“Health, contentment, and trust are your greatest possessions, and freedom your greatest joy!” ~ Buddha
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Last week I unplugged from regular life and headed to downtown Minneapolis for a bit of r&r. I was in need of some large chunks of quiet .. along with a break from life's every days
It's tough for me to determine if part of this comes with age .. or that I simply don't remember feeling this way in my 30's. There are days I wake up with lots of sparks of inspiration. I sit on the sofa with my breakfast and the words flow effortlessly onto the page. I make it through yoga without withering in the heat. Dinner simmers on the stovetop when my husband comes home from work
Then there are days when I feel anxious and insecure. Oddly .. a bit lost .. even though (intellectually) I know there's nothing to worry about. These are the mornings when I can't find the right words .. listen to the voices of doubt .. and my to-do list sits untouched
For the longest time, I'd get down on myself and power through. Instead .. I've decided there's a certain beauty in taking stock of yourself (for better or worse). In peering into your own blue eyes .. in surveying the wrinkles and the grays and your innermost imperfections and saying to you and you alone
“I think you’re fine just the way you are”
There are far worse things. This I am sure
It doesn't rid me of anxiety and doubts .. but now that I'm able to see them for what they are .. I'm able to treat myself like I would a friend .. go for a walk and realize this too shall pass. Knowing they come when I'm overwhelmed .. in perfectionist mode .. or in need of some extra self-care
While I was away .. I spent my days sampling soup and salads at Whole Foods .. taking CorePower Yoga classes (ps: they're incredible) .. riding my bike along the river .. and working on a 30+ research paper about detoxification
I stand in awe of how beautifully and wonderfully we've been made. Thought it would be fun to do another short series to share parts of it here
What is Detoxification?
Simply defined .. it's the removal of toxins from the body. When something toxic is identified .. our detox system disarms it by neutralizing or transforming it into something that isn't harmful. That way it can safely be eliminated
This isn't something that happens only on special occasions. Every cell has a built-in mechanism to clear waste .. every single cell(!) .. and they're hard at work 24 x 7
The parts of our body dedicated to detox are the cells, skin, blood, lymph, gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver.
Removal of toxins starts in the cells. The waste then is moved into the blood and the lymph. From there it's carried to the liver .. kidneys .. and colon. How effectively we accomplish the task depends on a person's health .. genetics .. on their environmental exposures .. and to a large degree .. their diet.
As you can imagine .. diet is hugely important because these systems require nutrients in order for them to function at their best. We need good circulation to deliver nutrients to the cells. We need cells that are strong .. able to receive the nutrients and excrete the waste
When our cells aren't able to get rid of waste .. sometimes because of lack of nutrients or excessive toxins .. they get sick. Our bodies truly get sick
one cell at a time
With over seventy-two thousand known man-made chemicals in circulation(!) .. it's impossible to avoid pollutants altogether
But we do have a choice .. and it's important to be proactive in reducing our total toxic load.
A few examples
What we purchase .. what we put in .. on or around our bodies matters a great deal. We can lower our total toxic load by eating organic foods. We can purchase cleaning and beauty products that are less harmful to our bodies and also the environment
While we can't always control the air we breathe or water we drink .. we can use air and water filters in our homes
Since we can't avoid toxicity all together .. our next best thing is to support the detoxification system with periodic cleansing. This will facilitate the release of any backed up or stored toxins
A few we'll touch on later in the series?
Simplified eating and choosing a catabolic (or cleansing) diet. Liver and gall bladder flushes .. gentle fasting .. sweat therapy and hydrotherapy. We can take certain supplements that support our detoxification systems and also a variety of herbs. Exercise is also a great way to help flush of toxins out of our cells and get them into circulation so we're able to clear them
What's the difference between an internal and external toxin? What happens to those our body isn't able to clear? What are some we come into contact every day (I was shocked) What about plastics?
I'd encourage you to have a green smoothie recipe as part of your healthy lifestyle (and detox) arsenal. In choosing one (or creating your own) there are a number of variables. If you miss the mark on any of them .. well, no one is fond of a swampy blender beverage
When I'm in green smoothie mode there are a few things I think about. I want it to be filling, energizing, and nutritious. I like my smoothie to be packed with greens .. vibrant in color .. smooth, rich, and luxe in texture.
Flavor is incredibly important .. and because kale (and many other greens) can tend toward bitter .. balancing the ratio of greens to other ingredients is important.
The one I've been loving lately comes from Kimberly Snyder. Her approach and ratios are spot on .. resulting in an invigorating .. bottom's up .. morning kickstarter made from lettuce, spinach, celery, apple, pear, banana, and lemon juice
She calls it her go-to smoothie because “you would never think a bright green drink would be so delicious .. but it is(!)” She offers up a number of easy variations and encourages her readers to mix and match seasonal greens and fruit. It's a brilliant go-to
A few notes:
It keeps really well covered in the fridge for a couple of days.
If you're busy .. you can make a big batch once a week and freeze it in portion-sized glass containers. Put your serving for the next day in the fridge the night before to thaw
Organic ingredients are always best (as your budget allows)
- 1 1/ 2 cups water
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/ 2 head of large bunch (or 3/ 4 of small bunch spinach)
- 3– 4 stalks organic celery
- 1 apple, cored and chopped
- 1 pear, cored and chopped
- 1 banana
- Juice of 1/ 2 organic lemon
- 1/ 3 bunch cilantro (stems okay)
- 1/ 3 bunch parsley (stems okay)
- multiReplace" id="157" data-gr-id="157">scoop of protein powder
- Add the water, chopped head of romaine and spinach to the blender.
- Starting the blender on low, mix until smooth.
- Gradually moving to higher speeds, add the celery, apple, and pear.
- Add the cilantro, parsley, and protein powder (if using).
- Add the banana and lemon juice last
- Blend until smooth