You deserve to heal. It is your birthright. It is your body's natural power. You deserve to feel good, to have good days. You are allowed to make time for this, and I am so proud of you for doing so.
I have been more open about my healing journey on my Instagram, and today I had a response that blew me away. The number of people who are feeling ready to do the work to feel better and live a more full life is so exciting and encouraging.
Because so many of you are starting this journey, I want to share my experience to help. Here is a list of things I wish I had known when I started. This is not medical advice. This is just my story and I hope it helps you.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
1) Be patient with yourself.
Don't expect to make a change in one day. Eating clean is challenging at first for many reasons. First of all, access to the right food is limited and expensive. I can't tell you the number of frustrating grocery trips I've had. Secondly, there are a lot of new recipes to learn which will take time and practice to get down. Finally, your body most likely cannot handle an abrupt change and intense detox, unless you are setting aside time off from work and other responsibilities for this.
So, pick a few things at a time and transition at a speed that works for you. Even eating one organic clean meal a day is MUCH better than eating none at all.
2) Prioritize rest
I know most of you cringed reading this, but there's just no getting around it. You will not heal unless you rest. Your body NEEDS rest to recover. Detoxing is not easy - your symptoms will worsen at first. You may even have flu like symptoms like I did. Listen, though. Your body is designed to heal itself, just like it does when you get a cut on your finger. But if you don't cover that cut with a bandaid and just continue to use it anyway, that cut gets worse! Your body is the same. Give it a chance to recover.
Overall, you can probably go about your normal work routine, but your body will tell you when it's time to stop. For example, I was working like 60 hours a week and had to cut back. Then at one point I had a fever and body aches, very similar to the flu because my body found an infection to fight off. So, it raised my internal temperature to kill it. Hello 101 degree fever. I was miserable, but I was determined to let my body heal so I didn't taking any NSAIDs or other medication. I called off work, slept for two days, and lived off herbs and water and broth. I felt like a new person after. It was an incredible experience to just let my body do the work and support it.
3) Intentionally plan in time for cooking
Yes, you read that right. You need to make time for cooking. I know it's challenging, I work a full time job, my commute totals at 3 hours a day, and have a dog and a boyfriend and, even after a few months of this, still struggle with adjusting my priorities. Of course I'd rather go out for happy hour with friends, or sit on my couch watching movies and eating potato chips after a long day. But, my body, and your body, they deserve better.
Cooking can feel exhausting so find ways to enjoy it. Include others, like kids and friends. Turn on do not disturb and blast your favorite songs. Meditate while you do it. Take your time to really enjoy the process. Speaking of which....
4) Look up vegetarian and Whole 30 recipes
Vegetarian recipes are more creative when it comes to making nutrient dense meals out of plants, and Whole 30 is just another elimination diet that cuts out things that typically cause inflammation. You'll be able to find plenty of things that you will like but still give you the nutrients you need.
5) Work through your emotional pain and stress
There's a saying that stress is the match that lights the fire. Whatever underlying issue you have will be "turned on" by stress. Chronic stress has been proven countless times to cause inflammation. It's also a vicious cycle because your body can only manage stress when it's being nourished correctly. The same goes for anxiety and depression. Your stomach sends more signals to your brain about serotonin than vice versa.
Recently I found my trigger for my stress, deep in my childhood memories. Something that I had normalized so well through coping mechanisms that I didn't even realize it was a problem. Ever since then, I have been able to label it and manage it. I can see when I'm being triggered and I can respond with kindness for myself through positive affirmations and deep breathing. I am currently working on setting boundaries and forgiveness. And between that and the phase of my detox, I can feel the weight of anxiety and depression lifting off my chest. I've been breathing so freely, and laughing so easily lately. I'm starting to feel present in my body again.
It's not easy to face these things, but you are so capable, you are not alone, and you have many tools.
Journal. Walk. Meditate. Do yoga. Deep breathe. Go to therapy. Do something you love every week. Love on yourself as hard as you can. Find peace.
6) Kill, bind & sweat
The soon to be famous Dr. Jess protocol. The kill part comes from starving the bacteria and infections of what they feed on (gluten, sugar, etc...) and feeding your body what it needs to remove toxins. The bind and sweat will ease the die-off symptoms and help your detox move along more quickly.
I am usually anti-supplement, but I am pro plants and minerals. Dr. Jess' products are the highest quality, expertly designed to target specific issues, and really freakin work. Here is a link to get 10% off your oder.
For a binder, here is my favorite product. You need something like activated charcoal. Take it 1-2 hours after eating and supplements because it bids ERR-THANG.
As for sweating, you can exercise, take an epsom salt bath, or go to a sauna - preferably infared if you can. This personal infared sauna just kills me, it's amazing. I want one so badly haha. If you get it, can you let me know how it is.
7) Find a support system
There will be many people that doubt you. Do not worry about them. Set strong boundaries and remember that your health is more important than their opinions. Just find one or two who support you or are going through the same thing as you. For a while, my only community was through Instagram strangers. Then, my boyfriend. Now, as I become more open about my healing, I am finding more friends and more support. Your people are out here.
8) Those cravings are not yours
Did you know parasites and bacteria feed on sugar and processed foods? Weird right? And that they HATE when you sweat because it threatens their existence? Yep. Does it suddenly make sense why you don't want to do things that are good for you?
So when you have horrible cravings and don't feel like working out, remember - it's not you. It's the bugs sending signals to your brain to keep themselves alive. Now you know better. You don't have to beat yourself up for cravings. You just think about how nasty those bugs are and how much you want to kill them. Bam. Sugar doesn't sound good anymore when you realize it's parasite food.
9) Be kind to yourself
How incredible that you are taking time and doing the work to heal. That decision alone deserves to be celebrated. Yes, you will be grumpy. Yes, you will crave junk food and sometimes cave to it. Yes, this will take time. But it's ok, it's ok, it's ok.
It is your birthright to heal. Healing was a power given to your body when you were first earth side. Honor it and thank yourself constantly for the work you are doing. You're doing great, love.