We all know that quitting or significantly reducing sugar can have an amazing impact on how we feel and look. It can:
- Reduce belly fat
- Improve mood
- Increase energy
- Clear skin
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve gut health
- Reduce your risk of getting diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart disease
And it doesn’t take that long to start seeing results. You might experience many of the benefits listed above after going sugar-free for just 30 days.
That’s easier said than done, though. Quitting cold turkey can be a painful battle to fight alone, which is why we’ve created our Quit Sugar challenge.
This January, we’re challenging our entire community to cut out all added refined sugar. Our hope is that you connect with others doing the challenge via Instagram and help each other make it through the 30 days and beyond.
And throughout the month we’ll be offering tips on how to beat sugar cravings and keep going (without relying too heavily on alternatives like potato chips or non-refined sweeteners).
How to Participate
- Follow us on Instagram.
- Starting 1/1, avoid all foods that contain any type of refined sugar.
- Post pics of your sugar-free meals on Instagram from 1/1 to 1/31 and use the hashtag #methodfamquitssugar. For each photo, you’ll get an entry into the contest.
- We’ll pick an entry at random the first week of February to win $1000 of Methodology food.
What counts as refined sugar?
For this challenge, we’re asking you to cut out all sweeteners that are processed to the point where they contain zero nutritional value:
- Anything with the word “sugar” (granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cane sugar, etc)
- High fructose corn syrup
- Juice concentrates
- Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine)
Is any kind of sugar or sweetener okay to eat during the challenge?
For the occasions where you might be celebrating or the food you’re eating needs a touch of sweetness to taste balanced, we’re allowing a few natural sweeteners during the challenge that have some nutritional value and are easier for the body to process:
- Maple syrup
- Coconut sugar
However, the goal of the challenge really is to reduce your overall sugar intake. Even these natural sweeteners can prevent you from feeling better if you eat too much. So just because these sweeteners are all right to consume during the challenge, we encourage you to limit how much you use them on a daily basis. We also encourage you to prioritize whole, raw fruit over any other sweet treat as it’s without a doubt the healthiest way for you to hit that sweet spot.
It can be tempting to replace cookies made with sugar for cookies made with honey, and if that temptation is too great or your cravings are extremely strong, our suggestion is to cut out all sweeteners for the month of January (except for whole, raw fruit) to really give your body a chance to overcome the cravings and heal.
Note: Agave is a more controversial sweetener. We do use it in some food items in small amounts, but if you’re not on board with using this sweetener and you are a subscriber, you can add it to your Foods to Avoid list and we won’t assign you food items that contain it.
Do I need to be a Methodology subscriber to win?
Not at all! There’s no purchase necessary in order to win. The only requirements are that you follow us on Instagram and post pictures of your sugar-free meals, whether they’re Methodology meals or your own.
If you win and you’re not a subscriber, we’ll help you get set up with an account once the contest is over so you can redeem your prize.
Are there any other restrictions or rules?
In order to win, you do have to live within our delivery zone (otherwise we won't be able to get our food to you!)
Fortunately, our delivery zone is wider than ever. We deliver to most of the Bay Area (SF, North Bay, South Bay, East Bay, Peninsula), LA county, Santa Barbara county, San Diego county, Ventura county, and Orange county.
If you're unsure whether we deliver to your zip code, you can either sign up for our waitlist where you'll receive an email within 24 hours confirming whether we deliver to you, or you can email us your zip code at email@example.com and we'll get back to you asap!
Okay, the title of this article should really be “How WE Cleared My Adult Acne” because it was a huge team effort with skinSALVATION, my naturopath, and me.
I’m sharing my story with hopes that it will help others who have also suffered with adult acne for years. The latest stats I’ve read say that around 50% of adults suffer from at least mild acne, so if you think this article is helpful, please share it widely.
Why I Had Acne in the First Place
To understand how my acne got so bad in the first place, we need to go all the way back to my college years.
I started college in the year 2000. Back then, student clinics were handing out birth control pills like candy. Every girl I knew was on the pill. I got the pill because I heard it might clear up my skin and make my boobs bigger. What 18 year-old wouldn’t sign up for that?
The pill did, in fact, make my skin clearer. Boobs were unchanged. I was on and off the pill throughout most of my twenties, usually going off it when I was irresponsible and let my prescription lapse or was too lazy to bother getting a new prescription and wasn’t dating anyone at the time.
The biggest problem with the pill was that every time I went off it, my acne came back and seemed to get worse each time. So I felt like I needed to keep taking it.
At one point, my acne got so bad that I was put on the pill, spironolactone, AND antibiotics. This triple combo did clear me up.
