12 steps towards a healthier 2013

Sunrise on Phu Chi Fa

The sun is rising on a New Year!

Wow!  A whole year of detox, completed! I couldn’t even fathom this moment when I started last year. Twelve months seemed like an eternity, yet here we are. I will be updating the blog with the quantitative measures of my success once I get results back from my doctor. However, as we head in to 2013, I wanted to share what I believe to be the top 12 steps you can take in bettering yourself and your health this coming year. Now that all the Christmas cookies have been eaten and you’ve had your fill of libations for awhile, let’s get back on track. Twelve months of detox has taught me many things, but here are what I feel are the twelve most important things, in no particular order.

1. Drink more water

Sure, sure. Everyone always says to me, I drink so much water. I thought I did, too. Until I kept better track of it and found out I was embellishing a tiny bit. Apart from the air we breathe, there is nothing more important to our survival than water. The more, the better! Most of us are walking around dehydrated like crazy! Dehydration can cause some scary things…trust me. If you make only one change in your life this year, let drinking more water be it.

2. Move your body

I am, by nature, a very sedentary person. I find no issues sitting and watching movies all day. After making movement more important in my life, I found it became something I craved. I no longer wanted to sit all day. Even now when I have a ‘veg’ day, I get up and stretch every hour or so. Your body was made to move, especially since you need movement for your lymphatic system to function. Even if it’s walking to the corner store a few times a week, or some yoga for ten minutes in the morning. Every little bit helps!

3. Eat more raw food

I find this especially hard to do in a Canadian winter. My body wants foods that will warm me from the inside out. Now that I’ve incorporated more raw foods into my diet as a whole, I really feel a difference when I go more than a day or two without having any. Your body needs enzymes that are found mostly in raw foods because it can only produce some of them itself. Do yourself a favour and have a salad before your hearty beef stew, even if it’s a cold night.

4. Find out what your vitamin/mineral deficiencies are and take supplements

The reason I don’t blanket statement this suggestion by telling you to take a multivitamin is because, depending on your personal factors, you may only be lacking a few things from your diet. Go, see your doctor and ask them to run some blood tests to see where you are low in or high in for that matter. Once you have a clearer picture of your health, then you can start taking the right supplements. You may be suffering from a deficiency that you aren’t even aware of. Catch it now and turn your health around!

5. Learn the different names for ‘sugar’ and read those labels

Sounds so simple, so hard to do! As I discovered during my detox, sugar is lurking in many different places under many different names. If you learn them and check your labels, you have won half the battle. The other half is your will power and only you can choose victory. Educate yourself about the products you are buying and you will be a smarter, healthier consumer!

6. Buy organic…REAL organic

Yes, it is more expensive but it is so worth it. This past summer, we bought organic berries and the taste alone was worth the extra bit of money. Just watch out for ‘greenwashing’. As buying organic becomes more and more popular, companies are finding ways to dupe consumers into spending more money on products that appear more natural. Using the colour green or having the word ‘organic’ in the name are just some of the ways that shoppers are being tricked. Check the labels, find out if they are truly living up to their image.

7. Clean with vinegar

Yes, there are hundreds of different cleaners out there. Many make claims of being environmentally friendly, but I have yet to find a single product as environmentally friendly and versatile as good, ol’ vinegar. Not only that, but it is incredibly cheap as well! Save your cleaning product money and buy more organic foods!

8. Chew your food MORE

Yes, we all chew our food to some degree but many of us hoover down our meals without enough breakdown. Your mouth is a vital part of your digestive process. Give your saliva time to help with the breakdown and your whole gastrointestinal tract will thank you for it!

9. Take an omega supplement

I know I said to get tested for what supplements you are lacking in before setting up your vitamin regime, but this is one of the ‘gimmies’. Omegas are powerful anti-inflammatory supplements and rather than tell you all the foods you should be avoiding in order to cut down your inflammation, I would rather you add this to your regime. Especially if you don’t eat a lot of fish!

10. Stay away from products with added ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfumes’

I could write hundreds of tips for what to avoid when putting things on your body, but if I tell you just one, stay away from scented products. Unless the label clearly states that they’ve used no added fragrance or only fragrances from essential oils, there could be many different chemicals lurking under that name.

