This past year, we have collectively experienced profound physical, mental and emotional stressors that have pushed us all to the limits and disrupted our self-care routines. We fall back on our “comfort foods” and what’s easy. We tend to overindulge with sugar, carbs and alcohol, and our bodies feel the impact of the resulting added stress and inflammation. This vicious cycle continues as it pushes all the feel-good buttons in our brain and gut and makes it that much more addictive and harder to quit.
When the world around us seems out of control, it is time to get our house in order, starting with ourselves.
One of the main goals I have for patients this year is to focus on self-care basics. Many of my patients have serious, complicated issues. When treating complicated cases, the first thing I do is start with naturopathic “BTGs” or basic treatment guidelines: nutrition, movement, sleep, mindfulness and digestion detox. These are the foundations of daily health and wellness that will help reset and restore from the inside out. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be consistent!
Nutrition is the primary focus of the BTGs. Starting the year off with a nutrition reboot can be a simple way of resetting your digestion and detox. Effective cleansing programs can help with weight loss, increased energy, reduced inflammation, normalized digestive function, improved sleep and reduced joint pain. Coupled with daily exercise or movement, a structured detoxifying program can help many people identify and eliminate specific chemicals and foods that cause inflammation and immune imbalances in their body and get back on track with their health.
I just finished a five-day ProLon fasting group protocol to kickstart digestive detox and quickly reduce excess inflammation from my system accumulated from this year and dropped four pounds in fat and inflammatory water weight. Often, people need a longer time to reset their system for lasting change, but that’s a good start. It takes 21 days to form a habit, which is the recommended length for a detoxifying cleanse to reset your taste buds, get rid of sugar cravings, and get on a healthy eating plan you can follow throughout the year.
You can complete a five- or 21-day program on your own at home or by joining a virtual group. Virtual group programs have the advantage of accountability and the support of others throughout all stages. Studies have shown that people who participate in a group are much more likely to successfully follow an entire protocol and report better results.
Getting back to the basics. Putting in the time now while you’re motivated at the start of a new year will serve you best to achieve a sustainable healthy lifestyle in the long run. If you have any health issues, you should be screened before starting any program to determine if it is safe for your body.
Dr. Sonja Fung is a primary care naturopathic doctor with a focus on integrative cancer care and PRP regenerative joint injections at Live Well Clinic in La Quinta which also offers a ProLon fasting group starting January 4, and a 21-day Nutrition Reboot group program starting January 14. For more information, call (760) 771.5970 or visit www.livewellclinic.org.