My Healthiest Habits From 2018 (that you can do too!)
2018 was the year that I made many drastic changes with noticeable effects for my health. I learned A LOT about myself after going through the functional medicine testing and program at Integrative Wellness Group which you can read a little more about in my First Trimester Recap here. One of the biggest changes was nutritionally, cutting out gluten completely…like reading labels of everything I eat and not just avoiding bread and pasta and thinking that was “gluten-free” (what I had previously been doing because I knew that it bothered me).
It has been exactly a year since I made a major switch into my passion career of functional medicine, holistic health and nutrition. In this year of clinical + personal experience, I’ve noticed that the the top two root causes for a variety (almost all) of our patients symptoms are a congested lymphatic system and a stressed liver, both of which are the primary filters for getting toxins out of the body.
We can’t live in fear of toxins because unfortunately we are exposed to them everyday through the air, water, food (even organic yes), medications, etc. However, there are many things you can do (mostly) at home to help start the detox process of decongesting your lymphatic system and liver so that it can better rid these toxins. Below are a few suggestions of practices I started in 2018 which I highly recommend:
Infrared Sauna (lymph) - traditional saunas heat the air causing you to sweat on the surface quickly whereas infrared saunas heat you from the inside out to burn off infections from the tissues, similar to the way a fever would. The longer it takes you to sweat is indicative of how well your lymphatic system is working. If you are someone that “doesn’t sweat” that means that your lymph = congested. It should take around 15 minutes to start sweating in the sauna. Don't worry if it takes longer your first few times! This timing should decrease as your lymph starts to get moving. Ever wonder why you feel stuffy after massages? It's because massages break up the junk/congestion of your lymph. Its best to do a sauna after a massage to get everything out. **I can no longer do saunas now that I’m pregnant but I was doing them before and miss them dearly, especially in the winter when my body just wants to be warm.
Dry Brushing (lymph) - I created a How to Dry Brush Video for Integrative Wellness Group where I show the process and talk about the benefits such as lymph drainage and detox, improving circulation, getting rid of dry skin and preventing cellulite. Basically, another easy, cheap thing you can do at home that is amazing for your lymphatic system (I got mine on Amazon). This is something that I’ve continued throughout my pregnancy with the added perk of potentially helping with stretch marks. **One change to what you will see in the video - at the time I made it I was dry brushing pre shower. Now I dry brush post shower because my pores are open from the steam and also because my skin is clean. I dry off with a towel first, then dry brush, and then lather up with essential oils mixed into a carrier oil about 3x/week.
Celery Juicing (liver) - celery juicing is certainly having a movement thanks to Medical Medium and there are many reasons why. When I say many, I mean it. My intro to celery juicing was through Medical Medium’s Celery Juice podcast where he talks about how the mineral salts in celery juice can help detox the body by destroying pathogens as well as prevent and/or reverse pretty much anything under the sun other than cancer. Does it actually do all of these things? Probably not but what I do know is that I feel great while drinking it and noticed that my pregnancy leg cramps/night time charlie horses don’t seem to happen on the days I have it. He recommends 16oz. a day. I recommend starting with less and building up a tolerance for more. I have about 4-6oz. a day and still feel the benefits (I also don’t want to do anything overly detoxing while pregnant). No juicer? No prob. I chop the celery into bite size pieces, blend it in my vitamix and then squeeze it through a nut milk bag (you can also use a cheese cloth). This is another reason why I have less juice. Without a juicer, you won’t be able to get as much out of each stalk but it’s a MUCH cheaper way to still get the benefits.
Oil Pulling + charcoal teeth brushing (bacteria in the teeth, gums and lymph nodes of the throat) - oil pulling is very simple. Take 1 tbsp. of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Realistically, 20 minutes is very long. I try to do it a few times a week for 10-15 minutes, or even 5 if that’s all I can get to. It’s best to choose a time to do it when you will be distracted (watching TV, in the shower, etc.). I also brush my teeth (in the shower because it makes a mess) with this charcoal powder. Both of these strategies help pull bacteria such as strep out of the mouth, gums and teeth and have the added perk of whitening your teeth (the charcoal powder REALLY works for whitening, I used it for my wedding).
Cheers to a happy & healthy 2019!