11. Try juicing

Juicing isn’t for everyone and it is hard to do in the colder months, but there is no better way to get those nutrients in such a bio-available format. If juicing seems like a huge effort, at least try to buy your juices from the refrigerated section of the store. They are less likely to have added sugars and preservatives. Also, the enzyme content will be higher.

12. Write affirmations

Affirmations are a great way to attract the things you want into your life. Whether it’s a state of being or a physical thing, affirmations are a very effective way to reach those goals.

As you head into a new year, turn over to a new chapter in your life. One in which you are healthy and happy. Not only will you be benefiting yourself, but all those around you.

Do you have any suggestions for 2013 that will help people better there lives? Have you tried them? Are you planning on trying them this year?

Happy New Year everyone!

7 tips on how to write effective affirmations

Affirmations are a way to attract something that you want in your life, a manifestation if you will. This manifestation doesn’t have to be of something concrete, it can be for an emotional state, an encounter, anything that you desire. Several years ago, I went through a depression. My life wasn’t where I thought it should be at that time, I was overstressed and overworked. We’ve all been there, but this time was different. I had a little ‘break’. During this time, I was living at home and my mom gave me a set of CDs by Bill Nasby called ‘ The Path to Deliberate Creation‘. At first, I didn’t want to listen to it. Eventually, I gave in because I didn’t want to fight about it either.  Bill’s voice and years of experience chipped away at the shell of depression I was encased in. I began to realize that my inaction and marination in a low vibration wasn’t going to do me any good. Crawling out of there was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. Anyone who has ever suffered from a depression knows what I am talking about. I don’t care how long it was, the feeling of crawling out into the light is fantastic.

One of the things I used to deliberately create my new reality, as suggested by Bill Nasby, was to write affirmations. Now, as I understand it and from my experience, it is extremely important to actually write your affirmations. You see, there’s this little part of your brain that lives solely to smack down new ideas. Some call it ‘ego’, others liken it to a little demon in the brain that squashes anything that your internalized habits say is wrong. For example, if you are overweight and have been for some time, your ego has created that identity for you. When you are trying to lose weight and you simply say aloud, “I am skinny.”, your little ego demon replies, “No, you’re fat.” Simple as that. By writing your affirmations, you bypass the home of that little, dream-squasher and enter the information you want to internalize through a different, cerebral route. Some people might disagree with me on this, but my experience has been that written affirmations are much more powerful than spoken ones.

Now that you know that you need to write your affirmations, what are you going to put down on paper? Here are some tips to help you write more powerful affirmations.

1. Always write in the positive state.

So, if your health is something that bothers you and you’d like to affirm yourself into a better state of health, you will not write “I am never sick.” Saying that focuses on the state of being sick. You would instead say, “I am always in perfect health.”

2. Always write in the present.

Do not affirm that you “will be” or “will have” something. That is affirming a state of not having what you desire yet. You wish to affirm in the present so that you live like you already have what you want. Never “I will be rich”, but rather, “I am rich.” The more you write it, the more you will believe it and draw wealth to yourself. This is not to say that you should go out and live a lifestyle you cannot afford so that you ‘believe’ you are wealthy, but eventually you may see a turnaround in your financial state, or whatever else you were affirming.

3. If you can, attach an emotion to your affirmation.

For example, if one of your goals or intentions in the upcoming year is to tone up your body, do not simply write, “I have a toned body.” Put a little OOMPH into it! ” I absolutely love my toned body and everything contributes to this perfect result.” Doesn’t that sound much more inspiring!?! Writing with an emotional or joyful intention is much more powerful.

4. Write your affirmations in a comfortable language for you.

If flowery words with lots of syllables has never been your style, then don’t use them! If you’re more like me and crave fantastically constructed sentences that coat your mind with their honeyed sweetness, then use them! Remember, these affirmations are for you and you alone. No one else ever has to read them, so don’t write to impress. If you are always searching for words to make more impressive affirmations then it becomes a chore. One you are unlikely to continue.

