Thirty Days To Change A Habit, Spring Cleaning From the Inside
I wrote this last June for an online magazine, but I haven't seen it posted yet. I feel that it's right to post it now. Spring is great time to renew your energy & really take a look within yourself to work on what no longer serves you. Purge the past & let it go, let it refilter into the Earth. There's nothing wrong with working on you. Don't judge another cos you don't agree with what they are doing, there's a lot of ways to get to the same place. Some might just have to be creative with digging deep into holistic health & that's perfectly ok.
Thirty Days to Change Habits
Out with the old and in the new! There is no better time to rejuvenate the senses and tap into the mind/ body/ soul connection than summertime. I had been feeling a little sluggish and out of sorts after the long winter and was searching for sometime to help me re-connect with my inner self. A friend suggested that I read It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. This book advocates going back to our roots as hunters and gathers and embracing the “caveman” or “paleo” diet as a means to optimum health. I like food, I like to cook, I like to experiment and I like a challenge so I decided to give the diet a try for 30 days.
The basic concept of the paleo-diet is simple. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and add a lean protein source. It’s a diet plan to change your life that will blow your socks off. The principle behind the diet plan is that the food you eat either makes you healthy or makes you sick. It’s that simple. According to plan there are four criteria for good food: 1) it promotes a healthy psychological response; 2) it promotes a healthy hormonal response; 3) it supports a healthy gut and 4) it supports immune function and minimizes inflammation.
Before you begin this plan I suggest reading the book, It Starts With Food and/or checking out the website www.whole9life.com. These sources contain a lot of valuable information about how the typical American diet is hurting our overall health and well-being. For example, the foods that we eat have manipulated the brain into thinking that food cravings need to be rewarded with unhealthy, over processed, artificially flavored, high fat, salty snacks when in actuality these items should be avoided. Rewarding craving does not satisfy them but rather makes them stronger and harder to resist. However, on a positive note, certain foods have medicinal and healing properties that have been shown to be effective in curing certain medical conditions. Food is a cause and a cure for many ailments.
The 30 day detoxifying program outlined in the book and website mentioned above is not for those looking for a quick and easy fix. On this plan sugar; sweeteners; alcohol; seeds; grains; legumes and all forms of dairy MUST be avoided. This is an extensive list but making these changes will correct for past behaviors and hopefully improve your present and future health. The goal is to make healthy lifestyle choices.
What can be eaten on this plan? The options include an endless selection of meat, seafood and eggs along with plenty of vegetables and fruit. It’s that simple. Use the guiding principles to focus on the protein first and then fill your plate up with vegetables and fruit. The plan includes three meals a day, but no snacking (if you can help it), or eating before bedtime. Make sure you get plenty of water. Read all food labels closely and if there is an ingredient that you don’t know then it probably isn’t good for you and should be avoided. Be creative with the approved foods and get ready to feel good!
I found that this diet was a major shock to my system. I experienced many of the temporary side effects associated with detoxification from headaches to irritability. While physically detoxifying my body, I have been working on getting rid of emotional toxins as well. My hope is to heal my whole self naturally. So far, the program has helped me physically and emotionally. I am stronger than when I started the program.
My overall wellbeing has benefited from this dietary challenge. I look at food as nourishing love. My meal planning has been creative. Roasted vegetables paired with grilled fish are current favorites. I can now make curry from scratch. I simmer fresh ginger, garlic and curry powder in coconut milk and then add vegetables. It is delicious and smells so good that it nourishes all of my senses. Fresh guacamole is another healthy dish that is very easy to make. All you need to do is dice an avocado, a mango, a red onion, and one chili pepper and mix everything in a bowl and you are all set.
After the thirty days are up, it is time to reevaluate your connection with food. It’s much harder to make a good food choice but the benefits are worth it. Basically, the 30-day detox plan is a tool to use to decide what food choices are best for you. I will admit that it has been challenging.