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New Year Detox: My Tips & Tricks to Feeling Healthier in 2018

Jan 22, 2018

New Year Detox–a more approachable method

Sweater: Halogen (runs super large! Size down at least 1 size! I’m wearing xs! It’s hands-down my favorite cardigan, I wear it everywhere. It’s also the same one I posted on insta yesterday!) This one is also similar and 35% off! Camisole: Abercrombie (Comes in lot’s of colors!) Sezane (a French brand I’m obsessed with that recently launched in the US) also has really pretty versions with lace, and I love Everlane’s classic silk cami’s (no lace, so more work-appropriate and great for layering under blazers as well as sweaters!)

With the new year always comes the influx of cleansing, detoxing, dieting, and new exercise routines. Everywhere you look, someone is on a juice cleanse. You can’t get into your gym classes anymore because they’re overpopulated with New Years Resolutioners. Even though you know that come March, 80% of those “cleanses” will have failed and the shiny new excitement of the over-ambitious workout and weight loss goals will have worn off.

I’m all for turning over a new leaf in the new year, but why do we make it so hard on ourselves? I’ve spent the majority of my life in that 80% camp. In my twenties (after gaining quite a bit of weight in college because I had no concept of what a healthy diet was) I would jump on the latest diet train, I would sign up for new gym memberships and commit myself to an hour of boring elliptical each day. Then, obviously, I would fall off the wagon in a few months, defeated, and find myself right back to where I started.

Finally (thankfully) though, at age 29, I feel like I’ve really figured out an approachable, obtainable, and sustainable way to detox–and keep it that way, too!

Now, I will say, these tips are 100% my personal take on things. This is in no way meant to be a nutritional guide, a complete nutritional plan, or intended to replace the advice of your doctor or dietician. Every body is different and has different needs!

However, you guys have been asking for more fitness and health-related content, so I thought it would be fun to share what I’m doing personally to detox in the new year, if that so interests you! (But if you just come for the clothes, I don’t blame you–there’s some of that here too ?)

Anyway–let’s jump in! ??

How to detox with food: my personal take

I’ve made a lot of changes with the way that I eat in the past few months. After watching a few documentaries, reading books, and just doing a lot more research in general on the link between what we eat and how it affects our health. I would highly recommend watching the Forks over Knives documentary as well as In Defense of Food. Both are extremely well-done and available on Netflix! What the Health is another popular one that everyone keeps buzzing about. honestly, the host really bothered me. between his lack of professionalism and the fact that their arguments seemed a bit skewed. so I’d definitely start with the other two instead. In Defense of Food also happens to be a book. If you’re interested in the subject and looking for a new read–I’d recommend it!

Essentially, the long and short of it is–American’s spend far and away the most on healthcare, yet we are some of the sickest people on the planet and it all boils down to the fact that we consume way too many animal products and not enough vegetables, fruits, and whole foods. I never paid enough attention when people said that and brushed it off, but when you open your eyes and see how much data there is to back this simple claim up–turning a blind eye just felt irresponsible. Consuming a lot of animal products just isn’t healthy, and I want to be around a really long time!

This is essentially a roundabout way of me saying, this month, we’ve started focusing a lot more on eating a plant-based diet the majority of the time (aka, during the week). Monday-Friday I cook at home and focus on making meals without meat or dairy, and on the weekends, I let myself eat what I feel like! (The occasional slice of pizza or steak dinner included!) I feel really really good, and I don’t really miss meat or dairy during the week like I thought I would, because if I’m really craving it, I know I can eat it during a “cheat day” on the weekends! (I’m happy to do another post on what I eat during a typical week if you guys are interested in that!)

To me, this is a really sustainable way to approach eating long-term. (Not to mention, if you’re looking to shed any pounds, I’ve noticed my waistline has stayed a LOT slimmer even though I haven’t been working out as much since the wedding.)

Anyway, circling back to my original point–detoxing!

We can all agree that your diet is probably the #1 place to start with detoxing, right? It can sound really daunting, but truth be told, in my experience, switching to a diet that is heavily based in plants has been the easiest “diet” I have ever been on in my life. (MAN did I do a lot of crazy diets in college ?) I don’t really do well with a lot of stringent “rules”–(i.e. counting carbs, calories, being able to eat some veggies or fruits but not others, etc–it’s exhausting, really.)

So, if you’re looking for an easy approach to detoxing, I think a heavy plant-based, little animal product diet is a great place to start. Even if you don’t want to give up meat. Think of it as using meat for flavoring rather than using it as the main focus on your plate. (Did you know that a full serving of protein is actually the size of your palm? That’s more like HALF a chicken breast!)

I’ve also heard of a really interesting approach of, “vegan before 6pm”. Honestly I hate the word vegan, so I say “plant based”. It’s much more palatable, don’t you think? This is where you eliminate meat and dairy for your first two meals of the day. Then for dinner, eat a normal (i.e. smaller than you might think) portion of lean protein.

Only YOU can decide what’s best for you–(and none of this is intended to be taken as professional healthcare advice, this is simply my personal experience) but ask any doctor or nutritionist and they will agree, focusing on eating MORE plants, and LESS animal products and processed foods is going to have you feeling better than you ever felt before!