5. Write your affirmations every day for at least 30 days.

There’s no hard and fast rule about when you write your affirmations. Some suggest that your mind is most receptive to them upon waking up and right before bed, but you will have to play around with this and find what works best for you. However, you definitely need longevity to the process. Writing affirmations for a few days and then stopping will not help you to manifest anything. Make your affirmations a part of your daily routine. I like to write my affirmations at night, right before bed, repeating each one three times. If you are just starting to write affirmations, I would limit the number to about three affirmations per day with no more than twelve words a piece. If you feel comfortable upping the number of affirmations or words, do so at your own pace.

6. Print your affirmations rather than using cursive.

A lot of people find that their writing style is not legible. Printing however, is another story. It may take you longer to do, but think about how you first learned to write. You printed! You learned to print in a time when your little, ‘ego demon’ probably didn’t exist. I find printing to be a much more effective means of internalizing affirmations.

7. Speak your affirmations aloud as you print them.

I’ve never seen this suggestion in any of the ‘self-help’ books, but I really find it amps up the power of the affirmations. My mind tends to wander when left to its own devices. Anyone who has played an instrument knows, that when you are rehashing the tune that you have played over and over, your fingers just take over. Your mind can wander and most importantly, your little ‘ego demon’ has a chance to get his idea-squashing racket out for a game. Say your affirmation aloud as you write, this will help you focus all your attention onto it and not on what you are going to wear tomorrow to work. Even you just say it under your breath, you will hep to hone your mind.

Writing affirmations is a fantastic way to help you manifest your goals and desires. It helped me crawl out of a depression and, by the end of that year, I met my future husband. That’s quite a turnaround, if I do say so myself. So, if you want to give your New Year’s resolutions some added spark, start working on your affirmations. I’d love to see some affirmations you are thinking of using in the comment box below. Please share!

Scrooge or Cratchit: It’s your choice everyday

As part of my emotional and stress detox, I’ve been ending my days by writing in my journal five things that happened that day that I am grateful for. It is by no means a new concept, but I actually wonder why more people don’t do it. My husband and I have been expressing gratitude for having each other in our lives, every night for over four years now. It is a great way to reconnect at the end of the day and remind ourselves that, no matter what, our relationship is the most important thing in the world to us.  Now, I extend that outlook on my entire day. Ya, crap happens. Ya, it will happen almost every day. But if you go to bed thinking about that, it will just surround your whole mind and energy in that blackness. How can you expect to have a sound sleep and wake up the next day with a good feeling? You really can’t.

I know, it’s hard. We get so caught up in the drama of our lives! It’s so easy to focus on the crap. But does that mean that it is okay to focus on it? Absolutely not. Since I’ve been doing the gratefulness exercise, I notice a lot more of the resistance the people around me are having to it. Even when my day isn’t going so well, if someone asks me how I am, I’ve chosen to answer, ‘Great!’. A lot of people start answering my statement with myriads of their own problems. Almost as if they are trying to douse the light of my happiness. I’m not perfect either, I still give in to those lower vibrations occasionally, but I feel it happening less and less.

I’ll tell you a story, that happened to me only a few days ago. I’ve had to take a part time position in retail at the mall this Christmas season. The moods of people vary greatly during this time of year. From the overjoyed and bubbly, to the overwhelmed and snippy. An older man came up to our cart and when the other woman working approached him, asking if she could help him.

“I don’t want nothing!” He scowled. Obvious grammatical error aside, the waves of negativity were just rolling off of him.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I turned to him and replied,

“Oh, just here for the free smiles, eh?” and flashed him the biggest smile he’d probably seen in years.

“No, no. I don’t even want those neither. I don’t want anything from anybody. I’ve seen real people and they aren’t worth it. When you get to be my age, you won’t be smiling anymore! I guarantee you!” Though I was completely taken aback by the negativity, my years of improvisational skills didn’t fail me now.

“Well, my grandmother smiled right up until the day she died and I will be, too.” I said, matter of factly.

My Nana - team Cratchit member.

My Nana – team Cratchit member.