Then one day when I was about 29 I was writing an email at work and all of a sudden couldn’t read the letters on the screen. I could tell there were letters there, but I couldn’t make them out. It was like I was staring through kaleidoscope glasses. I looked around and could kind of see things around me, but everything was super blurry and there were patches in my field of vision that were just black. I thought I was going blind. I was scared shitless.
I immediately left work and went to a doctor and found out that I was experiencing an ocular migraine. A neurologist told me that this migraine was caused by the pill and that I should never have been given the pill in the first place because people who get motion sick easily are at high risk of stroke when they take the pill. He told me that he’s seen women very young come in with stroke from the pill. Did any doctor in the history of my nearly decade of getting the pill ever ask me about my motion sickness? No. But this is an entirely different topic that deserves its own separate blog post.
Back to my acne. Without the pill that I could no longer take due to risk of stroke, I started breaking out again, despite being on spironolactone.
It was so bad at this point that even a few months on antibiotics couldn’t improve it. And I couldn’t stay on antibiotics for long because who knew what health problems it would cause by killing both the good and bad bacteria in my body.
How Holistic Treatment Finally Cured Me
At this point, I was over “conventional medicine.” Because it felt like these treatments were only making my acne and general health worse while making me more dependent on the drugs. And nothing was being done to figure out why I was getting acne in the first place.
And by now I had already been eating clean (cutting out gluten, sugar, soy, dairy, and processed food) consistently for years and couldn’t understand why I still had acne despite otherwise being really healthy.
This was when I decided to see a naturopath and go to skinSALVATION.
What followed was a roughly one-year journey to clear skin that required a ton of lifestyle changes.
These were the most important lifestyle changes that finally cured my acne:
1 – I replaced all my skincare products with acne-safe products
The team at skinSALVATION had me bring in all the products that come in contact with my face, including my cleanser, lotion, sunblock, makeup, shampoo, toothpaste, lipsticks, chapsticks, and conditioner. They looked up the ingredients for each and recommended I throw out any items that included at least one comedogenic (ie acne-causing) ingredient. Basically I had to throw everything away. And it was all super premium and mostly organic stuff. I won’t list the brands here because I don’t want to talk shit, but you’d be amazed how many comedogenic ingredients are used in even the most luxurious wellness brands.
I then replaced all of these products with acne-safe products, some from skinSALVATION’s own line and some from other brands that they offer in their store. The skinSALVATION estheticians that I met with monthly changed my regimen regularly based on what my skin needed at the time, sometimes rotating in more moisturizing creams when my skin was dryer or more brightening serums when I had hyper-pigmentation that I wanted to fade.
Key learning #1: just because something is okay for the general population doesn’t mean it’s okay for those who are acne-prone. Acne-prone people like me have to avoid comedogenic ingredients that cause acne. These ingredients are listed on the skinSALVATION website.
Key Learning #2: your skincare routine is like your diet -- it should constantly adjust in response to what your body needs at the time. Don’t just blindly follow what worked for someone else at one point in their life. Observe and listen to your own body and adjust as you go.
2 – I make sure my pillowcases are acne-safe
Think about how many hours a day your face touches your pillowcase. Now think about how often you clean your pillowcase. That naaaaasty, right?
As advised by skinSALVATION, I started replacing my pillowcase at least once a week and switched to an acne-safe laundry detergent. To make this easier on me since I’m too busy to do laundry each week, I bought 12 pillowcases from Amazon that I rotate through.
Key Learning #3: be aware of everything that touches your face and make sure it’s all acne-safe -- your pillowcases, your hands, your makeup, your skincare products, your eye mask, etc.
3 – I cut dairy out COMPLETELY
When I first started seeing Kim at skinSALVATION she asked me how often I ate gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar. I told her I almost never ate gluten, soy, or refined sugar but would eat dairy about twice a month when it was on pizza, which is my favorite food. She advised me to cut dairy out completely for at least 3 months to see what would happen with my acne because she said that dairy is one of the biggest acne triggers with her clients. Telling me not to eat pizza was like telling me not to breathe. But fortunately my vanity won out, so I listened to her.
Also, why did I have to cut dairy out for at least 3 months? Why not a few weeks? Because as I learned from Kim, acne seeds form beneath the skin after you eat something that creates them, and these acne seeds don’t create pimples visible to your eye until about a month later. This is why people have a hard time figuring out which foods give them acne. They think that if they see a pimple it was from something they ate the day before. This isn’t actually the case.
Key Learning #4: when a food gives you acne, eating even tiny amounts of it may still cause massive breakouts. You never know how sensitive your body truly is to something until you cut it out completely to give your body the chance to heal.
Key Learning #5: because acne seeds take so long to become pimples, you have to cut acne-triggering foods out for a few months to really see the benefit of the diet change.
