***This is NOT an announcement. I am NOT pregnant.***
Whew. Just needed to make that clear for those of you who skim posts.
Many of you found this blog because of my infertility story. Some of you are right in the trenches yourself at this very moment. I know when we were longing for our first child, we kept sane by doing something. As long as we were researching, trying something new, heading to another appointment, we survived. Doing nothing? That’s hard.
Clearly, “preparing for pregnancy” is NOT the kind of Fresh Start some of you are seeking, but I still think you’ll enjoy this guest post by my friend Donielle. The tips she shares here are universal. We could all take note and follow these simple steps for a healthier system.
There’s just some thing about pregnancy that causes us to see it as another fresh start in life. The creation of each new life is a new beginning! And as we think about expanding our families with our husbands, pray about it, and sometimes do some gentle prodding when that maternal instinct kicks in, we should also be concerned about giving our bodies a fresh start prior to pregnancy.
Because a healthy momma, with a body that functions properly, is more able to nourish the life that grows inside her for nine months.
Even if you eat a nutrient rich, no processed food, organic diet, our environment isn’t quite what it used be; we’re exposed to multiple toxins throughout each day. So it’s a good thing that our bodies were designed to detoxify naturally!
Each day, as we breathe, sweat, and go to the bathroom, our bodies are getting rid of toxins and waste matter that we don’t need, or that would be detrimental to our health. And I don’t know about you, but my diet is never perfect, and I don’t live in a completely natural house far from industrial pollution. So our bodies begin to work overtime trying to get rid of the toxic mess we happen to live in.
One of the super detox-ers of the body is the liver, which breaks down toxins and old hormones and sends them out through the digestive system. The problem comes when it can’t keep up, and that happens when it get’s overloaded, or when our diets don’t offer it the nutrients it needs to work at peak performance.
I’ve come to realize that cleansing the body a few times per year is helpful not only for overall health, but to our hormone balance which can help increase fertility and lessen the toxic load we pass on to our children. But I’m also the mom of two young children and I can’t always take a week off from my household and mothering duties to work solely on cleansing my body. And I’m pretty sure my family wouldn’t care for me being grumpy during that time either.
Five Simple Ways to Give Your Body a Fresh Start
1. Start each morning with hot lemon water instead of coffee.
Squeezing 1/2 of a lemon into a mug of hot water and sipping it right after you wake, is a great way to begin your day and help your body cleanse. Lemon can help aid digestion, making sure your food gets properly broken down and the waste eliminated, and when your digestion is strong, so is your natural cleansing system. It can also help increase bile production, which can help lessen the time food sits in your intestines. As an added benefit, it’s also high in vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant, and it can help restore a proper pH balance in the body.
2. Drink nettle infusions throughout the day
Nettle is a herb known as a blood purifier. It also may help increase the efficiency of the liver and kidneys and correct the imbalance of the body’s mucous membranes. The herb is also known as a uterine tonic and high in minerals. A secondary bonus is that drinking water with added nutrients can help boost the metabolism.
An infusion is basically a tea in which you steep the herb for a much longer period of time, about 1-4 hours. This helps to draw out more of the beneficial medicinal properties. You can also add a bit of honey or lemon to the infusion to make it more palatable; you know, so you don’t feel like you’re drinking weeds.
3. Cut back on sugar
If I could tell someone only one food that was harmful to the body, it would be sugar. It’s hard to digest and eliminate, and the blood sugar swings negatively affect the bacterial balance in the digestive system. When you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut, small particles of food travel into the blood stream (causing auto-immune diseases and allergies). It can also make it much more difficult to absorb needed nutrients, leaving you hungry because your body isn’t getting what it needs.
Sugar consumption should always be much lower than it is for the average American, but for cleansing purposes, you’ll want to be extremely diligent in reducing and eliminating it from the diet.
4. Be mindful of when you eat
The body has a natural rhythm when it comes to cleansing. Each night, between about one and three AM, the liver boosts production on detoxifying. Because of this, we want as much energy as possible to be focused in this area instead of say, working on digestion, which will actually cease the cleansing. And did you know that your body extends a LOT of energy in digesting food? Some practitioners mention that up to 60% of your body’s energy goes to the digestive process.
Now, I’m definitely not saying that you should lower your intake of food! We never want to cut consumption of nutrients and tell our bodies that we may be starving. Instead, choose to eat your animal protein in the morning, giving it ample time to digest. (animal protein takes about 8 hours to be broken down) So after about three in the afternoon, switch to plant-based proteins and foods to allow your digestive system that break while your liver works hard.
5. Eat foods that help cleanse
Along with our bodies being created to cleanse, certain foods have also been created to help us in that process! Many foods contain anti-oxidants and sulphur compounds that help the cleansing our bodies need to do on a daily basis. Adding in foods like carrots, onion, garlic, beets, broccoli, spinach, watermelon, and asparagus can support your liver giving it lots of nutrients it needs to function properly.
Other foods that help digestion are fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, and raw sauerkraut. Homemade bone broth is also deeply nourishing and can help heal an impaired digestive system.
So without changing too much of your diet, and taking just a few simple steps, you can help your body cleanse and detoxify without to much pain to the wallet, or your mood!
Thanks, Donielle! Come back later today, everyone, because I’m giving away a copy of Donielle’s book, Naturally Knocked Up!