Did you know that digesting food requires more energy than any other function in the human body? It’s no wonder we’re exhausted after a big lunch! It stands to reason, then, that the best way to free up some extra energy is to make our digestion as quick and efficient as possible.
This extra energy can better support the body’s other crucial functions, like circulation, respiration, and excretion, all of which help improve your complexion, oxygenate your cells, and eliminate excess waste in the body. The less waste that’s stored in your body, the better you’ll look and feel.
The easiest way to get started is to change the way we approach our meals. By simply adjusting how we eat, we can improve our digestion and enjoy effortless weight loss, without giving up any of the foods we love. In other words, you can still eat practically anything and everything you want — just not necessarily all at the same time. Sounds reasonable enough, right?
The following tips will help you get the most out of detoxing, whether you’re looking to lose weight, strengthen your digestion, or simply feel more energetic throughout your day. Making a few minor changes to your daily routine can add up to big results, so feel free to try one, or all, of these ideas to ensure you reach your goals.
1. Properly combine your meals.
If you do nothing else, adhering to food combination principles will naturally balance your day by encouraging you to make mindful choices at each and every meal.
Remember, you can still enjoy the foods you love — just not necessarily all at the same time. (See image on the right for examples of food categories.)
Be sure to wait three to four hours between your meals before switching categories (such as animal protein, starch, or nut/seed/dried fruit), and feel free to snack on neutral foods, like non-starchy vegetables, at any time of the day.
2. Begin each meal with something raw.
Raw plant foods are hydrating, filling, and bursting with nutrition. The more often you eat them, the more inclined you may be to keep eating well for the rest of the day!
Before you dig into your main course, make a habit of snacking on a handful of raw vegetables before lunch and enjoying a leafy green salad before dinner each evening.
Not only will these veggies prepare your palate for a healthy meal, but you’ll also benefit from their raw enzymes, which may boost digestion. Of course, you can always enjoy a large salad, with filling toppings, as your main course, too.
3. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
Coffee, tea, alcohol, and soda are all dehydrating and acidic in the body and may inhibit nutrient absorption and stress the adrenal glands.
You can still enjoy your favorite morning beverage in moderation, but avoid drinking caffeinated beverages with, or immediately after, your meals for best digestion and nutrient absorption. If you choose to consume alcohol, stick to just the occasional glass of wine with dinner.
4. Limit animal protein.
Aim to eat no more than 25 grams of protein per meal, as the body will struggle to process and assimilate more than this amount in one sitting. For reference, this amount of protein can be found in a 3-ounce serving of meat or fish, which is about the size of a deck of cards.
This portion may be significantly smaller than what you have come to expect from a restaurant, but keep in mind that excess protein is converted into sugar and may be stored as fat in the body. Instead of overdosing on protein, fill up the rest of your plate with fiber-rich veggies to keep your overall meal balanced and satisfying.
5. Limit sugar consumption.
Studies show that consumption of refined sugar can harm metabolism, speed up the aging process, and may contribute to the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.
Our bodies are designed to crave sweets, preferably in the form of naturally sweet fruits, which are bursting with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But unfortunately, we can also find ourselves craving sweets that aren’t as beneficial to us, such as sodas, candy bars, and baked goods.
The more often we give in to the urge for these refined-sugar treats, the more often we will crave them, perpetuating an endless cycle of sugar cravings and energy crashes.
As you adjust to this lifestyle, you may find it helpful to limit your sugar consumption for a week or two in order to reacclimate your taste buds and squash your refined-sugar cravings for good.
To make the transition easier, enjoy a fruit-based smoothie or a bowl of Banana Soft Serve for a naturally sweetened treat.
Adapted with permission from Everyday Detox, by Megan Gilmore, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Nicole Franzen.
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