The holidays are over and as we emerge from our sugar-comas we instinctively want to “cleanse.” We want to get off the sugar roller coaster, fulfill our goal to be healthier this year, and of course shed a few pounds. We often associate cleansing with suffering. In fact, in an increasingly secular society, restricted eating has become the new penance.
If your goal is sustained health and balanced weight loss, however, I prefer a gentler approach that will not cost more than you are already spending on groceries. First I want to go over a key term in Chinese medicine; Phlegm-Damp. Phlegm-Damp is a pathological fluid accumulation that can cause such symptoms as lethargy, excess fat, high cholesterol, cellulite, nasal congestion, snoring, incomplete bowel movements, water retention, yeast overgrowth, and weepy skin conditions.
What Causes Phlegm-Damp
Excess consumption of: sugar, greasy foods, raw or cold foods. Eating less does not resolve the issue. Instead, it is more effective to eat foods that counteract Phlegm-Damp without starving yourself.
1. Eat a high proportion of vegetables. Aim for 50%. Vegetables gently cleanse excess conditions in the body, regulate bowel movements, and aid in weight loss. Fruit also has a cleansing action but its high sugar content can trigger blood sugar imbalances. Limit fruit to 1- servings daily.
2. Unless you have a lot of Heat (feel hot, crave ice cold drinks, have hot flashes, etc.) limit raw food. Eat your vegetables in soups, casseroles, steamed, or sauteed. Exception: eat a little pungent or digestive vegetables with meals such as daikon radish, red radish, or fennel bulb.
3. Drink plenty of room temperature or warm water. Cold water suppresses digestion, which is a hot process, and can compound poor fluid metabolism issues.
4. Cut out sugar (wine, white bread and tortillas, cereal) and dairy for at 1-2 weeks. Then limit to 3-5 times per week.
5. Eat complex grains and organic protein to feel satiated and energized.
This is just a simple cleansing program but it is highly effective to balance your body after the holidays.