Healing yourself from within requires you to be conscious of the things you’re doing and what you’re putting into your body. It requires you to really think about the stress you’re experiencing rather than carrying it around with you, and to find ways to dissipate it. To heal yourself from within requires a holistic approach; several systems depend on one another within the body for balance and health. When you work to balance your mind and your body at the same time, you’re much more likely to experience better health and healing. The amazing thing is, by starting to tackle one area (for example, your diet), you end up benefiting other areas (your willingness to exercise, for example, or your mind as opposed to only your body).
Toss the Bad Stuff
The first step to healing yourself from within is to give your diet an overhaul. Yes, it has to be done! I know you know that too, but it must be acted upon. Cut out your processed foods, refined sugars, refined flour, and replace those choices with whole foods. Make these changes at your pace so you’re not overwhelmed and standing in your kitchen wondering what to eat in the middle of the day, drawing a blank, and throwing in the towel. But at the same time, don’t be too lenient either- change brings about some discomfort in the transition, but it will pass.
Start out by replacing dairy with other alternatives like almond milk or yogurt, coconut creamer for your coffee, coconut yogurt, vegan cheese, etc. Stay away from soy-based alternatives, which aren’t as ideal as the aforementioned ones.
Remove the processed foods from your diet that are brimming with preservatives, GMOs, gluten, pesticides, chemicals, and other unnatural ingredients. Toss the boxes of cereal and instant oatmeal, the frozen meals, the pudding cups, fruit packaged in high-fructose corn syrup, potato chips, etc. Replace them with whole foods—oat groats, whole fruits and veggies, whole grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat, gluten-free crackers (yes, these are packaged, but they can be used as a transitioning step), snack bars sweetened with dates or raw honey, etc. Take it a day at a time. Tell yourself each day that you’re not going to have any junk food. Make that commitment each morning until it becomes a habit.
Cut back on the meat in your diet, as it is acid-forming in the body and moves through very slowly. You may choose to stop consuming meat at all, but you don’t have to completely in order to follow the Beauty Detox plan (though I personally do not eat animal products). A little meat is allowed if you don’t want to eliminate it from your diet. Wild-caught fish and eggs are the best animal protein sources, but you can choose organic, grass-fed meats, too.
Replace whole wheat products for other options, like almond flour or gluten-free breads.
Make Your Body More Alkaline
Once you start choosing more alkaline-forming foods and drinks (like lemon water, which sounds like it would be acid-forming but is actually has an alkalizing effect), your body will become more alkaline overall. Disease has a much harder time surviving in an alkaline body and the Beauty Detox diet helps you get there.
Alkaline bodies, in addition to being more resistant to disease, hold on to the minerals you put into your body. As an example, think about calcium. It’s considered an alkaline mineral and it can be used to neutralize acidity in the body. When dairy (which is highly acidic once digested) is consumed, it leaves an acidic residue behind. To neutralize that, calcium is put to work, and sometimes the mineral is pulled from the bones, weakening them in the process and leaving you wide-open to developing or worsening osteoporosis. When you eat less acidic foods, your minerals get to stay where they belong in your body.
So what are some of the best foods for making your body more alkaline?
- Ripe fruits
- Other vegetables
What should you avoid as much as possible?
- Animal protein
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
Inflammation is the catalyst for a lot of diseases, from arthritis to cancer. By eating foods and digestive probiotics that lower inflammation in the body (foods that leave behind an alkaline residue in the body), you can lower your levels of inflammation and decrease your risk for these diseases.
If you seem to be susceptible to every cold, flu, and other bug that goes around, your body could actually be distracted by the inflammation and unable to fight off bugs that might not make you so sick otherwise. Your white blood cells may already be at work trying to calm down the inflammation in your body. With no one on the lookout for those germs, they can get in and do some damage. Heal your immune system (or at least let it do its intended job more efficiently) by eating the foods that reduce chronic inflammation and avoiding the ones that increase it (in the list above).
What to eat to decrease inflammation:
- Sweet potatoes
- Sunflower seeds
Stress is a health hazard in and of itself because it causes so many side effects that basically wreak havoc on your whole system—mind and body. Being still and focusing on the present can help (unfortunately this does not count the time you spend at your desk staring at a spreadsheet!).
Studies show that those trained in mindful meditation not only exhibit better memory and ability to focus, but they also have less negative emotion after potentially stressful work situations, like the ones where multi-tasking is required or where there are frequent interruptions. In addition, mindfulness based stress reduction (which includes meditation) has been shown to work well in otherwise healthy subjects. Lowered stress leads to less inflammation and a healthier body (and mind)!
One type of meditation studied, transcendental meditation, has been shown to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure by significant amounts. If you’re on the path to trouble with your cardiovascular system, meditation could be one of the keys to healing yourself. The catch is, you can’t just do it for a week and stop. Meditation needs to be an ongoing practice if you want to maintain the improvements you experience.
Meditation can also help with anxiety and depression. It can help bring your mind to the present and give you a more balanced perspective, which can play a role in alleviating stress, as I mentioned earlier, and lowering cortisol levels. Prolonged periods of raised cortisol levels are linked to digestive problems, depression, anxiety, heart trouble, and weight gain. Stress is often at the root of health problems, and if you can minimize that naturally, you can begin to heal yourself from the inside.
Another common cause for disease is obesity. Meditation won’t make you lose weight directly, but by helping you to become more mindful in all areas of your life, it could indirectly influence what you choose to eat. Meditation can also give you the time and focus to work through any emotional issues that are causing you to have the powerful cravings that can derail your attempts at a healthier lifestyle. Despite my very busy schedule, I strive to meditate half an hour in the morning and evening, because it makes everything else function better. You make time for the things that are most important to you. However, to start, just a few minutes first thing in the morning could be all you need. I practice the Kriya yoga meditation techniques of my guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, which I highly recommend if you are looking for an authentic, systematic meditation methodology. It has done wonders for me.
A Healthy Gut
You wouldn’t think your intestinal health would have such an impact on your health overall, but when the good and bad bacteria in your gut aren’t balanced, you can face more than just bloating, constipation, or diarrhea (though those are definitely uncomfortable side effects of an unbalanced, unhappy gut).
By healing your gut, you can help heal your mind (and experience better digestion, of course). The bacteria in your gut produce the majority of the serotonin in your body, which can affect your mood.
Probiotics have also been shown to decrease anxiety and depression in healthy human volunteers when administered for 30 days. There is also a link between stress levels and the number of good bacteria in the gut; during stressful times, there tends to be less friendly bacteria present. Decreased stress levels could reduce inflammation and set a cycle in motion that will improve your mental and physical health. More good bacteria could be one key to feeling less stressed, and less stress allows the good bacteria to flourish.
Please be sure to check out my unique probiotics, Probiotics+, which I just launched!
Take It One Step at a Time
Healing yourself takes time. Breathe. Clean up your diet. Learn to love yourself and make mindful decisions that will demonstrate that you do love yourself (you deserve it!). In time, you’ll find that you’re looking and feeling better than ever.
Sending you love and peace.