4 – I started taking large doses of fish oil and flaxseed
As advised by my naturopath, I began taking large doses daily of flaxseed and fish oil. Large meaning like 4x what’s on the labels. Why flaxseed and fish oil? Because these supplements help reduce inflammation in the body, and inflammation can cause acne.
Key Learning #6: a lot of people write off supplements as “not working” for them when they’re really not taking the right dose. If your health is compromised, you may need to take a lot more than what’s on the label. Do so under the guidance of a doctor please.
5 – I started wearing less makeup
This was hard. When you have acne, all you want to do is cake on makeup and concealer to cover it up, but all this does is make your acne worse. Even if you use acne-safe makeup products, it’s nice to let your skin breathe.
Now that my skin is clear, I don’t currently use foundation or concealer, just La Bella Donna Powder Sunscreen because it doesn’t clog my pores, it evens out my skin tone just a touch, and it also serves as a sunblock.
Key learning #7: push yourself to think long-term. Trust the process and know that in a few months when you’re clear you won’t need any makeup at all.
6 – I started consuming bone broth daily
Bone broth is rich in collagen, which makes your skin look young and supple. I’m a huge fan of collagen, and it’s hard to get enough of it. This is why we add collagen to a bunch of our Methodology products.
And as I mentioned above, proper dosing with any healing food or supplement is important in getting the desired effect. When I started drinking at least 2 cups of bone broth daily (or having a soup with bone broth, such as pho) consistently for 3 weeks, I finally started noticing the health benefits of collagen: (1) my acne scars started fading a lot more quickly and (2) it gets rid of the eczema that I sometimes get on my elbows when I eat wheat, corn, or soy at restaurants (I eat Methodology 80% of the time and eat out 20% of the time ).
Pro tip: sometimes I get bored of drinking bone broth so I cook my rice in it. It makes my rice taste insanely delicious, and I kill two birds with one stone. This is also a great way to get kids to consume bone broth because what kid doesn’t love rice?!
Key Learning #8: clear skin isn’t just about what you shouldn’t eat but also about what you should be eating more of. Eating bone broth and collagen is a powerful way to give yourself youthful, glowing skin.
7 – I stopped picking my face
This was the hardest one for me to do out of everything on this list. Honestly it took me a year to break my habit of pimple popping. What finally got me to stop? I had to stop looking at my face in the mirror every time I went to the bathroom. So when I wash my hands, I force myself to ONLY look down at my hands and not look up in the mirror.
Another thing that makes it easier to resist popping pimples is setting up appointments for a doctor or esthetician to do it for you. This way you only have to hold out until your next appointment. An esthetician or doctor is more likely to do an extraction properly and make sure that your pimple doesn’t become inflamed and turn into a huge cyst the size of a marble that squats on your face for a month. And when acne is extracted properly, it’s also less likely to scar.
Key Learning #9: the less you touch your face at all, including popping pimples, the clearer your skin will be. And weirdly, the less you pay attention to and obsess over your face, the easier it is to not touch it.
8 – I was patient af
What I just described to you was a 1-year journey. That doesn’t mean it’ll take you a year to clear your acne. It could be a lot faster for you. Or a lot slower.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a year or more. Your body needs time to heal from all the shit you put it through that made it break out in the first place. You probably did years of damage that created your acne, so you can’t expect your body to recover overnight.
Plus, stress itself causes acne. So just trust the process and take constant progress photos to motivate yourself so you know that even though improvements may be slow, they’re still happening.
Key Learning #10: take progress photos of your skin every month. It can be hard to notice subtle improvements in your face, especially if you’re someone who scrutinizes it in the mirror every day. When you see how much your skin changes from month 1 to month 3 you’ll be motivated to keep going even if you aren’t totally clear yet.
Wishing you a lifetime of clear skin
I hope this story has inspired you to take your health into your own hands and do anything and everything you can to clear your acne.
Because I am living proof that acne is curable!!! Without antibiotics, the pill, spironolactone, or any other prescription drugs.
All it took was a holistic approach to healing, disciplined clean living, and tons of patience.
Curing acne is about so much more than which acne creams you put on your skin. You really have to heal your entire body from within by paying attention to your diet, environment, stress, and more. Because your skin is a reflection of what’s happening on the inside.
Sending you positive energy with hopes that very soon you’ll glow from the inside out.
To help you live a joyful life filled with fun dinner outings, we’ve started researching local restaurants to find some options that are delicious and use sustainable, whole foods. Because socializing with loved ones feeds our souls.
First up is Hog Island Oyster Co. This seafood house is famous for the oysters and clams they sustainably raise and harvest in Northern California. Their shellfish is so good that it’s used in some of the top-rated restaurants across the Bay Area in addition to their own restaurants along the Embarcadero and in Marin.
