Woman drinking a detox smoothie

Feel Better With A Weekend Detox

  Do you dream in chocolate?  Do you leave a basket of fruit on your table when the neighbors come and quickly swap it for the donut box when they go?  Do you have a secret stash of Snickers bars under your bed?  If this describes you, you may be a good candidate for a weekend detox.  Now let’s get this straight.  A weekend detox is not just for the nutritionally deprived.  It is a more like going on a two-day health bender in which your diet and health habits are regulated with the goal of cleansing your system, restoring blood pressure, and getting your digestion and blood sugar back on track.  Sound like a nutty adventure?  Let’s take a closer look.

Why the Weekend?
One thing you should keep in mind is that there is a reason for it being called a weekend detox.  Firstly,  limiting your food intake in this way is definitely not the best way to stay focused in the office and should only be done for a short time period.  Also, you need time to prepare your foods and might end up having to use the bathroom excessively because of the water, tea, and juices that constitute a good portion of most diets. Thus, a leisurely day with some degree of privacy may be best.

The Nutritional Component
The detox menu varies depending on the plan you follow.  The most severe ones are limited to system flushing liquids and smoothies, but more of them incorporate a restricted list of foods.  Here are the general rules of detox eating.

Antioxidants
Eating brightly colored fruits and veggies, whole grains and beans get rid of harmful substances and make them water soluble, so your system can flush them more easily.  Think spinach, kale, and cranberries.

Eat foods with Glutathione
What’s that?  Glutathione is an antioxidant that is produced by your own body.  It can be found in garlic, onions, eggs and foods rich in sulfuric compounds.  It is useful in removing toxins, including mercury and arsenic, from the body.

Drink water and tea
There is no denying that elimination is one of the primary goals of detox.  Water helps you with Number 1, Number 2, and perspiration.  While detoxing, try to drink 8-12 glasses of water or decaffeinated tea.

You may also want to add some  detox teas as  a bonus. These generally contain dandelion which supports digestion and liver function, licorice which expels mucus, and ginger, which stimulates circulation and gets rid of toxins.  Licorice tea, in particular, contains a compound that is 50 times sweeter than sugar, which may help to control a sweet tooth.

Eat Clean
Remember, your goal is to eliminate food that contain the toxins you are trying to eliminate.  Avoid processed goods including fast food, fried food, caffeine, dairy, alcohol, red meat, sugar and white flour.

Parting Notes
Avoid eating after 7 PM and get eight hours of sleep.  This will kick-start your system and help develop lasting healthy habits, or at least, help you get reacquainted with your fruit basket.

Woman eating healthy food

Eat Well: Berries, Spinach and Almonds

Diet is one of the most influential and important factors in your health, and you can improve your health by eating, or avoiding, certain foods. Three incredible superfoods that are easy to incorporate into a diet and that taste great are berries, spinach and almonds. These foods all have the ability to seriously boost your health with benefits ranging from lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s to preventing cardiovascular disease. Below, find out some specific information on why these superfoods should be put on your grocery list right now.

Bowl full of berries.

Berries
Although berries are small, the health benefits they provide for your body are huge. According to a study published in the Annals of Neurology, women who ate two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries per week showed delayed and decreased mental decline. “We think that the effect might be related to a class of compounds called anthocyanidins, which is a type of flavonoid. These compounds, found almost exclusively in berries, are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and locate in learning and memory centers in the brain,” explains study author, Elizabeth DeVore, ScD, a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The flavonoids and antioxidants found within berries are also associated with a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, the flavonoids in berries are believed to help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

It isn’t just your brain that berries help. Even though berries are sweet, they also have plenty of fiber and liquid, which make these the perfect snack for those looking to manage weight. The liquid and fiber content in berries will help you feel satiated and full in ways that a snack with refined sugar can’t. Although no clinical studies have been done yet, many health experts believe that berries are also a heart-healthy food that can lower your blood pressure. The antioxidants in berries are known to reduce overall inflammation in your body, which contributes to problems like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Bowl of spinach

Spinach
Popeye made spinach famous when he used it as fuel to fight off foes, and sometimes there is some truth on TV. While you won’t immediately sprout Popeye-sized muscles from eating spinach, you will be getting some amazing health benefits. “Eating spinach is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair and strong bones, as well as helping with digestion, lowering the risk for heart disease and improving blood glucose control in diabetics,” says registered dietician nutritionist, Megan Ware. Just one cup of spinach provides 987 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin K, which is important in keeping strong bones. A 2003 study found that low levels of vitamin K in women were associated with low bone density (the same is not true for men), and subsequent studies mention how necessary vitamin K is to healthy bone growth. Spinach also is a great source of iron, vitamin A and chlorophyll – which is thought to fight cancer.

