What You Need to Know Before Doing a Cleanse

If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse, spring and summer really are the best times for it. There’s so much fresh produce in season that emphasizing fruits and vegetables becomes easy without needing to resort to frozen items.

Cleansing generally means cleaning your system out, particularly the gut, but it could look different for everyone. Perhaps it means a 3-day juice fast or a month-long elimination diet. Maybe you just want to avoid gut-irritating foods for a few weeks while sticking to raw fruits and veggies.

Doing a cleanse isn’t necessary more than once or twice a year, but it’s important to do it right (and safely) from the start.

Why and How to Cleanse

There are many ways to cleanse, but the key benefit is giving your body a break--it’s an opportunity to rest and recover from being constantly inundated with food (especially food that doesn’t support optimal health).

If you choose to do a water fast, your digestive system gets a chance to play catch up and discard anything it doesn’t need--without having to worry about more incoming food to digest. Homemade bone broth or juice can nourish you during your fast without demanding too much from the gut. The amount of days can vary, but generally 1-3 is fine for this type of cleanse.

Not feeling up for a water fast? You might experiment with intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating instead. This means you only eat or drink within a 10-hour window during the day, and then consume nothing else besides water from early evening until morning (about 15 hours). Time-restricted eating has been shown in studies to improve blood glucose levels and help cells clean out and discard waste.

If you’ll be focusing on fresh vegetables and fruit during your cleanse, try adding the juice from half a lemon to warm water in the morning and sip green tea throughout the day. This homemade beet kvass recipe is also great for gently flushing toxins out of the liver.

Note: While fruit is always a better choice than cookies and pastries, trade high-sugar options, like bananas and melons, for berries, cherries and citrus fruits.

Other Points to Keep in Mind

While you’re cleansing, be sure to get plenty of rest. Keep your exercise light and short, and include relaxation activities like yoga and meditation in your day. Try to avoid having your cleanse fall on particularly busy weeks or the same month as your cousin’s wedding!

The most important thing to remember about doing a cleanse? It’s about support, not starvation. Do it as a kindness to yourself, not because you’re feeling self-conscious about bikini season. When you give yourself proper care and nourishment, it’ll reflect positively on how you look and feel from the inside out.

Need Guidance? 

Request a consultation with me to make sure your cleanse is safe and health-supportive! Contact me here to set up a time to talk.

How to Reduce Anxiety with Fermented Foods

How to Reduce Anxiety with Fermented Foods

Can fermented foods make you a happier person? Can they even up your social game? It may seem farfetched but, apparently, it’s not.

When I’m not eating a clean diet, including fermented foods, and taking a good probiotic, I start to feel more stressed and overwhelmed. In the past, I didn’t know how to reduce anxiety so I’d wake up at 3 am worrying about everything! Of course, the last thing I’d want to do after a poor night’s sleep is socialize and make new friends.

The Anxiety-Gut Connection

Stress can disrupt the balance of your gut flora, which then affects hormones, such as cortisol. Waking up in the middle of the night is a byproduct. These types of symptoms are enhanced if you drink wine to calm your nerves.

The gut flora/microbiota also regulates hormone balance. If you suffer from PMS and PMS-related anxiety, it’s likely due to an overgrowth of bad bacteria.

The Role of Fermented Foods

In a recent study of young adults, an association was found between fermented foods and a reduction in social anxiety. Researchers found that among students who were prone to being anxious and hyper, those who ate fermented foods were less anxious overall.

Another study from McMaster University showed that mice treated with antibiotics became more antisocial. Once their good bacteria levels returned, their behavior returned to normal. Who knew it could be that simple?

Getting Started

If you’re wondering how to reduce anxiety in your life, it might be worth increasing your daily intake of beneficial bugs by adding sauerkraut, kimchi and lots of greens to your diet. Making them is super simple, and I share a bunch of recipes on my site for beginners and adventure seekers alike.

While I prefer homemade ferments, you can find them at the grocery store. Just be sure to look for them in the refrigerated section. Fermented foods found on a shelf have been pasteurized, which means the beneficial bacteria and enzymes are dead.