On top of that, the rest of their sustainable seafood and shellfish comes from other farms, local distributors (like TwoXSea and Water2Table), and sometimes straight from local fishermen, earning them a listing as a restaurant partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
While most of their menu is seafood, they also serve other comfort classics if you’re in the mood for a treat, like baby back ribs using pasture-raised pork and grilled cheese made with the famous organic cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. YUM!
A few Yelp reviewers have mentioned that a visit here is worth the wait you might encounter, and we agree. With a seasonal menu and an awesome view of the bay from their location in the Ferry Building, you really can’t go wrong here. They’re open daily for lunch and dinner (and of course, happy hour). Bon appetit!
If you ever heard someone say the following out loud to someone else, they'd be considered a huge jerk, right?
"You're an idiot."
"I can't believe you messed up again."
"You've gotten fat."
"Why are you so lazy?"
But how often do you say things like that... to yourself?
If that is something you do, why do you talk like that to yourself? Maybe you’re scared that if you don’t, you’ll never live up to your full potential. Or maybe you think you deserve it.
Is that really true? And what would life be like if you were as compassionate to yourself as you are to people you care about?
What self-criticism really does to you
At first glance, self-criticism might seem to work really well in the short-term. When you make a mistake and you punish yourself for it, your disappointment prevents you from making that mistake again. Success.
But what if you’re in the middle of a big presentation and you make a mistake? Self-criticism keeps your attention on the mistake as you’re trying to move forward. When your focus splits like this, the more likely it’ll be you’ll make another mistake, which splits your focus even further. It’s a downward spiral that’s difficult to escape. And it can happen in any area of your life, not just work. Imagine this happening on a first date or in the middle of your workout class.
Even worse, it’s not just limited to one area of your life, even if it starts out that way. The more you tell yourself you aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough, talented enough, good enough, etc., the more that gets ground into your subconscious.
Your subconscious mind is responsible for up to 95% of what the brain processes, including making sure your actions are consistent with your thoughts. So by telling your subconscious mind you aren’t good enough too many times, you start to act that way as well in all areas of your life.
So what’s the alternative?
What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion is the practice of seeing yourself the same way you see your friends and family: as a person who deserves empathy, love, and care despite your flaws and mistakes.
In other words, stop judging yourself so much!
It sounds so simple, but it’s hard for us to overcome the fears that keep us tethered to self-criticism, like:
I’ll screw up more if I let go of self-criticism
Perfectionists often believe that with a little more effort, they can be perfect. But that’s just not possible. So let go of that idea. All the energy and focus you put into being perfect is suddenly freed up for what you’re actually doing, which makes it likely that over time you’ll perform better. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy what you’re doing more, so you’ll focus on how much you love what you’re doing rather than on potential mistakes you’re making.
Putting myself first is selfish or narcissistic
Giving yourself what you need and putting up boundaries allows you to do your best work and take care of the people you love more easily. It’s just like using an oxygen mask on an airplane. If you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you’ll be conscious to put masks on other people who might need your help. If you put the mask on others first, you’ll pass out and be left without oxygen.
I’ll become lazy if I’m not criticizing myself
Practicing self-compassion means recognizing what you need. And part of what humans need is to feel like they’re fulfilling their potential. It’s difficult to do that while binge-watching TV. There might be periods of more rest and less doing, but at some point you’ll want to get back up and start accomplishing again. You might even push yourself more when you practice self-compassion because now you don’t have a voice in your head telling you you’re not capable.
The most important thing to remember is that self-compassion is a process. It’s not something that happens overnight, but a series of lifelong practices that are applied over and over as you continue to grow and become more confident.
The benefits of self-compassion
The biggest benefit of self-compassion is that you’ll find yourself a healthier, happier person. And it’s not just because you’re not telling yourself how terrible you are anymore.
When you start to focus on your needs and desires first, you see how much impact you can have on the world. You spend more time on what you care about and the things that make you feel great and less on what you’re “supposed to do,” which makes you feel accomplished and engaged on a regular basis.
As you focus on your own needs and progress, you also spend less time comparing yourself to others. You realize that focusing on whether someone else is happier than you or more successful than you is only adding to your sense of lack. Self-compassion helps you focus on how much you’ve grown rather than how amazing you could be if only you were more like someone else, which will never happen.
Show yourself some compassion
As good as all that sounds, transitioning to a self-compassion mindset can be a scary process if you’re used to clinging to self-criticism. So how do you make that transition for yourself?
1. Recognize the moments when you’re being harsh toward yourself
Most people don’t realize how critical their inner dialog is because they’re so used to it, they assume it’s normal. When you actually voice those thoughts, that’s when it hits you how harsh those thoughts are. So write down your thoughts and read them out loud as if you’re reading them to a friend. Even when it’s pretend, it’s hard to believe the words that are coming out of your mouth. Seeing that is the first step to changing how you talk to yourself.
