In today’s post, I wanted to address an important topic — personalization — that is critical to your success with the Beauty Detox Lifestyle and way of eating.
Even though there are clear guidelines and principles that I’ve laid out here on the blog, in my books and will review again in this post — those who thrive on Beauty Detox have successfully tailored it to their body, needs, and current level of health.
There is no one size fits all. Everything we discuss — every bit of information I offer — is meant as something for you to try out, see how your body feels, and then adjust accordingly. Rules or principles will never be a substitute for listening to your body and finding your own way.
What It Means to “Listen” to Your Body
Awareness is a beautiful thing. It’s your ability to know what you’re thinking, or feel what’s happening in your body. It’s one of the most basic human traits — and certainly one of the most important!
In practice, self-awareness is quite simple. We’ve all eaten heavy meals and then felt sluggish, and weighed down, often low in energy as well. On the flip side, we’ve all had meals and days where we felt light, clear, energized — and it feels fantastic.
Listening to your body can happen all the time. You can do it before you eat, feeling what your body seems to tell you it wants (just beware, sometimes “cravings” can masquerade as needs!) — and you can also listen to your body after eat something and see how you feel.
Here are some questions you can ask:
- Do I feel better or worse after eating this?
- Do I have more or less energy?
- Do I feel light enough to do an activity? Or do I need to let my food “digest”?
- Is my mind more or less clear?
- Am I satisfied, or did what I eat create additional cravings?
- Did I eat enough, too much or too little, portion size-wise?
This is just the tip of the iceberg! And questions like this can aid in the process of listening to your body — so that you know how your body responds to foods and practices, and can adjust accordingly.
Now, as I review the Beauty Detox Principles — I’ll explain how it’s possible for you to personalize each one according to your own likes/dislikes, needs and desires.
Personalized Tip #1: Eat More of the Veggies You Like!
I’ve said many times that, to keep your body running efficiently, greens are one of the most important food groups. Green vegetables are among the most nutrient-dense of all foods and are full of alkaline minerals, including calcium, chlorophyll and amino acids.
They make up your key Beauty Foods that regenerate and purify your cells. Besides greens, you want to eat substantial portions of a wide range of vegetables, which will supply you with key minerals, enzymes and vitamins. Their fiber will help sweep waste from the body, as well as fill you up.
Now, the good news is that there are DOZENS of different greens and other vegetables you can choose from. I know one couple where the hubby is a total kale addict, and the wife can’t stand kale — preferring romaine lettuce and “softer” greens much more. And that’s fine, each found what works for them!
And the same goes with the many other vegetables available. Try out as many as you can so that you can discover what you like most. It’s not only fun, but often you uncover veggies that become staples for you and make this way of eating more interesting and sustainable in the long run.
Personalized Tip #2: Choose Organic, Local or “Clean” — Depending on Your Budget and Location
It’s no secret that conventional produce is grown using toxic pesticides. At the same time, many conventional foods are also grown from engineered seeds that have been genetically altered in order to better accept pesticides and fertilizers. These are not things we want to put in our bodies.
On the other hand, you also probably know that choosing organic foods grown on local family farms allows you to eat chemical free produce that is far more nutritionally dense than conventionally grown produce. The soil of organic farms is more rich, and will therefore impart more minerals to the produce that is grown in it.
Unfortunately, organic is more expensive — and in many areas, it’s not abundantly available. I am encountering this firsthand on the road, as I’ve been traveling now for several months. So you have to make decisions based on your budget and what’s available in your area. Maybe you get your greens and certain fruit organic, but on other items — like avocados — you opt for conventional, because avocados are often not sprayed with pesticides anyway. Little adjustments like that will help you get the most out of this way of eating, whatever your budget and access. Check out another blog for eating on a budget for more ideas on how to stretch your dollars for maximum benefit.
Personalized Tip #3: Learn How Much Protein Your Body Needs
Protein is a very touchy subject, I know. While many schools of thought push the “more, more, more” mindset toward protein, I believe that mentality is excessive and dangerous. Especially when we’re talking about animal protein that is acidifying, difficult to digest, high in saturated fat, and often comes with other drawbacks as well. That being said, even though I personally don’t eat meat myself, I have clients who still eat animal protein but in much smaller amounts (a few meals a week), and they look and feel great. It’s a personal decision.
