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Your 2 week detox program to kickstart the new year: Get ready for 2013

Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND

Its hard to believe it is already 2013! This is the time of year we feel the effects of all the “overindulgences” during the holidays. Somehow it seemed okay to keep saying “yes” during December, promising ourselves that January 1 would be the day to return to our healthier routine.

Well….. its January! From personal experience, I feel the best way to “recover” from the holidays and kickstart the New Year is a detox!

Enjoy this 2 week plan that incorporates a healthy diet, exercise and supplements to lose those extra holidays pounds, improve your energy, manage stress better and move towards a more healthy you!

*The information provided is not intended to diagnose or treat any health condition. Please consult with your doctor or naturopathic doctor before starting any new supplement program as they may have interactions with certain medications. *

#1: Nutrition

The first place to start on a healthier new YOU is to make simple nutritional changes.

  1. Swap white flour products for whole grain products. If it is white, don’t eat it! That includes all products made of white flour like muffins, cookies, donuts, etc. Choose sweet potato or yams instead of white potato. Choose brown rice over white rice. Simple changes can have huge results!

  2. Avoid refined sugar. You can do this for 14 days! Choose healthy sugars such as Agave Nectar, pure maple syrup or Stevia. Avoid sugar replacements like Splenda, NutraSweet, Sweet'N'Low and Equal. These nasty replacements have been linked to problems such as cancer, migraines, depression, birth defects, seizures, behavior changes, anemia, sexual dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, and more. For a sugary snack choose dark chocolate (greater than 70% cocoa) and eat no more than 2 squares a day.

  3. NEVER skip breakfast. Eating foods high in energy in the morning sets our metabolism all day to burn calories. Breakfast ideas include no sugar added oatmeal, eggs, high fiber cereals, fruit with plain yogurt, apple with almond butter.

  4. For lunch and dinner ½ of your plate should be vegetables. Choose bright colored vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables. Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower contain nutrients great for cleansing and supporting the liver! Avoid creamy dressings which are usually high in fat. Choose oil based dressings low in sugar. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressings are great! Add powerfoods such as Kale, Beets, Quinoa.

  5. Keep a 3-4 day diet log of what you eat and how much you are exercising before starting the 14 day program. Then keep a log during the 14 days. By seeing exactly what you eat, you can identify where empty calories are coming from and easily avoid these calorie dense foods (do you really need that donut at lunch time?) When you see the changes you have made, be proud of them and use them to motivate you to continue making these changes.

#2: Water

Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Have water available throughout the day in a stainless steel or glass container. Sip slowly during the day. Your goal should be at least 1 liter the first week, then up to 2 liters the next week. Avoid all soft drinks, including diet soft drinks. Avoid fruit juices too. If you must, dilute 1/3 fruit juice with 2/3 water in the beginning. However, quickly work towards drinking only pure, filtered water.

A study at the University of Texas found people who drink diet soft drinks actually gain weight: a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can of diet soft drink a person consumes each day. Some soft drink studies do suggest that diet drinks stimulate appetite.

These researchers looked at seven to eight years of data on 1,550 Mexican- American and non-Hispanic white Americans aged 25 to 64. Of the 622 study participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese.

For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 26% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 47.2% for more than 2 cans each day

For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 57.1% for more than 2 cans each day

For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person's risk of obesity went up 41%.

Take home message: DON’T DRINK SODAS!!!

#3: Exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to be at the gym. Remember, small changes can have big results! If you don’t exercise regularly, make it a goal to walk at least 30 min every day. Walking the dog, using the stairs at work, park a little further away, bike ride; it all counts.

According to the American Heart Association, just 30 min of brisk walking can significantly reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. For those of you used to exercising, this may be a great time to get a personal trainer to develop a fresh new program for you. I personally recommend Shazparoo Fitness at www.shazparoo.com.

Here is a quick test to determine your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Then measure your waist at its smallest part. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to produce your waist to hip ratio. For example, if your waist is 28in, and your hips 34in, your ratio is 0.8. If your ratio is greater than 0.85, you are more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems. A ratio greater is 1.0 is very unhealthy. The good news is that a balanced diet and 30 min of exercise a day can significantly reduce your risk of a cardiovascular event. This may be a great motivator!

Get a pedometer and monitor how many steps you take on an average day. Then challenge yourself to increase your number of steps each day. Eventually aim for 10,000 steps per day. You can do this! It’s easier than it sounds.

#4: Avoid Alcohol and Coffee for 2 weeks

For the next two weeks give your liver a much deserved break by avoiding alcohol. You will notice an improvement in sleep, energy, mental clarity and of course weight loss without all the empty calories that come from alcohol.

Swap your coffee for green tea. This tea has so many benefits including an increase in metabolism to help you burn more calories. Green tea will also provide the caffeine kick to jumpstart your day in a healthy way!

#5: Supplements to Increase Your Energy and Help You Burn Fat

  1. A good multivitamin/mineral that provides the essential nutrients your body needs too increase energy, cope with stress and detox your body. You can add an extra B Complex to deliver more of the stress reducing B Vitamins.

  2. Fish oil that contains at least 1000mg EPA. This good fat will help you burn fat and help your concentration/ memory.

  3. L-Carnitine. This amino acid will transport fat into our cells where they are burned to make energy. You must follow a balanced diet and exercise in order to see the benefits of L-Carnitine.

    Food sources include: meat and animal products with red meat and lamb being the best sources; chicken, turkey. Fruits, vegetables and grains contain almost no Carnitine. Sugar inhibits the effectiveness of L-Carnitine. Protein at every meal increases the effectiveness of L- Carnitine.

    Dosage: 1000mg/day; 2000mg/day if you are obese. Best taken before breakfast and lunch.Optimum results when taken with fish oil.

  4. Adrenal support to help you cope better with stress: Include a high quality supplement containing Ginseng. Choose one that is not overly processed. Ginseng is excellent for helping the body deal with stress, supporting the immune system, improving energy and improving memory. I like Panax Ginseng, or Korean Ginseng, for its adrenal supportive benefits

What next?

After completing a cleanse, many people will continue their weight loss simply by continuing some of the “good food habits” adopted during the cleanse. Many find their body’s metabolism works more efficiently, causing them to burn calories better, resulting in continued weight loss.

After completing the cleanse, you can slowly start to reintroduce some of the foods back into your diet. Pay attention to how you feel when reintroducing foods. For example, if you experienced less gas and bloating when avoiding dairy, do the symptoms return when reintroducing dairy?

Continue avoiding foods that do not provide nutrients, just empty calories. These include white grains, sugar, processed foods, and fried foods.

Be especially careful when reintroducing caffeine. Many people experience a strong reaction, including heart palpitations.

What can Vitalia Health Care offer you?

Vitalia Health Care offers medically supervised detoxification programs individualized for your specific health needs. Through a 1 hour assessment, our doctors will customize a detoxification program for you based on your current health, genetic history, occupation, and toxic exposure. We offer state of the art diagnostic testing to determine your levels of toxic metals, vitamin/mineral needs and how well your body is able to detoxify.

Our in house treatments include intravenous administration of vitamins and minerals, intravenous administration of antioxidants such as glutathione, chelation therapy to remove heavy metals, and nutrition/dietary counseling.

At Vitalia Health Care, we provide 1 to 4 week detoxification packages that fit your needs and lifestyle.

Many extended benefit programs provide coverage for Naturopathic Medical Care. Please consult with your benefits provider to find out if you are covered!

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