Saturday, December 26, 2009

Detox in the New Year!

While the holiday season is full of big meals, parities, and celebrations it typically comes at a price – bigger bellies and tainted eating habits! Now that the traveling and baking have come to a hault take some time to detox your mind and body with healthier eating.

When we hear the word “detox” many of us imediately think of consuming gallons of mysteriously flavored water; or being confined to a very limited, restricted, and bad tasting diet. This is not the type of detox I am talking about. I would like to suggest a simple and healthy way to detox this New Year.

Let’s detox this January by cutting out “processed foods”. Technically speaking, most of the foods we eat are in some way processed, whether it is a pealed orange or sauted vegetables. These are not the foods I am speaking of. The “processed foods” I’m talking about are foods chemically altered through additives like preservativves, colors, fillers, flavor enhancers, etc. Cutting these foods out will force us to consume more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fresh and natural meats and poultry, and more water! While it may take your body some time to adjust, this detox is sure to help purify your body and teach healthier eating habits that can transfer into your normal daily routine.

Processed foods are typically lower in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein; and higher in harmful fats, refined sugars, and preservatives. You know the ones I’m talking about…the breakfast bars, doritos, packaged dinners, and white breads that seems to last for YEARS in your cupboard and freezer. It seems difficult to know where to start, so start by being whole food oriented. Whole foods are things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and unprocessed meats. Things that are still in their original form. Here are some simple ways to begin cutting out processed foods throughout the day:

Instead of a bagel and cream chesse – choose – Whole grain oats with fresh fruit

Instead of a granola bar, candy, or potato chips – choose – Veggies dipped in hummus, small handful of walnuts with a piece of fruit, or baked veggie chips dipped in pure avocado guacamole.

Instead of a white bread sandwich with processed lunchmeat, cheese, mayo, and veggies – choose – Ezekiel 4:9 bread (flourless) with grilled chicken breast, avocado, mustard and veggies. Or try making a homemade soup full of fresh veggies, organic chicken or vegetable broth, whole grain brown rice, and beans/legumes.

Instead of a frozen or prepackaged dinner – choose – Frozen veggies, a whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, pearl barley), and fresh poultry or meat. Doctor it all up with herbs and spices! Or try making a delicious salad topped with fresh vegetables, black beans, corn, hard boiled egg, hazelnuts and topped with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

Instead of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream - choose - Fresh or frozen berries topped with 2 Tablespoons of fresh whipped cream (sweetened with honey).

Remember that as you begin to incorporate more fruits and vegetables your fiber intake will increase significantly. Make sure you get at least 2 liters (8 cups) of water each day to ensure adequet digestion and filtering of toxins out of your body.

As you start the journey toward healthier eating this New Year remember to make small, acheivable goals. Do not expect yourself to change a lifetime of habits overnight! Start by adding one more fruit or vegetable each day and go from there.

Written by Alison Wilson
Wellness Director and Nutritionist, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

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