“Oh ya.” He said, sensing the challenge. “Did your grandmother live through a war?”

“Yes sir, she actually went to work in an artillery factory.” I replied.

“Well, I had those things come at me in the war!” By this point, he was much less belligerent but still trying to make his point.

“Well, it’s because of my grandmother that you had something to fight back with.” I smiled. Then, the oddest thing happened. The old man just started laughing and smiling, with the sound of genuine amusement at the edges. He tipped his cane to me, turned and left. The woman I was working with was amazed. She couldn’t believe I got him to leave with a smile, after such a rocky beginning. As many of us do, she started making excuses for the man. Like, how some people have just seen things in their lives that they just can’t get over. Honestly, I don’t fully buy that. Yes, atrocities such as war, rape and abuse are things that can heavily affect someone. Yes, you are allowed to be upset, have rage towards it and be haunted by it. I hope never to be visited by war in my lifetime and I am beyond grateful to all the men and women who stood up for our country and our allies in their time of need. But does that mean you take one experience and allow it to jade your entire outlook on life, for the rest of your days? Really, it’s your choice.

I am reminded of Viktor Frankl. He was a psychologist who was imprisoned in a concentration camp during the war. He wrote about the state of the prisoners in the camp, his observations and the like. His ultimate conclusion was that even in times of great suffering, life still has meaning and even the suffering itself has meaning.

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way—an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.” – Viktor Frankl

So, Viktor Frankl took this dehumanizing experience and found the good in it, inspiring all those around him. In my opinion, good choice. Cratchit-grade, in fact! Meanwhile, the random old veteran that I’ve met has chosen to focus on the worst part of his life and transpose it onto the entire population. He goes around looking for people to bring down to his level and quash the light around him. In my opinion, a very bad, Scrooge-rated choice.

At the end of my day, one of my gratitudes was: The chance to make an old, war veteran smile and maybe have a better day because of me.

Coming into the Christmas season and the new year, take a real look at where your head is at the end of the day. Do you need to make a shift? I say, join team Cratchit!

When did I get so old?

It’s Friday night, I’m home. Yes, it’s true that would be the case at 8:30 on most Friday nights of my life. The difference is, tonight I have no plans to go out. None at all. In fact, I’m so tame I’m actually making maple pumpkin butter as we speak. Suddenly it occurred to me that only a few years ago, I’d be showering or doing my hair. Getting ready for the adventures that await in the night. Right now, I’m exhausted! A full day of work, come home, clean and do some headshots for someone and then do some dishes while I make pumpkin butter. I can’t even remember the last time I went dancing with friends! What happened?

I’m not suggesting that I would like to go out every Friday night, but I’m only thirty, I should go out once every couple of months. After this month, I think I will endeavour to go out every three months on a Friday night. Maybe it will keep me young. :)

Oye! It's Friday!

Oye! It’s Friday! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Month 12: Emotional and stress detox

This month marks the last month of my Year of the Detox! Wow, I can hardly believe that the year is almost over and that I made it through all the challenges I set for myself. December may be the last month of the detox, but it is the first month that I am focusing on my emotional state, rather than my physical one. The holiday season can be especially stressful, so it is really worth it to take time out and focus a bit on yourself. It may be the season of giving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself something, right?

The rules for this month are:

1. In bed by 9 p.m., lights out by 10 p.m.

I know, 9 p.m. seems really early and I have already started to have a bit of issues with this one, but I’m going to keep trying.

2. Every night, I will journal five things that I am grateful for.

This will help me focus on the best parts of my day and hopefully remove the negative thoughts of anything that irked me.

3. Write affirmations every night

Affirmations are statements of what we want from life and what we want to be, but written in the current tense. So instead of writing down, “I want to be healthy and weigh XXXlbs.” I write something like, “I AM healthy and I love my lean, toned, XXXlb. body. Everything contributes to this perfect result.”

4. Spend at least twenty minutes doing some form of meditation before bed.

Whether it be straight meditation, chanting or something else, I will devote time to doing that each evening. Meditation has a calming and relaxing effect, so I plan to benefit from this as much as I can.