Almonds

Almonds
Almonds are a very nutrient-dense food that contain vitamin E, magnesium, copper, B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, calcium, monounsaturated fat and potassium. While almonds are a source of fats, the monounsaturated fats can actually help you lose and maintain weight. One study found that people who consumed nuts twice weekly were 31 percent less likely to put on weight than those who didn’t eat nuts. Additionally, almonds may be beneficial to those who are pre-diabetic or struggle with blood glucose levels because it reduces the spike in blood sugar levels following a meal or snack. Almonds are also considered an excellent food for your heart, because they are able to lower your blood pressure and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, both of which are major factors in cardiovascular disease.

Berries, spinach and almonds provide health benefits that are absolutely astounding. Just a few servings of these foods each week can go a long way in fighting some very serious diseases, while also improving your skin, hair, bones and tasting great all the while. Whip up a healthy spinach salad that includes berries and sliced raw almonds for an incredible dose of flavor and health.

Various spices in bowls and spoons

Eat Well: Foods for a Peaceful Life

Most of our lives are lived at a breakneck speed rushing from one commitment to another. Sometimes, it seems that the last thing we have time for is to eat mindfully and for our physical health. However, eating not only helps improve our physical health, it truly does affect your mood. A diet high in sugar, fat and junk tend to leave you susceptible to mood swings as your body goes from sugar to sugar crash throughout the day. Not only does your mood fluctuate, but poor diet has been linked to anxiety disorders, depression and lack of energy. Check out the following tips on choosing foods for a more peaceful life.

Large cup of coffee with coffee beansDrink Your Coffee
Sure, energy drinks and soda are quick, convenient and available everywhere. And in the short term, they seem to be awesome because caffeine triggers the release of dopamine in the brain which increase clarity and focus. However, with the caffeine boost from sugar laden drinks also comes with a mood busting sugar crash. However, you don’t have to go without caffeine, simply switch to coffee. A 2011 Harvard School of Public Health survey found that women who drank at least two cups of coffee daily were at a 15% lower chance of suffering from depression. Additionally, coffee contains plant-based nutrients that work in the body in a manner similar to how anti-depressants work. Like anything, coffee should be enjoyed in moderation as too much stimulation can lead to anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Salmon dish with side salad Scarf Some Salmon
Today, people are pretty programmed to avoid fatty foods, but a little bit of fat can go a long way in improving your mood. However, your diet is probably significantly lacking omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish, such as salmon, is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain contains more omega-3 fatty acids than anywhere else in your body. Research supports the use of omega-3 fatty acids as a part of psychiatric treatment. These may help even out moods and decrease depression. Experts suggest that you aim for two to three servings of salmon (or other oily fish such as sardines or mackerel) per week.

Carved turkeyGobble up Some Turkey
You know that you tend to feel drowsy after a big Thanksgiving meal and you most likely know that the turkey is the cause. Turkey contains tryptophan which is an amino acid that the body does not produce on its own. Tryptophan is important because the body requires tryptophan in order to make the feel-good chemical, serotonin. Experts recommend ingesting about 320 milligrams of trytophan each day. A four ounce serving of turkey or chicken is plenty to receive your daily amount. If you aren’t a big fan of turkey, or you’re vegetarian/vegan, you can find the same amount (320mg) of tryptophan in one cup of soybeans.

Bowl of spanish Eat Your Spinach
Eating spinach may not result in the immediate muscle-boosting strength that Popeye got, but it does significantly impact your mood. Spinach is high in the B vitamin, folate. Research shows that when you have a high concentration of folate in your blood, you are less prone to bad moods, clinical depression and you think more clearly. In just 1/2 cup of cooked spinach (or 2 cups raw) women receive 33% of the recommended daily allowance of folate. An important thing to note is that folate is water-soluble, which means that you do not store it in your body. Because it isn’t stored, you need to consume it continuously to reap the zen benefits.

Various spices in bowls and spoons Spice up Your Life
Besides not being good for you, lots of salt on food as the sole flavoring can get boring. Instead, experiment with different spices to create dishes that will blow your mind. One of the most highly touted spices is tumeric. The reason experts advise tumeric is that it contains curcumin, which gives tumeric it’s signature yellow color and acts as a natural anti-depressant. Some preliminary research suggests that curcumin also lowers levels of chronic stress and that it also stimulates the release of both serotonine and dopamine.

Foods are not only meant to nourish your body, but to nourish your mind. Improve your mood while keeping stress levels at bay by chowing down on some of these super good mood foods.