Remember, the Beauty Detox way of life isn’t all or nothing. As long as you’re making forward progress, you don’t have to be “perfect” and follow all of my guidelines. You can still see improvements as you take steps to clean up your diet, increase the amounts of whole plant foods overall.
Personally, I’ve found I can cover my protein needs by eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting this macronutrient from seeds, nuts, greens, whole vegetables, and grains (it really does add up throughout the day!).
Some of the best plant-based sources of protein include — which I encourage you to try out — are:
• Green vegetables
• Nuts and seeds
• Spirulina and chlorella
• Organic, vegan protein powders (brown rice, hemp, pea, etc)
• Other vegetables, like Brussels sprouts
• Quinoa or millet
But, this is my experience. It’s up to you to test these foods and learn to assess how much protein your body really needs. You may ultimately feel that you do need some meat in your diet, but perhaps not as much as you thought. That’s fine, too. If you feel that you want to add additional protein into your day, try adding a Power Protein Shake mid-afternoon, or mid-morning, if you woke up early and are hungry by then.
If you listen to your body, and keep listening over and over, you’ll automatically make wiser more accurate decisions about what works best.
Personalized Tip #4: Eliminate or Reduce Dairy (or Make the Best Dairy Choices)
If there’s any area of the Beauty Detox diet I would like to see everyone adhere to perfectly, it’s the removal of dairy from the diet. Dairy has been linked to acne, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, partially because of the ingestion of hormones in the milk itself and the effects milk consumption has on hormones once it’s inside the body (check out the references to multiple studies in The Beauty Detox Solution and The Beauty Detox Foods if you are interested).
Milk and other dairy products have also been linked to constipation, making the removal of waste from the body—along with any toxins that might be on their way out—much slower and more difficult.
All that said, there are levels of dairy quality — and big differences in the way your body will respond — that you should be aware of. Conventional dairy, where cows are pumped full of hormones, treated with antibiotics and given unnatural feed will always be much more problematic than organic. So opt for organic dairy if at all possible, if you really want to consume some dairy.
Also, raw cheese or yogurt contains some living enzymes — and will be easier to digest than pasteurized. The same can be said of goat cheese or milk, it’s much easier to digest than dairy products that come from cows.
So, knowing all this, if you choose to include dairy in your diet — you can at least make healthier choices about which types of dairy you consume. This will have a big impact on how you feel!
Personalized Tip #5: Create Your Own Perfect Glowing Green Smoothie
I’ve been talking about my Glowing Green Smoothie for years. Many of my clients and readers fondly refer to it as the “GGS.” By blending foods before eating them, you “predigest” them, so the body does not have to work to break down the foods and waste unnecessary energy in digestion. Many of the important minerals and other nutrients in food are encased in the cell walls, and these need to be ruptured to extract the nutrients.
Here’s the video of it:
As you might imagine, blending helps make the greens’ full spectrum of nutrition readily available to the body without the body doing any work. You also add some fresh fruit, which really balances the taste of the greens and adds powerful antioxidants and vitamins. Served cold, the Glowing Green Smoothie (see the recipe here) is delicious. What is so wonderful about the Glowing Green Smoothie is that you retain the integrity of the whole vegetables and fruits, so you still enjoy all the fiber. In nature, fruits and veggies contain both juice and fiber, and I firmly believe that you cannot improve on nature.
Here’s the fun part: There is no rule about what veggies you need to include in your GGS — you get to pick the ones you love. Some people love apple, banana and kale in theirs — others adore the taste of pineapple mixed with greens. Some include parsley, while others are crazy for cilantro.
The beauty of this is that you can find a combination you love, and then go with that. It makes a big difference if you actually like how your GGS tastes, and you can make substitute vegetables in and out each week depending on what’s in season, or at your local store. I fully encourage mixing and matching on a regular basis, as I do!
