Healthy Tips to Detoxify Your Mind and Body

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

by Vanessa Santiago

When we chose to remodel our home or office space, we also make the choice to get rid of the old, useless items that have accumulated over time.  While it may seem dreadful or time-consuming, this cleansing process is absolutely vital to remodeling everything in over lives. If you apply this cleansing process to our bodies, you will understand why detoxification is so important.

Personally speaking, I know there have been countless times that I have made poor choices about what to eat or snack on, which led to weight gain. I’ve spent years ignoring my health or the consequences of these poor choices, telling myself that, “It’s just a cookie,” to justify my indulgence. But I’ve always known this: self-care and self-improvement is important. The same is true about renewing my mind because instead of allowing God’s truths about me to resonate within my heart and mind, I have allowed disappointments, traumas, and the opinions of others’  to affect my self worth. Instead of embracing such beautifully profound truths as, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow],” (Psalm 147:3) I would hide from the pain by filling my body with unhealthy foods to comfort or numb  my emotions. When we consume something our bodies cannot recognize or use, such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings, or preservatives, these toxins are stored within fat cells, causing further internal harm. The best way to truly rid ourselves of the excess weight is by removing these poisonous chemicals. 

Here are two ways to cleanse and detoxify our bodies: 

Drink water:

Water is essential to our bodies natural detoxification process. While water itself doesn’t flush out toxins, it aids the internal processes that do. Water assists the intestines in removing waste regularly, it keeps our muscles working, our brains hydrated and our bodies clean. We all know it is vital to our survival and yet can struggle to remember to even drink it on a regular basis. Everywhere we turn there seems to be a flood of bottles of water from which to choose. In fact, it is so promoted at our local grocery stores, that water options today look more like a fine wine collection. Ultimately, you can select any water you want and make it even more powerful by adding some detoxifying elements.

Add fruits, herbs or vegetables:

Adding various fruits, herbs, or vegetables to your water can begin a powerful yet gentle detox. The nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals found in natural foods can aid in the body's detoxification process when it is overloaded with unnatural foods. Here are some to try: 

  • Citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime are the most popular, and for good reasons. They are loaded with vitamin C, which repairs organ and blood vessel tissue, burns fat, and is able to recognize and destroy artificial and harmful chemicals.

  • Apple cider vinegar is a miracle for weight loss through detox. It is full of enzymes, good bacteria, and acetic acid, which burns up starches in food we digest.

  • Cucumbers are diuretics, which help remove and prevent water retention.

  • Ginger aids in digestion, is an anti-inflammatory, and due to its spiciness can cause us to sweat, which is the bodies fastest form of removing higher concentrations of toxins.

  • Herbs as mint, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and parsley all infuse water with soothing benefits to our digestion system, but also act as magnets attracting harmful heavy metals. Cilantro is excellent at removing aluminum, mercury and even lead from our bodies.  

  • Raw unfiltered honey in small doses helps to improve the flavor but also add a boost of energy and loads of antioxidants, among many other of its benefits.

  • Essential oils I love using seltzer water and adding ginger and wild orange essential oils with a teaspoon of honey. It’s a  homemade ginger ale filled with medicinal benefits. Lemon oil is so powerful, you can put a drop on styrofoam and watch it immediately begin to sizzle and burn right through the toxic material. Combine a drop of lemon oil and peppermint oil to reap incredible benefits. Peppermint oil can enhance other flavors while adding a refreshing and cooling taste to your water. Grapefruit oil, which is one of my favorite scents, aids in digestion and detoxifying fat cells. If you decide to use these powerful detoxifying oils, you must only use certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils, that have been approved for ingestion. Doterra brand is the only essential oil brand I use. You can read more about essential oils here.

The best way to make these fun and interesting waters is to prepare it the night before and let the water absorb the nutrients. Because these detox waters are so powerful at breaking down toxins it is best to avoid using plastic bottles as you will be consuming what you’re trying to remove from your body. Especially if you are using essential oils, you will notice the way the appearance of the plastic begins to look fuzzy and not completely transparent, also it will slightly distort its shape. Stainless steel, or glass bottles are your best bet and are readily available for purchase online or in stores. Take them with you so when you finish the water you can refill them during the day, and continue to benefit from these fragrant and tasty detox waters.

I personally love combining cucumbers, lemons, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a little raw honey. I find within a few days that uncomfortable feeling of being bloated has gone, and notice a significant increase in my energy. I am sure you will find the same results once you begin the process of remodeling your bodies by washing them clean with these incredible detoxifying waters.



Mental Health: Remove the Stigma

Photo by wundervisuals/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by wundervisuals/iStock / Getty Images

by Tasha Levi

A recent survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research found that “a third of Americans – and nearly half of evangelical, fundamentalist, or born-again Christians – believe prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness.”

After losing his son, Matthew, to suicide, Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, launched a mental health literacy campaign called Hope for Mental Health. At an annual conference, he said it’s important for the body of Christ to better understand mental health.  "When families have a mental illness crisis, the first person they call is not the school district or an attorney. The first person they call is not even a doctor. The first person they call, typically, when there is a crisis, is their [church].”

It can be hard to talk about mental health because of fear or lack of knowledge. In an interview I had with christian licensed mental health counselor Eileen Hawkins, she discussed common misconceptions about mental health and how we can  empower ourselves with the knowledge and resources to best support our Christian brothers and sisters with acute mental illnesses including depression and bipolar disorder.

Common misconceptions about mental illness debunked:

  • Mental illness is always a sign of demonic possession or oppression.

False: There are many different known components to how someone may develop mental illness. It may be genetic, or environmental like war, trauma, or loss of a loved one. It’s okay not to know. Just don’t assume.

