Day 2: Nourish
Prima's 5-Day Stress Detox Nourish Your Body With Plants
It makes perfect sense that what we eat - what we put in our bodies every day - is going to impact how we feel.
Food is one of the powerful restoring and nourishing tools, and yet when it comes to stress, our relationship with food often becomes fraught. Yes, there’s the classic ‘stress eating’ phenomenon where we try to soothe ourselves by eating so-called comfort food like baked goods. But the connection between our diet and our mood goes much deeper - in the physiology of our body and mind.
“Eating added sugars, dairy, and glutens can be very inflammatory for the body,” explains Elissa Goodman, a certified holistic nutritionist and author of Cancer Hacks. “When your body is inflamed, it won’t function properly. It won’t be as energized, you won’t be as mentally clear and it can lead to health issues.” Not to mention the rollercoaster ride of your blood sugar levels. Her prescription is to eat a more plant-based diet, nourishing your body with nutrients at a cellular level by consuming juiced greens and pureed soups. “The body knows how to metabolize these foods easily so when you digest them it absorbs the nutrients so you have more energy,” she explains.
In terms of stress relief, she swears by mineral-rich complex carbs. “When you’re eating sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, quinoa, legumes, they’re full of minerals that are essential to keeping your neurological system on the calmer side,” Goodman says. In the winter, she recommends pureed vegetable soup - even for breakfast - to comfort and soothe.
Another piece of the stress-relief diet puzzle: staying hydrated.
“When we’re dehydrated, our organs - major cleansing agents in our body - get prunish and don’t function properly so they can’t detox,” Goodman explains. “Your heart rate increases, putting your body into a stress state, and your digestive system doesn’t work as well.” Dehydration is also linked to a decrease in mood and cognitive performance.
Start your day - before any coffee or juice - by drinking 16 to 24 ounces of warm water to flush your digestive tract. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime for extra points, to get some of the citrus’ immune-boosting benefits. Goodman also recommends adding a mineral or electrolyte supplement. Electrolytes are the minerals in your blood, such as sodium and potassium, that can help your body regulate fluid levels and keep you hydrated longer. Even adding a pinch of Himalayan sea salt to your water can make a difference.
As with any new habit, be patient with yourself - these things take time and you probably won’t be able to do them all at once. But taking one small change a day consistently will add up to a lot of stress-relief in the long-run. It’s all about incremental, slow, meaningful growth.
Believe in yourself, and remember that you are worthy of this effort - self-love starts with today, and these tools and tips are part of the journey.