Too many of us accept too low a quality of life as normal. We deal with headaches, exhaustion, weight gain and more, but what many people do not realize is that these symptoms are not normal. Our bodies were built to feel amazing every day and the majority of us accept feeling tired, bloated and foggy brained on a daily basis.
In my 20’s I thought taking Advil for every ache and pain and Pepto Bismol for stomach aches was normal. Then I got the biggest wakeup call of my life and realized I was not even conscious of what I was doing to my body! I was never a big drinker, never smoked or did drugs and I wasn’t a fast-food eater. I worked out at the gym, ate fairly healthy and wore sunscreen in the summer, but I was still oblivious to what wellness really was all about. I was stressed out working in fashion in Manhattan. First at Ralph Lauren in design then at Vogue magazine and my life was full of cortisol and stress and craziness. I still remember having to inhale my lunch at my desk because I was so busy. To me, that was normal.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Now, I look back and realize EXACTLY how I got so sick. I was stuck in the fight/flight mode (where the majority of us are stuck right now) and my nervous system was on overdrive trying to climb the corporate ladder, be everything for everyone and keep a smile on my face all while pushing myself to be better at everything. Sound familiar? I thought so. Now that I’m on the other side of my chronic health issues, I’ve realized there’s more to wellness and healing than just food. It’s more than just going to a yoga class or meditating. It’s something much deeper and had I not fallen flat on my face with a few near death experiences with my health, I probably would still be that women working in midtown who is a mess and empty on the inside and so unhealthy, but on the outside, all smiles. I’ve realized from working with my clients and from my website comments, emails and social media that so many women are suffering and they don’t know what to do or where to start. We’re bombarded by so many messages to be vegan, be paleo, be this, be that. We’re confused and there is way too much information out there for anyone to digest. Let me tell you a little bit about how my journey started and then I’ll dive into a few things that have helped me heal and get back to my true self.
Throughout the last 10 years I suffered from over a dozen chronic health issues including Lyme disease, PCOS, Hypothyroidism, Candida, C-diff Colitis, Leaky Gut and more. After spending many years without relief from western medicine on a cocktail of drugs, I chose a different path with energy work, mind/body practices and Functional and Integrative medicine. I soon realized I wasn’t the only one suffering, and through my website TheHealthyApple.com, I started receiving thousands of emails from people who were also suffering and not finding answers to help them get to the root cause of their symptoms. That’s when I turned my life around and learned how to address the underlying imbalances in my body instead of treating my symptoms with a Band-Aid approach. I never want anyone to go through what I went through for 10 very painful, exhausting years trying to figure out how to be healthy in a real way. I want to hand over the keys to you to shortcut your journey to wellness and save you time, money and suffering in your journey to wellness.
Detoxing your body is not what you think. It’s not a juice fast, it’s not about deprivation, and it’s not about starving yourself to be thin! Detox is about living a clean life and removing the toxins in your environment and foods that are causing silent inflammation in our bodies. In my best-selling book Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, I outline how you can detox and fight inflammation on a daily basis starting with eating organic. When we eat organic we’re not pumping in growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides into our bodies, which is what happens when we eat conventional, non-organic foods. These toxins in conventional foods that we ingest are one of the main causes of inflammation in our bodies.
The goal of detox is to lessen the burden that your body faces on a daily basis from toxins. In the last few years, we’ve all become inundated with toxins in everything from our food to our tap water to car exhaust, plastics, makeup, cleaning products, personal care products and more. Why is cleaning up our personal care products and cleaning products important for putting out the fire of inflammation in our bodies? Because our skin is our biggest organ and everything that we put on our skin gets absorbed into our body, which means everything that we put on our body is just as important as what we put into our body! Sound overwhelming? It is. But this information is not to instill fear in your mind, it’s to educate you and let you know what’s really going on and how you can support your body on a daily basis through detox practices, which I outline in my book and throughout my website.
Here are a few ways that I detox on a daily basis for my mind and body.
Epsom salt baths: These are super cheap and are such an easy way to detox. Get in your bathtub ladies and let yourself sit in there with a whole box of the salts for at least 30 minutes. Then rinse off in the shower.
Magnesium: I know most of you do not like taking supplements. I hear you. I took WAY too many for WAY too many years and I’m so over that. I only take a few now. Magnesium has been a life changer for me since I was a kid. My grandmother swore by it! If you really don’t like taking the pill form, you can use a powered form such as Natural Vitality Calm (they have an awesome watermelon flavor) that you simply put into water and drink. Easy as that!
Sleep: Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night is key for detox. While you are sleeping, each of your organs is detoxing toxins (internal and external) from your day. So if you skimp on sleep, you’ll feel like crap because your body is exhausted and because it didn’t have enough time to detox or rest and restore your body.
Eat organic: As I mention above, eating organic is key for detox so that your liver and other organs are not getting bombarded by toxins from pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, growth hormones and antibiotics. (Here are 2 clean-eating recipes from Amie.)
Filter your water: Here is a great post on how I detox my home and how I detox my water (shower filter and kitchen sink filter). How to Detox Your Home.
Let go: This is a big one! Start letting go of everything that everyone is telling you to do or that social media is telling you to eat or how the latest trend is telling you to workout. You’ve got to do YOU. That is the only thing that works. We are all SO different. Some of us can eat a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast and be fine while some of us would literally be bent over in pain from eating one bite (me). Some of us can run 5 miles and feel great, others of us need slower more peaceful ways of movement like walking. Start listening to your body. Where are you pushing yourself? Where can you let go? Where can you allow your body to heal and learn how to love yourself inside and out?
There are many other ways to detox your body; my book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body and my website TheHealthyApple.com share a deeper look into healthy ways to allow your body to rid the toxins you’re bombarded by throughout your life. Remember, detox is a way of life. It’s a lifestyle. It’s NOT a diet. Or a trend. Call it whatever you’d like. Call it your wellness protocol instead of detox if that feels better. Just know that it’s key to keep your body in tip top internal shape through simple and natural practices such as the ones I mentioned above.
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is the Editor-in-Chief of www.TheHealthyApple.com; she is a Manhattan based Celebrity Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Writer and Motivational Speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free ‘Clean’ recipes. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Pinterest @TheHealthyApple.