Thursday, June 18, 2009

Your Health

Your Health

Christine Boutross

Did you wake up one morning recently with an urge to clean your home and throw out the candy wrappers from under the bed? Perhaps you've been craving water or fruit, or even felt like going to the gym for the first time in months. If you did, you're not alone. Each spring we instinctually feel the need to clean both our home and body. And if you spent the last few months with a bottle of wine watching reruns of Sex and the City, a cleanse may bring you out of hibernation.

We take in harmful substances daily, ranging from pollution and food additives to excess alcohol and junk food, not to mention toxic people. In excess, this contributes to poor health, stress, and a weak immune system. A spring cleanse is an opportunity for your body to rebuild. Some people choose cleansing kits or plans, like the Master Cleanse or similar programs. I actually recommend a less drastic approach, since our body is sensitive and may not react well to sudden changes. Try out the following tips, for the next 5 - 7 days and see how much better you feel.

Drink More Water
Filtered, distilled or spring water helps hydrate and clean the body. Adding fresh lemon juice is a plus. Have a minimum of 6 cups per day, starting with one in the morning on an empty stomach.

Eat Greens
Green leafy vegetables like field greens, arugula, kale, broccoli raab, and collards are rich in vitamins and cleanse the blood. They also contain fiber which binds toxins so they're more easily excreted. Eat them several times a day, if possible. You could even go to the juice bar for a green drink, 1 -2 times per day.

Reduce Unhealthy Foods
Sugar, white bread, cookies, candy, chips, soda, caffeine, packaged food, alcohol - they all decrease your energy, and keep your body full of extra junk. Try to cut back on these as much as you can, and give your digestive system a break. You'll be amazed how much more clearly you think when your body has the right fuel. You'd not put diesel fuel into an unleaded car, so why put the wrong fuel in your body?

Try Skin Cleansing
Buy a loofa or body scrub. This helps the skin eliminate waste and encourages blood flow. You could also visit a Turkish spa and have your favorite cabana boy scrub your body for you. Try this once per day

Christine Boutross is Personal Trainer and a Holistic Health Counselor. She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Please visit Christine’s

Food Focus: Brown Rice

Brown rice, with its sweet nutty flavor, provides four times the amount of insoluble fiber found in white rice, because it is a whole grain that has not been stripped of its natural bran covering. It contains an impressive number of vitamins and minerals such as concentrated B vitamins (which help nervous systems and mental depression), niacin, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and even some vitamin E. This whole grain also contains a small amount of high-quality protein in the form of the amino acid lysine, which helps boost the body’s ability to fight viruses, especially those that cause cold sores.

In each grain of brown rice exists a matrix of whole, unrefined energy and nutrition. It is a complex carbohydrate and therefore burns slowly in the body, providing a steady stream of long lasting energy while increasing the brain’s levels of serotonin, the chemical responsible for the feeling of well-being. Those who consistently eat brown rice report steady energy and an overall feeling of calm and balance in their daily lives.

For brown rice and whole grains in general, the majority of digestion occurs in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your rice well and with awareness. A great meditation is to find a calm place, without distractions, to sit down for your meal. Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. See how this simple practice can help your digestion and overall focus for the rest of your day.

Recipe of the Month: Brown Basmati Pilaf

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


1 cup brown basmati rice

2 cups of water

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of walnut pieces

1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley

pinch of salt


1. Rinse rice in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.

2. Boil the water and add rice and salt, cover and reduce heat.

3. After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top, do not stir.

4. Cook 15-25 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.

5. Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let set for 3-5 minutes and serve.

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