Category Archives: Cleansing

Shush the Sugar Cravings

I want to apologize if my last post about what sugar does to the body was a bummer. If you felt that way, just know that I totally agree. Most of us grew up eating lots of sugar, believing that the worst it could do is give us cavities. It was a treat we enjoyed all during our formative years and it’s deeply embedded in our psyches. It was a reward, a comfort, and is associated with wonderful memories. So the thought of breaking up with sugar is especially rough because there’s an emotional and physical component to it. Sugar and I have parted ways several times, and I know how depressing it can feel at first.

But! After you get over that, you feel SO much better! No addictions, better energy, more emotionally even, clarity of mind, weight loss, less puffy… the list goes on.

In addition to those tangible benefits, your risk for all the major chronic diseases goes down. So, even though it may feel impossible, sad, and extreme, it’s worth the effort. If you’re not willing to ghost your sugar completely, just reducing your intake is fantastic too.    

How to Reduce Sugar Cravings  

As you reduce/eliminate sugar, cravings are sure to rear their ugly head. The good news is that they go away almost completely in as little as a week. You almost can’t even believe that you were so addicted to the stuff. Until you get there, here are some of my favorite methods for avoiding and dealing with cravings:  

  • Stay hydrated – start your day with a couple big glasses of water and sip it every half hour for the rest of the day. Dehydration makes you feel depleted, and more likely to grab any quick energy fix.
  • Eat protein rich meals. This is filling and increases satiety.
  • Be sure to have regular meals – getting hangry is a recipe for disaster.
  • As you transition, enjoy some whole food,natural sweeteners in moderation – like raw honey, pure maple syrup, raisins, figs, or dates.
  • Eat sweet potatoes and other sweet vegetables. Soon these will taste really sweet!
  • Experiment with spices like coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. Cinnamon has been shown to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Drink licorice or Gymnema Sylvestre herbal tea which also help regulate blood sugar.
  • Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways. Despite what we learned growing up, a treat does not = sugar! Sugar is certainly not a treat for your body.
  • Move in some way – take a walk, dance around, do some pushups, jumping jacks, or a few sun salutations. It’s energizing on its own and distracts you from the craving.
  • Brush your teeth. When your mouth feels refreshed, subconsciously you don’t want to muck it up with all that sugar.
  • Reduce strong yang foods and beverages like animal protein and coffee, because they increase cravings for yin foods like sugar and alcohol as the body tries to rebalance energetically.
  • In the midst of a full fledged craving, drink a glass of water. If it’s still there, eat a nice refreshing apple. If it’s still there, have a protein smoothie. If it’s still there, take a nap if possible. Lastly, the craving will usually go away in less than 20 minutes, so waiting it out is an option too.

I’d love to hear how these suggestions work for you and also what tips you have used successfully that aren’t on my list! 

Image by Stephanie Wu Photography

Introducing The Summer Party Cleanse!

I used to think that everyone naturally gets healthy and fit in the summer because of all the juicy fresh produce, more outdoor activities, and the tendency to eat a little less when you’re in a bathing suit. Well, maybe that was true when we were in our twenties, but beginning in our forties, it seems that a new pattern emerges. It’s called “summer is the new holidays”. Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn.

Our quintessential summer vacations, bbq’s, picnics, fried beach food, and ice cream stands are no longer fully counterbalanced by healthier summer habits. I know this is a common problem because of all the emails I predictably receive in September from previous cleansers eager to start the fall cleanse immediately!

I’m just going to come out and say it – this is wrong! I’ve long been a proponent that you can live a totally fun life and be healthy and fit. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. It’s about balance, quality, and mindset (aka not totally giving up and ditching your healthy habits just because you downed a Kimball’s-sized ice cream sundae).

So here’s what I’m doing about it… I want to support you in both having an epic summer and feeling energetic, thinner peace, and healthy going into the fall. This well rounded program includes highly effective tenets near and dear to my heart – variety, flexibility, super efficient forms of exercise, exceptionally nutritious food, and self care. It won’t be hard to work the cleanse guidelines into your schedule. Nothing is off limits. You won’t be dieting. Instead, you’ll be having a wonderful summer while staying balanced, and hopefully even feeling better than ever when fall hits.