2. Change the message
Through a vision statement or daily mantras, start to change the message ingrained in your subconscious. Use the thoughts you wrote down to find the messages your subconscious needs to hear: I am worthy of love, I use my mistakes to learn and grow, I am beautiful, I am capable, I am enough. You might not believe the mantras at first, but the more you use them the more they seep into your subconscious, replacing your self-critical thoughts. It helps to say them out loud or write them down for 1-2 minutes every time your self-critical thoughts come up until you start feeling like they’re true.
3. Take time for yourself everyday
Whether that’s five minutes or an hour, make sure you take some time to connect with yourself, what you want, and how you want to feel. Practices like meditation or journaling can help you dig into your needs, as can meditative movement like yoga, tai chi, or walking in nature. Take note of areas of self-care you’ve been ignoring, actions you’ve been taking that don’t feel congruent with who you are, actions you’ve been wanting to take but haven’t, and areas of your life where you need to set up boundaries.
4. Start taking care of yourself
Take action on the items you’ve noted during your reflection time. The key is to start small. Unless radical change is absolutely necessary, implement one or two things on your list at a time until they start to feel routine. Then implement the next one or two things on your list. Small steps build up your confidence and make the changes in your life less overwhelming so that you’re more likely to build them into habits you’ll use all your life.
We want to support you on your journey to self-compassion, and the best way we know how is to help you nourish your body with whole foods. Giving your body high-quality protein and vegetables helps you perform at your best. And having meals pre-made means you can give yourself the best food and free up your time for more self-care.
Want to give it a try? Sign up for our waitlist or learn more about what we do.
Since there are so many toxins to be exposed to in the world today, supporting your body's detoxifications systems is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Toxin build ups can lead to a number of issues, including fatigue, headaches, rashes, hives, increased inflammation (and therefore greater risk of disease), and more. So one of the best ways to feel your absolute best is to keep your detoxification systems running smoothly.
What are some ways to detox and how effective are they?
Juice cleanses are probably what comes to mind when you think of detoxification. The point of the cleanse is to give your body a break with something that is is easy to process and still gives you tons of nutrients. Afterward, you’re supposed to feel shiny and new because your liver and digestive system have had the chance to get rid of any toxins building up due to the fact you’ve only ingested fruit and vegetable juice for at least a few days.
However, juice cleanses tend to have a lot of side effects of their own. One of the biggest is the significant reduction of calories for several days. While vitamins and minerals are critical to functioning, calories are equally critical to ensure you have enough energy to get through the day. Without enough calories, you risk slowing down your metabolism tremendously and feeling lethargic or lightheaded throughout the cleanse.
And there are other parts of food your body uses as well, like protein (for essential amino acids and muscle building), fat (for energy, hormone creation, and absorbing certain vitamins and minerals), and fiber (to help food move through your digestive tract and slow the breakdown of carbohydrates so you don’t spike your blood sugar levels). So going on a long-term cleanse means you’re depriving your body of its building blocks, which can harm a number of your organs while trying to give them a rest.
Sadly, you might not even be giving them the rest you think you’re giving them. The last big issue with juice cleanses is the amount of sugar you’re intaking. Even if you’re fresh pressing the juice yourself, it's still processed by your body like sugar. And without pulp and fiber to slow down the absorption of the juice, your blood sugar spikes and your liver has to process all that extra glucose in a short amount of time as insulin brings your blood sugar to normal levels. One glass of juice isn’t terrible, especially when consumed with other food. But when you’re drinking it multiple times a day without food for multiple days, that puts a huge amount of strain on your liver.
If you're going to attempt a cleanse, a 1-2 day bone broth cleanse is a better bet than a long-term juice cleanse (since fresh-made bone broth contains so many nutrients and tissue-healing collagen). But cleanses aren't meant to be done often, and you're probably better off doing long-term maintenance work that isn't as harsh on your boy than short-term cleanses.
Unlike juice cleanses, intermittent fasting is a practice that happens continually over the course of months or years and doesn’t deprive the body of what it needs when done correctly.
Most people might think of fasting as a way to consume fewer calories and therefore lose weight over time. However, weight loss isn’t actually the main benefit of fasting. In fact, many people find they don’t lose significant amounts of weight (and if they fast incorrectly they might find themselves gaining weight).
The main benefit really is to give your body a rest. And with that can come many benefits. Some people have seen a faster metabolism, decreased blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and decreased blood glucose after doing intermittent fasting for a few weeks.
Unfortunately, these benefits depend on a number of factors (like gender, health history, amount of time fasted, types of food consumed during the “feast” period). But one of the most interesting finds is that decreased inflammation seems to happen across the board.
