The holidays have come and gone and if you're anything like me, you are ready to leave indulgences behind and move into the new year with renewed vitality and purpose. While rigorous or involved cleanses are particularly popular this time of year, it's important to remember that small changes can have a big impact on our health. If you don't feel you have the time, energy or desire to do a "hardcore" detox, that's ok. Incorporate the five following changes into your daily routine and reap the benefit of mental clarity, better sleep, and a positive mood to boot.
1. Drink Lemon Water (and Lots of It): Most of us walk around dehydrated on a daily basis. Increasing your intake of water and incorporating lemon, known for aiding digestion and helping with detoxification in the liver, is an easy way to reduce fatigue and improve the quality of your skin. Citric acid—contained within lemon—stimulates our body's own natural production of digestive juices and bile. Furthermore, lemon is high in antioxidants and vitamin C, an essential building block for collagen, the protein makes our skin both smooth and firm.
2. Eliminate or Reduce Coffee and Alcohol: Coffee and alcohol dehydrate us and also cause our adrenal glands—the part of our endocrine system tasked with regulating our sleep/wake cycle and coping with stress—to work harder. "Adrenal fatigue" or the overworking of the adrenal glands to keep up with the pace of modern life, is rampant. Putting further stress on these glands can lead to a myriad of health consequences. Swap out your coffee for green tea and cocktail for a mocktail and reap the benefits of increased energy without a the jitters or a caffeine crash.
3. Eat the Rainbow: The vibrant colors present in fruits and vegetables are not only there to entice us. The color of our produce is a result of the vitamins, nutrients and polyphenols (plant antioxidants) found within it. The color red indicates lycopene or anthocyanins are present while yellow and orange is a sign that beta carotene can be found within. Because each of these nutrients has its own health promoting properties, eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables each day ensures our body is getting the building blocks it needs for optimal health.
4. Move Your Body: Our lymphatic system is responsible for moving proteins, cellular debris, bacteria and viruses, immune cells and certain toxins around our bodies for elimination. However, unlike our circulatory system which has it's own musculature, things only move through our lymphatic system if we move. Perform some moderate cardiovascular exercise as a way to boost your immune system and eliminate toxins. Furthermore, sweating helps us to release certain toxic chemicals and excess hormones and since many environmental toxins are stored in fat, even a small decrease in weight can help to reduce your overall toxic load.
5. Clean Up Your Personal Care Products: You may be well aware that the majority of personal care products available on the market contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals have been linked to hormonal disruption, developmental delays in children, improper functioning of the nervous system, and even cancer. While it can be daunting to replace all your personal care products at once, use this opportunity to replace one or two items with chemical-free counterparts. For ideas of which shampoo, lotion, and make-up is truly safe, visit the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database.
For more information on detoxes and cleanses or to sign-up for a medically supervised detox program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IV nutrient therapy—the process of administering vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs and other compounds through the venous system—has become one of my favorite treatment modalities—and with good reason. IV therapy can be used to prevent and treat common illnesses such as respiratory and gastrointestinal infections; can treat a wide variety of ailments such as migraines, insomnia and musculoskeletal pain; and can be used as adjunctive treatment for more pathologic conditions such as autoimmune disease, chronic infections, and cancer. Through bypassing the intestines, maximal absorption of nutrients is ensured. Furthermore, quantities of nutrients that cannot be absorbed through digestive tract can be delivered to the cells that need them most.
Some conditions that are successfully treated with nutritional IVs include:
Many people ask me if IV therapy hurts. For almost all of us, the answer is no! When IV therapy is performed by an experienced physician, you should feel no more than a slight pinprick. People are also curious as to how long receiving an IV takes. For most, the answer is 30 minutes to 1 hour, though certain IVs may take longer. Finally, people want to know how they will feel after. Most individuals feel very relaxed after their IV and experience an increase in energy 90 minutes to 2 hours later and sleep very soundly that night.
If you have specific questions about IVs or would like to know if you could benefit from IV therapy, feel free to get in touch. Through January 30th, all nutritional IVs are $35 off making it a great opportunity to try this amazing modality!
In recent years, both collagen and gelatin have become increasingly popular as the health benefits of these proteins have become more widely understood. Collagen, the most abundant protein in your body, can be found in bones, ligaments, tendons, skin and more, and consuming collagen regularly has been shown to have a multitude of benefits. The benefits of collagen include:
However, eating collagen and it's derivative, gelatin, is by no means new news. Collagen and gelatin—an irreversibly hydrolyzed, or broken, form of collagen—comes from the cartilage, skin and bones of animals. Throughout history, humans have made soups from animal bones and eaten all the parts of animals, including the tougher parts containing connective tissue and therefore, collagen. These practices aren't common in this day and age.
While bone broths can be a great source of collagen, there are other ways to increase our intake of this important protein without sipping on soup all day long. Today, both hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin can be purchased from reputable sources and used in a variety of ways. While both collagen and gelatin contain the same amino acids, hydrolyzed collagen can be dissolved in cold and hot liquids alike and does not cause liquid to gel, making it perfect for mixing into smoothies; coffee or tea; or your breakfast oatmeal or yogurt. Gelatin, on the other hand, dissolves in hot liquids and causes them to gel making it great for....Jello!
Homemade jello--spiced up with anthocyanins and vitamin C—is one of my favorite ways to increase my intake of the amino acids found in collagen (namely proline and glycine) along with important cofactors for collagen production. Fruits rich in the bioflavanoid anythocyanins—such as dark berries—have been shown to link collagen fibers, increase vitamin C levels, and protect against free radical damage. Furthermore, vitamin C has been shown to increase collagen formation by increasing the activity of the enzymes that form collagen. I love making this jello as a healthy desert or for a delicious breakfast with a dollop of sheep's milk or coconut milk yogurt. I welcome your ideas for incorporating collagen and gelatin into your everyday routine!
Not Your Grandmother's Jello:
1. Cut up your fresh fruit (if necessary) and place it in a pie dish or bowls.
2. Brew 16 ounces of herbal tea.
3. Take a small amount of the brewed herbal tea and use it to dissolve 2 tablespoons of gelatin.
4. Mix the dissolved gelatin mixture, the rest of the herbal tea and 16 ounces of dark berry juice.
5. Add maple syrup, to taste, if desired.
6. Pour the liquid into the containers of your choosing over the fresh fruit.
7. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
To purchase collagen or gelatin, visit our store.
Dr. Elizabeth Winter practices integrative and functional medicine in San Diego, CA and sees patients from a distance via Skype. For more information about her and her practice philosophy visit About Dr. Winter.