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Detox Your Summer with Flat Belly Swaps

(THE NOURISHED EPICUREAN) Kathryn Matthews, July 31, 2016 — Would you like a flatter belly—and to feel more confident and comfortable in your own body ASAP?
Do you want to stop feeling perpetually “bloated”?

Do you want to unselfconsciously enjoy a pool party or the beach?

Yes?  Then, let me ask you:

—Does it feel impossible to start your day without several life-affirming cups of coffee?

—Do you need a mid-afternoon sugar or caffeine pick-me-up, usually between 2pm and 4pm?

—Does chocolate call your name after most meals?

—Do you constantly crave starchy carbohydrates—bread, pasta, pizza or sandwiches?

—Do you experience intense cravings for alcohol to help you decompress from the day?

—Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep?

Cortisol and Weight Gain

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then cortisol—also known as the “flight-or-flight” stress hormone—is likely holding you hostage!  Chronically high levels of cortisol can hijack your body and pack on the pounds where you least want it: your waistline.

In my integrative nutrition practice, I help busy professionals reduce multiple stressors in their life, including food sensitivities, which contribute to elevated cortisol levels, and compromised gut health, so that they can experience natural weight loss and increased energy—happy side effects of good digestive health and balanced hormones. To learn more about my work with clients, CLICK HERE.

Summer is the perfect time to detox and reset. Human energy and vitality is at its peak. Fresh produce is abundant, available and delicious with minimal preparation. The body naturally craves lighter, cooling and raw natural foods.

A clean eating cleanse, like my 7-Day Body Reset Cleanse, can help boost energy and jumpstart natural weight release (on average, 3- to 7-pounds) and healthy eating habits.  By focusing on self-care, eating nourishing whole foods (this is not a water fast or juice cleanse—you will be eating!) and eliminating dietary stimulants and high allergenic foods that create inflammation in the body, you help reduce your cortisol levels. My cleanse is available as a Do It Yourself Cleanse or a Guided Cleanse, where you receive my support. Let me be clear: a cleanse is not meant to be a long-term “diet”.  It does, however, give the body a chance to heal and recover from a barrage of daily stressors—environmental, chemical, physical and emotional.

Belly Flattening Swaps

While we can’t escape stress entirely, we can celebrate summer with 5 cortisol-reducing, belly-flattening swaps.

1.  Swap diet sodas for Selzer water or mineral water with freshly squeezed lemon or lime.  Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose (Splenda) or saccharin that boast “zero calories”.  The irony, however, is that because artificial sweeteners don’t trigger the “full” hormone in our brain, drinking “diet “sodas can lead to cravings and overeating—making us fatter! Healthy and deliciously refreshing alternatives to soda are Seltzer with lemon or lime; iced herbal teas; or homemade “spa water” infused with cucumber, herbs or fresh fruit.

2.  Swap coffee for green tea or red tea.
Regular consumption of coffee can disrupt the rhythm of our delicate sleep-wake cycle, disrupting hormonal balance. Coffee also elevates cortisol, one of your body’s key fat-storing hormones.  A gentler choice is hot or iced antioxidant-rich green tea, which contains a fraction of the caffeine in coffee, or rooibos, a red caffeine-free tea, loaded with minerals.  You can enjoy a jitter-free energy lift without raising cortisol.

3.  Swap alcohol for sparkling water or a “mock-tail”.
Though you’ll enjoy an initial buzz, and it can sure feel relaxing, a glass of wine or a high-proof cocktail raises your cortisol levesl, making you more stressed—not less.  Alcohol also disrupts restorative sleep. Too little sleep leads to greater consumption of caffeine and sugar (for “energy”), raising cortisol, which promotes fat storage.  Opt, instead, for a delicious non-alcoholic mocktail, typically a combination of fruit, fresh or dried herbs, aromatics, herbal tea and/or sparkling water.

4.  Swap 100% fruit smoothies for green smoothies.
Yes, fruit is healthy, but overeating fruit is not.  And a commercial fruit smoothie is a sugar bomb. Fruit contains fructose (fruit sugar), which goes directly to the liver, instantly spiking blood sugar and insulin. Too much cortisol (thanks to chronic stress) makes the body more insulin resistant.  Excess insulin and excess cortisol leads to greater fat storage, especially belly fat. A better choice is a green smoothie with a minimum of fruit or added sweeteners.  Your body will thank you for the infusion of vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium, all of which go a long way to reducing cortisol.  A green smoothie will also naturally boost energy.

5.  Swap pasta for zoodles, a.k.a. zucchini noodles.   Under duress, we automatically turn to comfort foods, like pasta and bread.  But your body recognizes refined carbohydrates, like pasta, as sugar (even if it’s “whole wheat”).  A tasty low-carb and cortisol-friendly alternative? Vegetable noodles, like “zoodles” (zucchini noodles).  All you need is a spiralizer to make delectable vegetable noodles from zucchini, beets, turnips, carrots or cucumber.  Best of all, the kids can get in on the fun, making—and eating—oodles of zoodles!

Cool Summer Eats

Zoodles (a.k.a zucchini noodles) with Arugula Pesto
Creamy Raw Cucumber Soup
Watermelon with Fresh Tarragon & Mint
Iced Mint Rooibos

Next Steps for a Flatter Belly 

1.   Detox your summer with a 7-Day Body Reset Cleanse—you can Do-It -Yourselfor get my support in the Guided Body Reset Cleanse (it’s the exact same cleanse for both versions).

2.  Are foods that you’re eating causing inflammation that can manifest as weight gain or bloat?  Consider scheduling a food allergy blood test (typically covered by insurance): call 646-470-1797 or email me at kathryn@kathrynmatthews.com(Subject line: Food Allergy Blood test).

3.  Do you wish that you had a customized eating and lifestyle plan that helped improve your digestive health and balance your hormones, resulting in a leaner version of yourself?  Scheduling a 30-minute consultation with me by phone, SKYPE or in person can help you get clarity on your next steps.  To learn more about my work with clients, CLICK HERE.

Email or call to schedule a consultation: e: kathryn@kathryn-matthews.com  OR t: 646-470-1797.
P.S.  If you think a friend can benefit from this newsletter, please forward and share…

Source: Detox Your Summer with Flat Belly Swaps