  • True Christians rejoice at all times.

False: Get comfortable with uncomfortable emotions. Grief is okay. We see this with sackcloth and ashes in the bible, used as a sign of repentance      and mourning. Esther 4:1, Mordecai tears his clothes wailing loudly and bitterly. There is a time to grieve, a time to mourn.

  • Mental illness is a sign of spiritual weakness.

False: In fact, a LifeWay research report suggests that a proper diagnosis, and medication, if necessary, can better help someone with mental illness thrive as a Christian.


Empower yourself with knowledge:

  • Know your strengths: Churches play an important role  in creating a support system for people with acute mental illness. Even if they seek professional counseling, the more support, the better. The church is equipped with a gospel of compassion and community, and therefore, better situated to support and love those in need.

  • Know when to escalate: When should a pastor or leader invite a mental health professional into their counseling session? When it starts to impact their daily life functions. Look out for behavioral changes like difficulty getting to work, or focusing in school, or when someone starts to pull away from relationships or things they used to enjoy.

  • Know who to escalate to: Have a deferral system to a professional or counseling service you feel comfortable with.

  • Be present:  Be a supporter and not a fixer. Hawkins, says that the tendency to want to “fix” people is rampant. You don't need to tell the person what to do. When we feel like we have to fix it, it becomes more about us.

We need to start treating mental health as importantly as we treat physical health. Entrepreneur and clean water activist, Sanu Delie says, “Being honest about how we feel doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human.” If you or a loved one needs help, don’t hesitate to seek it out. It will only make you stronger.

If you know someone battling a mental health condition in the NY area, please contact:

Redeemer Counseling Services - Phone: 212-370-0475 or Email:

Blanton Peale Institute - Phone: 212-725-7850 or Email:

Wellsprings Counseling Center - Phone: 646-957-2322

Sobeyda Ellis - Phone: 917-922-8821 or Email:

Healthy Minds NY - Phone: 929-399-7120 or Email:



Tasha Levi

Tasha is a proud Brooklyn-native who enjoys reading, writing, interior decorating, and traveling. She earned a B.A. in Political Science (with a focus on political inequality) from Temple University. Her favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Khaled Hosseini. 


Tasha Levi

Tasha Levi is a proud Brooklyn-native who enjoys reading, writing, interior decorating and traveling. She earned a B.A. at Temple University studying Political Science with a focus on political inequality. Her favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Khaled Hosseini. 

Can I Lose Weight by Sitting on the Sofa Watching Netflix?

Photo credit: Instagram/@thatbrooklynbreakfast 

Photo credit: Instagram/@thatbrooklynbreakfast 

by Vanessa Santiago

A friend asked me this at a recent holiday get-together.  While it sounds funny, the truth is yes, you can absolutely practice self-care while still catching up on the latest series on Netflix. These harsh winter days filled with freezing temperatures and bomb-cyclones makes us long to take refuge on our sofas under a quilt that doubles as a cloud of warmth and safety. We may feel tempted to pick up snacks and order take-out, piling on the empty calories with loads of guilt, convincing ourselves we could never reach our fitness goals as long as there are icicles that form in our nostrils if we step outside. So we might opt instead to flip on Netflix and place our desire and the importance of self-care on the proverbial back burner.

Well, there is a smarter way to kickstart our bodies in a healthier direction, which does not include jogging through piles of ice and snow at 5 AM. One way is to be sure to snack on foods that will nourish your body while also indulging your sweet tooth. Typically we may be tempted to grab a pint of ice cream, or some other salty or sugary snack, but instead, you can choose one that actually begins the weight loss process of reducing inflammation and detoxifying our bodies.  

Delicious smoothies are a great substitute for those shame-carrying snacks like ice-cream and buttery popcorn. Smoothies are highly customizable to what flavors and textures you prefer. From decadent chocolate almond smoothies to tropical green smoothies (say spinach and kale mixed with pineapple, mango, and a pinch of ginger), I have found smoothies to be a richly satisfying and nutritious meal replacement, snack, or even dessert.

There are key ingredients you can add to a smoothie that detoxify your body, as well as reduce fat and inflammation, which is the cause of most ailments and disease. Chia seeds, almond butter, and avocado all contain soluble fiber which slows down digestion keeping you fuller for longer periods of time after eating. Fiber also acts as a broom cleaning out various toxins, waste materials, and fats sluggishly laying around in your gut. Cinnamon, raw honey, cherries and raw cacao are high in antioxidants, which prevent oxidative damage. Think of an apple when it is sliced open, it immediately begins to turn brown. That is the process of oxidation. But, antioxidants help protect our cells against such exposure to harmful free radicals and repair damage already done. Specifically, it prevents the appearance of aging which means our skin maintains a healthy glow. Studies have found cherries are anti-inflammatory and have even been proven to reduce painful gout in patients. When you consume such ingredients, your body greatly benefits from their nutritional goodness, but your tastebuds benefit from their delicious rich flavors.

So next time you decide to lounge in front of your favorite movie, know that you don’t have to sacrifice self-care or flavor to enjoy a decadent Chocolate Almond Smoothie. Try the recipe posted below and let us know what you think or share your own favorite smoothie ideas.

Netflix Binge Smoothie (not pictured)

1 cup Almond milk (to desired thickness)

Handful of frozen cherries

½ of a ripe Avocado or banana

2 tablespoons of Raw or Dry Roasted Almond Butter

1 tablespoon of Raw Cacao

Pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

1 teaspoon of raw honey (optional)

Pour all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Add extra milk if you prefer a thinner smoothie. Remember, you can add or remove items based on what you like or dislike. Make it the way you like it best!