Free Consultation

If you have any questions about how to reduce anxiety with fermented foods, or how to improve the health of your gut, email me to book a free consultation. I would love to hear from you and get you started on your healing journey.

Stress-Free Mother’s Day Activities

Stress-Free Mother’s Day Activities

As some of you know, I’m a mother of three. And as some of you can relate, I don’t get to spend as much time with my kids as I did when they were little. Our kitchen, fortunately, is a place where we can all connect and spend quality time together. I treasure the times we can cook and eat a family meal together.

I always appreciate being pampered on Mother’s Day, but the holiday is even more meaningful when we actively do things together, just like cooking. Spending time with my loved ones lowers my stress levels and makes me happier--and that means a boost for my immune system and overall health!

My favorite Mother’s Day activities to enjoy with the whole family include:

  • Making homemade brunch together, featuring my favorite foods like fermented chai low-carb granola and vegan bulletproof coffee. You can even bake some cookies for dessert while you’re at it. Cooking is so much more fun when you have sous chefs to help!

  • A walk or outdoor game in the park (or a hike, if everyone is feeling up for it). I also love the botanical gardens. Nature always has a way of putting things in perspective.

  • Working in the garden. Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to plant certain vegetables and flowers, and getting our hands in the soil means exposure to beneficial bacteria and sunshine for Vitamin D.

  • Connecting with the animal world, either by horseback riding, or visiting a farm or a nature preserve. In fact, there are studies that suggest spending time with animals can actually help you release stress.

  • Celebrating Mother’s Day a day early by visiting the farmer’s market on Saturday. The Kelowna Farmer’s Market in my neighborhood even has a Mother’s Day Festival planned. You can select spring produce and make a family meal together the next day.

At night, I like to take 10-20 minutes to meditate by myself and reflect on our adventures. Doing so reminds me how grateful I am for my family and gives me a chance to integrate the experiences. You can even journal about it or write a gratitude list.

These Mother’s Day activities are ways to spend a day everyone will enjoy. For more inspiration, head over to my Instagram account and see what fun things our family is up to on a daily basis.

Prebiotic vs. Probiotic: Which Is Right for Me?

By now, you probably know a bit about the enormous benefits probiotics provide for the body (especially if you follow this blog!). But if you’re not sure why you should be eating prebiotic foods, or have never heard of such a thing, let’s clear up the confusion.

Prebiotic foods are carbohydrates that feed your gut bacteria. They are grouped into 3 types: non-starch polysaccharides, soluble fibre, and resistant starch. Non-starch polysaccharides include things like guar gum, inulin and pectin; soluble fibre includes flaxseed and cruciferous vegetables; and resistant starch is found in items like plantains and white rice.

Things like guar gum are often used as thickeners in ingredients like canned coconut milk, and if you eat plenty of vegetables, you’re probably getting adequate soluble fibre. But what about resistant starch?

The Scoop on Resistant Starch

If you’ve been following a low-carb diet for a while, you may want to consider adding resistant starch back in to encourage good bacteria growth in your gut. Low-carb diets usually limit or exclude sources of resistant starch. But rather than adding inches to your waistline, these special starches get eaten by the beneficial bacteria. Just make sure you limit your intake to a small portion each day, and don’t go overboard.

Here are my favorite sources of resistant starch:

  • Potato starch

  • Green plantains

  • Green banana flour

  • Starchy vegetables like carrots, beets and sweet potatoes

Can I Take a Prebiotic Instead of a Probiotic?

The short answer? No.

You need both prebiotics AND probiotics for a healthy gut bacteria balance. Prebiotics will just feed the bad bacteria if the good bacteria from your probiotics isn’t present. And if you’re not taking a prebiotic supplement like inulin and you and don’t eat many vegetables, you’re in danger of the bad bacteria growing out of control and causing health problems.

More About Prebiotic Foods

More and more research about prebiotics is released every day, and it’s all part of a larger conversation about optimal gut health and supporting your beneficial bacteria. If you’re interested in learning more, read this article by respected researcher Chris Kresser about prebiotics and resistant starch.

And if you’d like some personalized guidance in incorporating more prebiotics and probiotics into your diet, get in touch to schedule a Breakthrough Session with me.