First there was the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
Then there were endless hors d’oeuvres at the office holiday party – crab cakes, cheese squares, sliders and mini-cheesecakes.
Then came the ham, green bean casserole, eggnog and pecan pie.
At any gathering of family, friends and co-workers, the kitchen table oftentimes is overflowing with deliciousness. Sure, healthy items like carrot sticks, almonds and strawberries might occupy a little real estate on the buffet line, but unfortunately, people don’t often gravitate toward that end of the table.
Overindulging during the holidays certainly can affect your waistline, but eating the wrong types of food also can sap your energy, impair your mental clarity, increase blood pressure and blood sugar, impact sleep patterns and throw off your digestive system. The human brain uses 20 percent of your body’s total energy, so whatever you’re eating ultimately is controlling your brain.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the typical Thanksgiving meal contains more than 3,000 calories, and that doesn’t even include leftovers later in the day. Many people try to balance their overindulgence by skipping meals or substantially cutting their calories below recommended daily levels. However, starving your body isn’t the right way to regain your former self.
Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time to get back on track. It’s time to detox.
Here are four easy steps to detoxify your body after the holiday season:
- Hydrate: Drink plenty of filtered water or green tea with lemon. That will help alkalize your body, increase metabolism and reign in cravings. Salt and sugar dehydrate the body, so all of that turkey, ham, bread pudding and apple pie is robbing your body of fluids.
- Eat plant-based foods: Fill your plate with natural foods like organic strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and almonds. Incorporate lean protein, such as grass-fed organic chicken and wild-caught salmon, as well as eggs from organic, cage-free hens into your diet.
- Exercise: If you didn’t go to the gym or run laps around the track before the holidays, don’t try to become a fitness fanatic overnight. Instead, start with a brisk walk around the neighborhood or yoga, which improves flexibility, muscle strength, cardio health and most importantly, metabolism.
- Sleep: At nighttime, your body’s cells rapidly repair and renew themselves, and a solid night’s sleep allows your digestive system to catch up. Sleep also is a natural stress reliever, and with so many social functions, expenses and visitors, the holiday season can be very stressful.
It’s important to give your gut a healing period after the holidays. Organic bone broth has fat-burning nutrients, anti-inflammatory properties and skin-tightening collagen. Consuming 8 ounces of bone broth four to five times daily, twice a week, for a period of three weeks is a great way to get back on track.
If you’re feeling a little bloated and have a lack of energy, try a seven-day detox. Many people think detoxing consists of repugnant drink concoctions and extreme fasting, but as outlined above, it’s more about making healthy choices and actions to get your body back on track.
Check out some of our favorite plant-based recipes including butternut squash hummus and cauliflower stuffing. For a lean protein that loaded with flavor, try this lemon chicken with garlic.
NOTE: It is important to consult your physician prior to making dietary and lifestyle changes. For more information, please call the Naples Center for Functional Medicine at 239-649-7400 or email us at info@HughesCenterNaples.com.