When you join the program, you’ll get:

  • A short eBook with the full, easy to implement plan (so you’ll still have time to read all your novels this summer)
  • A weekly checklist so you can easily keep track of your Summer Party Cleanse activities
  • Lots of wonderful recipes perfect for the summer and even parties
  • A weekly email with inspiration, more ideas, and recipes of the week
  • Membership into our private Facebook group so we can all chat, share
    tips, and encourage each other (this is permanent, like Hotel
    California)

Because this is the first time I’m offering this, I’m also pricing it super low to get as much participation and feedback as possible. I may get some flack for this, but here it is… I invite you to join the Summer Party Cleanse for just $25. Not because it’s not valuable, but because I want it to be a no-brainer for you to join me. The 8-week program begins July 7th (and your eBook will arrive June 30th). Join here!

Image by DisobeyArt

3 Ways to Cleanse with Us

… Even if you’re not cleansing with us

If you didn’t join our group cleanse this spring, we want you to know that we’re still thinking about you and want to support you from afar! Spring is the time when your body really wants to cleanse. It’s truly is primed and ready to release anything unneeded, like toxins, extra adipose, water retention, and the like. To feel truly vibrant, help that precious body along!

  1. Drink lots of water. Start your day with one or two big glasses of water with fresh lemon in it, and then sip water all day long between meals (not with meals).
  2. Sweat that out with exercise, an IR Sauna, and/or a hot Epsom salt bath.  
  3. Go light on the fat and sugar, and hit the greens hard… lots of leafy greens – arugula, parsley, cilantro, baby spinach, kale, microgreens. Be sure they’re organic and chew them well to extract as much nutrition from as possible!

And if you still feel like you need some extra support, we have another smaller group beginning their cleanse on May 12th. Stay tuned!

Image credit: Speleolog

Cleansing is the New Diet

Spring is when the body is primed and ready to clear out toxins, stagnation, sludge, excess weight, and inflammation, according to Ayurveda. Come spring, many of us are so ready for this. I know I am!

We can help that natural cleansing process along with a multifaceted cleanse. But it’s more common to turn to diets to spur along spring weight loss. There’s a big difference between diets and cleanses. Although diets can help you lose weight, they aren’t the best strategy, as research consistently shows. In a diet, the goal is to lose weight at any cost, usually through some variation of calorie deprivation and exercise intensification – the classic calories in vs calories out approach that relies on sheer willpower. Although calories do matter on one level, there are several other important factors that diets usually ignore – such as detoxification, oxidative stress, nutrient density, food sensitivities, stress, and how and why we eat. Aggressive weight loss without attention to these areas is not only an uphill battle, but likely to increase inflammation and initiate a vicious and frustrating weight loss cycle. Which, as we know, is very common.

If you want to lose winter padding, boost your natural spring cleansing power, and get healthier along the way, be sure your spring strategy more holistically addresses these concerns:

Detoxification. Whenever you lose weight, toxins are released from the fat cells, where they are commonly stored. If you don’t have abundant nutrient support (such as sulfur containing veggies, antioxidants, fiber, minerals, b vitamins, etc), toxins will not get excreted from the body. Instead, they get pulled out of the cells and recirculated through the body, where they cause more damage and make you feel terrible. Supporting detoxification along with any weight loss is vital. In its wisdom, the body may actually resist fat loss in an attempt to keep toxins in the fat cells where they do the least damage. Getting them out of the body in a safe effective way will help with successful long term weight maintenance, energy, and overall health.

Nourishment. This brings us to nutrient density. Whole, unprocessed plant foods offer tens of thousands of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which are your best friend for losing weight and cleansing toxins. Phytonutrients reduce inflammation and free radical damage, support detoxification, and help your body actually repair itself. The fiber keeps you regular, so that you can most efficiently excrete the toxins that made their way to the intestines. Constipation doesn’t feel good for many reasons, toxicity being one of them. You can lose weight eating highly processed diet wafers, bars, and shakes, but these don’t offer the array of healing nutrients that whole plant foods do. Do yourself a million favors by centering your diet on abundant fresh, colorful veggies.

