Who doesn’t want to be healthier? Thankfully, it’s the baby steps that really count
It’s not rocket science, this business of wellness. In fact, all you need is 15 minutes a day and you’ll be well on your way. Be healthier with tips from Toronto naturopathic doctor Sara Celik (also a spokesperson for Renew Life). She shares how to maximize these daily moments for a healthier 2018.
What three things are dragging us away from good health and our goals to be healthier?
“Number one is our addiction to our digital devices. The more connected we are to our devices, the more disconnected we are to ourselves. Fundamentally, good health starts with being connected to your own body. Your body communicates with you every single day. When there’s bloating, your body is telling you something. When your skin is itchy, your body is telling you something. When you’re not as sharp and your memory isn’t what it used to be, your body is telling you something. But we’re not paying attention because we’re too plugged in. We have our devices with us all day, from our morning bathroom call to our dinner table.
“Number two is our food. Our food is so different today than it was 100 years ago. Researchers have sampled soil from 100 years ago and compared it to today’s soil and it’s completely different in terms of nutritional and mineral value because of pesticides, herbicides and pollution. As a result, our food has changed. Also, a lot of people are overeating, consuming the wrong things or not paying attention to nutritional value. We’re trained to eat what tastes good, not what does good, and there’s a big difference.
“Number three is a combination of our stressful, modern, chemical lifestyle. Everything is artificial. Our bodies aren’t designed to meet today’s demands, and we’re not honouring the simple things we need, such as getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and sitting down when it’s time to eat.”
Do you think stress is the biggest issue that women come to you with as patients? Is that sort of the crux of everything?
“That and hormones – the two go together. Women’s hormones go out of whack due to stress. Take menopause, for example: We’re meant to go through menopause – it’s a natural part of life. But when women have a lot of symptoms or difficulty dealing with menopause, nine times out of 10 it’s because they’re also leading high-stress lives.”
We kind of ignore the stress or feel like “Well, that’s just my life. It’s stressful – whatever. I can deal with it.” But we really should be paying attention to it, right?
“We should be paying attention, and I ask my patients, “Do you have 15 minutes a day?” We’re not asking for five hours a day; we’re looking at those small steps you can take every single day that – trust me – will have a huge impact at the end of a year.”
What are you suggesting that people do in those 15 minutes?
“Use those minutes to get connected and be present. Put away your phone, find a room or space where you can be on your own and just try to connect. When people get connected, they understand their symptoms a little more because they’re in tune. We often ignore symptoms until they get louder and are screaming at us, but if people pay attention to the subtle, small signs, they can address an issue before it becomes a big, chronic issue.”
Detoxing fits into this idea of reconnecting with yourself and listening to your body to be healthier. You advocate for total body cleansing versus colon cleansing. Why is that important?
“We often associate cleansing with the colon, but we need to recognize that there are other pathways of elimination beyond the colon. In fact, there are seven pathways of elimination: liver, lungs, lymphatic system, blood, colon, kidneys and skin. We eliminate through all those pathways, so our cleanses are total body cleanses. Also, Renew Life is a digestive care company, which means we honour the digestive system. We recognize that the digestive system is the engine in a person’s body. If your engine isn’t working, you won’t absorb nutrients, you’ll feel lousy and your body will tell you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be with your digestive system either. Your skin is also a reflection of what’s happening inside.”
“As naturopathic doctors, we treat eczema, acne, psoriasis, rashes, redness and rosacea on the inside. Even if we give a topical coagulant to soothe irritation, we always look at gut health because toxicity in the gut is the reason why skin shows symptoms – it’s an indicator of what’s happening on the inside.”
Can you start a cleanse without seeing a doctor first?
“Yes, most people know when they need a cleanse. Their body cues them: They feel tired or sluggish or their digestion is off. Even if somebody doesn’t necessarily have symptoms, we have to recognize our exposure to toxins and acknowledge that every single person needs a cleanse. There are some people who shouldn’t cleanse – those who are pregnant or nursing, take certain medications or have autoimmune diseases – but most people will generally feel when it’s time for a cleanse.”
How often should you do a cleanse to be healthier?
“At least twice a year, and some people will do it seasonally. It doesn’t always have to be a 30-day cleanse – some will do a seven-day cleanse. It depends on the individual, but at least twice a year.”
This Q+A has been edited and condensed.