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  • Writer's pictureNikki Ostrower (Nutritionist)

Spring Reset – ‘Restoring Your System for Optimal Health’

Up until now, I’ve been such a fan of the occasional “detox”, being very careful to educate people on what that actually means. The internet is filled with a lot of “hype” and confusing information on detoxes, which can be dangerous. I’m not a fan of the “quick fix” detox approaches so many companies sell to those struggling with their health.

We’re not perfect. I’ve written about my theory of 80/20 before, and I stand by it. The best way to live, in my humble opinion, is to lead with 80% accuracy, especially at the start of something new, be incredibly compassionate and gentle with yourself (because change is hard), and you are far more likely to succeed and possibly get to a place where you are 90/10 or even 100% on certain habits you deem worthy of your full dedication.

So with 80/20 in mind, we leave 20% for oops moments, mistakes, vacations, and the like, without going too overboard. And what helps get us back on track, from say, the slippery slope of sugar sneaking back into your diet, a holiday where you’ve been traveling, experiencing a bout of stress, or maybe eating outside your normal routine, that’s where a brief “reset” can really come in handy.

But before I go into what that looks like and how I provide that plan to my clients, I want to be clear:

Cleanses and “detoxes” are not a quick fix to better health.

They are also not meant to be used as a crutch, where you binge eat/drink over weekends or for prolonged periods of time, thinking “no big deal, I’ll just detox this away for a few weeks.” Your body doesn’t work that way. That is its own form of self abuse, sabotage, and yo-yo dieting. It does catch up to people eventually.

We need more of a moderate approach, so we can quickly course correct when things get off balance. Here are two categories of Detox, when to use them, and why using them correctly is of UTMOST importance.

The Toxicity Detox

This occurs when you’ve been to a Functional Medicine provider, and thanks to testing, you have discovered with your health professional that there is a need for a deeper detox. This could be due to the discovery of heavy metal toxicity, Microbe imbalances like SIBO, Candida, a Parasite, or Bacterial Overgrowth in stool analysis, Viruses, Lyme, Mold, or other toxins.

This isn’t to scare you - the reality is that our world is chock full of chemicals and toxins. But there is so much you can do to adjust your diet and lifestyle, and eliminate/significantly reduce the impact of this on your day-to-day life!

It’s incredibly important to take these types of deeper detoxes slow and steady. It can feel like a LOT on your body at the start, especially if you are brand new to detoxing and all of a sudden you’re changing your diet, pulling out a bunch of foods you love, AND taking a HOST of supplements with foreign names. Good intentions don’t always yield great results.

Do yourself a huge favor and work with a provider who will take things incredibly slow with you, help you manage the changes, start out on a lower dose of the supplements (especially if you know you are sensitive) so you don’t experience what’s known as “Herxheimer reaction”. That’s where you get flu-like symptoms from a detox, and it can leave people feeling dreadfully ill. NO detox has to be that way!!

Keep a food journal and a close relationship with your provider. Those first two weeks could be difficult (really depends on the person and severity of the toxins), but it does get easier. Taking it slow will make it FAR more manageable to your body’s organs and nervous system. Just remember - the body knows how to do its job. It may just be bogged down due to the nature of the toxins built up in your system that are thwarting its usual function.

The Seasonal Reset - Spring has Sprung!

Happy Spring! We’ve entered the Spring Equinox, and seasonal changes are an optimal time for this type of reset.

This is a much gentler form of detox, and the one I prefer with clients! It’s whole foods based, very little if any supplements are needed or recommended, as we are simply using food as medicine, and it prioritizes relieving the body of inflammatory triggers to help the body naturally get back on track.

This does involve pulling back on things like added sugar, alcohol, dairy/other foods you know are driving up inflammation. It’s not a forever thing but helps your body re-regulate so it can process those things on occasion in quality forms. You get back to a balanced 80/20 approach.

I love to provide my clients with soups, smoothies, light bites, and low-sugar juice drinks. This provides the body tons of nutrients in forms that are very easy for the body to digest, being pureed/blended down and/or warm and cooked. This is similar, but different than intermittent fasting, though giving your body a full break from all eating minus water can be very beneficial on rejuvenation as well. If you’re interested in that approach, Daily Dose Longevity 2.0 Fast is my favorite! (Code NAO gets you a 20% off)

The Season Reset, however, is focused on getting “back to basics”, eating nutrient-dense foods. This is NOT a starvation diet. Please, if you are new to cleanses/detoxes, do not do this alone and definitely do not go on a “no food” water fast approach at the start, especially if you have Type I Diabetes, Emotional Eating issues, Hypoglycemia, Eating Disorders, or other conditions. You are eating to heal and nurture your body and focusing on delicious fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, as well as medicinal herbs, spices, etc.

I’m not against some high-quality animal protein, but ideally, lay off that for at least a week. It simply takes a bit more break-down power and is a little harder on your liver so giving it a break from dense protein will help it bounce back! You also do get protein from the plant foods I recommend.

When clients pass through the initial stage of their detox, they report to me feeling much more natural energy, less dependence on caffeine/stimulants, less cravings for sugar, carbs, dairy, or their favorite inflammatory foods, more control, better mood, glowing skin, more brain clarity, and creativity. It’s the BEST feeling.

Now, once you are moving beyond your detox, here’s the most important part - you want to KEEP certain elements of the detox as a part of your new and improved 80/20 plan. If we dive back into eating and drinking all the inflammatory foods that got us to where we are, or we partake in things that led us to needing the deeper detox, we’re setting our body up for a lot of difficulty.

KEEP hydrating, eating whole foods, sleeping, reducing stress through meditation, exercise, and the like, and generally taking great care of yourself each and every day. Once you are feeling better, keep that momentum going! Create your daily non-negotiable health habits you know you can sustain, so you are far less likely to need regular detoxes. Then when you know things are a bit off track, no need to beat up on yourself! That’s the PERFECT time to use a light “Seasonal Detox” for a week or two to reiterate the good habits and get right back on the horse of a healthy lifestyle!

It’s in these moments I am reminded why I choose to lead a healthy lifestyle every day through healthy habits, and not just periodically. I see how these habits work for me, keeping me strong, fit, vibrant, glowing, and full of great energy. I’m not perfect, so when I notice my caffeine consumption is creeping up too high, I’m not getting enough sleep, my skin feels a bit dry and my brain a bit foggy, I know it’s time to pivot quickly and get myself back on track.

If you need a helpful guide on your personal detox journey, and knowing which of the above best suits you, give me a call!

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