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By Lauren Cox – Conscious Culinary
While many of us may or may not have successfully completed a detox around the New Year, there’s always another opportunity for another way to cleanse. Early Spring naturally presents itself as a perfect time to go “in with the new and out with the old”. The warmer weather typically causes people to make a shift, usually in their diets, activity level and even overall outlook. Many people feel they need to do a big Spring Cleaning in their homes, offices, and other personal spaces, but consider your body to be the most beneficial workplace to visit. Then consider the home ‘detoxing’ shouldn’t stop in your kitchen. Go through each room in your home looking at the different items you are exposed to that are detrimental to your health (toxic cleaning products, scented air fresheners, skin care/beauty products, paints, carpets, etc).
Here are a couple tips:
1.Your Pantry and Kitchen
Clean out that kitchen! It’s time to get rid of wedding registry appliances you have not used in 3 years. It’s time to get rid of toxic plastics, and it’s time to go through that junk drawer and get rid of the random collection of receipts, rubber bands, crumbs and gosh knows what else. This goes hand-in hand with your pantry. You should remove any damaged goods likes dented cans, anything leaking, anything past date, etc.
Also, you know your body best and what foods are best for you. Anything that does not serve you should be eliminated. You know what I’m talking about, those potato chips that you justify as good for you because they’re organic or that bag of candy left-over from gingerbread house decorating that you flock to with sugar cravings. Trust me, let it go.
2. Do A 3-Day Cleanse
You shouldn’t be punishing yourself with crazy starvation diets or juice cleanses (if you are not used to them), but anyone can do just about anything for 3 days. If you are new to cleansing, I’d suggest 3 days of elimination of processed foods, sugars, and grains. If you are a pro, I’d suggest doing what works best for you. I really love doing 3 days of tons of water and my detox veggie soup. A quick 3-day cleanse is a great way to set yourself up for success moving into the spring and summer.
3. Set Your Kitchen Up For Success
After you’ve taken all of the bad stuff out of your home, it’s time to fill some of the empty spaces with items and foods that are health heroes that will help you actually WANT to cook. Not only does making your own meals save you money, it helps you regain control of knowing where your food comes from, knowing what is in it and and brings you closer to true health.
Here are some of my favorites:
* A good set of knives: Nothing is more frustrating when you do not have the proper tools to do a job, like say cooking for yourself 80% of the time (hint hint).
* Good tupperware: Look for BPA free plastics or even better nice glass containers. It sounds silly, but when you have nice matching tupperware, you’ll be more likely to pack and take left-overs and even pack a lunch.
* Buy good water containers: If you get some water containers that are cool/fun, you are more likely to bring water with you everywhere you go and drink more!
* Snack Smart: If you know you are a snacker, make foods that are so delicious, that you know you can’t resist. I’d suggest a large container of your favorite trail mix. I do equal parts hazelnuts, almonds, dark chocolate and tart cherries. Try another container of “chip” like foods for when you are craving salty and crunchy. I like kale chips and root veggie chips for this purpose. Always have some sort of dip in the fridge too. Depending on how you eat, tasty hummus, yogurt dips, tapenade, and caponata, all taste fabulous with just about anything. Lastly, have a plan for sugar cravings. I like to keep these amazing no sugar added mint chocolate bars in my fridge, otherwise, fresh ripe seasonal fruit can do the job too.
* Breakfast, Breakfast And More Breakfast: Don’t leave the house without getting a decent breakfast. Try making a big batch of your favorite granola and keeping it on the counter in an air-tight container. You can also do a jar of your favorite oatmeal packs and take one that you can eat on the go or once you get to work. Just be sure to steer clear from the big GMO sugar-packed brands. Hard-boiled eggs are great too. They have their own shell casings and are great for a quick pop of protein. Be sure to sprinkle some sea salt or eat with your favorite organic pepper sauce. When all else fails, there are always bars and shakes. There are a couple paleo-friendly brands out there that I absolutely love and are easy in a pinch.
4. Plant Something
There’s something to say about the power of gardening and watching new life grow. Spring is a time of renewal and regeneration and contributing to that can be really powerful. Whether you are re-planting your spring garden, trying your hand at a tomato plant or even some new flowers for your yard, nurturing that plant is energizing for the soul.
5. Start A New Habit
Along with Spring being a time for renewal, starting a new habit can help your brain steer away from some of those calcified neuronal pathways and open your mind a little. Id recommend a new physical activity such as a morning/evening walk in the neighborhood or a park you have never been to or even a new type of exercise you have always wanted to try like Pilates or kung fu. If you don’t have time or the wherewithal for a new activity, just try taking 5 deep breaths when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Start a new book. Write a “thank you” note. Whatever works for you, it’s always good to try something new.