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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Seven-Day Summer Shape-Up

As Healthy Eating Specialist for Whole Foods Market, in North Wales, PA, I am hosting a Seven-Day Summer Shape-Up, a gentle and easy-to-follow "cleansing" program.

The program will begin next Monday, June 23. I will support each participant's journey with daily notes, optional personal consultations, and an "open-email" policy.

If you would like to schedule a personal consultation with me, please email me: seth.pollins@wholefoods.com.

If during the program you have any questions, please take advantage of the "open-email policy": email me at sethpollins@gmail and I will try to return your email within a few hours.

Beyond the optional personal consultation, this is a web-based program that you can follow from home.

Below is a brief discussion of fasting and cleansing with some very helpful links, a program outline, and "How to Prepare." If you would like to register, please email me: seth.pollins@wholefoods.com. If you have any questions, please email me or leave a comment below.

First, Why Participate?

My friend, Steve Pyle, wrote a thoughtful post on cleansing and fasting on our food blog, FoodVibe: "On Cleansing and Fasting." I highly suggest reading this article.

In this article, Steve clearly expresses the pitfalls of cleansing as well as the profound benefits:

"Even as I write this, I've just finished my second cleansing fast, and am still thinking about it. I’m thinking what people who know have told me—that the most important part of any fast is what comes after. That is, how the fast has changed your perceptions about health and wellness to the point that it has permanently changed your habits.

Because your body exists in such a delicate stasis while on an extended fast, you really see how the things you put into your body affect your energy level, mental acuity, and spirituality."

Of course, you might look at a cleanse as a method for achieving physical benefits--including improved digestion, weight loss, and clarity. Yet, I believe Steve reveals an even more crucial benefit: how the experience can change your perceptions about health and wellness.

As summer approaches, NOW might be the perfect time to revivify your relationship with food and health. Just look around: the local markets are bursting with the color and optimism of the summer harvest. Do you feel this optimism? Do you want to?

Do you feel optimistic about summer? [Photo Source: Secret Forts]

Summer Shape-Up Outline:

The outline below is based on my personal experience as well as sound scientific reasoning. Each day during the program we will discuss the specifics.

On Days 1 & 2, we will avoid hard-to-digest foods (wheat, dairy, grains) as well as foods that might adversely effect our insulin levels (wheat, processed sugars, alcohol, grains).

We'll do this in preparation for Days 3, 4,  & 5, when we will consume only the world's most healthy foods: fruits and vegetables.

On Days 6 & 7, we will return to the same regime as Days 1 & 2.

Days 6 & 7 are meant to provide a gentle return to a more expansive diet.

In general throughout the fast, I advise eating 2-3 meals per day. As much as possible, avoid snacks.

Day 1: Monday, June 23: Avoid all wheat, dairy, processed sugar, alcohol, and grains. Drink plenty of clean, purified water.

Day 2: Tuesday, June 24: Avoid all wheat, dairy, processed sugar, alcohol, and grains. Drink plenty of clean, purified water.

Day 3: Wednesday, June 25: Eat only fresh, raw fruits and vegetables and/or lightly steamed vegetables or baked sweet potatoes or potatoes. Drink only clean, purified water and/or gently cleansing tea. (Limit fruit to 2-3 servings per day).

Day 4: Thursday, June 26: Eat only fresh raw fruits and vegetables and/or lightly steamed vegetables or baked sweet potatoes or potatoes. Drink only clean, purified water and/or gently cleansing tea. (Limit fruit to 2-3 servings per day).

Day 5: Friday, June 27: Eat only fresh raw fruits and vegetables and/or lightly steamed vegetables or baked sweet potatoes or potatoes. Drink only clean, purified water and/or gently cleansing tea. (Limit fruit to 2-3 servings per day).

Day 6: Saturday, June 28: Avoid all wheat, dairy, processed sugar, and grains. Drink plenty of clean, purified water.

Day 7: Sunday, June 29: Avoid all wheat, dairy, processed sugar, and grains. Drink plenty of clean, purified water.

How to Prepare

First, I highly recommend spending an hour or so reading.

Start with  Steve's article, "On Cleansing and Fasting" as well as the other linked articles above.

For some reasoning behind the "no grains" read this article as well as the attendant links.

Second, if possible, clean your cabinets and refrigerator. As much as possible, limit your accessibility to wheat, dairy, processed sugar, and grains. It's easier to avoid foods if they're not around!

Third, prepare for your food experience. This weekend, buy plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you're local to Ambler, visit the Farmers' Market on Saturday morning: 9:00 AM--1:00 PM.

If you eat meat, fish, or chicken buy a few high quality selections (for Days 1 & 2) from Whole Foods Market. For Days 1 & 2, other good protein options include: raw nuts or tempeh. Good options for fat include: avocados, coconut milk, and nuts.

Plan to shop at least a few times throughout the week!