Welcome to the final post in our Summer Cleanse series.  I hope this series has helped everyone jump start their summer health routine and moved everyone forward in their goals for achieving wellness.
  1. Eat breakfast. 
    Breakfast jump starts your metabolism.  Eating breakfast is like stoking a kitchen fire and adding wood to it after it has simmered to coal over night.  That's what your metabolism needs in the morning. I like to eat uncured turkey bacon while drinking my coconut milk coffee, then have a small smoothie as part of my breakfast.  When I don't have that amount of time, I have my coffee, a serving serving of fruit ( an apple or berries are easiest for me to eat in the car), and I have a boiled egg (which can be cooked at the beginning of the week for a grab and go breakfast).  If you want a super fast breakfast, grab a handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, or cashews), and a piece of fruit.  These are easily eaten in the car and will carry you through until you can slip away from work to eat something more substantial on a break like that boiled egg I just mentioned.  The key is eat some protein first thing in the morning.
  2. Drink water. 
    Water is the key to life.  It flushes out toxins and cleanses the body from the inside out.  We are 2/3 water, so without replenishment of this valuable source, our body runs inefficiently.  I love infused water in the summer.  You can infuse your water with apple, strawberries, cucumber, lemon, lime, etc.  The options are endless.  If the power of water to detox the body is not enough to make you drink more, consider this:  You're muscles are just like the meat you eat. When it becomes dehydrated, you are turning yourself into beef jerky, which is hard and inflexible.  Imagine if your body was like that.  That can lead to muscle injury, pain, and muscle restrictions.  That's what occurs with chronic dehydration.  I get lots of complaints from people who say they have to pee a lot when they start drinking more water.  My answer is YES!  That means your kidneys are working efficiently and cleaning your blood.  Which is what you want.  The other thing I'd like to say is that, as your body gets used to having more water, it will use it more efficiently and the frequency of trips to the bathroom will likely go down.  Think of a parched dessert during a rain storm.  There is flash flooding as the water runs through, but over time the soil softens and starts to absorb more and more of that water.  That's the goal. Finally, chronic dehydration can cause kidney issues and kidney damage, which can further lead to a build up of toxicity in the blood or dialysis in the most extreme cases. I'd like you to avoid this.  The goal is to have your body running at an optimal level, which includes your kidneys.
  3. Cut processed foods and junk. 
    Basically the goal of the next month is to eat only lean meat, vegetables, and fruits while removing simple carbs and cutting dairy (other than yogurt).  This will give you most of the nutrition you need to support healthy weight loss. Once this month is over, whole grains and other healthy carbs beyond fruit can be added in at a modest amount.
  4. Eat more dark green veggies like kale, spinach, broccoli, chard, etc. 
    These foods are filling, high in fiber, and nutrient dense leading to your body functioning optimally.

To make this easier for you, I recommend pulling out a piece of paper and dividing it into 5 sections that say:  fruits, vegetables, proteins, good fats/nut/seeds, and dark green vegetables.  Underneath each header, write your favorite types of foods for each list.  Over the next month you can pick foods from these sections and mix and match them to make meals.  Don't deviate from the list because that will likely mean you're cheating and eating food that will deter you from your weight loss goals. If you cheat, remember the guidelines above to minimize the set-backs you're creating for yourself in achieving this goal.

If all of this sounds difficult, remember it will all be worth it at the end of the month.  Whether you lose 5 pounds or 15 pounds, your clothes will fit better and you'll be more comfortable in a bathing suit.  The overall goal is to increase your health and boost your confidence as you strut your stuff this summer.  It's a beautiful time of year to optimize your health with so many choices available. This is just one step.  If you have more weight to lose than the amount I listed here, consult with your healthcare practitioner for a long term plan. If you have questions about your health, consult with your nutritional therapist, ND, acupuncturist, or primary care provider.  Never start a diet or exercise program if you're on medications or have health concerns.  Consult with a physician for more information.