Happy New Years! I LOVE New Years. Mostly because I love drinking and glitter, but also because it’s the perfect time to look back and reflect on the year and think about how you can improve and grow in the next. This year I’m working on becoming more present by getting off my damn phone all the time, I’m making a conscious effort to improve my gut health by adding more fermented foods to my diet [more on that in a moment] and I’m going to work on being able to do more than a half of a pull-up. Five to be exact.
Anyways, it’s that time of year where we stuff our faces with crap for 2 weeks and then on the morning of January 1 (or January 2 because if you’re real with yourself you know that you can’t diet through a hangover) we’re gonna detox it all out with a big ol’ juice cleanse or we’re gonna go vegan for a month or go smoothies only all week or #rawtil4 or tilapia and asparagus 3 meals a day….I don’t know, what other crazy things do we do to “start over” in January? If you’re interested in hating yourself and being hungry for the next month (which will inevitably lead to burying your face in a pizza and Coldstone in a week and you know it), then you can move on because I don’t promote calorie restriction and I don’t consider something you can drink with a straw a meal (my smoothies are super thick).
For a real detox, I suggest 30 days. And fortunately, this is doable enough to go the full 30 days and not lose your mind. I promise. I’ve done it, just to be sure. I lost a couple of pounds, gained a ton of energy and improved my digestion (I used to get indigestion almost every time I ate). So, let’s do this. 5 steps.
1. Cut the shit. You know what I mean. Sugar and trans fats have got to go. Just eliminating these two substances from your diet will probably allow you to immediately drop a pound or two (depending on how much you need it) just from bloat reduction. It’s time to read your labels – added sugar? Put it down. Any oils except coconut or olive oil? Bye. As a general rule, if it comes in a box, it’s probably not something you’ll put in your mouth for the next 30 days.
2. Heal the gut. Your gut is not only the home of most of your digestion, but we’re learning that it comprises 50-80% of our immune system as well. If our gut is sick, we’re sick. At least on the inside. As you begin to heal your gut, I think you’ll be amazed at some of the changes you’ll see- increased energy, clearer skin, reduction in IBS symptoms, weight loss – just to name a few of the minor changes that people experience.
I suggest a high quality, multi-strain probiotic [make sure it has a few different kinds of bacteria] with at least 15 billion microorganisms for 30 days. Here’s a really good one and here is one that is less expensive, but still good. Add fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, low sugar kombucha and unsweetened kefir (in the yogurt section) to your diet on the daily. Purchase some potato starch [it’s cheap] and mix 1-2 tbsp into a smoothie or a glass of water every day. This sounds weird, but potato starch is a resistant starch and is really powerful in restoring healthy gut flora. There is also some evidence that resistant starch can aid in weight loss, and there is clear evidence that it significantly lowers blood sugar. You can typically find it in the health food section of your grocery store.
3. Pass on the cereal grains. Wheat, corn and rice are the 3 most common cereal grains in the US and our government suggests we get 6-8 servings per day. Nope. Whole grains have fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein, but there’s a huge fundamental problem with them – during digestion, toxins are released that damage the gut. These toxins bind to minerals and nutrients like protein, and then these minerals and nutrients are never absorbed. So, mineral and protein absorption is being inhibited, and damage to the gut is causing inflammation and digestive issues. This is a tough one for many people to stick with year round (I’m about 80% grain-free), but totally doable and worth it for your body for 30 days. Click here for a list of grains to avoid for 30 days. [yes, I’m linking you to the USDA for lolzies and funzies]
4. Fuel yourself with PHFF. When you cut the shit, you have to add the good stuff. Be really conscious to add a good dose of protein, healthy fats and fiber at every meal. Load up on fresh and frozen veggies at the store and then fill half your plate with them every time you eat. Add a little grass fed butter too – it tastes good and helps you absorb the veggies’ nutrients. Add a couple handfuls of spinach and a scoop of nut butter to your smoothies. Massage a bunch of kale and eat it all week. Make a big batch of buffalo chicken or pork in the slow cooker. Keep nuts, avocado, coconut and grass fed butter on hand. This is a really simple way of eating that works for most people. Want to customize your diet for the new year? Talk to me. email@example.com
5. Water! Shoot for a gallon a day. I know that sounds crazy, and if you don’t hit it, that’s ok, but shoot for it. Fluids will be essential for pushing out the toxins, aiding the liver in detox mode, and keeping things moving nicely. Occasionally, when I guide people through switching up their diet to include more protein and healthy fats and less refined carbs, they’ll experience cramping from dehydration. Carbs hold on to a lot of water so when we cut back, we excrete more water. Your body will eventually adjust, but for these 30 days, really push the fluids.
And guess what! I’m going at it with you. I’ll be posting meal ideas and recipes on my Instagram all month and I’ll include some recipes on here as well.
If you need more guidance, please check out Calories are Stupid or PHFF! Healthy Eating is Stupid Easy. If you’re on a budget after an expensive holiday season, read Top 10 Foods on a Budget. Or, if you need some customization, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a safe, fun New Years!