Spring Clean Your Diet

Photo: Three Points Kitchen Spring has sprung across the northern hemisphere, and with longer days and warmer weather, there’s no time like the present to clean up dirty eating habits. A common practice of cleansing the body consists of a plan that uses cleansing teas, such as dandelion or milk thistle, or fasting for several days to detox the system. Scientifically, fasts are not proven to rid the body of built up toxins, and obsessively restrictive diets can leave the body depleted, weaken the metabolism, and even cause gallbladder stones.

The vernal equinox is a great time of year to examine your eating habits and see which ones are holding you back from optimal health. Start by keeping a food journal, and after three days re-read the log to pinpoint any food addictions or unhealthy habits. Construct a plan to slowly rid yourself of your unwanted patterns. Then, once you feel you have a handle on what you would like to change add these 4 healthy practices to your daily routine, and watch your physique dwindle down.

Photo: Andy Field

Take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables.  In-season produce contains the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals. The moment a crop is picked from the farm, its nutrients begin to oxygenate; as a result, the piece of fruit (or vegetable) that must travel far to make it to your home contains a lesser amounts of nutrients then a recently or locally picked one. In-season foods for Spring include, artichokes, asparagus, morels, nettles, new potatoes, parsnips, peas, radishes, green onions, and strawberries.

Sweat. Perspiration aids in weight-loss due to the result that most activities done to work up a sweat often burn up calories. Furthermore, sweating opens up the skin’s pores allowing excess urea and uric acid to flow out. Lastly, when you perspire you release stress. Sweat by taking a Bikram Yoga class, playing your favorite sport, sitting in a steam room or sauna, going to the beach on a hot sunny day, or walking to do your errands.

Increase your daily fiber intake. Fiber is necessary for detoxing the gunk out of your system. Also, it is a great practice to prevent a number of preventable diseases. In the book, The F-Factor by Registered Dietitian Tawnya Zuckerbrot, she explains that when you add foods that are high in fiber to your diet, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, your stomach feels fuller longer. Therefore, weight-loss is evident when adding extra bulk (along with substantial water) to your diet.

Decrease your sugar intake. According to Dr. Robert Lustig from the University of California, San Francisco, excessive sugar consumption is linked to several chronic diseases and ailments, such as heart disease, hypertension, and many common cancers. A large portion of the American diet contains sugar, especially sucrose from packaged and processed foods. It’s not just cutting-out your favorite baked goods or desserts, but all the foods that contain processed sugars in the ingredient list. Switching from chocolate to mangoes is not the easiest thing to do in the world, but necessary to rid the body of excess fat and toxins. To remind yourself to buy more fruits, purchase a beautiful bowl to place exotic produce in from the local market..

The painless way to achieve these objective is to try each suggestion one at a time. To say, “Today is the day I will never eat sugar again,” doesn't work very well for most people. Besides, who wants to think of life with no sugar ever again. A little bit of sugar won’t kill you but a lifetime of drinking soda pop might be the death of you.