Healthy Lifestyles: Eating Clean

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Last week, the Junior League of Chicago (JLC) celebrated women’s health week with another great installment in the healthy lifestyle series. On Tuesday, May 12 we gathered at the JLC headquarters to learn about clean eating and detoxification from Dr. Katherine Chavez. Dr. Chavez, ND Naturopathic Medicine, Integrative Oncology, Homeopathy from the Raby Institute shared her experiences and best practices to get your body back to feeling its best.
 
First things first, there are many benefits to doing a detox. Among those benefits are reducing your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, improving your immune system and simply remembering how good it feels to just feel good. There’s no reason not to try a detox!

Dr. Katherine Chavez

Dr. Katherine Chavez

 
The key to detoxing is to increase exposure to what your body needs and reduce your intake of toxins. Contrary to what I thought, a detox isn’t just about changing what you eat. Your body’s most critical needs are sleep, air, movement, joy and nutrient dense foods. By changing your daily routine you will get to know how various aspects of your lifestyle affect how you feel.

 
When doing a detox, the goal is to remove toxins from your body. Toxins can be taken in from your environment, foods, through products used on your skin or emotional situations. Below are some tips and toxins to watch out for.
 

  • Environmental: plastics and pesticides
  • Foods: choose the highest quality, freshest and grass-fed or pasture raised where applicable; avoid processed foods, sugar, artificial ingredients or sweeteners and the “dirty dozen” foods known to contain the most pesticides
  • Skin products: parabins and thalates; anything you can eat is not bad to put on your skin
  • Emotional: tragic news, bad relationships, overwork, lack of time for restorative activities such as laughing

 
Once you have identified toxins you will avoid during your detox, it is time to prepare. Dr. Chavez shared some ways you can get yourself ready for a detox.
 

  • Mentally create a space for needed or desired change
  • Get plenty of sleep or rest
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Yoga
  • Practice deep breathing exercises
  • Gentle walks
  • Keep a journal
  • Symbolically let go of something in your life, whether that is a thing, a thought, an emotion or a belief

 
Now that you are ready to begin your detox, here are a few key insights Dr. Chavez shared about making it a success.  When detoxing, one of the most important things to observe and take note of is the effect of reintroducing foods or habits back into your life. If you are able to pinpoint how certain things make you feel you can choose to continue to do them or not in the future. The goal is to always move towards optimal health and every step you take, no matter how big or small, gets you closer. The more you get used to feeling good, the more intolerant you will become to feeling bad!

 
One final item to share is a recipe for chia seed pudding that you can add to your everyday menu. Dr. Chavez mentioned it so many times throughout our session that I just had to go home and mix up some of my own. It is delicious!

 
Ingredients
1 cup vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 pint strawberries (or other fruit of choice)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts)

Directions:
Whisk together the almond milk, yogurt, vanilla and dash of salt until blended. Whisk in the chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Top your chia seed pudding with your choice of fruit and nuts the following day and enjoy!

For more information on Dr. Chavez and the Raby Institute’s work, check out their blog here.

By Christine Recsetar, 2014-2015 Topics & Trends staff member

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