Each time January rolls around, you will inevitably hear others complain (or complain yourself) about overindulging over the holidays. Unfortunately, cleanses or drastic changes in eating and exercise habits don’t tend to last. This year, I decided to be healthy now so that I don’t feel guilty about that eating that extra slice of pumpkin pie and Christmas cookie (or three) during this holiday season. Being mindful about what you put into your body pre-holidays will also make you more likely to make healthier choices throughout the many ski-trip parties and big meals to come. And who knows, it may even make each treat extra enjoyable.
This mini-cleanse is all about finding what works. Instead of cutting everything unhealthy out for a week, improving your usual routine can also work wonders.
Each person tolerates dairy differently, but common side effects are skin breakouts, sinus congestion and digestive problems. Some people are more sensitive to cow’s milk but can tolerates sheep’s or goat’s. With so many non-dairy varieties though, why not explore almond, coconut or rice milk? Just make sure you look for unsweetened versions so you aren’t loading your body with unnecessary sugar.
It’s no secret that gluten-free diets have been all the rage lately. Even without a serious allergy to gluten, cutting back on it can be really beneficial. Foods containing gluten are more likely to be full of processed junk, so replacing them with protein, fruits or vegetables can be an easy way to monitor what’s being put in your body. Although there are many other issues associated with gluten, some of the biggest side effects are fatigue and headaches, and who has room for those during finals week?
It’s everywhere and the long-term effects can be really scary. In my opinion, this is the most important thing to try to cut back on — little changes can make a huge difference. It may seem daunting, but one of the easiest ways to limit sugar intake is to not drink it. Try giving up that packet in your coffee, tablespoon of honey in your tea and any soda or sports drinks. Other simple changes include switching from flavored to plain yogurt, and using olive oil and lemon or vinegar rather than pre-packaged salad dressings.
I will admit I am addicted and find this to be the hardest to give up. I know that morning coffee can be comforting, so if going cold turkey is outright offensive, start by cutting out your afternoon cup. If you’re a tea drinker, try switching from green to herbal. Either way, avoid taking in caffeine at least eight hours before you plan to go to bed so that it has enough time to fully leave your system.
The timing of this health kick is great because not only will you ace your exams due to a newfound mental clarity, but once break arrives you’ll have even more room to celebrate.