Personalized Tip #6: Go Gluten-Free or Even Grain-Free
Going gluten-free seems like the trendy thing to do lately where diet is concerned, but there’s a good reason for it. You don’t have to suffer from celiac disease to be affected by gluten, and you could have a sensitivity or intolerance without even realizing it. Estimates ranging in the millions of people in the United States that suffer from gluten sensitivity, but since there’s no good test you can have to find out if you’re one of them, the best thing to try is an elimination diet.
Wheat (because of the gluten that comes with it) is one of the most highly allergenic foods in the United States, most likely due to overexposure over years of eating those “healthy” wheat products and gluten-containing processed foods (seriously, gluten’s in so many of those!). It’s also been linked to bloat-causing irritable bowel syndrome as well as autism, and schizophrenia, and other diseases.
The good news is that there are plenty of gluten free grains and options at most markets. You can opt for rice, millet or quinoa (I encourage you to see which of these you like best) — as well as gluten free tortillas and breads made from rice, quinoa and so on.
Another option — if your body doesn’t feel great when eat gluten-free grains — is to avoid them. It’s possible to get plenty of calories from fruits, vegetables, starchy veggies such as squash or sweet potato, some healthy fats, and legumes and beans. Grains are not an absolute requirement of eating the Beauty Detox way, so I encourage you to listen to your body to find out: a) which, if any, grains actually work well for you… and… 2) how much you should be consuming.
A serving of a cup of cooked of a grain along with plenty of salad and cooked veggies generally works really well.
I personally feel great eating grains like quinoa and brown rice, so long as I keep my diet lower in fat overall. I also eat a great deal of starchy vegetables, especially squash and sweet potato. As I travel around the world, I am reminded that over 50% of the world popular eat a traditional diet based in rice, including some of the world’s healthiest populations (such as Japan and other Asian countries) that have low rates of degenerative diseases.
Personalized Tip #7: Take a Simplified Approach to Food Combining
I get a lot of questions about food combining, and many seem to be confused by it, so let me make a couple points that should simplify it. And then I’ll conclude with some tips and advice so that it’s not difficult to implement.
Mini-Tip #1: Fruit is the lightest of all foods and should be eaten alone, before other, heavier foods. Fruit and nuts, per this principle, is not a good combination because fruit digests very quickly and nuts digest very slowly. Also, this helps explain why watermelon is not a good desert — because it’s watery and fast-digesting, which could create a “traffic jam” in your digestive system if eaten on top of heavier foods.
Mini-Tip #2: Avoid proteins and starches together. This is more applicable if you eat true protein foods, like meat or eggs, but good to know. A sandwich with meat and bread will be difficult to digest, because the types of enzymes and acids needed for each type of food will be very different. Better to eat protein with veggies, like on a salad or with a side of cooked ones.
If you follow just these two principles, you will have gotten 90%+ of the benefits of food combining. In practice it’s pretty simple — start with fruit, ideally earlier in the day. Then at meals begin with a salad, then cooked vegetables and then greens or starchy vegetables or something heavier. Simple!
There is no need to over-complicate this, and you can play around with the combinations and eating sequence with which your body feels best.
A Final Word About Struggle
Food is a joy! It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the human experience, and we’re so fortunate to be living in a time where we have access to so many nutritious, organic plant foods.
Eating well should never be a struggle. It’s only hard when you hold yourself to some external set of rules or ideals, and then judge yourself for how well you follow those rules/ideals.
The Beauty Detox principles are not mention to function in that way. In reality, they are guideposts that can help you try things out and then see how your body feels. For example, by recommending against dairy, I see it as an invitation for someone to try giving it up and see how he or she feels. So many who have tried going without it for a week or month and told me how much better they feel.
On the other hand, if you listen to your body and ultimately determine that you genuinely feel better with a small amount of dairy, or meat in your diet — and you figure out the type and quantity that works best for you — then go for it! Play with adjusting the meals and timing to work for you also- you can have bigger lunch portions or that Power Protein Shake I mentioned mid-afternoon if you find yourself getting hungry in the middle of the day.
Struggle can only occur when there is force and pressure and fear. Listening to your body has nothing to do with any of those negative feelings — and everything to do with being gentle, kind and attentive to yourself and all that you feel.
Do that, and you’ll find your own path that’s personal to you.
And of course, I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.