My plan is to live to 120.
That’s the goal. 120 years old.
I figure that keeps me alive longer than my son so that I can be sure his needs are taken care of. Living that long is one thing though. Still having an effective and positive quality of life is something else altogether.
I’ve always been interested in health and diet but in the last several years I’ve been doing some more intense research. Lots of reading and listening to interviews, articles, books, etc. I’m a huge fan of Tom Bilyeu and he has an interview show every other Thursdays called Health Theory that I enjoy a lot. I have gotten some really interesting information from there. (If you’ve never checked him out I strongly recommend https://www.youtube.com/c/TomBilyeu/featured )
The thing about diet and health though is it seems there’s always something new and different. Like so much in our world now we have so MUCH information it is difficult to know what is the GOOD information. It can be overwhelming.
My personal opinion is to take a moderate approach to almost everything. To me that means finding information from professionals and judging it with common sense, my own goals, and my experience with trying it. A cleanse is a good example of what I’m talking about. And as I start the new year I am planning to run a type of cleanse.
Cleanse diets are controversial to some. There are many Drs who don’t believe they are helpful or needed. There aren’t studies that say it helps is the claim. Many Dr’s state that cleanse diets aren’t needed because the body does an unbelievable job of cleansing itself. On the other hand (and this is when common sense and critical thinking come into play) the details behind those opinions seem to operate under the assumption that most of us eat a healthy diet and are getting all our nutrients.
Not something I would agree with given our numbers on things like obesity and such.
Having said that, I equally don’t buy into the “OMG take this amazing supplement and get healthy for just $19.95!” claims either.
I don’t buy it.
The fitness industry is expected to generate $31.5 BILLIONS this year. That to me means it’s a place for scams. This is another place where I would say common sense y’all.
If it’s fast - it’s probably not real. Most things that are good for you and helpful, take time and are sort of uncomfortable.
So a “quick” cleanse? Nope I just don’t believe it.
I do believe though that our body is set up to cleanse on its own when it’s working the way it is supposed.
As you read and learn about cleansing you start to see how similar it is to fasting. Fasting is another topic that experts have some different opinions on. Fasting, however, has been done for centuries as part of religious ceremonies and traditions. So that should at least be taken into consideration when talking about if it is safe or not.
I’ve talked about the fact that I’ve been doing an intermittent fast for over a year now and I really like it. My normal routine is to finish eating after about 8 or 9 PM at night and then not eat again till the next day usually between 9:30 and 11 am. The time shifts depending on lots of different factors but not just because I’m “feeling hungry”. I have found that my craving for starchy refined carbs has decreased SIGNIFICANTLY since I’ve started doing this and that helps me feel less bloated.
A total win for me.
When I take all of this information and smash it into the experience that is my life this is what I come up with:
I have a mostly clean diet of protein and a smattering of veggies, generally revolving around carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and broccoli
I have limited my sugar intake in the last year or so, even drinking my coffee black now.
I’ve always been relatively active and last year stepped that up in big ways
2020 was shitty and I had more than a few moments when I over indulged with alcohol and/or food that totally qualifies as emotional regulation
All that comes down to, is my health and fitness bad? No
Can I do better? Yes - yes I can.
One thing I think I can do better on is making sure that I’m giving my body the chance it needs to cleanse.
My partner and I have been talking for several months about some health goals into 2021 and for me they started with a fast, a dry January, and a (mostly) keto diet.
In his book, “Healthy Gut, Healthy You” Dr. Michael Ruscio explains about how real nutritional health isn’t about being a strict nutrition follower but instead use our understanding of how the body generally works, combined with your own experience with food, to create a plan that allows you to be physically and mental healthy.
That sounds good to me.
So at the start of the year I put my plan into place. Let me tell you a little about it and why I made the decisions I did.
A 24 hour liquid only fast.
This isn’t something you should do if you are unfamiliar with fasting and without talking to your Dr first.
Water only fasting can be hard but I’ve been intermittent fasting for almost 18 months now so stretching that out, for me, wasn’t that difficult. I spoke to my Dr about fasting previously so I knew that I wasn’t being dangerous since I don’t have any serious medical conditions and I am already pretty healthy. Cool - check box one.
The other reason I wanted to do this fast was because I had been unkind to my body through the year frequently enough that I felt like I needed to give her a reset. I wasn’t chugging bottles of vodka on a regular basis but wine was a frequent partner through the summer and the holidays...well, I enjoyed myself through the holidays. My body can cleanse on its own but I do need to make sure I’m giving her what she needs to be able to do that.
So those 24 hours were water with lemon and ginger tea.
I can tell you from my experience that just doing that was good for me. I felt good. I felt refreshed. And it was as much a spiritual/mental reset as anything else. 2020 WAS hard, for everyone I’m sure. I WANTED to reset before the year really got going.
