This giveaway is now closed.  Check back soon for the winners!

De-cluttering means getting rid of the junk that  trips you up. When we think of spring cleaning, we often think of the the rooms, closets, pantries and cupboards in our home.

But it is just as important to de-clutter our  body as our physical home.

Our inner environment  needs to be calm and tranquil if we are going to contribute calm and  peace to our outer environment. Pollutant, stimulants, foods  that are difficult to digest, and synthetic chemicals are all types of  “noisy” foods that disrupt our systems and strain our detox organs.

When  we eat whole, real foods, they filter into our body slowly and quietly. Noisy foods bombard our systems and senses, producing intense highs and  lows, sending our blood sugar levels, water balance and hormones out of  whack.

We all need a tune up from time to time to clear out  these kinds of foods from our body.

Lower Your Noise Level

Think about these three types of “noise” in a diet: refined sugar, caffeine and chemical additives. Consider how your body and mind react  after eating them. Pay attention to your energy levels, your moods, and your mental focus. Lessening these ingredients helps us regain balance, calm and health.

1.  Refined Sugar

Identify the sources of  refined sugar in your diet.

We know the obvious offenders like candy, sweet baked goods, cookies or ice-cream, but there are also hidden forms of sugar in many processed foods.

Did you know that a leading brand of spaghetti sauce has more sugar per serving than a leading brand of hot fudge sauce?  Crazy, but true.  Sugar is added to many items to make them taste more appealing and addictive.

Begin to read the labels on processed  foods, take note of the sugary treats or drinks you consume, and think about where you add sugar (like in your morning  coffee or tea).

Bring more  natural sweetness into your diet.

We are hardwired to enjoy and crave the sweet taste. Increasing the amount of healthy sweetness in our diet is an excellent way to reduce our dependence on refined sugar, while still meeting the need for sweet on our tongue.

Carrots, sweet potato,  squashes, and fresh fruits (especially berries) are all natural ways to add  the taste of sweet without the jolt of refined sugar.

Avoid substituting in artificial sweeteners.

We’ll talk more about  this later, but replacing refined sugar with  artificial chemicals in your diet is not a healthy solution.

Reset your senses.

Have you ever  gone off sugar and sweets for a few days, and then found that an apple was exquisitely sweet and satisfying?

When our taste buds are  overwhelmed with intense flavors we begin to lose the ability to  recognize the subtle and satisfying nature of whole, real foods.

An excellent way to recalibrate your senses is to go on a short, food-based cleanse. I’ll share more about the cleansing book I wrote in a moment.

Photo by Bah Humbug

2.  Caffeine

Slowly wean the amount you consume.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant. If your body ingests a large amount daily, your system grows dependent on it.  Going cold turkey off caffeine may cause headaches or bowel  upset.

Take special note of times when you rely on caffeine for  an energy  boost. This will give you important information on when you need to  provide your body with healthy, energy giving sources of whole foods.

A step-down process to kicking the coffee habit is:

  • Drink equal amounts of water every time you have a caffeine drink.
  • Shift your coffee or tea  to decaf, beginning with half caf/half decaf for a few days.
  • Reduce the number of cups of coffee you  drink each day by one half.

Fuel your mornings with a high energy, natural  breakfast.

Mornings are a common time to depend on caffeine for energy. The more you rely on caffeine for your morning jolt, the less likely you are to consume a hearty and healthy whole foods breakfast.

Try a veggie egg omelet, protein smoothie, or whole  grain and fruit hot cereal to give you the healthy energy and protein  you need to start the day.

3.  Chemical Additives and Fake  Foods

The food industry has built an empire marketing  chemicals to us as real foods. Artificial preservatives, colors,  flavorings, hydrogenated oils– these additives all put a strain on your  systems of detoxification.  They simply gunk up our gears.

Identify the sources of chemical additives and synthetic foods in your diet.

Check out this post on  how to identify red flag additives in the foods you buy. Know how to quickly identify off limits additives so you can make easy decisions in the grocery isle.

Wean out processed foods from your diet.

Real food is made in kitchens, not labs. As you move away from processed foods, take out the biggest offenders first. Stick to this advice:  “If you can’t assemble the ingredients in  your own kitchen, don’t buy it.”

Make things from  scratch that you normally purchase at the store.

Photo by Pink Sherbet

The truth is, no one’s diet is perfect. We all could benefit from a break from foods that strain and burden our system.

Maybe  it’s time for a healthy tune up?

Spring is for clearing out,  reviving, energizing. Our inner clutter  deserves just as much attention as our outer clutter.

Cleansing can be a very effective way to spring cleanse from the inside out. That’s why I wrote the ebook, The Real Food Cleansing Guide. In the book, I take you, step by step, through the process of determining what cleanse is right for you and how to go through a successful detox.  Great for beginners and busy lifestyles, these simple food-based cleanses give you a jump start to feeling cleaner, lighter  and healthier.

Giveaway Time!

Yep, we’ve got another giveaway!  Lisa wants to give three Simple Mom readers a free copy of her e-book, The Real Food Cleansing Guide.  Here’s how to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post, answering the following question:  Which of the three types of diet “noise” mentioned above is your biggest challenge?

2. If you’d like a second bonus entry, tweet about this giveaway using the Retweet button above, including @simplemom in your tweet.

This giveaway will end on Friday, May 14 at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I’ll announce the winner soon after.  I hope you win!