“What if one small change could improve your WHOLE life”(tagline on cover of October issue, Whole Living)

October is here and with its  arrival comes that wonderful transition between the lazy days of summer and the arrival of cool crisp days, colorful fall leaves(depending of course on where you live!), digging through your ‘winter wardrobe’ and getting re-acquainted with life lived more indoors than out. It is also that time before the arrival of ‘the holidays’ and the onslaught of celebrations, busier schedules, over-indulgence of food and libations, often less sleep and feelings of being overwhelmed.

So this is a perfect time to hit the pause button(for those of you new to our blog, go back to my post from December 9, 2011: “Hitting the Pause Button”) and regroup.  Although summer markets offer wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables and the daylight hours seem endless and filled with activities,  I often feel as though I need a break from my food and beverage habits of the summer before the start of the holiday season: too many late night barbecues and perhaps an over-surplus of happy hour get-togethers(Portland is famous for its selection of happy hours, in case you don’t live here).

Barbecue with great friends, Manzanita, July 2012

Last fall I went on a ‘cleanse’ of my own design for 10 days and I felt so empowered and healthy that I decided to do it again this October. This is not your usual cleanse filled with special drinks and supplements, but rather a very simple one that eliminates specific food and beverage groups. It was designed to make me more conscious of the food and beverage choices that I was making and led me to a better awareness of what I was putting into my body.  I loved how I felt afterwards and its effects lingered long afterwards. Of  course, here it is a year later and I am badly in need of a tune-up.

During some of my recent conversations about this with family, friends and patients, people have expressed an interest in joining me on this 10 day cleanse and have asked me to share this on the blog.  So here goes: starting on Sunday, October 14th , I am going to eliminate caffeine, alcohol, sugar and ‘whites’ from my diet. I plan to do this for 10 days in a row so that Tuesday, October 23rd will be my final day. I chose these dates because they work for ME and my schedule.  If you would like to join me and those dates are not optimal for YOU, play around with the starting and stopping dates but start when you can: the more the merrier!!  I have several friends in my book group who are going to ‘take the challenge’ and we are excited to have the camaraderie and support of one another.

Kyle making better food choices

Ah,  you ask: how did I pick these 4 main groups to eliminate? Essentially all of them have an effect on the adrenal glands and liver, as well as your insulin levels.  As always, it is extremely important to support your adrenals as well as giving them a break from time to time as well!! In addition,  we need to strive for a more steady insulin balance in our daily lives.  The health benefits of maintaining a steady insulin/glucose balance are far-reaching: decreased risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia….the list goes on and on.

I could have included other food groups, such as dairy, gluten and animal proteins but these have so many health benefits and are not problematic for me. I choose to eat a diet that is primarily plant based in general and when I do eat animal protein, it is always raised organically. Feel free to include other groups to eliminate that will benefit you : modify and individualize this cleanse so that you get the most out of it.  Perhaps you will choose not to eliminate caffeine. I have heard many concerns about caffeine-withdrawal headaches, which are valid: you might try gradually decreasing the amount of caffeine you take in rather than going cold turkey.  You could try substituting herbal teas at times which might help you become ‘caffeine-free’ by the end of 10 days.

In terms of ‘sugar’, I plan to eliminate any item that contains simple sugar and focus on foods that contain natural sugars instead. I  like to use stevia or Truvia as a sweetener, as it comes from the stevia plant and has no impact on glucose levels. I suppose one could make an argument that honey and agave are naturally occuring sugars, which in fact they are. They do affect blood sugar levels but the rise is not as steep, so  I will leave that up to you whether you would like to eliminate them or perhaps include them in small doses.

And what do I mean when I say “the whites”? White rice, white flour, white potatoes, white pasta, white sugar…..sorry folks, although some of the foods that contain them are often comfort foods and childhood favorites, they are so devoid of nutritional value and are huge culprits in terms of raising glucose levels, they have to go for awhile. There is a great deal of evidence that an excessive level of sugar(glucose) is one of the primary causes of all types of diseases: dental disease, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are some of the primary ones. So anything we can do to minimize the amount of sugar we consume will have a powerful impact on our health, as well as our hormone balance.

It always comes back to balance…and hormones...remember insulin is a hormone as well. And all of them work together to help you to feel your best. When one or several of your hormones are out of balance, whether this is caused by stress, diet, lifestyle, aging, genetics or environment, the rest of your hormones will strive to get back to balance but often the ‘new balance’ doesn’t feel that way at all.

A feeling of balance and beauty

So mark October 14th on your calendar and do the cleanse with me . I will include more details about what to include as well before I start so stay tuned. As always, we love to hear from you. Please be sure to comment on the blog as well as on Facebook as some of our readers may not be your ‘friend’ and don’t get to see what you are writing.

See you soon. I look forward to your company during these 10 days.