Food sensitivities. Another hidden factor in stubborn weight is food sensitivities. When we regularly eat foods our bodies don’t like, we set up an inflammatory dynamic that causes all manner of annoyances like eczema, arthritis, psoriasis, fatigue, and – you guessed it – stubborn weight. Uncovering your food sensitivities is vital for overall health and thinner peace. At the top of the list are gluten and dairy. Try avoiding those for a few weeks and see what happens!

Stress. No discussion of weight loss would be complete without addressing stress. When you are stressed for sustained periods of time, your body is going to hang on to every calorie for dear life. Not only that, but stress often results in emotional eating. Furthermore, stress diverts energy away from digestive organs (because who needs to digest your meal, when you’re being chased by a tiger and about to become a meal?), so you don’t digest well. Maldigestion/malabsorption paves the way for nutrient deficiencies, which can suppress the thyroid, which slows your metabolism, and things just keep getting uglier. Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, exercise, laughter, and mindful eating are all excellent ways to reduce stress.

Sustainability. The plan you use to achieve your desired wellness and weight should be something you can sustain long term and even enjoy. If not, you’re likely to revert pretty quickly to old habits. And that’s not good for the body or mood.

I hope it’s obvious that weight loss is much more complex than the simple calories in – calories out equation. And also that weight loss without concern for nutrient density will ultimately be damaging and keep you in the vicious weight loss cycle.

If you’ve been struggling with stubborn weight and feeling like you have no will power, please know that it is so much more than that. Processed food, toxins, stress, food sensitivities, and even our gut microbes strongly influence our cravings and stamina for making healthy changes.

This is why I included all of these vitally important areas in one comprehensive, life changing program called the Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse. It’s a gentle, supportive, 4-week, online program that optimizes your spring cleansing and detoxing. Your health will noticeably improve in several areas, and weight loss will be a natural by product. The spring cleanse begins April 14th. I hope you’ll join us! To learn more or join the cleanse, click here.

Image credit: Nicoleta Ionescu

Where our Goals Intersect

I hope you’re crushing those New Year’s Resolutions! Or moving towards your dreams in a way that makes you feel hopeful and happy. Progress, no matter how tentative, builds momentum and life force energy. There’s so much reward even in taking just one step forward.    

If you’re looking for a little activation energy to get started on your wellness plan, this is where our goals intersect.    

I LOVE helping people transform their health the natural and lasting way. I’ve dedicated decades of my life to learning how to do that through many disciplines, including traditional nutrition, holistic health coaching, functional medicine coaching, yoga, and yoga’s sister science Ayurveda. Then I poured the best combination of that knowledge and experience into The Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse.     

It is a cleanse, and so much more. In this 28-day program, you’ll cleanse out toxins, sugar addiction, and inflammation. You’ll also infuse yourself with deeply nourishing foods, habits, self care, and perspective shifts. You’ll learn experientially which foods serve your unique body and which ones don’t.   

All these gains will stick around, and propel you towards your goals even after the cleanse is done. This is not one of those one-dimensional, deprivation diets where you drop some pounds and gain it right back plus a few more. The goal of this program is multifaceted nourishment so your body heals, rejuvenates, and you reach your ideal weight almost as a side benefit.    

Additionally, you’ll cultivate fantastic energy, glowing skin, mental clarity, and profound wellness. You’ll learn a lot, get excited and inspired, discover great new things, and have expert support.     

The program follows a gentle, luxurious pace. Slow and steady wins the race! In the first seven days, we build a strong self care foundation before we make a single change to our diets. During the second week, we start to make a few dietary shifts towards whole, unprocessed food. The third week is the official full cleanse week, with plenty of delicious food and self care the whole time. Finally, the fourth week is when we test for food sensitivities. Often it’s those hidden sensitivities that cause pesky health issues like low energy, weight gain, brain fog, sinus and skin issues, digestive woes, etc. This is a major key to well-being that most people miss.

