Saturday, January 28, 2012

My cure for the winter blues

Ever notice that come January/February you tend to be in a mid winter rut when it comes to food and life? No....  Just me?  Ok whatever...  I have noticed that as the days get darker and colder I tend to lose that "summer glow" and tend to hibernate over large bowls of mac n' cheese or beef stew.

What I noticed was not only was I packing on the winter pounds but my skin was dull and breaking out more than usual.  I snagged on Kindle a copy of Kimberly Synder's book "The Beauty Detox"

It is a very interesting and a quick read on cleansing your system, changing the order of how to eat your food to digest better,  and tips on eating better long term.

I really enjoyed the book and have taken away some great points from it.  I don't think it is something I am going to commit to 100% but there are several tips that I think will stick with me for the long haul.

They are:
  • Glowing Green Smoothie in the morning
  • Eating a big salad at lunch
  • Eating a vegetarian diet until dinner
  • Reducing/giving up dairy (mainly cows milk)
The first 3 are not major changes to my diet.  In the summer, I usually drink a big green smoothie most days anyways.  The recipe here is a bit different, but after a week of drinking a GIANT one each morning I will admit that the smoothie is very filling even without the addition of yogurt, nut butter or other dairy ingredients I am used to using.

apple, pear, cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, banana are the base to my smoothie

The salad for lunch might over time get a bit boring, but Kimberly has given a lot of recipes to change it up and still keep your meals light and veggie packed during the day.

In her book she suggests eventually going full vegetarian, but I think we all know that is not in the cards for this omnivore.  I do however, like the idea of eating vegetarian most of the week and making your meals with meat in them more special.   I don't eat a ton of meat now, but it is a huge mind shift to not reach for chicken or even fish when prepping dinner.  I foresee many meals focused around beans, sweet potatoes and other filling veggie ingredients.

This last change might be life altering to me!  Growing up and even now as an adult, dairy products were part of my daily diet.  Yogurt at breakfast, Cheese sticks with lunch or as a snack, mac n' cheese dinners, pizza and the perfect grilled cheese.  Could I really think of going without?!

You might ask why I would even consider this when I love dairy and cheese so much!  Well, over the past 2 years or so my acne issue has gotten worse.  I have tried every product under the sun and I was still left with reoccurring acne on my cheeks and chin.  (not great for your self esteem when you are 31!) While reading the book, I learned that dairy can actually cause toxins in your body to be eliminated through your skin causing acne around the chin. 

I figured since I already had given up regular milk years ago for almond milk because of the taste that I would go ahead and try out a non dairy diet for a few weeks and see what happens.  I mean, I can go 2 weeks without dairy right? (oh god....)

Let's just say, I was shocked at how much dairy I was consuming and not even realizing it!  Every time I went to make or order something I was surprised to see that my first option had some version of dairy in it!

However, it has been two weeks and my skin is looking and feeling much better!  The chronic bumps I have had on my chin are gone and the "angry" acne I would get throughout the month is slowly going away leaving me with smaller and clearer pores!

I hate to think that something I love so much has been causing my skin to scream at me for so long!  So what is the plan you ask?

I think going forward I am going to be a non-dairy girl 90% of the time.  I already use almond milk for cooking and coffee.  I have vegan butter for toast and I think most of the meals I cook at home can be sans dairy/cheese.  I have also found goat's milk and coconut milk yogurt (pricey but cheaper than my acne medication!)

Now, when I am out with friends or at a party and there is a cheese plate or an amazing dish with cheese am I going to say no?  NO!  I don't see the harm in savoring and really enjoying cheese or the occasional dairy product now and then.  In fact, I think by reducing my intake during the week I will come to enjoy my dishes that include cheese even more.

So, all in all I would say it is a great read for anyone looking to beat the winter blues in their diet/beauty routine.  She is straight forward and gives you tips on how to be healthier whether you are dipping your toe into the water of detox or diving right into the detox vegan end of the pool.

I will be having a big smoothie this morning and then heading off to New Hampshire for the Red Hook/Meat House Polar Grill Fest.  Come join us won't you?!