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10 Comments

Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Women's Health & Happiness, Women's Work/Life Balance

10 responses to ““What if one small change could improve your WHOLE life”(tagline on cover of October issue, Whole Living)

  1. Good article and great idea, Kyle. One of our 8 steps to achieving HormoneSynergy is doing a yearly detox following a 21 day anti-inflammatory hypo allerginic diet eathing only organic fruits, vegetables, and free range / organic chicken, turkey, and wild salmon. (thank God we live in the northwest). We also eliminate night shades as these can cause joint pain and of course tomatoes are a big contributor to reflux. In addition to eliminating the most common inflammatory foods, we use either MediClear Plus by Thorne or OptiCleanse GHI by Xymogen to support the liver, reduce inflammation, and support the gut with the nutrients it needs to heal and repair. I personally like detoxing in October.. as I tend to “retox” during the holidays, then detox again in January. Thanks again for the reminder and good luck.

    • Thanks Daniel for the work that you and Kath do and for your insightful comments. I agree about the liver support supplements and I will post a few ideas for our readers by week’s end. Glad you will be ‘cleansing’ along with us!

  2. Anita Reddy

    Great post! I know what you mean by “hit the pause button”! The cleanse sounds like an easy way to bring back balance and empower myself. I like that it is only 10 days long – in the past I started with the intention of giving up sugars and whites for a whole year! Talk about setting yourself up for failure. Thanks Kyle – I look forward to sharing your “cleanse journey”.

    • Anita, so glad you are joining me. It is more fun to do things like this with the support of others. I agree about the ‘setting yourself up for failure’ comment. How often have ALL of us made those lofty and broad promises to never eat this, always make good choices, and so on, only to find out how unrealistic that is? That’s why I like the shorter more focused approach: it is do-able, realistic, mindful and yields wonderful results. Now that’s my kind of ‘cleanse’!

  3. Candace Burch

    Thanks Kyle for challenging us to go greener and cleaner from the inside out…what is so important to emphasize here is that by taking up the challenge to cut out the sugar, wine and ‘whites’ in our diets, we are cutting our risks for breast cancer and/or its recurrence…by eating this way, and detoxing we will be balancing and normalizing blood sugar and insulin levels, thus interrupting the preferred fuel supply to a breast cancer tumor in waiting …..this is an all too timely message to take to heart – especially now, during breast cancer awareness month…Your detox challenge moves us from awareness to ACTION…count me in!

    • That is great that my menopausibilities partner is joining me on this mini-challenge. There are at least 5 of us embarking on this together so it will be fun to compare notes on how we feel and what changes we feel are sustainable after the 10 days are over.I will be poring through my vast recipe and rather large cookbook collections to come up with some new and wonderful meals that I intend to incorporate into my daily life as I move forward. I am looking forward to starting on Sunday. Stay tuned….

  4. jmeskel6875

    Dear Kyle! Wow! You inspire me more than you will ever know!! I just figured out how to join wordpress and be able to comment and you are my very first comment!! I am so excited to do this 10 day cleanse with you! Thank you for sharing this journey on your blog. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for turning my health around and getting me started on a healthier path. You totally figured out my crazy hormones and it has brought me so many gifts!( better sleep, less stress during the day, a start on my weight loss journey, and most of all HOPE for the best 1/3 of my life) . At 65, I am feeling so blessed to have you as my Dr. and cheerleader!! In appreciation to you for all that you have done for me, Joy Meskel

    • I am so proud of you for figuring out how to get onto our blog and how to reply: you are amazing! It has been a joy to work with you(pun intended…) and I love having your company on the cleanse. You have made incredible strides in your health and lifestyle while we have worked together. It is women like you who make me excited to go to work each day: it is so satisfying to partner with individuals who are motivated and are hoping to transform their lives. You are the lesson. Thanks for taking the time to “blog-in”….

  5. Marina Mitchell

    Hi Kyle! When you are cutting sugars, are you including the sugars that are in salad dressings or sauces?? I’m ready to do a cleanse, but want to cut out sugar…I just don’t know how much. I don’t eat candy, cakes, muffins, etc…so the overall sugar component doesn’t seem too hard. Would love to know your input!

    • Hi Marina:
      That is an excellent question. I imagine many people are wondering the same thing so thanks for bringing that up. Yes, I think that so much of the sugar that we consume is ‘hidden’ in sauces, dressings, spreads, etc and that is why reading labels is so very important. Dressings and sauces can taste absolutely delicious without sugar. Making your own will ensure that you put just what you want and know is whole and health-sustaining into it, plus the cost savings are great.
      I attended a cooking class years ago at Caprial’s here in Portland whic is where I learned my go-to recipe for salad dressing. Start with a high quality vinegar(red or white wine/pear/etc): Mix one part of this vinegar, say 1/3 cup, with 2 parts(2/3 cup) of extra virgin olive oil, add 1 tsp Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste, 1-2 tsp minced garlic and some herbs: I like tarragon, approx 1 tsp. Basil is also quite nice. Whisk it up and store the remainder for later. I have used this on most of my salads and as you can see, it contains no sugar. Play around with this and you will develop your own favorite.
      Another easy way to dress a salad without sugar or the other unknown ingredients in salad dressing is to sprinkle your salad with freshly squeezed lemon juice(again, great for your liver’s health), some salt and pepper, and lightly drizzle some olive oil over it. Toss everything and then taste your salad and see if you need to add something else. Often times you don’t.
      Thanks so much for your comment and we would love to hear how the cleanse goes.

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