Obviously, with the holiday season being here, I may not be able to commit to the 9 pm curfew every night, but if I can do it for 90% of the month, I’ll consider it a definite victory.

What nighttime rituals do you have to keep yourself stress detoxed?

On juicing and bioavailability

Have you ever heard the term bioavailability? It’s a heck of a hard work to type without making a mistake, let me tell you! Basically what it means is how available to your body is a certain substance, in this case we’re talking specifically about digestion and how easy it is for your body to get nutrients out of what you consume.

I’ve talked about all the fantastic nutrients and enzymes that are in juices, but another reason to actually juice your veggies and fruits is because of bioavailability. Most of the foods we eat take a long time to work their way through our digestive tracts. This is largely due to the fact that we eat lots of processed foods. Fruits and vegetables have the ability to work through our digestive system and have all their nutrients absorbed in as little as forty five minutes! By comparison, other foods can take eight hours or more to work through from start to finish. If you are often eating a diet with little plant matter and lots of other foods, including processed foods, your body is spending a lot of energy to digest the things that are supposed to be giving you MORE energy. Seems a little bit silly, doesn’t it? By eating a diet with lots of fruits and veggies, including some juices, you give your body a well deserved break.

English: Orange juice. Italiano: Succo d'aranc...

English: Orange juice. Italiano: Succo d’arancia. Português: Suco de laranja. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Digestive problems are running rampant through the population. With our poor diets and overuse of antibiotics, our gut flora is low and our bodies have trouble even breaking down food to get the nutrients out. Juicing helps a lot by being nearly ‘self-digesting’, they help to solve this problem. They supply our bodies with readily available nutrients we don’t need to work hard to get. If you suffer from poor digestion, why don’t you take some time and try juicing. Combined with downing your processed food intake, you may see a big shift in your body.

Worth a try?

Lessons in juicing

So, this is the last week of my liquid life detox month. What a long haul. I admit, I haven’t always been able to do the liquid dinners. I found myself to be hungry as winter settled in, more than what my soup could do to fill me up. I have been pretty good with the juiced mornings though. I really like having the juice in the a.m. for breakfast. I find I need a light snack or an early lunch however, or my stomach starts its daily protest. Maybe November in Canada was not the best month to do a liquid diet…but I hope that won’t deter anyone from trying. You may really enjoy it once you’ve tried it. It is certainly a great way to get your nutrients and energy. Also, having juice first thing after your cup of water is another great way to get more hydration in your day!

Here are some tips of lessons I’ve learned this month:

1. Make sure your fruits or veggies aren’t too ripe.

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I found the juices to taste off whenever I used produce that was too ripe. So much so that I couldn’t even stomach the drink. I may be sensitive, but I definitely recommend using your produce within a few days of purchase.

2. Cut your juices with water.

That much sugar that early in the morning can shoot your blood sugar levels up without any fiber to slow that process down. Better to cut the juices with water so there is less sugar. The water also helps to hydrate you even more. It also helps break up some of that acidity if your juices are fruit heavy.

3. Clean your juicer ASAP.

As soon as you are done, rinse and wash that juicer. This point has several reason for being. If you don’t clean it right away, you might forget and your juicer will be all clogged the next morning when you go to use it. Also, the little bits of pulp and skin can get caked on really easily if they are allowed to dry. Then your cleaning time will be doubled!

4. Drink slowly.

If you drink your juice too fast, you might have an upset stomach. Take your time and enjoy the flavours!

5. Brush your teeth afterwards.

Most of my juices had fruit in them, and often included a beet. Fruit is very acidic and beets tend to stain the enamel. Better to brush right after and prevent any staining or damage to your teeth.

From me to you, these are the best tips I have if you want to wander into the world of juicing. If you are an avid juicer yourself, please feel free to add some more tips in the comment section. Maybe I can learn something from you!

Top 5 reasons to juice

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. ...

