As I talked about in my previous post, breaking old habits is challenging and difficult. Many times you want to make a change, but you aren’t exactly sure where to start. That’s why I’ve written today’s blog, to give you specific ways to begin transitioning your diet and jump-start your Beauty Detox. The goal is to maintain a cleansing environment by keeping a slightly alkaline state in the body. Here’s how you can start:

1. Clean out your closet: Before you even begin to change the way you eat, you have to set yourself up for success and get rid of temptations. Go through your pantry and clear out all refined and processed starches and sugars. Nix dairy, deli meats, soda, sugar, table salt, canned vegetables, and dusty old spices. In the future, look for spices that say on their label that they are “non-irradiated.” As a general guideline, you want to remove anything containing artificial preservatives, agave, artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup. Get rid of  cereals like Special K (On a side note, the reason those cereals are crispy is because of a browning phenomenon called the Maillard reactions. These create aging free radicals in the body) which contain wheat, gluten and additives and are low-grade foods.  I provide a grocery list in my book The Beauty Detox Solution.

A note on caffeine: Many of you are accustomed to your daily cup of coffee/tea to jump-start your day and give you an extra boost of clarity and energy. But that is the same thing as relying on a drug because caffeine is a drug. Caffeine is taxing on your internal organs and your hormone processing systems. You must try to create a balanced lifestyle without relying on food drugs. If you are a habitual caffeine drinker, try to get your consumption down to one cup a day and eventually (ideally) cut it out completely. If you are seeking healthier alternatives, try caffeine free herbal teas, rooibos tea, which is full of antioxidants or white tea (lower caffeine content).

2. Grocery Shopping: The most positive way to reach your goals is by shopping responsibly. Your body is your temple! The act of eating and transforming those molecules into your own is a sacred exchange. Each and every thing that you put on and in your body has an effect on your vitality, health and beauty. Instead of iodized table salt, try out a high-quality sea salt such as Celtic or Himalayan. And instead of Splenda or sugar, try xylitol or stevia. At first, you want to strive to maximize alkaline foods (greens, ripe fruits, veggies) and minimize acidic foods (caffeine, processed foods, dairy). Be sure to stock up on millet bread, starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, yams), quinoa and avoid refined and over processed starches like white rice or wheat. Remember to only purchase fruits in season and buy local and organic when possible. (For a more complete grocery shopping list, check out the appendix of The Beauty Detox Solution).

3. Drink more water: Cut out the soda (yes, even diet varieties). It has absolutely no nutritional value and is loaded with empty calories. Additionally, soda is extremely acidic and will therefore contribute to premature aging, acne and dark under-eye circles. It will deplete our body of precious essential minerals that are important for our vitality. Our body is made up of 70% water! Water helps improve blood flow, promotes the metabolism and activates the bacterial enzymes and flora in the intestine, which helps promote the excretion of toxins and waste.

Start each day with a tall glass of water with lemon. This will help jump-start your body in the morning and contribute to more energy throughout the day. Try not to drink your water during meals because it delays the digestion process. Instead I drink a tall glass before and usually after meals. Be sure to check out more details on water consumption in The Beauty Detox Solution.

4. Go Green: Get thee to the farmer’s market! Add greens to the start of every lunch and dinner meal for healthy plant minerals and easy absorption. I encourage you to practice variety with your greens. Add veggies, avocado, and switch up the type of lettuce and kale to keep the textures fun and enticing, and to ensure a wide variety of mineral absorption. For delicious and creative salad dressing try some of my personal favorites, Kim’s classic dressing, Sweet basil-lime dressing or my Oil-Free, No-Balsamic Italian Vinaigrette dressing.

5. Mold meals from smallest to largest: I am a fierce believer that it is not just what we eat that matters, but the order in which we eat our food. We want to understand the nutrients and absorption qualities of the foods we are consuming so that we can minimize gas, bloating and fermentation. Begin to order your meals from lightest to heaviest. For example, start your day out with some fruit accompanied with a Glowing Green Smoothies. For lunch, enjoy a full green salad with lots of veggies and for dinner, have a proper sit-down meal at least 3 (preferably 4) hours before you go to bed. This is the last meal before our bodies have 12+  hours plus to digest and move it through our bodies so this is the time to add cooked food, animal protein and a wide variety of veggies. If you worked in a field all day and went to bed at 7 pm, it might be a different story, but this is the best way to maximize the digestive potential of the average person in the Western world who works and is active during the day, and the end of the day is for relaxing and socializing.

Once you get these basics down, you are sure to have a strong foundation on which to continue your detox and healthy choices. It is very important that you realize that you don’t have to immediately adopt all of the recommendations that I make in The Beauty Detox Solution all at once. When you make drastic switches in your diet very quickly, your body is vulnerable to unpleasant side effects from irresponsible cleansing. The people who do drastic cleanses tend to flip flop right back to where they started, and they’re really no better off. Transition into your new lifestyle, so it sticks. Most important of all, be gentle with yourself! If you get off track sometimes, I know how to get right back on. And now you do too.