Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 20/20

When you're on a cleanse, you'll probably find that your eyes and skin are clearer. That's because alcohol is inflammatory and you haven't been exposed to it for days, even weeks at a time. Inflammatory substances have long been associated not just with red eyes, but with causing cancer. So it's really important to manage how much of them you're exposed to.

But alcohol is also a diuretic - meaning it's dehydrating to your body when you indulge too much. The reason you have a headache when you're hungover is because the amount of liquid in your brain has decreased, effectively "shrinking" it away from the skull.

When you're cleansing, you'll definitely appreciate waking up without a modicum of a hangover and the experience will put you in touch with the potentially damaging effects of even a "normal" night of drinking. Cleansing is all about working alcohol into your life in a healthy, enjoyable way - and the first-hand information that you'll get through regular cleansing will help you become aware of the real effects of it on your system.

Here's a great natural anti-inflammatory tea. It's always fun to find delicious, new substitutes for my wine consumption that are sugar-free because sugar is also very inflammatory and there's no use exchanging one problem for another. This recipe is really easy too:

Heat a cup of water to about 100 degree F. (Tea water doesn't necessarily have to be boiling)

In a tea ball or fine strainer add:

5-6 black peppercorns
5-6 whole cloves
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
1 stick of cinnamon
4-5 dried cardamom pods

Let the ingredients steep for 15 minutes or more in the warmed water. Remove the tea ball and enjoy. I got this recipe from a book published by the National Ballet School where I started taking adult ballet lessons this year. These particular spices have been used for hundreds, even thousands of years, in many cultures not just for their flavor, but for healthy benefits as well. This tea is also anti-inflammatory - and the ginger is great for settling your stomach - so if you do have a hangover, it's an easy, delicious tonic as well.

You can also put the tea in the fridge and drink it cold. I sometimes like to pour it into a stemless wine glass when it's finished steeping, rather than a cup. It makes it feel more special. If you need a sweetener, stay away from refined sugar and use agave nectar instead. It has less of an impact on your blood sugar.

"A Dancer's Guide to Healthy Eating" by Alyson Yamada and Rebecca Dietzel (National Ballet School:

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