It’s that time of year – many of us are slowly coming back to ‘reality’ post festive breaks, having hurled ourselves to the close of 2013 and popped out the ‘other side’ full of the best intentions for the year that will surpass all others. For many I realise, this can be a daunting place. With notebooks full of resolutions and steadfast, (albeit often wavering) determination our intentions can soon become an overwhelming prospect.
It is for that reason I want to share with you an article I wrote for the wonderful Aritsan online magazine last year, to help remove any overwhelm you may feel around resolutions associated with ‘detoxifying your life’. I am also very excited to announce the release of tickets to the first in our series of ‘Detox Your Life’ events. ‘Detox Your Pantry’, launches Thursday 13th February in Melbourne. The below article provides an overview of our coming events. Thank you for the overwhelming interest so far – you can pop on over to learn all about our coming event and purchase a ticket right here.
Detox Your Life.
For many of us it takes a rude reality check to get our health and our lives in order. There we are, screaming through life at an increasingly hectic pace, desperately chasing the bottom of our ‘to do’ lists, trying to keep up with a technology fuelled world that has both improved efficiencies and removed simplicity from our lives. We’re consuming foods conveniently processed and packaged to suit our ‘grab and go’ lifestyles, foods marketed by huge brands as health promoting, disease fighting and energy enhancing. We’re juggling everything. At breakfast we’re watching TV, checking social media feeds, glancing at newspapers. Squeezing in time to exercise we’re deafening the experience by ‘plugging in’- to iPhones, iPods and iTouches. The modern world, with all of its advances, is making many of us very sick. For many, it can only be considered a blessing when that reality check strikes.
Three years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, an illness so debilitating that I was forced to close a business and move interstate to live with my parents. There were off the Richter scale toxicity readings – lead, petrochemicals, mercury and pesticides. Battling with unimaginable fatigue and brain fog, life, as I knew it, came to a halt. I needed to make some serious changes.
I moved to an almost entirely unprocessed and organic whole foods diet, a diet as close to nature as possible, free of refined sugar, gluten and hidden additives. As far as possible, I removed all toxicity from my environment and I embraced activities such as meditation and yoga, activities that would serve to restore my energy and bring stillness and balance into my life.
So what exactly are whole foods?
These are foods that are unrefined and unprocessed, as close to nature as possible. Most significantly whole foods serve to decrease our reliance on supplements. They include fresh fruit and vegetables, unpolished grains, legumes, nuts and seeds – foods full to the brim with fibre, nutrients and disease fighting phytochemicals (often referred to as antioxidants) protecting us from chronic disease. Now I’m not about to sit down and eat a whole cow so an eye fillet is not, strictly speaking a ‘whole food’ but you get the drift (significantly, it is not processed meat, such as sausage). Whole foods also include health promoting good fats such as butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Not included are low fat alternatives (devoid of most of their nutrient content), refined sugar (a substance considered poison by our bodies) and packaged store bought foods such as biscuits, cakes, most breads and fizzy drinks – most of which are laden with preservatives and additives, none of which are doing us any good.
It is for this reason it’s best to spend less time in supermarkets and more time at markets, buying farm fresh, locally sourced, unadulterated produce. Whole food meals consist predominantly of a protein source (such as chicken, lamb, beef, eggs or fish) and cooked or raw vegetables. For the vegans or vegetarians amongst us, there are quality protein options such as quinoa, legumes or tempeh. Healthy treats can be made from scratch with combinations of nuts, seeds, spices, and natural sweeteners. An exception to my whole foods ‘way’ is 100% whey protein powder, a pure protein source allowing more variety at snack time, such as in my ‘Pretty in Pink’ Beetroot Smoothie.
Detoxifying your life.
Once you begin to understand the hidden dangers lurking in your bathroom and kitchen cupboards (and on your food) it’s a joy to remove them. Too many of us are ingesting poisonous substances through the food we eat and the washing up liquid we use; we’re lathering them on our skin and in our hair; we’re painting our nails and cleaning our teeth with them. Why choose to clean your kitchen benches and bathrooms with products labelled as poisonous? To commence a toxicity cleanse in your home, simply start in one room and work your way around. Read the back of the products; where there is a harmful warning sign, replace that product with a naturally derived product. If your body cream lists a multitude of ingredients you’ve never heard of it, throw it. The same goes with the food you purchase. Where possible buy fresh, organic, locally sourced food that has not been sprayed to the hilt with pesticides.
Restoring energy and balance.
Finding stillness was one of the biggest blessings for me of all. Slowing down enough to meditate and to feel the benefits in my body and energy levels. Commencing a yoga practise that would gently build my strength and bring my awareness back to my breath. ‘Mindfulness’, ‘living in the now’ or ‘being present’ are words and phrases we hear bantered around more and more and for many these seem unattainable, even baffling. This is simply about doing one thing at a time (like eating, washing the dishes, talking to a friend). When we multi task we invite clutter in and this clutter serves to wear us out. By slowing down, finding stillness and therefore bringing more rest into your life, you will conserve and restore your energy.
Cleaning up your life and your diet is not a project that should happen over night. Start simply by gradually ‘crowding out’ the lesser quality food choices, visiting health food stores and markets over supermarkets, noticing the warning signs on labels. Try hopping out of bed just 15 minutes earlier to sit in stillness and commence a meditation practise. Turn off the TV during dinner and enjoy conversation with your loved ones, whilst you chew your food and appreciate its flavours and textures. Change just one small thing and every single thing changes.