For so many of us, life gets in the way of good intentions and healthy living. Of course you would love to go to sleep at a decent hour, if you could get home from work at a decent hour, cook a healthy dinner and relax before the clock strikes 2 AM. Likewise, you probably wish you had enough time in the day to eat a healthy meal made with fresh vegetables and natural ingredients, but there are simply not enough hours in the world in which most of us live.
Unfortunately this fast-paced eat on the go and sleep when you’re dead way of life is taking a huge toll on our health. We are fatter than we have ever been in the history of humankind, we are more tired and less focused. These three factors combined form a ‘perfect storm’ of sorts that come together to create unhealthy, and sometimes dangerous, health problems.
No matter how hard you try, reversing these bad and unhealthy behaviors can be difficult, if not seemingly impossible, to accomplish. Reversing these unhealthy behaviors is a good reason on its own to take up a detox diet. Detoxing encourages healthy living, period. This means eating right, cooking (and eating) healthy, sleeping enough each night and making time for physical activity.
If you have a bad behavior you’re feeling desperate to get rid of, read on to learn why it is so important that you do toss it aside and quickly.
Poor Sleep Schedule
Most of us, whether a high powered business executive or a supermarket cashier, are not getting enough sleep each night. In fact, the 2011 Sleep in America Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly half of all adult Americans feel they don’t get enough sleep each night. What’s more is that those who do sleep, are not sleeping well. They wake up throughout the night, still feel tired after a full night’s rest and have restless sleep.
The problem is that it isn’t just that you’re sleepy all day, but that you are more likely to make poor decisions when you’re tired. You will choose unhealthy simple carbohydrates for a quick burst of energy, opt for fast food over fresh food and lack the focus to make sound decisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than a quarter of adults reported falling asleep or nodding off while driving.
Most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night for a sufficient reserve of energy each day, to make sound diet decisions and to exercise regularly.
There’s an old saying ‘you are what you eat’ and while I think that’s true, I think it is truer that you feel what you eat. By that I mean that if you eat heavy foods packed with grease and sugar, that is how you will feel all day. You will walk around sluggish with very low energy.
This is one area in which a detox diet comes to your rescue. A diet that is filled with good natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes will give you more long-lasting energy all day long. These are foods that have lean protein and high fiber, to help you flush unwanted toxins from your body.
Now I know that most of you, myself included, learned nearly everything you know about food at home. Whether it is family traditions or heartfelt memories of helping out in the kitchen, allowing an unhealthy diet to persist simply due to tradition is the wrong course if your goal is to live healthy. Just because you’ve always deep fried your chicken or made fatty hamburgers does not mean you have to keep it up. Try grilling or using lean chicken or turkey meat for your burgers.
When you start your first detox diet you may be surprised to learn that exercise is part of the plan. Of course you won’t be running marathons or lifting heavy weights, but you will experience a strenuous workout that includes yoga or Pilates. Once you have completed the detox diet, you will increase the intensity of your workout to include running, swimming or hiking.
More than a quarter of Americans reported no participation whatsoever in any form of physical activity each month, and that type of sedentary behavior can lead to depression, obesity and heart disease.
During a detox diet, exercise will become a part of your daily routine, which (hopefully) will continue from one day to the next after the detox has ended and the detox lifestyle has begun.
Consuming Too Many Toxins
You may not realize this but the toxins you ingest or absorb on a daily basis are partially responsible for your inability to sleep properly, your sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Caffeine, whether in the form of coffee, tea or soda will not help you achieve a restful sleep each night, particularly if consumed within 3 hours of bedtime.
Consider other toxins such as cigarettes, cigars and alcohol; these all serve to dull your taste buds. If natural foods like bananas and tomatoes don’t please your taste buds, you will be forced to eat more flavorful foods which usually means processed foods injected with artificial flavor enhancers. Guess what? This means you’re taking in even more toxins!
Before your detox begins you will slowly start to wean yourself off cigarettes, alcohol, recreational drugs and over the counter medication and during your detox you will abstain altogether. After several weeks without these additional toxins your body will stop craving them, thereby reversing your habit of consuming more toxins than your body can filter out each day.
Reversing bad behaviors is a great way to start taking control of your health and your life. You don’t need to wait for a nutritionist or personal trainer to help you live healthier; all you need is to take up some behaviors of a detox lifer.
- Avoid using tech gadgets (smartphone, tablet, computer etc…) an hour before bed.
- Set a reasonable bed time for yourself each night.
- Practice substituting unhealthy cooking methods like deep frying with something lighter such as baking, roasting, broiling or grilling.
- Add one vegetable to each meal every day.
- Use more fresh ingredients in your foods.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk at least 30 minutes each day.
- Slowly reduce your alcohol and cigarette intake each day
- Find natural remedies for headache, muscle pain and other things that require you to take over the counter medicine.
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