So with my fast were a few intentions. Note these weren’t resolutions, I’m not much of a resolution maker. But I do believe in the power of intention and so with my fast I set a few.
To act in alignment with what I believe is true (said another way, to be who I am) even when I feel fear.
To show up as my best for the people I love.
To remember that there are reasons for everything and it’s up to me to decide what they are.
All in all the fasting was really good. I journaled that day, wrote a little and read a little. I hung out with my kids. And when I broke my fast it was equally done with thought. Keeping with intention number 1 I wanted to be sure I did a little better this year with giving my body what it needs.
Which is really the second part of my body cleansing plan. Eating to give my body what it needs.
Remember a lot of why Dr’s don’t think cleanses are needed is because the body already is doing it right? But the body only works optimally if you are giving it optimal things - AKA healthy food, adequate sleep, physical activity and water.
I’ve already written a post on food and what I think is “healthy”. You can read it here
Here’s a quick sum up.
Healthy food to me is whole foods. If it comes in a box, bag, or can I get suspicious of the nutritional value and start reading labels. If I grab an apple or a tomato I know it’s just an apple or tomato. If I pick up tomato sauce (and I do. I’m healthy but not that hardcore) I check the label to be sure there aren’t things in it I can’t pronounce. If there are, I don’t buy it. I’ve made tomato sauce before, it’s tomatoes, water, salt, pepper and other seasonings. That’s it.
Anything else in it is likely added because it’s cheap and preserves it.
So after 24 hours of just liquid I wanted to be sure the first thing in my body was clean and light. Your body needs light after it’s gone a while without solid foods.
I had a veggie soup and it was delicious. It was pureed sweet peppers and carrots with garlic, onion, ginger, and turmeric. I drank it like a smoothie - SOOO GOOD!!!!
2. Keto diet in January
Now going forward after that fast day the goal is to reduce as many starchy carbs through Jan as possible. I don’t have anything against pasta and bread and potatoes, but I want to not have any throughout the month. In part it is an experiment to see how I feel. After January I plan to put it back into my diet moderately. I need to still decide how often I want to eat them though. If you don’t decide beforehand you won’t keep a good limit for yourself.
I am curious to see how my body responds with so little starch over the month. So far it is going well. I’m still eating carbs though. Lots of veggies and complex grains (think farrow and barley).
Carbs are an important macronutrient your body needs so to completely eliminate is usually not a great idea for most people. This is another one of those common sense and your personal experience thing.
Some folks have digestive issues that really need to have very specific dietary needs but most of us just need to be smart. This is what I really appreciated the most with Dr. Ruscio’s book. He had a really common sense sort of stance. For example, and one of the things I enjoyed reading about the most, was how eating isn’t just good for your physical health but also your mental/emotional health. We have relationships over breaking bread together, eating and drinking together. We maintain healthy relational bonds by sharing food together, going out together. In his book, Dr. Ruscio respected that and encouraged the reader to be as flexible with their diet as they could.
If you need to be gluten free that’s cool, but don’t let it keep you from enjoying the relational benefits of eating with others.
2020 was hard.
I’m pretty sure I said that already.
I will 100% admit that I used alcohol to help navigate some of the challenges of 2020. And I don’t have any shame in it. I’m very fortunate I don’t have an alcohol addiction. Addition is a beast that I am fortunate enough to have not dealt with in at least a physical way. (Addictions to emotions are also real but that’s for another time). If you are struggling with an addiction of any kind I with love strongly encourage you to go find the professional support you need.
But addiction or not I did use quite a bit of wine to get through parts of my year. I was able to slow down as the year drew to a close but I made a decision in December that I was going to go dry for the month of January.
I did this for two reasons:
My body needed me to. Liquor isn’t good for you. My goal is to live to 120. Moderation is key.
To demonstrate to myself that I can do it. I am capable of handling stress in lots of ways. I don’t have to have a glass of wine to end my evening.
Alcohol was just a quick way to relax. But that doesn’t make it the best way (see above). A dry January will allow my body to get back into a more sustainable relationship with alcohol. Like the other things right now I’m feeling good.
And perhaps more importantly doing and committing to these things provides me with integrity for myself. I can count on MYSELF to do the things I say I will do. I generate a sense of worth and PRIDE from accomplishing something that I said I was going to accomplish. It increases my feelings of self-efficacy and image.
It’s a win-win.
So that is how I’m starting my year off. With a month of resets to get me ready for the next 11 months. I have every confidence that 2021 will be challenging in its own ways. I’m also confident that with specific decisions and reasons that we can navigate those challenges together.
Leave a comment and let me know how your 2021 has gotten started.
Don’t forget to follow me on FB and IG @considerjennifer
And check out my YouTube channel for videos about these topics and more. Or send an email to start your coaching with me.
Until then guys
I need to include in this post that by the time it has posted I didn't go 30 days dry. It was closer to 20. A few events happened over the month that I did drink for.