There still isn’t a clear reason as to why this happens, but one hypothesis is that you’re consuming fewer toxins over the course of a week (because you’re consuming less food containing toxins), making it easier for your body to filter them out. Kind of like the idea behind juice cleanses, only with limited deprivation periods and much more support for your body’s needs.
So how does it work? There are many flavors of intermittent fasting, like:
- Alternate day fasting - eat for 24 hours then fast for 24 hours and repeat. In the most popular version, you eat breakfast and lunch one day, then fast until dinner the following day
- One meal a day - the first time you break your fast is at dinner time, with perhaps a few light snacks here and there during the day. This pattern happens every day
- 14-16 hour fast - this is a “skip breakfast” model where you stop eating after dinner and don’t eat again until lunch time (some people still have 3 meals, they just start breakfast around noon and have shorter breaks between lunch and dinner)
- 12 hour fast - the easiest fast of all, and one you’re probably already doing. This simply means you stop eating after dinner and wait 12 hours to eat breakfast the next morning
The more extreme versions of intermittent fasting tend to get the best results, but also tend to have the most risk of slowing down your metabolism and throwing off your hormones if things don’t go as planned. Extreme forms seem to work best for men, while women are recommended to stick to a 12-14 hour fast as they’re more susceptible to ending up with hormone imbalances. And skipping meals isn’t recommended for people with health conditions unless your doctor gives you the all clear.
But no matter who you are, if you’re looking to try intermittent fasting you should start slow and keep records of metrics like blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and weight to make sure they’re not getting thrown off. The good news is that studies have shown that if these metrics are thrown off, they tend to recalibrate after going back to a normal eating schedule.
Your lungs are important detoxification organs that are often forgotten. When you breathe, they absorb oxygen from the air and expel carbon dioxide from your body to keep your red blood cells functioning. The better your lungs can take in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide, the more energetic you’ll feel and the better your body will function.
Deep breathing works in two ways to support your lungs. First, you’re allowing your lungs to fully expand and contract so they can work to their full capacity. And second, when you train your body to breathe deeply, you strengthen your lungs and make it easier for your body to breathe deeply in the future, even when you’re not thinking about it.
To start training yourself to breath more deeply:
- Sit up straight or lie on the floor
- Put a hand on your diaphragm (the stomach area just below where your rib cage meets) and the other on your lower abdomen
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, focusing on filling your lower abdomen with air first, then your lungs (you’ll feel your lower abdomen rise first and then your diaphragm)
- Hold the breath for a few counts (2-4 works well to start)
- Exhale fully through your mouth
- Repeat for 5 minutes
You want to make sure you exhale for just as long, if not longer than you inhale to make sure you’re fully expelling carbon dioxide from your body. Breathing patterns that tend to work well for people are:
- Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4
- Inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8
While you’re strengthening your lungs, you’ll also be reducing stress (and cortisol levels) and activating the parasympathetic nervous system (which helps you digest food better) so you’ll be detoxing your body in other ways as well.
Deep breathing is beneficial for everyone and something that can be done once a day or many times a day.
For centuries bitter foods, especially bitter greens, have been used to promote good digestion. While ancient civilizations might not have known the science behind it, we now know that this is in large part due to how bitter foods support the liver.
Bitter foods help the liver produce bile, which is crucial for breaking down and processing fats found in food. Bile is also used to dispose of waste products produced by your blood cells.
When you add in that bitter greens have large amounts of fiber to help move food through the digestive tract, you can see why they’re so good for your digestive system.
How do you get more of these into your diet? First you’ll want to start small and get used to eating them if you aren’t already. It might take a bit of time, but the more bitter foods you eat, the more you’ll tolerate them and even want to eat them. Then you can work your way up to eating them a few times a week or even daily.
Bitter foods include:
- Dandelion greens and dandelion tea
- Broccoli rabe
- Collard greens
- Coffee (without cream or sugar)
- Nettles and nettle tea
- Mustard greens
And remember, you don’t need to eat large amounts of these to reap the benefits. Even adding a few pieces of endive or radicchio to a salad to start off supports your liver and can help you work your way up to eventually eating an arugula-based salad.
Perhaps the easiest way to flush toxins out of your system is with good, old-fashioned water. Keeping hydrated ensures your kidneys work properly to process water-soluble toxins out of your body.
Water also supports other detoxification systems in your body. It’s used by your endocrine system to carry toxins out through your skin (aka sweat) and it’s used by your intestines to keep things, well, moving.
Making sure you’re drinking at least 64 ounces of water (or more) is one of the most powerful ways to prevent toxins from building up in your body and the most beneficial thing you can do for your body in general besides getting adequate sleep.
Speaking of the endocrine system, exercise allows you to work up a sweat so you can release toxins through the skin and prevent them from building up in your glands.
On top of that, exercise helps lymph fluid to circulate through your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to keep lymph moving through the different nodes, vessels, and organs in your body on its own, so it needs you to activate it to keep everything moving.