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. 12th century; Anagni, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you have major blood sugar issues, juicing could be something that will help you get your body the nutrients and energy it needs! Juicing has been around for centuries dating back to ancient times in India, Rome and Greece. Ayurvedic medicine has long promoted the benefits of juicing. Actually, it describes the body’s best health to be when all of its juices are flowing properly and abundantly.  In ancient Greece, Hippocrates was known for being a proponent of using diet to heal. Among his favoured ‘prescriptions’ was different types of juices. He was known for teaching that it was better to be full of drink than full of food. I wonder if he includes vodka in that thought? Hmm…probably not. Influenced by his predecessors, Galen of Ancient Rome also studied and proposed juices for maintaining health and treating health issues. In fact, though he couldn’t know why at the time, but he suggested that cooking juices made them lose some of their beneficial properties. This was hundreds of year before we would discover enzymes! So, if you thought juicing was a fad, now you know the facts. Juicing has been around for a very long time.

So, why juice?

1. Enzymes

If you follow my blog, you know how important I think enzymes are. They are the little workers that keep our bodies going, helping in every little function we need our bodies to do for us on a daily basis. Without enzymes, it doesn’t matter what else you are eating or drinking. They have to be there to break down all your nutrients so they can get where they need to go. You can see why this is reason number one. Most enzymes can only thrive in a ‘raw’ or ‘uncooked’ piece of food. Our bodies produce some of them, but we need to ingest many of them as well. Our bodily enzymes are not infinite, so maintaining a healthy diet, ripe with enzymes is very important.

2. Vitamins and minerals

We’ve all been told over and over throughout our lives that vitamins are important. Minerals, too. Honestly, they really are! If you are lacking in any of the vitamins or minerals your body needs, your bodily functions can become highly impaired. Unlike enzymes, our body cannot produce the vitamins or minerals we need and we have to get them from food. (Apart from vitamin D, which we can get a bit of from the sun). With most North Americans, and now nations becoming ‘Americanized’, the standard American diet is eaten by a large part of the world’s population. The aptly acronym holding ‘SAD’ diet is devoid of many vitamins and minerals.

3. Quality over quantity

Combine our ‘SAD’ way of eating with the fact that our agricultural system is producing food that is less  ‘organic’, it would be nearly impossible to get everything you need, every day. The nutrient load of the foods we eat are getting lighter and lighter. Sure, many of us supplement in pill form, but a quart of vegetable juice can give you the nutrients that you would otherwise need to eat five pounds of solid vegetables to get! Crickey! I know a quart may seem like a lot, but over the course of a day, it’s not that bad.

4. Chlorophyll

I’ve already written about the amazing benefits of chlorophyll, but a lot of people may have trouble drinking the supplement version of it. Vegetable juice is a great way to get a dose of chlorophyll. With a molecule so close in structure to human hemoglobin, it has amazing detox effects!

5. Essential Amino Acids

There are eight amino acids we consider ‘essential’ because our bodies need them to function and yet we are not able to produce them ourselves. That means we absolutely need to get them from our diet. Like enzymes, vitamins and minerals, without enough amino acids, our bodies would develop serious health issues.

Sure, there are many more reasons why juicing is good for your health and why more of us should be doing it. I will be covering some of them in the next few posts, but for now why don’t you mull over these ones. They pack a pretty powerful punch. Do any of these reasons make you want to try juicing? Why or why not?

Month 11: Liquid Life

juicer

juicer (Photo credit: Shockingly Tasty)

Wow, it seems as the year comes closer to the end I am getting lazier and lazier about these postings. Sorry!

So month 10 was a bit of a change up and had more to do with what I was putting on my body, rather than in it. Month 11 will be going back to what I am putting into my body.

Your digestive system is an amazing machine. If you haven’t realized this by now, it is time for a wake up call. It takes everything you put into your mouth to nourish you and converts it into the energy you need to function every day. It is constantly working, constantly and tirelessly. Isn’t it time to give it a bit of a break? Well, you can’t really stop eating. I mean, maybe you could, but not for long. In our fast paced and demanding society, a complete fast is nearly out of the question. Some people choose to go really hardcore and go on the Master Cleanse, which is basically lemons, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. I’m not sure I could ever be one of those people, but you never know what the future holds. Instead, I have decided to give my digestive system a less substantial, but sure to be appreciated break for the month of November.

