Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Post-Holiday Hangover

The holidays are by far the most challenging time of the year for Vegans. Between the pressure from family members and overwhelming amounts of stress, you can see why this is a common time for people to quit. This post isn't solely directed at Vegans; It's for Non-Vegans too. During this time of the year, it is so easy to let yourself slip into unhealthy habits such as overeating and lack of exercise. So if you're feeling those post-holiday blues, here are a couple tricks on how to get back to your awesome and healthy self.

Ok, don't freak out. This is an entire day of absolutely nothing but tea. When the human body is overloaded with food, it requires more energy to digest and store it all. Unless you are actually preparing for a famine(which I'm sorry if you are...),  you don't need an excessive amount of extra storage. This detox seems to be the most efficient and the quickest fix. Since the digestive process requires a lot of energy, a one-day tea-tox simply allows your digestive system to relax a little bit. By allowing this process to take a break, you are allowing your body to heal and repair what has been damaged. More energy can be distributed to the other systems of the body such as the immune system. Another positive is that tea-toxes generally reduce your appetite as well. Since we are bound to overeat during the holidays, this is beneficial in terms of maintaining appropriate portions. This one, for me, is just like pushing a "restart" button. I always wake up after a tea-tox and feel like a brand new person. One of the downsides to this cleanse is its timing. I suggest doing a cleanse on a day where you have nothing to do because it's easy to get tired and agitated. Sunday is usually my go to day. Also, let me note that there is a difference between a fast and starvation. When done correctly, a fast is very beneficial. Be careful not to over do it.
During a tea-tox I generally drink anywhere from 8 to 12 teas. All teas aren't created equal in this cleanse so it is important to pick the right ones. When choosing my tea, I usually lean towards one containing senna in the ingredients. The Senna Plant is known for it's detoxifying and curative properties. Too much senna can be a problem as well so I generally drink only one or two cups containing it. Other than that I drink a lot of mint and ginger teas. I'll list below some recommendations:

  1. Yogi Soothing Mint Get Regular ($5)
  2. Traditional Medicinals Organic Smooth Move ($4)
  3. Now Foods Senna Tea ($4)

The Infamous Juice Cleanse
No one ever wants to do this. I have yet to hear a single person get excited for a juice cleanse. For me, this one is the most difficult. When doing a juice cleanse, you drink solely homemade, or certain store-bought, juice for anywhere from 3 to 7 days. When I say "juice", I am not referring to store-bought apple or orange juice. I mean a juice blend of vegetables and fruits that cover your daily nutrient need (I will be posting some of my favorite juice recipes sometime in the near future). During the holiday season we are constantly exposed to saturated fats, pesticides and refined carbs. These toxic foods weaken the digestive system making it more susceptible to damage. By juicing, you are giving your intestines, stomach, and liver time to repair themselves and prevent future harm. Since not everyone has enough time to prepare freshly made juices, I suggest going to your local juice bar. If you don't have one, there are pressed juices in your local grocery market. My favorite pressed juices are:

  1. Evolution Juices
  2. Boathouse Juices
  3. Blueprint Juices (Whole Foods Market)
  4. Naked Juices

Fruit&Veggie Cleanse
This one's my absolute favorite. The other cleanses may be short term, but they require a lot of will-power and discipline that, sometimes, I just don't have. A simple fruit and vegetable cleanse consists of only raw, organic fruit and veggies for a specific period of time. Just like in a juice cleanse, the purpose of this cleanse is to rid the body of harmful toxins and allow your body to restore itself. This is exactly why I recommend solely organic food for this cleanse. It just seems counterproductive to ingest more pesticides when the purpose of this is to eliminate them. When doing this detox, I plug all of my food into a counter app to track my nutrient intake (I personally recommend MyFitnessPal). This helps aid in preventing the desire to overeat or cheat. This one is longer than the tea-tox and the juice cleanse, but I find that it has a much higher success rate. My average F&V cleanse lasts for roughly 7-14 days but it is entirely dependent on how I'm feeling. Now before I get questions about protein, this is exactly why I plug it into the counter. If I have treat 12 lbs of spinach, so be it. Specific liver and digestive cleansers consist of apples, spinach, turmeric, beets, and carrots. I try to incorporate these as much as possible. This one doesn't have to be boring and torturous so make sure to switch it up.

Don't let yourself crash after this holiday season. It's perfectly ok to fall of the wagon every once in a while, so long as you get back on it. Cleansing helps kickstart your healthy lifestyle and creates a positive mindset. After all, a positive mindset is the key to all of this. What better way to restart your lifestyle than literally restarting your entire system? There are plenty of easy and efficient ways to do this without breaking your budget so long as you do it correctly. Before I forget, here's my disclaimer: I am not a doctor/dietitian nor am I a master in the art of cleansing. This is just what works for me.

Always Remember:
Animals are friends, not food.
Jasmine Millner :)

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