The idea: Eat foods that help your body, eliminate the ones that don’t:

Whatever type of diet you decide is best for you, I encourage you to not focus on counting, but on eating foods that help your body, and eliminating the ones that don’t.  This will be the easiest, most detoxifying “diet” you’ve ever been on. You just have to change the way you’re looking at food.

Example scenario: An avocado has WAY more fat and calories than a 100 calorie pack of standard wheat crackers. Which is better for you?

Well, the wheat crackers don’t bring much to the table in terms of nutrients. They don’t contain any helpful amounts of vitamins or minerals your body needs to function well. Yes, they’re wheat, but the positives about them is that there are less negatives than non wheat crackers. So despite being only 100 calories, they don’t get any good points in the nutrition category. They’re really more of an “empty” food.

The avocado on the other hand, in addition to giving you a dose of healthy fat (which fills you up and keeps you satiated) also contains glutathione, which helps the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals, ridding your body of unwanted toxins. They also contain a good dose of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Crazy, right? I spent my entire life (up until the last few months) never looking at food through this lens, but once you do, it makes healthy eating a lot easier, a lot more rewarding, and you feel a hell of a lot better doing it.

I won’t go into ALL of that here–if you’re interested, I can do a separate post more about what I eat in a given week, but what I’d recommend in addition to watching the documentaries I listed above, is to read the books Clean Cuisine and In Defense of Food.

In addition, if you want to try a plant-based or more vegetarian diet, I LOVE the cookbook Love Real Food by Kate of the blog, Cookie and Kate (which has become my favorite plant-based healthy food blog!) Her book is all vegetarian meals (that can easily be made vegan, too) but they aren’t the kind that are filled with tofu and soy cheese and all that gross stuff you never want to eat. Her meals are the kind that are so flavorful, you forget there isn’t meat in them.

And if you’re wondering, “how the heck am I supposed to memorize all the detoxifying health benefits of every fruit and vegetable?!” I realize this isn’t feasible, so an easier tip to remember is, “eat the rainbow.” If you’re eating a couple servings of fruits and veggies of different colors at every meal, you’re in a good spot. (Just be mindful that you’re getting plenty of protein, too!)

Detoxifying foods I always stock up on: 

Whenever you can, focus on foods in their whole form, rather than packaged foods! I buy lot’s of green veggies like Kale, Spinach (for smoothies), swiss chard, squash, cucumbers (I especially love the “cruciferous crunch” salad mix from TJ’s as well as all their salad mixes which make lunches really easy!) Avocado, Onions, Garlic, Broccoli, Brazil Nuts, Citrus Fruit, Kiwi, Apples, green tea, and lot’s of fresh herbs like Dill, Cilantro, Basil and Parsley. Essentially, most fruits and veggies in their pure forms can be considered “detoxifying” foods–so that’s an easy one!

Additionally, using lot’s of spices doesn’t just make breakfast, lunch and dinner flavorful, but spices have their own benefits as well–tumeric and cumin, for example, are some of the tastiest spices and are known to help with inflammation, your digestive system, immunity, and are thought to help prevent chronic disease! Be heavy on the spices when you’re cooking and you’ll love every bite!

Also, I also know what you’re thinking next–what about alcohol and caffeine?

Alcohol and caffeine:

Truthfully, I could never completely give up either, despite the benefits. But since I really started cleaning up my diet and eating a lot healthier, I don’t need the caffeine anymore. I feel so much better. Although I do really enjoy the taste of coffee. So I drink it in moderation. I make sure to eat breakfast before having coffee. So I don’t make my blood sugar go nuts.

The same goes for wine–I’m not NOT going to drink wine! (Red wine is also full of antioxidants! Specifically, Resveratrol, which protects against free radicals, which are a big contributor to fine lines and wrinkles!)

What I have found though is that my tendency to gravitate toward wine and coffee is simply being bored and wanting to do something. So substituting with an herbal tea when I would usually feel like afternoon coffee or an after dinner drink is often just as satisfying. So that’s something I try to do during the week. If I still want the wine afterward, I’ll have it, but usually, I don’t!

If you’re REALLY trying to jump on the hardcore detox bandwagon, you should probably eliminate these…but I like to live a little ?

Detox smoothie: 

A morning smoothie is my favorite way to squeeze in extra doses of fruits, veggies, and antioxidants! I love using blueberries and acai (I buy the no sugar added acai puree at TJ’s) and I usually add a scoop of plant-based protein powder (I use the Vega brand!) I also add a handful of spinach, coconut water and chia seeds.

How to detox your skin–my tips:

Now, moving onto detoxing your skin–this probably isn’t going to be the quick fix you’ll want to hear, but I really do believe what you eat has an effect on your skin. SO, if you purposely skipped over the first section of this post, you’ll want to go back and read it ? SORRYYY.

