tumeric, ginger and more!
Walk it out. Go for a 10-15 minute walk after meals to help digest and reduce blood sugar spikes by up to 30%.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This service or product is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.**