Every New Year many of us make resolutions to break old lifestyle habits and be happier and healthier. We start the year off strong, determined to lose weight, or quit smoking, or kick the sugar habit, or exercise more and so on and so on... But as January wears on our resolve starts to weaken as the difficulties of making radical changes in our life take their toll. Soon despite our best intentions we are back into the same old patterns once again. While there is no “magic solution” to this dilemma, there are things that can help you to start off right and improve your chances of success.
First and foremost, if you are not enjoying the changes you are making then you are setting yourself up to fail. Whatever your resolution is you want to find ways to enjoy it, to naturally incorporate it into your lifestyle and have fun doing so. If you want to lose weight don't deprive yourself, eat the best possible great tasting food that is healthy. Maybe even consider a cooking class with a friend. Want to exercise more but hate running - what about dancing? Quitting smoking - try using your hands to do artwork or a craft. Be creative with your strategies and always make sure you enjoy the process and simply say "oops!" and laugh when you stumble on your journey. Smiles and laughter are just as healthy as green smoothies!
The first step to success is to be kind to yourself. No beating yourself up with negative self talk. The fact that you are even trying to make a change in your life is fantastic and worth celebrating (no, not with a cookie, sorry!). Having said that if you do have that cookie, that is totally okay, everybody eats cookies occasionally so be gentle on yourself. Just be honest about it and get back on track, you will be okay.
When undertaking big changes such as a weight loss regime, giving up sugar, quitting smoking or starting an exercise program it is important to make sure that your body is as healthy as possible before you start, as the physical stress that these programs can create for the body can lead to decreased immune function as well as stress on our endocrine and nervous systems.
Starting on herbs that are considered adaptogens a month prior to undertaking your lifestyle changes can definitely help to build the body up and increase your chances of success. We know it is hard to hold off starting your new health resolutions but trust us it definitely helps you sustain success in the long run. Adaptogens are substances that build strength and resilience to stress within a system. Herbs such as Astragalus, Eleuthero, Chaga, Reishi mushroom and Ashwagandha are just a few examples of adaptogens that can be used to increase the body’s ability to adapt to the demands being put on it. We created our “Medicinal Mushroom” tincture blend and our “Balancing” Tea to strengthen the body in general and they are good examples of the types of remedies that can help build you up before and during a new health regime.
One of the things to keep in mind if you are planning to do some form of cleanse is to make sure it is gentle. Doing cleanses in the winter can be hard on the body. They often “cool” the body down because most of the cleansing herbs people use are considered cool, damp herbs (things like dandelion leaf, barley grass, nettles etc.). Adding warming herbs to the teas, greens powder or supplements you use can be helpful to keep the metabolism stable. Herbs such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and even a bit of cayenne can be very supportive when you cleanse. Throw some of these into your green smoothie or add some to your favourite tea. When we created our “Fruit and Veggie Goodness” powder we added both Turmeric and Ginger to balance the cooling effects of the greens and fruit powders in the mix.
Support for your liver is essential when you do a cleanse, quit smoking or change your diet. The liver, gallbladder and pancreas need a bit of TLC too! Herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock, yellow dock, and artichoke leaf are all safe and effective for gently removing waste material from tissue and helping your digestive system work better. These herbs can be taken singly or in combination and our “Warming Digestive Tonic” and “Creston Bitters” are good examples of formulations that work well for digestive support.
There are also some wonderful nutrient rich plants that help to gently cleanse and ensure optimal functioning of the body systems to help support your efforts. Antioxidant rich plants such as rose hips, elderberries, hawthorn and ginkgo will strengthen tissue and help oxygenate the body. Plants such as nettles, raspberry leaf, plantain leaf and chickweed are high in nutrients that support the immune system and remove waste from the body. We created two great teas to help with this process – our “Naturally Nutritive” tea is packed full of herbs that are rich in vitamins, minerals and flavonoids. And our “Cleansing/Detox” tea is a dynamic blend of herbs that gently flush waste from the body’s tissues and enhance the healthy function of the lymphatic and other elimination systems.
The plant, plantain is not only nutrient rich but has been shown in studies to create an aversion to tobacco, making it helpful for those trying to quit smoking.
In the case of chickweed there is supporting scientific evidence that it may actually be beneficial to weight loss, when used in conjunction with proper diet and exercise. Studies have shown that the chemicals in chickweed emulsify the fat cells and help flush them out of the system.
If you are trying to lose weight then herbs such as Devil’s Club, an indigenous plant, can curb craving for sugar and help balance blood sugar. Another excellent plant is Garcinia which helps to decrease cravings and can increase our sense of fullness.
We want to stress that if you are starting on a weight loss regime or trying to quit smoking there is no miracle herb that will miraculously have you achieve your goal overnight, despite what advertisements tell you. Herbs can support your efforts and can help you to maintain what you have achieved and these are a great basis for success. The key to success with any lifestyle change is to plan ahead, talk to a healthcare professional about options available to help you through the challenges and then decide the best approach for you personally.
We’re here for you if you need support and advice on herbs and lifestyle changes, we would truly love to cheer you on. It might take a few tries before you succeed but you are truly worth the effort, so don’t give up.
We’d really love it if you would post below in our comment section about some of the successes and challenges you’ve faced when trying to make diet and lifestyle changes. Let’s support one another, share tips and cheer for successes and give hugs for the challenges.
We can do this! ❤ Rachel & Jessica