You’ll get a content rich, inspiring email every morning, a 200+ page eBook with everything you need to know about the cleanse plus lots of bonuses, 150+ delicious cleanse friendly recipes, a Quick Start Guide that cuts to the chase, a private Facebook group to chat with me and other cleansers, a few optional live events including 2 conference calls, a shopping trip, and celebration dinner (if you’re local).

If this sounds like the perfect program for you right now, let’s take that step forward together –  join the cleanse today! We can also stay connected on Facebook.

Image credit: Al1974ex

Ch-ch-ch-Changes in 2019!

George Bernard Shaw said that progress is impossible without change. Although we’re all for progress, we tend to avoid change. Mostly because we’re such creatures of habit and our comfort zones are so darn comfy!

Yet change is inevitable*. Day in and day out, we are all morphing – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Although we can’t stop this process, we can direct it.

In most cases, it’s not bad luck or bad genes that cause us to feel suboptimal, it’s how we choose to feed and care for ourselves. If we want a different experience, we have to try something different. Although trying new things can be uncomfortable at first, it’s empowering to experience how much our habitual choices affect our life experience. It’s so worth the effort.

In our gentle, 4-week cleanse – we help you to try fabulous new things and upgrade your habits so you feel better fast, and then even better over time. (Why go through the trouble for just short term benefit?) We’d love to help you create powerful, lasting change in 2019! The New Year cleanse begins on January 20th! If you’re on our mailing list, we’ll let you know when registration opens up on January 1st.

* except from a vending machine

Image credit: James Rice

3 Simple Steps to Thrive

If you want more energy, clarity of mind, to be in a better mood, to love and be comfortable with the skin you’re in, to heal from chronic symptoms, be stronger, love better, sleep better, poop better, and more… we wrote this for you.

All of those goals are your natural state of being. If you’re not feeling optimal, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s just a mismatch between how you want to feel and the environment you’re asking your body to live in.

“We are not designed to be stressed, toxic, inflamed, infected, malnourished, & unrested and still find a way to thrive, grow, reproduce, be thin, and have great sex. This combination would be Not Natural.”

Tracy Harrison, the founder of the School of Applied Functional Medicine

So the question is, are we stressed, toxic, inflamed, infected, malnourished, and/or unrested and what are we willing to do about it? For most of us, wellness usually comes down to optimizing diet/digestion, reducing stress, and releasing toxins. Yes, genetics does play a role, however we do have the ability to control which genes are activated through diet and lifestyle. This  exciting field called “epigenetics” assures us that we are not doomed by our genes; our genes just tell us how we should be living.

Methods for optimizing our genes are often so basic and seemingly obvious that we tend to ignore them. We love shiny objects, new pills, ancient secrets, new workouts, etc. But the answers have been hiding in plain sight for years. We can dramatically increase our energy and vitality through simple practices like mindfully eating whole, nutrient dense food, reducing stress (and having fun!), and perhaps a bit of gentle detoxing. This is all easy to say, but when the rubber meets the road, people are often at a loss because we’re so deeply entrenched in our processed food, stressful western way of life.

Follow these three simple steps to get more thrive into your life:

  1. Eat & Digest Nutrient Dense Food: Ditch all processed food (including anything made with flour, refined sugar, and chemicals) and eat more organic produce. Plant foods are nature’s medicine chest, and you get thousands of healing, anti-inflammatory compounds with every serving of fruits and vegetables. Eat mindfully, in a relaxed state, and chew well.
  2. De-stress (+ have fun): Make stress reduction a process of continuous improvement. Many people are so used to being stressed, they don’t even realize they are! Even the busiest people can fit a little meditation, deep breathing, fun, and attitude adjustment (if necessary) into their day. You can too. It’s just a matter of recognizing the importance and making it a priority. You can start with just 5 minutes, if that’s all the time you feel you can spare. The many online resources for meditation, including Head Space and the Chopra Center’s 21 Day meditation series, make it easier than ever. Breathe deeply in the car,  while waiting in line, when your computer hangs up, etc. Let those inconvenient moments be like mindfulness bells. When you catch yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, replace them with gratitude. Check out your local yoga, Pilates, and fitness studio – lots of resources there!
  3. Detox: Up your intake of detox veggies, including broccoli and cauliflower, onions and garlic, radish, cilantro and parsley. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Sweat and move daily. Be sure to have at least one bowel movement per day and if you don’t, click this green text. Upgrade the toxic products in your home and personal care. If it’s not too much trouble, consider giving your liver a break from alcohol for a week or two. We promise – you can relax and have fun without wine. 🙂

We cover all this in great detail in our gentle 4-week program “The Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse”, where we guide you every step of the way into more relaxation, more nutritious foods, and more self care. We provide daily inspiration, all of the how to’s and the why’s, SO MANY delicious and easy to prepare recipes, and multiple ways to connect with us and other cleansers. Our next group cleanse begins on January 20th. We’d love for you to join us. To learn more, click here.

Wishing you glowing health, energy, and joy in the coming year!

Image credit: santypan

Common Causes of Constipation

In our quest for health and vitality, we focus so much on the “input” that we forget the importance of the “output”. We can eat this, not eat that, take all these supplements, and stay hydrated, but if we’re not pooping regularly, we’re not going to achieve the wellness we are seeking.

Picture your fridge… you put all sorts of fresh veggies in the produce drawer. But if you don’t move them through there quickly enough, it’s all going to rot, make a mess and stink up the fridge, and you’re not going to benefit from all the nutrients the veggies contained.

Same with your digestive system… you eat all these luscious fruits and veggies, clean protein, fiber, healthy fats, etc. If you don’t digest them well and efficiently, they will in essence rot in your gut, and all the toxins and junk your body wanted to expel will get reabsorbed into your blood stream, causing a vicious cycle of toxicity and impaired function. There’s a reason you feel a little polluted when you’re constipated.

Health coaches will often ask their clients if they’re regular, and the client says oh yes, I go #2 regularly. Only later to find out that regular for that client meant once a week. No bueno! Some people have been irregular for so long they think it’s normal.

To be clear – regularity is a nice, easy, complete bowel movement every morning. There may be a sense of lightness, emptiness, and energy when you’re done. It’s okay and good to have another one later in the day too (which can happen if you’re really hydrated). Interestingly, how your poo looks can even reveal a lot about your health. Check out this handy, dandy doody chart!

If you’re not achieving nirvana on the throne, the top three common drivers of constipation include:

  1. Low magnesium status. Magnesium is important for muscle contraction and relaxation, both of which are vital for good bowel movements. Low magnesium is unfortunately becoming more and more common as our soils are depleted of nutrients. Different forms of magnesium are helpful for different issues. Magnesium citrate is especially good for constipation (and can cause loose stools when taken in excess of your needs).
  2. Low stomach acid. This is also very common (and in a bizarre twist of fate, can be the cause of acid reflux). One of the best ways to increase your stomach acid and improve digestion/elimination is to slow down, relax while you eat, and chew your food very well. If that doesn’t do the trick, try sipping apple cider vinegar during your meal or taking betaine HCl. (Best done under the guidance of an experienced health coach specializing in a functional medicine approach.)
  3. Dehydration. Almost no one drinks enough water. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink a couple large glasses of room temperature water upon waking. Then sip water every half hour throughout the day. Try not to drink a lot immediately before or right after meals, so that you don’t dilute your precious digestive juices.

If you fully implement these three strategies and still suffer, you may wish to schedule a consultation with Charlotte Ott, our resident constipation expert. She loves talking about poopin’!

Image credit: everydaynewinfo on flickr.com

Harness the Cleansing Power of Spring!

