Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung in New York City, and I need to do some spring cleaning to my diet. I eat very healthy and exercise, but there is always something that can be tweaked to scrub the body clean. In this blog entry I want to share with you my tips to spring clean yourself inside and out. My approach is not drastic, like many of the “urban legend” cleanses (I’m not dissing any-one’s cleanse, but some of them do not have scientific proof). I will not ask you to go out and buy any specific powder, or take any crazy shots of specific ingredients that might make you want to spit-up. But I do ask that you look at your eating habits and how they make you feel, and if these suggestions sound fun, easy, or helpful….then try them!

1) Do not eat fried foods! Fried foods clog up your heart, colon, and strain your  liver. To keep your skin youthful you must have a clean liver. According to Chinese medicine, the liver is linked to the eyes and you can see the vibrance of a persons’ liver by the tinge of the white of their eyes. I keep my liver unsullied by drinking at least 64-oz of water a day and sipping a juice of carrots and beets.

2)Sweat! A good sweat is outstanding for your body. When you sweat, your heart works more, which improves your circulation and your metabolism. When your circulation increases during sweating, many of the toxins and impurities in your body are able to exit by way of your open pores. Also, perspiration aids in weight-loss because the activities that lead to sweating often burn up calories. Furthermore, sweating opens-up your skin’s pores and impurities flow out of the surface layer of the skin, and if followed by cleansing, you will achieve softer more smoother skin. Working up a good sweat strengthens the immune system owing to the fact that when your body heats up, it generates more white blood cells. Lastly, when you perspire you release stress. Sweating can be very relaxing for both your body and your mind. When your body heats-up, your muscles warm-up and this helps to release the stress brought on by muscle tension. I sweat by taking Bikram Yoga classes, but any kind of exercise causes perspiration. To enjoy the health benefits of sweating include activities in your daily life such as regular exercise, sitting in a steam room or sauna, going to the beach on a hot sunny day, or  walking to do your errands.

3)  Increase your daily fiber intake! Fiber is necessary for detoxing the gunk out of your system; furthermore, it is a great practise to prevent a number of diseases. In the book, The F-Factor Registered Dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot explains that when you add foods that are high in fiber to your diet, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, your stomach feels fuller longer and you won’t eat as much at meals. Therefore, weight-loss is evident when adding extra bulk (along with a substantial amount of water) to the diet. However, Fiber has a variety of health benefits besides lowering your weight. It has been shown to lower your cholesterol, reduce the risk of certain cancers,  and lower your chances of developing diabetes. Foods that are naturally high in fiber are apples, figs (dried or fresh),pears, raspberries, barley, bran, brown rice, split peas, lentils, all kinds of beans, broccoli, turnip greens, artichokes…….the list goes on and on. Since nature provides us with so many fiber rich foods adding them to your diet is easy. Instead of eating cookies or chips for a snack, switch to nuts with dried fruit. Replace white bread with wheat bread (just be sure to read the list of ingredients on the package bakers like to add all-purpose flour to wheat bread for additional texture). Add salad to your dinner in the evening or instead of steak and potatoes for dinner make a steak salad.

4) Decrease your sugar intake! Oh goodness this is the hardest one for me. I love sweets and my honey loves them too, which is a double whammy because my exposure to sugar is doubled when not only I buy them, but my man buys them too. Sugar impacts the insulin levels in your blood. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, which is crucial to managing carbohydrate and fat metabolism in in your body. According to Dr. Robert Lustig from the University of California, San Francisco, excessive sugar consumption in this country is the likely dietary causes of several chronic diseases and ailments, such as heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers. However, Dr. Robert Lustig speaks more about the lethal amount of process sugar in our diets more than sugar itself. The reason that this is so frightening is where this type of sugar shows up in our diets. Unless your willing to pay over $5.00 for a pint of ice cream, your frozen dessert has corn syrup in it. Like Triscuits? They also have corn syrup in them. What’s your favorite cereal? Better read the label because most likely it has corn syrup in the list of ingredients. So, it’s not just cutting-out your favorite baked goods or after dinner snacks and desserts, but all the foods that have process sugar in the ingredient roll. Some ways to get rid of sugar cravings include adding more minerals to your diet. I do this by juicing greens and drinking Yerbe Mate or green tea in the mornings. When craving something sweet try to reach for dried fruits or even better: fresh fruits. Switching your mind from chocolates to mangos is not the easiest thing to do in this world, but it is necessary to rid your body of extra fat and toxins. To remind yourself to buy more fruits buy yourself a beautiful bowl to place exotic fruit in from your local market. Do not buy your favorite sweets to put in your cabinet no matter how much other people in your household beg (and they will). Lastly, tell yourself the only dessert worth having is the dessert made my a pastry chef; therefore, eating a sweet treat will become part of a ritual where you spoil yourself by paying for it.

The painless way to achieve these objectives is to try each suggestion one at a time. To say today is the day I will never eat sugar again, doesn’t work very well for most people. Besides, who wants to think of life with no fried foods and no sugar ever again. A long healthy life is about moderation, a little bit of sugar won’t kill you but a lifetime of drinking sugar filled soda pop might be the death of you.




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