But, other than adopting a healthy diet, what else can you do to detox your skin? Here are some of my favorite tips:

new year detox: how to detox your skin

Incorporate a detoxifying mask into your weekly routine: 

Charcoal masks are particularly effective, as charcoal is one of the most effective things out there when it comes to absorbing all the bad stuff you don’t want in your body–which is why they actually give it to people who have accidentally ingested poison! You can do the same for your face–slather on your favorite charcoal mask (I love Origins!) and it will absorb all the bad stuff from your pores! Another favorite is Glossier’s detoxifying greens mask! You can also see my review of favorite green detoxifying masks here!

Steam, steam, steam: 

I love to do a steam facial (it’s also AMAZING if you’re sick). Bring water to a boil and pour it into a large bowl. I love adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, but if you don’t have any on hand, that’s totally fine too. Lean over the bowl and drape a large towel over so it creates a mini steam room for your face.

Get a detoxifying facial: 

Think of getting a facial the same way you’d think of going to the dentist–it’s a deep clean that you can only get with the help of a professional. I will admit I was never a big believer in facials, but then I started going to Leah before my wedding and she’s really helped so much! Everyone’s skin is different, so I would recommend getting a consultation with your esthetician to see what she recommends! If you live in Chicago, definitely check out Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique–get 20% off your first service when you mention my name when booking!

how to detox your skin for the new year–try an antioxidant facial oil!

Invest in an antioxidant serum: 

Antioxidants are absolutely vital in your body’s detoxification process. Of course, you want to eat them, but you’ll ALSO want to slather your face with them wherever possible. As they fight against the environmental damage that your skin is up against all day, everyday, and slow the process of aging. I absolutely love Caudalie’s Overnight Detox Oil, but I’ve heard good things about Juice Beauty’s as well!

All the water:

Drinking water is just good for you all around, but especially for your skin! The recommended amount you need is half your body weight, in ounces, which for me, equates to about 4 refills of my 16 oz tumbler cup. It’s really not that much! I like to add Chlorophyl drops to mine which makes it taste extra good (the kind I use has peppermint in it!) and adds tons of detoxifying health benefits, too.

How to detox in the new year with sweat

See full outfit post here along with my two favorite at-home workouts!

How to detox with sweat–my favorite methods:

Sweating is your body’s natural method of detoxifying itself, which is another reason working out is so good for you! OrangeTheory is my workout of choice, but I also love supplementing that with hot yoga if I really need to sweat.

Corepower’s “C2” classes are my favorite because they are “power yoga”. Which means you get an awesome workout (not just stretching) with the added detox benefits of sweat and heat! All that bending and sweating is one of the most effective way of releasing toxins from your body. Not to mention, provides a wealth of mental detox benefits as well.

Speaking of…

My tips for a much-needed mental detox:

Sometimes, bad moods just seem to loom around and you aren’t sure why. Whenever this happens to me and I feel cranky or foggy for an extended period of time, it’s usually a signal that I need a mental detox.

When you hear the phrase, “mental detox”–it sounds a lot more daunting than it actually is, like you need some 5 day retreat in Sedona or something. But no, sometimes a quick break from all the stimulation of life around you is all you need.

Turn off your phone

Let’s be honest, technology is probably the sole cause of our need for mental detoxification. If I’m just feeling “blah”–I’ll put my phone on silent and go on a walk through my neighborhood. My favorite thing is to listen to some relaxing, low-key music and walk to my favorite bookstore. Spending an hour or so getting outside and getting lost in books is one of my favorite escapes.


Implement a “twice per day” rule with your inbox

I don’t know one person that says email doesn’t stress them out. It’s a constant bombardment of other people trying to make you prioritize their needs over yours. Here’s the thing: they can wait. They don’t NEED an immediate response from you. You’ll be absolutely SHOCKED at how productive you are if you simply check your inbox just twice per day. Rather than leaving it open in the background.

Eliminate TV for a few days, and opt for reading instead

Whenever I go to bed after a couple hours of TV, I feel drained. Whenever I go to bed after an hour or so of reading, I feel well-rested, and excited about the next day. TV is a source of stimulation, but not the good kind. Reading stimulates your mind in the best way and provides a relaxing mental escape from real-life stress. If you need some reading reccos, this list of GG reader recommended books is amazing! I still refer back to it every time I need a new read!

Get up earlier so enjoy some peace and quite all by yourself

As hard as it is to drag myself out of bed, I feel the best when I’m up early. Sometimes, it’s the only time of the day you get all to yourself! Starting the day out in a rush does not set yourself up for success, it only sets you up for MORE stress! The apps “Kiwake” and “Alarmy” really help with this by requiring you to get out of bed and take a photo of something far away to shut off the alarm!

how to detox your mind in the new year

Go on a date with yourself

Going somewhere just by yourself can be really cathartic. Head to your favorite coffee shop and read the newspaper. Or bring along a new book. Or sit in silence and people watch. I actually wrote a whole post way back when about dating yourself right over here!

Get moving

I know we already touched on sweating as a form of detox, but it’s benefits don’t stop there. Exercise is probably the most powerful mental detox of all. Honestly, there’s really no excuse to not get yourself moving at least a couple times per week! Your mind AND body will thank you! My favorite workouts are Corepower and OrangeTheory!

What does your new year detox look like? I would love to hear what you’re doing and what tips you have!


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