Spring Clean Your Health
By Nikki Doering, RD, LD
April 14, 2020
While we’re hunkering down at home it’s the perfect time to finally do that spring cleaning – inside your body and out. That’s right, in a spring where health has never been more important, we’re encouraging you to make YOU the spring cleaning focus.
Here are tips we share with clients year-round, but put them all together and you’ve got a perfect list to spring clean your health.
- To Boost Immunity … Clean Up Your Intestinal Tract: Think of this as truly spring cleaning from the inside out! In order to maintain optimal health, our gastrointestinal tract (also called our digestive tract) should have more beneficial bacteria (probiotics) than bad bacteria. There are many food sources of probiotics like fermented dairy products (full-fat plain Kefir or full-fat yogurt), kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha. You can also add a probiotic supplement like Bifido Balance or Biotic 7. Please note we encourage probiotics year-round, not just on beautiful spring days!
- To Jumpstart Your Commitment to Health … Sign Up for An Online Nutrition Class: Sometimes all it takes to make YOU the priority is signing up - and right now all online classes are on sale! There are many short classes that are just $10, with topics such as 5 Steps to Boost Metabolism and Balanced Foods for Balanced Moods are two top contenders. Our 12-week online Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Class (also on sale!) is another option to take you well into summer feeling your best, long after quarantine (we hope) ends. This last class series is a great option to “connect” (more important than ever) with others as the online Nutrition 4 Weight Loss class includes video/phone nutrition consultations with a nutritionist and 24/7 access to a like-minded community of fellow participants.
- To Learn Something New … Take a Podcast Walk: Name a health goal and we can practically guarantee there’s a Dishing Up Nutrition all about it. Want to learn how to better manage anxiety? Here’s an episode on that. Curious about the link between obesity and cancer? Listen right here. Looking to help your homeschooling kids (and you) focus better? Then this episode is for you, How Food Can Help ADD/ADHD Symptoms. You get the idea; use our search tools to find the topic for you, because there are hundreds of episodes to choose from as you lace up your shoes to head out and listen. Just don’t forget to distance yourself from fellow walkers.
- To Help Your Hormones … Clear Out Household Toxins: Here’s something you won’t see on most spring cleaning lists – throw out your cleaning products! Commercial products (think Windex, Pledge, etc.) are full of harsh endocrine disrupting chemicals that are best avoided entirely. These harsh cleaning chemicals can create a hormone imbalance within your body which can have many negative effects such as weight gain, mood changes, thyroid imbalances, and increased heart disease and cancer risk. A recent Dishing Up Nutrition episode entitled Estrogeneration – How Estrogenics Are Making You Fat, Sick and Infertile explains this connection well. So skip the risk and use vinegar and water instead, add some essential oils (if you have them on hand) and you’ll have the fresh smell without those lingering chemicals. If you prefer to buy cleaning products, look for natural lines, such as Mrs. Meyer’s or others that specifically state free from phosphates, parabens, phthalates, chlorine bleach, petroleum distillates, ammonia, fragrances (again, essential oils are ok), optical brighteners, sulfates, dyes, and fillers. Beyond cleaning products, the lotions or makeup you apply in the morning gets into your system and bloodstream faster (It only takes 26 seconds!) than if you put it in your mouth. Yuck. Your skin is your largest organ, and many people are shocked to learn that products they’ve been using on their bodies may be contributing to health issues like those listed above. Toss or recycle products that list parabens, phthalates, PEGs, BPA, EDTA, or Formaldehyde in the ingredient list. Going forward, https://www.ewg.org/ is a great resource for safe products.
- To Tackle Allergy Season … Clean Out the Medicine Cabinet: Time to look for outdated products and toss/recycle them. If you’re already starting to experience spring allergies, we and many of our clients have seen great success with these supplements, a natural alternative to medications.
- To Get Some Clarity … Check-in With a Nutritionist: If you’re bogged down by COVID-19 immunity tips, overwhelmed by your goals or just confused with the signals your body is sending you, don’t worry, that’s what our nutritionists and dietitians are here for. Whether by a video or phone nutrition consultation, the team is here to help get you feeling your best.
- To Avoid Food Toxins & Sugar ... Do a Kitchen Clean-Up: New products no longer contain trans-fats, but older products from before the June 2018 ban are likely still lurking on some fridge shelves. So take everything out of your refrigerator and toss (recycle if applicable!) any expired products and any products containing trans-fats; we don’t recommend consuming anything with trans-fats. Other items to clear out are products made with hydrogenated fats and refined oils, such as soybean, corn oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil, still commonly used in processed food. Many of the same rules apply in your pantry as in your refrigerator. Take stock of products with hidden sugars and toss them out. Chances are if those products are shelf-stable to last since 2018, they are loaded with sugar and consuming them won’t do your health any favors.