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Like changing the batteries in your smoke alarm when you set your clocks back each year, seasonal changes offer a perfect reminder to check in with your body to fine-tune your entire system according to what it needs or may be lacking and to harmonize it with the current season. Winter is the season when life slows down to refresh, repair, and restore in readiness for a renewing burst of energy in spring. It follows then that your eating, sleeping, exercise and supplementing habits should be in tune with the energies of this cycle so you can remain happy and healthy with energy to spare throughout the winter months.
The first place to start is with your diet. A diet high in raw foods contains live enzymes, which are the catalyst for every human function. An enzyme is a protein molecule, produced by a living organism, to speed up chemical reactions without itself being destroyed or altered during the reactions. Raw foods also contain the energy of the living plant, which is transferred to the body when these foods are eaten. One theory goes that the younger the plant (for instance, sprouts), the more “young” and vibrant growth energy is transferred to your body. And in eating raw foods, your body is supplied with not just one vitamin or mineral, but the complete compliment of vitamins and minerals that allow each to work effectively in your body.
Heating foods to over 118F destroys up to 85% of vital minerals and enzymes. Demineralization of your body is a primary cause of aging, illness, lack of energy and mental disorders. Raw foods build a strong immune system and offer the potential to cleanse your body’s system of toxicity, encouraging healing from the inside out.
COLON HEALTH – Try A Winter Fast
Many diseases start in the intestines, so it is a good idea to do a cleansing. A cleanse can also be a fast. Fasting releases your body from other energy-consuming responsibilities, such as digestion, and allows it to focus more specifically on detoxification over an extended period of time. Ayurvedic medicine recommends following the Rule of Balance. This principle states that we should never create a new imbalance in order to repair or fix an imbalance. Whatever herbs are used, whatever purification methods are employed, we should never risk creating an imbalance in the quality and quantity of body tissues or the quality and quantity and flow of body wastes. It is also essential that any detox program support the health of the large and small channels that provide the path for toxins to leave the body so that imbedded impurities, once loosened by the purification program, can be flushed out of the body completely and quickly.
You don’t have to remain on a cleanse for more than about 4 days to see a benefit although some can last as long as 40 days. Try a cleanse over a long weekend and think about including other cleansing activities such as meditation, journaling, long warm baths with essential oils like lavender, massages and/or body scrubs and quiet afternoon naps. Avoid any strenuous activities, as you want your body to focus on detoxification first.
If a full-blown cleanse is not your style, you can make small changes in your daily routine that can leave you with a higher energy level, mental clarity, better eyesight, clearer skin, diminished cravings, and an absence of physical ailments and pains that, over time, we’ve just accepted as normal.
Hot Water With Lemon – Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a 12-ounce glass of warm to medium-hot water and drink this before you take any other food or coffee. This helps to jump-start and tone the liver.
Leafy Greens – Include leafy greens as sides to your meals or in soups. This bulks out your meals so you eat less and, at this time of the year, we need heartier healthier foods to keep us warm and give us energy in the colder months. Try greens like kale, chard, collards, mustard greens and cabbage, which are all a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fibre helps to give us slow-release energy and keeps our digestion and elimination regular.
Water, Water, Water – In order to cleanse, you must hydrate. Just breathing out dehydrates our bodies to a small extent. Without enough water, our digestion suffers and organs cannot flush out toxins. Try to get at least 2 litres of water per day and add 8 ounces for every cup of caffeinated beverage you drink.
The Dark Side – The pigments responsible for plant color belong to a class of phytochemical known as antioxidants, which may help prevent oxidative damage to the heart, arteries and other tissues. Try to incorporate vegetables that are darker in color such as blueberries, blackberries, broccoli and pomegranates as they are higher in antioxidants.
Good Bacteria – Probiotics are good bacteria that, when ingested, can support health by producing organic compounds that inhibit reproduction of harmful bacteria, by producing bacteriocins, which are antibiotic substances that facilitate destruction of harmful bacteria and by producing B vitamins, which are commonly depleted by illness, fatigue, overwork, and travel.
BODY TALK – Symptoms That Offer Clues
Paying attention to the following symptoms can help you understand what your body is trying to tell you. A symptom is a red flag that your body sends up when it needs something. After all, without a mirror that shows us the inside of our body, the only way of knowing for sure what we need is to pay attention to symptoms. Ignoring symptoms won’t make them go away; it only makes things worse. Our bodies are incredible machines that will put up with shortfalls and an environment of deficiencies for a long time before our doctor diagnoses all those little symptoms as a serious syndrome. As you would take care of a squeak in your car’s suspension, you should also take care of those squeaks in your body!
Headaches and migraines are often related to possible food sensitivity issues, dehydration and problems with detoxification. They can be related to less than optimal digestion and blood sugar issues. They can be a signal that you need more of the mineral magnesium and the vitamins B12, B2 and B3 in the foods you choose.
Headaches can also indicate something as simple as toxins leaving your body, especially during a fast or a cleanse. These types of headaches should typically subside after two to three days.
Muscular aches and pains can be attributed to dehydration or reactions to certain prescription drugs. Muscle spasms can be attributed to a lack of calcium in the body. Exercise is key to helping your body detoxify. When fluids move through your lymphatic system, the lymph nodes cleanse the fluids of toxins so your body can remove them altogether. Unfortunately, your lymphatic system has no other pump than your muscles, so you need to keep moving!
Calcium & Magnesium with Boron - Why Boron?
Recent studies indicate that Boron is important in the promotion of bone and joint health, particularly in women. Adequate intake of minerals such as Boron can largely prevent osteoporosis. The findings of many studies on Boron suggest that maintaining adequate levels, particularly in the presence of adequate levels of magnesium, can help prevent calcium loss and bone demineralization.
Creaking Joints aren’t just embarrassing and yucky to listen to. Some people’s joints are just naturally noisy but, more often than not, they can be a symptom of inflammation and tissue deterioration and could indicate the beginning, or existence, of a progressive joint disease such as arthritis. If chronic joint pain (and noise!) seems to plague your daily routine, you might consider supplementing with anti-inflammatory and tissue repair herbs such as Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, MSM, Devil's Claw, Turmeric, Boswellia, Prickly Ash, White Willow, Nettle Leaf, and/or Ashawganda.
THE NOCTURNAL CYCLE
The nocturnal cycle allows for detoxification. It’s like a nighttime garbage pickup. Your body is designed to detox while there is little requirement for other vital body functions, such as digestion, to be performed. This is why eating later at night hampers the detoxification process, as now your body has to digest as well as detox.
Occasionally, we all suffer from “sleep-us interrupt-us” – minor problems that keep us awake at night. When uninterrupted nights of deep and restful slumber become few and far between, a gentle, natural sleep aid can help restore your sleeping patterns to normal.
Valerian has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, promotes relaxation
in individuals leading a hectic lifestyle, and helps support restful sleep.
Carol Roy is a Natural Health Practitioner, registered with Natural Health Practitioners Canada, who received her diploma from the Alternative Medicine College of Canada in Montreal, Quebec. With 9 years experience in her area of expertise, naturopathic medicine, Carol has also trained to become a fully qualified Reiki Master, Quantum Touch ® Practitioner and Reflexologist.
are recommendations only and not a substitute for any medical advice or a
replacement for any prescriptions. Seek medical advice for any health concerns.
Consult your health care provider before using any recommendations herein.
1. www.wikipedia.org - search string, “Immune System”
2. KidsHealth – A Body Basics Article: Immune System
4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health