According to traditional health care systems like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is a time of transformation and detoxification. Whether you look at it through the lens of energy moving, alignment with the seasons, or the liver and kidneys stepping up their detoxification activities, it’s happening! This spring you have a powerful choice to make – partner with your body in this endeavor or no. If you choose the former, and we hope you will, you can harness this natural process and clear months and even years of toxins, sludge (called “ama” in Ayurveda or plaques and biofilms in the west), and stagnation, reduce inflammation, and set your body back to its default state is that of radiant health. When you do that, you have energy, your skin glows, your brain works, you lose weight… and you will feel amazing! It even improves your outlook on life.

To do a very simple Ayurvedic cleanse on your own, you could drink water with freshly squeezed lemon in the morning, drink lots of water throughout the day, exercise, get restorative rest, and eat a mono diet of kitchari for a few days or a week. Set the time frame you can commit to, get your supplies, and just do it! We do this version occasionally when we need a reset.

That’s just one easy example but there are many cleanses you can choose from… we know because we’ve done most of them! Some were completely insane, some didn’t seem effective, and some were way too unpalatable for our palates. Like the Buddha choosing the middle path after experimenting with the extremes, we have found that a moderate approach to cleansing that is sustainable and even enjoyable is the best approach for long term success. In our luxurious, 28-day program, we slowly transform our lifestyle and diet to create more wellness. We focus on anti inflammatory, healing, nourishing whole foods and lifestyle practices, with a powerful synergistic effect. Our cleansers have had amazing transformations in their health, reversing chronic conditions like arthritis, psoriasis, digestive issues, and more. One woman near and dear to our heart credits the cleanse with her conceiving a baby!

If you are excited about feeling happy, confident in your skin, and energized to enjoy life, join us for our group cleanse April 15th! Register here. We would be honored to support you in feeling awesome!

Image credit: iStock

A Magic Trick: Cooking More + Having More Free Time

Cooking healthy, whole foods regularly is now a way of life for me. I love cooking and am always experimenting with new things. As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s the life of a chef!

I’m fortunate to have a flexible schedule, so I can decide in the afternoon that I want to make some particular meal for dinner, go out to the store in the afternoon and cook it up in time for dinner. But I do realize that is not the case for most people with full time jobs, young kids, and other time intensive responsibilities.

Over the years, cleansers (as well as friends, family, acquaintances… pretty much anyone that knows I’m a chef) have asked me to offer personal chef services so they can easily eat healthy, high quality, home cooked meals more regularly. Since we are always looking for ways to make the Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse easier for our participants, I decided to be brave and start offering prepared meals this year!

The response has been huge and I’m really enjoying making meals for our cleansers and hearing how much they loved it! Getting that kind of feedback nourishes my soul.

As I’m now cooking for many families, it’s been necessary to plan ahead and get more scheduled in my meal preparations, which admittedly doesn’t come naturally to my free spirit. However, my kitchen has turned into a bit of a store! I have all kinds of beautiful meals ready to go in mason jars. Since I always have some extra on hand, it’s like I’m taking care of myself as well. When I’m out and about, I look forward to coming home to my own house and having a selection of delicious, healthy, home cooked meals to choose from.

This past Monday I came home from the morning practice and had kitchari for breakfast, lunch was Mulligatawny Soup, and I finished the day with kale and white bean soup. Totally delicious, cleansing, and satisfying.

I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before – there is something very special about having a meal lovingly prepared for you. Seeing all the beautiful jars of healthy food in my refrigerator felt like a gift from someone else.  Although I am cooking more, it feels like I’m cooking less because of the free time my new schedule has created. I’ve been taking my dog for more walks, doing more yoga, reading, and contemplating getting a massage. Despite the fact that I’m doing more work, the advance planning makes it feel like so much less. I also feel less stressed.

This is my easiest cleanse ever, and it could be yours too!

So my recommendation to you, if you want to eat healthy and have more free time, either take a few minutes to plan/prep your meals ahead in batches, or let me do your cooking for you.

Either way, it’s a win!

To learn more about Chef Charlotte’s meal services, go to her website.