While more vigorous exercise (like running, weight-lifting, or boxing) works best to activate the endocrine system, less vigorous exercise (like yoga or gentle walking) works best to circulate the lymphatic system. So be sure to mix it up!
(What else circulates the lymphatic system? Staying hydrated and deep breathing. Pretty cool how it all fits together, right?)
Last but not least, keeping your body nourished with whole foods supports all the detoxification systems in your body by giving your body's many processes and organs exactly what they need to function. Or if you’d rather look at the flip side, avoiding foods that create more toxicity in your body (like sugar and processed foods) helps keep your organs from working too hard and toxins from building up. So whichever way you want to look at it, you’re helping yourself detox.
This can be one of the harder items to implement because it takes a lot of time to either find a restaurant that serves high quality food or to make it yourself. That’s why we created Methodology. We want it to be easy to eat whole foods (that are also delicious).
Every meal we serve comes with high quality protein and a full serving of vegetables (which sometimes includes bitter greens) to make sure you’re eating food that supports and nourishes your body as much as possible. And we’ve banned refined sugars, flours, and oils, preservatives, and artificial coloring from our kitchen so you never have to worry about the quality of the food you’re eating.
Want to give our meals a try? Sign up for our waitlist or learn more about what we do.
Where do you want to be in a year?
It’s not a question that many of us stop to think about because it’s hard enough to get through the week or even the day without worrying about a year out.
But if we never stop to think about where we want to be, we wake up one day and wonder, what have I accomplished? Is it what I actually want to accomplish? Why haven’t I accomplished more?
Nurses and hospice workers say that one of the biggest regrets that people have on their deathbeds is not living the life they wanted to.
But it doesn’t need to be this way if you choose to live life intentionally and authentically.
Where do you want to go?
Think about your last vacation. How much time did you spend planning it? My guess is you spent a total of at least 10-20 hours deciding where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to eat, where to sightsee, and what activities to do.
Why? Because you only get so much time off per year and want to make the most of it. And with at least a little planning and research, you’re more likely to have an amazing vacation.
If you can benefit so much from spending a little extra time planning two weeks of your life, imagine how much more you could benefit by planning the other 50 weeks of your life. You can go from living a life that feels like a hamster wheel to living a life filled with intention and purpose. Whether you think about it often or not, you only have so much time to live on this earth. Why not give yourself the best chance at living a life you’ll love?
The role of your subconscious mind
Even if you have a plan for where you’d like to be, you still might not be living that way. It’s not because you’re lazy or not good enough, and it’s also not because it’s too hard or you don’t have enough time. It’s because it isn’t ingrained in your subconscious mind yet.
Your subconscious mind is responsible for the automated part of your life: habits, automatic processes like breathing, reactions like the fight or flight response, forming memories, interpreting what’s happening around you, and creating beliefs about how we should live and how the world works. Up to 95% of what your brain processes happens in the subconscious mind so you don’t spend huge amounts of energy processing all the minute details of your day.
So any time you introduce new behaviors or beliefs into your life, it’s going to feel strange. Not only does it take significantly more energy to integrate these into your life, but they also might conflict with previous behaviors or beliefs already ingrained in your subconscious mind. And when that happens, your subconscious mind is actively going to fight against you.
So when you’re planning out where you want to be in a year, you need to figure out what you want to achieve and change and you need to get your subconscious mind to embrace that plan.
The personal vision statement
That’s where a personal vision statement comes in handy. It acts as your guiding force for who you want to be and what you want to achieve, plus it makes it easier for your subconscious mind to accept your new plan as the status quo.
So how do you create and use a personal vision statement in your life?
1. What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
Often when we think about what we want to do in our life, we think about something broad that might get done in the next 5 to 10 years. At first, that feels less stressful because we have so much time to get what we want done. But it also makes it harder to make concrete plans because it’s harder to wrap our brains around where to start and what steps we need to take.
By narrowing your focus to a year, you’re more likely to be specific about what you want to accomplish (i.e. I want to write and publish two books this year vs I want to be an author), making it easier to break your plans into manageable steps that can be performed over the course of the year. And with specifics, you’ll probably find you can get a lot more done than you thought you could.
So start by making a list of what you’d like to do in all areas of your life, including work, family, other relationships, health, and spirituality. Don’t be afraid if the list looks too challenging right now. We’ll come to that.
2. Write your vision statement
When you’re writing your vision statement, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:
- Write it in the present tense: When you write in the present tense, you’re telling your subconscious mind that you’re already doing these things, even if you’re not. The funny thing is, your subconscious mind believes you because it can’t tell the difference between real life and an imaginary visualization that it's told is true. This is what concepts like the Law of Attraction and mantras are built off of, and amazingly they work as long as we pair them with action.
