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New Year, New You

by Meredith Nathan, LMT & Master Skin Coach

The New Year is a great time to reflect, review, and refresh.  A time to look back on the past year and forward toward the next one.  A time of inspiration and a time for change.  But for me, all to often it could be a time of feeling "weighed down" by the past (count ‘em) FIVE WEEKS of delicious, delectable holiday eating!

Let’s be honest. It’s tough to ‘behave’ when it comes to food around the holidays.  We hop from party to party, visit with friends and loved ones, celebrate with family, and everywhere we go there are aromatic treats beckoning to us.  Emotional eating skyrockets as comfort-cakes and pastries sprinkled with nostalgia beckon to us.

Food can be addictive in the way it makes us feel.  Carbohydrates, for instance, boost the "feel good" neurotransmitters in your body that make you feel more excited & alert.  Meanwhile, sugar signals dopamine, the ‘reward’ chemical, and serotonin in the brain.  But on the flip side these same foods may release free radicals in the brain, creating ‘brain fog’.  They can create a roller-coaster effect on our insulin levels, resulting in weight gain.  And when it comes to your skin, there is more bad news!  (Stop reading here if you’d prefer to stay in ignorant bliss.)  

New research suggests that over-consumption of sugar may cause premature aging!  When it travels into the skin, it can cause nearby amino acids to create ‘crosslinks’, jamming up your skin’s natural repair mechanisms and accelerating the formation of wrinkles and the aging process.

I don’t mean to be a total downer.  Personally, I’m all for a little holiday fun!  Celebration and festivities are important, and this particular type of joy to the world only comes once a year, after all!  But now that the holiday season is over, giving your body a chance to clear, cleanse and push the reset button couldn’t come at a better time.  

Helping your body to detoxify can help to:

- build your immunity

-balance your hormones

-clear your mindraise your energy levels

-give you clear, beautiful, radiant skin  

It’s true beauty from the inside out.  But detoxing is about more than what NOT to do/eat (if it was, that wouldn’t be much fun!).  There are a number of proactive steps you can take to support your body’s natural detoxification systems.  A few tips to get you started on your path to detox from the inside out:

- Drink up!  Aim for at least 8 cups of water a day, or for a bigger challenge, divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces a day.  (Tip: add a lemon slice to your water to make it more alkaline.)

- Eat 5-9 servings of antioxidant rich, organic fruits and veggies, and especially cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) and allium (onions, garlic, leeks, etc.) vegetables (these are the class of vegetables that help to support the liver, one of your body’s main organs for detoxification).

- Certain plants and herbs, such as milk thistle and dandelion root, also support the liver during it’s detoxification phases. (Tip: if you aren’t into boiling herbs into questionable tasting teas, a simple plant concentrate or supplement will do the trick!)

- Taking a digestive probiotic helps to support the gut during detox buy adding in the healthy bacteria your micro biome needs for balance.

And don’t forget that the skin is your body’s largest organ for detoxification.  To help your body detox from the inside out:

- Dry brush the skin on your body, and exfoliate your face; this helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, and removing dead skin cell layers from it's surface helps your skin to ‘breathe’ better.Break a sweat!  

- Exercise is a great way to get your lymph moving, and sweating helps you to excrete toxins through your skin.

- Use steam to open the pores on your face and chest, and apply a mineral masque to oily/conjested areas to help clear blocked passageways.

Out with the old, and in with the new!  The new you will thank you!

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