We survived the holidays and January has arrived. For many of us, we indulged in our beloved holiday treats, shared ups and downs with family, friends, and loved ones. Some of us had our fair share of holiday stressors. But now the new year is upon us.
Even though spring is the ideal season to do a cleanse in Chinese medicine, you can do a world of good to your body by eating cleanly after our holiday celebrations. It will help you overcome feeling sluggish after our delicious holiday celebrations. In January, I recommend a clean, food based diet versus actively forcing your body to purge itself of toxins. That bigger work of removing toxins from your system is best done as a spring cleaning for your body. In Chinese medical theory, spring is when the most vitality and energy is brought to your liver and gallbladder facilitating any spring detox. I recommend finding a trusted health practitioner, skilled in cleansing, to help you do a two to three week detox or elimination diet starting at or around the spring equinox.
In January, we are still focused on nourishing our kidney qi, yin, and yang, so eating mostly warmed/cooked food is still the ideal until March. You can clean up your system with some gently cooked, steamed, stir-fried veggies, and by avoiding food items that tax your liver and kidneys from cleaning out your system. Try to eat about 80-90% of your foods cooked with a large emphasis on vegetables.
Here are a few signs that doing a small, ten day dietary clean up would be helpful:
Are you experiencing minor aches and pains, fatigue, swelling in your hands or feet, skin irritation, joint stiffness in the AM and after exercising, excessive belly fat, dark circles under the eyes, sinus congestion, irregular bowel habits, gas, and bloating? If yes, then you could benefit from a dietary clean up.
What to do:
Plan a start date for ten days. Mark it on your calendar. Plan some meals. Go grocery shopping before your start date. To make it extra easy on yourself, go grocery shopping AND have a meal prep day to make a handful of meals to just pull out of your fridge and reheat.
On your seven to ten day clean eating reboot you will avoid eating sugar, reduce or avoid caffeine, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, processed foods of any kind, dairy, and fried foods. Avoid cooking oils besides coconut, butter, ghee, macadamia nut oil. You can use olive oil as a dressing, but avoid cooking with it. This right here eliminates buying any processed snacks, because most ‘healthy’ snacks are still processed with canola oils, besides other stuff.
What you can eat:
All vegetables, except corn and potatoes. Eat at least twice the amount of vegetables as you do protein.
Homemade soup stocks, ideally beef bone stock for your winter Kidney qi building, or mushroom stock, vegetable stock, and chicken stock.
Meats: grass fed, hormone-antibiotic free meats, 1-3 portions a day of turkey, chicken, duck, beef, lamb, or pork. Avoid cured meats for the time being. A portion size is the size and thickness of your palm.
1-2 half cup portions a day of quinoa, lentils, sprouted grains, and wild or black rice.
Nuts, nut milk, and nut butters.
Moderate amounts of fruits, preferably lower sugar fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, apples, and pineapple. Pineapple is not low in sugar, but it does contain bromelain, a lovely enzymes that helps fight inflammation and reduce joint pain.
Cook with coconut oil, butter, ghee, macadamia nut oil, and coconut milk. You can use olive oil as a dressing, but avoid cooking with it.
Sample Daily Meal:
- Sweet potato hash garnished with minced parsley OR
- 1 cup steamed greens of choice (collard, swiss chard, kale), squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil, and a homemade sausage patty (if you make this recipe from the link, omit the maple syrup for the 10 day protocol).
Morning Snack about 2 hours later: 8oz smoothie
Recipe My favorite smoothie:
- 16 oz serving:
- 3 tsp Calamari Oil- lemon flavored
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup pineapple
- 1/2 beet
- ½ cup blueberries or raspberries
- 1/2 cup parsley or cilantro,
- and ½ cup kale, collard greens or spinach
Lunch: Left overs from the night before
- Marinara sauce with meatballs over zoodles or spaghetti squash for noodles OR
- Herb rubbed chicken breast with a side of cauliflower faux mashed potatoes, and roasted veggie medley OR
- A healthy, thai curry. I like to mix up the vegetables in the curry. I find broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, and sweet potato to be a great blend, or beets, broccoli, onion, carrots, and celery. You can use quinoa, black rice, or cauliflower ‘rice’ as the base. To make cauliflower rice, place chunks of cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice. Quickly sauté it for just a minute, then top with your curry and serve.