- Be descriptive: The more descriptive you are, the easier it will be to see yourself as the person you want to be. Visual descriptions especially make it easier to solidify what you’re working to become.
- Write them by hand: This isn’t absolutely necessary, but when you write your vision statement by hand, you use parts of your brain that don’t get activated when you type. This helps you ingrain the visualization even deeper into your mind.
So what does it look like when it’s finished? Let me show you with an example.
I am a multi-dimensional mom. I work a full-time job in a field I’m passionate about. Every day I come home at 5pm and put my electronics away so I can focus on my kids until they go to bed. Three days a week I wake up early to fit a workout in so I am on top of my game. Every night I write about my day in my journal to process and release everything that happened so I get the best sleep possible. Twice a month, my husband and I go out by ourselves to deepen our relationship. I model balance, love, and joy for my kids every day so they can grow up and know how to create those attributes in their own lives.
Some of this might be true right now, and some or all of it might not. What's most important is that this statement uniquely represents your desires for where you want to be in all areas of your life a year from now.
3. Read your vision statement every day
Writing your vision statement down once doesn’t make it magically come true. Just like a new habit, your vision gets integrated into your subconscious over time, which means you need to make sure that you’re using it every day.
Reading it out loud uses different parts of your brain (like writing by hand) and helps integrate it further into your subconscious. But if it’s difficult to read it out loud, just reading it every day and visualizing it as true is a great start.
Visualization can also be incorporated at the beginning or end of your daily meditation practice because it’s a lot easier to form a new habit by tacking it onto an existing habit. Or you can write your vision statement out again every morning to get those extra motor skills involved. The more you do any of these and visualize your statement as true, the more your subconscious will believe it and the easier it will be to actually become this person.
4. Find your action steps
It’s not uncommon to write a vision statement and then ask yourself, how in the world am I going to do this? If you’re challenging yourself, it probably feels difficult to plan all of this out and get it all done. It might even feel terrifying.
That’s why you need to list out what you need to do accomplish this year and then integrate those action steps into your days.
Start with a list of all the action steps you think you'll need to do to make your vision a reality. Things like:
- Going to the gym 3 times a week
- Writing 1 blog post a week
- Putting away work after 7pm
- Getting 8 hours of sleep
- Attending 1 professional conference every quarter
Break down any tasks that require multiple steps so your list reflects how tasks will actually need to be accomplished (i.e. If you’re writing a blog post, you’ll need to create tasks to research, write, edit, and publish).
Then, schedule all recurring tasks into your calendar. For tasks that don’t need to be done at a specific time, schedule them as early in the day as possible to ensure they’ll actually get done. The later you schedule tasks, the more likely something will come up to prevent you from doing them. So you want to make sure that the most important tasks for your vision get done first to ensure they get done the day they’re supposed to be done.
Finally, you’ll take everything else from your list and prioritize them from most important to least important. You’ll probably want to keep this list on a program that’s easily updated so you can continue to add to this list or rearrange it as necessary.
5. Integrate your vision statement into your daily life
As you read your personal vision statement each morning (or at night if you plan your days the night before), choose the 3 most important action steps you’re going to take for the day. For instance:
- Get a 30 minute pilates session in at 5:30am before the kids wake up
- Write out a proposal for a new project at work
- Play soccer with the kids for 30 minutes while they take a break from homework
This includes any recurring tasks you already have scheduled for the day that support your vision.
Three doesn’t seem like much, but when we have more than that it becomes difficult to prioritize and finish everything. When you limit yourself, you ensure you’ll be making progress on your most important goals and have a much better chance at completing your most important goals every day.
Once you have those three items, schedule them into your calendar, giving them the appropriate amount of time to complete them. Again, make sure they’re scheduled as early in the day as possible.
Only when those are scheduled do you look at the rest of your day and schedule anything else that you want to get done. But remember, the only three things you’re absolutely committing to are the three items on your to do list. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
6. Re-evaluate on a regular basis
The beauty of your vision statement is that it’s yours, and just like you it can change. You should re-evaluate your statement every 6-12 months to make sure it still aligns with who you are and what you want to accomplish. If not, then feel free to tweak it until it feels right again and use that to guide the next 6-12 months.
I like to re-evaluate my vision every year on my birthday, but you can use any date that will act as marker to remind you it’s time for a re-evaluation.
You deserve to live a fulfilling life that you love, but you’re the only one that can make it happen. Even though setting up a vision can take some time, and maybe even create a big shift in how you structure your day, I promise it’s worth it.
One of the best ways to support your vision is to keep yourself at the top of your game. We’d love to help you do that with our nutrition-packed meals. Our culinary team hand crafts every meal with attention and care to make sure you’ll receive meals that keep you feeling energetic and taste delicious.