“Sleep is dehydrating,” says Zelana Montminy, Psy.D., a nutrition expert based in Los Angeles. She and other experts suggest warm water, because it’s less taxing on the system than cold and helps flush the kidneys, and lemon juice, which can help balance pH levels and aid digestion. “The acidity stimulates the liver to produce acids that aid in further detoxification,” Montminy says.
– Growing up, I remember being thirsty when I woke up but drinking water would hurt my belly. Now since adding a lemon to the water, it really helps and changed everything for me.
Hydration is vital to a cleansing lifestyle. “Every system in your body depends on water,” Montminy says. “It reduces bloating and helps skin maintain elasticity, which makes you glow.” Add cucumber, ginger, or herbs to feel like you’re having a spa day.
– I picked Charlie up from school last week, as she wasn’t feeling well. She called me from the nurse’s office and complained of just not feeling good. She said she felt achy and her head hurt. She went to the nurse before lunch and after the nurse gave her some ginger ale and crackers, she sent her back to class. Charlie went back after lunch and still didn’t feel well.
Charlie had told me earlier in the week that they were allowed to keep a water bottle at their desk because their water fountain wasn’t working. I made sure to put it in her bookbag.
“What did you have to drink today?” I asked.
“You didn’t drink anything at lunch?” I asked.
“I can’t remember.”
“What about your water?”
“I forgot about it,” Charlie revealed.
So…. she hadn’t had anything to drink all day?
I know it’s a challenge to make sure we get enough to drink throughout the day, and it can be even harder to hydrate our kids. It is, however, so important. A straw makes a big difference for me, and helps me get it down quicker and out of the way. It can also help our kids. I rarely give my kids juice but if you do, then tell them they need to drink a kid size cup of water first, and then they can have a juice.
2.) Inhale, exhale, then eat
“Deep breathing eliminates toxins 15 times faster than shallow breathing,” says Kathe Burlage, a New York–based yoga instructor who trains cancer survivors with the YMCS’s livestrong program. Take three deep breaths before every meal.
– I love this one because once I stopped to notice my breathing, I realized how little I actually took deep breathes. Deep breathing has such a positive effect!
Whoever you pray to, saying grace before meals has all sorts of benefits. I have gotten into the habit with my kids so we can slow down and be grateful for what we have.
3.) Become a whole-grain person
The reason you won’t find bread, cereal, and pasta on a strict cleanse is that refined carbohydrates spike your blood sugar—and that can lead to belly fat. Replace your go-to starches with whole grains like unsweetened oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice, says Jampolis.
-Theo went through a year-long phase when he only wanted oatmeal for breakfast… Ok, then! We have come to learn how beneficial these grains can be, whenever we can slide them in. I make oatmeal breakfast bars and add quinoa to chili. Charlie loves carbs and does not like meats, so I make an effort to appeal to her. Our new try: quinoa pasta. She actually really likes it. Theo, not so much.
4.) Use the “fiber broom”
And now for the frank, we’re-all-adults-here portion of the programming: The more regular your bowel movements, the quicker potential toxins pass through your body. To keep things moving, aim for about 5 grams of fiber each time you eat, says registered dietitian Ashley Koff. Lentils, black beans, broccoli, and apples (with skin, since that’s where the fiber is) will help get you to your goal.
– I love beans, as I add them to chili and make veggies burgers, but the kids generally will not scream for beans. And broccoli? I stopped eating it once I had the baby because I didn’t want to give her gas from nursing. We do love our apples, though and buy organic when it feels right.
5.) Bend, twist, and touch your toes
“Twisting and turning the body increases blood flow and lymphatic drainage, enhancing detoxification,” says Susan B. Lord, M.D., a physician who also teaches at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, MA. A twist to try at work: Sit facing forward, turn to the right, and grab the top of your chair with your right hand, turning your body as far as you can in that direction. Then switch sides. Bending over to touch your toes also has cleansing benefits. Letting your head fall below your heart encourages circulation—also important for detoxification.
– Omigosh, I love stretching. I want to publically thank my college professor, Mr. Rob Bullington, for our early morning acting class where we would reach up to the sky and drop our fingers, hands, arms, neck and roll down slowly, one vertebrae at a time. This feels so good and I do it almost every day.
I also read in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, by Dr. Northrup
that the lymphatic system needs worked out. Thus, it would be alright to bounce around without a bra on! It gets the energy flowing throughout and gives attention where it’s needed.
6.) Just add greens
“I urge my clients not to count calories but to count vegetables—that’s how important they are,” says holistic wellness coach Kim Gilroy, who works with parent-teacher associations and university athletic teams to teach healthy eating habits. Leafy greens like kale, collards, chard, and spinach are particular winners: “They’re packed with vitamins, nutrients, and phytochemicals that all do daily cleanup work,” she says. “They support the cleansing functions of the kidneys and liver and strengthen your immune system.”
– Sick of hearing about kale? I just eat it…. it’s good for you. If you eat a green once a day, you are much better off than if you don’t eat it at all. Swiss chard is good and bok choy is delicious. Cook it up. I stopped buying spinach for a while because we read that it may contribute to gout.
7.) Follow the fiver-ingredient rule
No woman has ever needed to do a cleanse because she has an heirloom tomato salad for dinner seven days a week. Make fresh food your go-to, and when you reach for something that has been altered from its natural state and packaged, look for a label with five or fewer ingredients. Then make sure you recognize each one. “What you put into your body shouldn’t sound like a science experiment,” says Montminy. Processed ingredients make the body work overtime, causing inflammation that makes you look puffier and older than you are. Start by picking one day in a week that you eat only whole foods.
– Since my kids went trick-or-treating, I won’t have to buy another box of crackers for a year. Now, we have 500 mini bags of pretzels, cheese curls and cheese-its. Aside from that, I pulled crackers from my weekly grocery list. They get plenty from cereals, breads and cheese. If the cheesey square snacks do make it into the house, it’s awesome when they are the alphabet ones…how educational!
8.) Eat the “K” foods
We’re talking about fermented ones like kefir, kimchi, or kombucha tea, which contain immune-boosting probiotics or “good bacteria.” These microorganisms crowd out the bad bacteria in your gut and provide a barrier to toxins, Jampolis says: “You want to promote the good bacteria that aids digestion.” Don’t bother subjecting yourself to one of those celeb-endorsed colonics—they flush out the good bacteria along with the bad. Instead, cut back on high-sugar/high-fat foods and put kefir in your breakfast rotation, or trade your soda fix for a kombucha tea.
I can proudly say that I stopped drinking soda on when Sean and I went on our cleanse! It’s just something that works for me and I do not miss it. If I did, I would probably drink it.
As for kombucha, ask Sean about it… he likes it.
I believe in doing what feels right to me. One thing that affects my feelings, is what I read. I’m not saying that I read one article and say “Oh, that’s it! No juice box and processed foods for you!” I am saying that over the course of almost two years, I have tried many different things, read many different articles and books and based on my own experience, this is what I feel and what I think.
There is something to the old adage, “Don’t knock it til you try it!”
See what works for you…and when you hear a piece of information, and deep down, there is a voice in you that says, “Yes…I believe that, that’s me!”
Listen to that voice and cultivate it…give it space and allowance to grow. It will serve you…always.