Dr. Michelle Salga, BTR (dip.), BSc., ND - Naturopathic Doctor
Another year is upon is. Reflecting on last year was one different than any other. Like most, it was a year where our habits and routines have changed significantly, most likely leaving us in a mental or physical state of unwellness. So, who’s ready to make some overdue changes and DETOX 2021!?
The word detox has been thrown around a lot. A proper detox doesn’t require spending lots of money on supplements that are laxatives or diuretics, only leaving you with water weight lost that you will gain back again. It’s not spending money on processed foods that claim to be fat free, sugar free or gluten free (only to find that it’s filled with many other preservatives and fillers leaving you hungry or with digestive upset). A detox isn’t about starving yourself either.
Let me ask you, do you feel it is time to make a change? Have you come to the realization that your overindulgences with food and bad habits have gone on too long? If so, then let’s talk about the steps you can take and what a proper detox looks like.
Proper sleep: I know we have heard it all before but getting to sleep at a decent hour, ideally before midnight, and getting 7 to 8 hours per night (sometimes more) facilitates proper healing and regeneration. PERIOD. Salivary cortisol testing can be done by your naturopath to determine exactly where your sleep is interrupted. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, natural recommendations can be made to help you have a more restful sleep.
A clean diet: This entails eating whole unprocessed foods, ideally made right at home. A clean diet is unique for everyone. Some of us may be sensitive to dairy or gluten or something unthinkable like certain fruits or veggies or even gluten free grains. Food sensitivity testing is a blood test that clearly identifies what foods should be avoided and the results are unique to the individual. The results of this test help treat IBS, fatigue, hair loss, heartburn, arthritis, bloating and stubborn weight gain. For more information on this, speak to your naturopath.
Lifestyle changes: It has been easy to go peddle to the metal with alcohol consumption especially with trying to entertain ourselves at home and not having much accountability since many of us are working from home. It’s time we give our livers a break. Excessive drinking can lead to excess estrogen in both men and women, poor digestive function, water retention, insomnia, and of course, excess weight gain. Since dinning in at restaurants are on hold, and bars are unfortunately not operational (for the time being), it’s a perfect time to practice a period of alcohol abstinence.
Self care: One day seems to bleed into the other and without proper time management a mental state of feeling out of control is easily experienced. Making time for yourself should be a part of your daily and weekly schedule. Having a demarcated time for work and for productive off time is important for mental health. Entertaining hobbies such as playing an instrument, reading, drawing or engaging in a crossword are all important to increase the ‘feel good hormones’ in our brains. Including exercise into our routines, such as walking for 60 minutes per day, can help prevent depression.
If you are feeling that you may have overdone it in 2020, whatever that may mean to you, it may be a good time to get a full check up with your local naturopath. Blood tests can give us a good idea of where you are at and what bio markers need help. Cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid function, hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, inflammation markers, vitamin and mineral levels are all important levels to be checked and treated. If abnormal, these may be causing a state of feeling ‘unwell’ or silently leading to a health illness down the road if not looked into. The good news is that many of these abnormal test results may be treatable with lifestyle changes, an individualized nutritional plan and through natural health products.
Through laboratory testing and expert advice, offered through your naturopathic doctor, 2021 could look like a clean new start, leaving you motivated to take on your personal and professional goals. Make it a different year - your health will thank you!