Rules for this month:

1. Breakfast is freshly made juice from fruits and vegetables.

2. Dinner is either completely blended soup or a protein shake.

And those two rules are it. Simple, yet very, very time consuming. Also, it is completely necessary to have a juicer for your breakfasts.

I’ll admit, it hasn’t always been easy. I have had to ‘cheat’ with store bought juices on one or two mornings. I’ve also had to forego the liquid dinner on a few occasions. When you are eating out or invited to someone’s house, it isn’t really easy to have that liquid dinner. I have managed to make my liquid dinners in the majority however, so that is something to be proud of. Also, there’s a lot of liquid dinners to go. At lunch I make sure to include healthy decisions and protein so that I’m not lacking in those. Juicing does not yield a ton of protein, nor does it allow for much fiber. If you are thinking about juicing for the first time, make sure that you research it and if you can, talk to a nutrition expert.

Have you ever gone on a juicing spree? Did you notice any effects it had on your body? Mind? Spirit?

Epsom salts: Relaxation and detoxification

Soaking

Soaking (Photo credit: swister_p)

One of the things I’ve been doing on a regular basis this month is to bathe in epsom salts multiple times a week. You may be wondering what that has to do with benefiting my skin. Well, the answer is not much, in a direct sense anyway. What the epsom salts do for my entire body, however, is a whole other story. Epsom salt is a mineral that has been used for years to treat many different ailments, through external and internal use. It occurs naturally and is composed of magnesium sulfate. Its composition is important because although many of us are aware of rampant calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, a lot of people are also magnesium deficient as well.

“Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate, which can help improve health in numerous ways. A lack of magnesium—which helps regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes in the body—can contribute to high blood pressure, hyperactivity, heart problems and other health issues, doctors warn. Sulfate is essential for many biological processes, helping to flush toxins and helping form proteins in joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins.” – Epsom Salt Council

Remember talking a few months ago about the importance of enzymes? If we can help out more than 300 of them simply by regulating our magnesium levels, so much the better! Another pondering you might have is why I am bathing in the salts rather than just taking them internally for my enzymes. Your skin is a fantastic creation that allows you to absorb nutrients through it. When you take your warm epsom salt baths, your pores open up and absorb all the nutrients in the water. Not only that, the process of the bath combined with the salts relaxes your muscles and draws out toxins. I don’t know about you, but even as I sit here typing, I feel tightness in my shoulders and neck that could use some ‘epsoming’ !

Epsom salts have also been reported as useful in so many different areas of your health, here are just a few:

1. Reducing inflammation

2. Regulation electrolyte imbalances which restores proper nerve and muscle function

3. Restores magnesium levels depleted by stress which works to produce serotonin and relax you

4. Taken internally, epsom salts can aid in digestion
(if you are thinking of trying this, make sure you consult a health care practitioner first)

How to use epsom salts in your bath:

It’s rather simple really, just add 1 – 2 cups in your bath, depending on the size of your tub. I like to add them as soon as I have the bottom layer filled. That way as the water pours in, it mixes them up nicely. Make sure that your salts are all dissolved before you get in. You don’t want to be sitting on them, the undissolved salts won’t absorb as well into your pores and might irritate your skin.
Bathe for about 12-20 minutes, or do a foot soak (using less salts) for 20 minutes. After that, you’ve likely absorbed what you can from the salts and you don’t want to reabsorb the toxins that have been released from your skin. There is some debate about the best length of time, but you can do some personal research and see what feels best to you.

Note: I have seen epsom salts with added fragrance. Just be careful that there aren’t chemicals added for that effect. If you want to have a nice smelling bath, go to a health food store and buy an essential oil that tickles your senses. It is likely much safer than what has been put in there otherwise.

So, while I’ve put epsom salts in my detox month regarding skin, it has so many different benefits. I’ve really noticed a calming effect whenever I take a bath. I can’t speak to whether it has reduced my inflammation or restored my electrolytes, but I can definitely say I feel better using them. That’s half the battle, right?

How about you, have you ever tried epsom salts? Does all this information make it a ‘must try’ for you?

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