Declutter Your Diet

Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

June 1, 2022 By Alixandra Nozzolillo

By this point in the year, it’s likely your New Year’s resolutions are long gone, and dry January is a distant memory. As it turns to spring, harness the feelings of renewal, cleansing, and new beginnings to refocus on a foundational aspect of your health: your gut.

Research continues to support just how vital our gastrointestinal system is: for both mental and physical health. It might come as a surprise that the gut is filled with nerves that links directly to the brain. This means anxiety and depression can be caused by poor eating, and worsening mental health leads to an unhealthy gut. The hormones that regulate your sense of well-being are all related to your belly.

With 70% of our immune system residing in our gut, eating healthy also means feeding the good bacteria and aiding our immune system in fighting off infections. Conversely, a leaky or troubled gut can lead to inflammation, hurting your joints and muscles, and even possibly putting you on the autoimmune disease spectrum. If you’re feeling sluggish, low energy, or just off, look to your food intake.

While it can be challenging and not as fun to eat clean or cook at home, even making some minor changes to your diet this spring and summer can help detoxify your system. The following ideas are a few ways to eat towards more fantastic mental and physical well-being - and likely to give your skin a healthier glow in the process.

Quick clean

  • Cut out or reduce the processed “whites” from your diet: white flour and white sugar. Some might also suggest reducing milk or cream, but it largely depends on your tolerances.
  • Cut out or reduce the amount of ultra-processed foods. When you cannot tell if it was even food in the first place, avoid it.
  • Eat more plant-based and increase fruit and vegetable intake – but consider decreasing nightshade vegetables like tomato, eggplant, and pepper that can bother some systems.

Go deeper

  • Look into trying a Whole30 diet for a short but disciplined detox or closely following a Mediterranean diet. Both are a bit more strict, but can aid in a healthy gut.
  • Shop the grocery store perimeter for lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables – reducing processed products from the middle – and you might save money, too.
  • If you’re tired on a warm spring or summer Friday night and don’t feel like cooking, try making an acai or smoothie bowl for the family instead of something like take-out pizza. This nutrient-dense smoothie bowl can be made thick with coconut milk, spinach, banana and frozen berries as the base- and prepare a quick plate of different cut fruit, seeds, or nuts for each family member to customize their toppings like an ice cream sundae. Eating in nutrient-dense ways doesn’t have to take a long time or be overly involved.
  • Consider eating more nutrient-dense and superfood products – our local fruits like blueberries and cranberries – but also foods such as garlic, turmeric, ginger, chia seeds, olive oil, and fish. The Barrel carries Laird Superfood coffee creamers that may reduce your reliance on inflammatory sugar and cream in your coffee.

Clearing out

  • If you’re struggling with skin troubles or on the spectrum of autoimmunity, it may be worth trying the Autoimmune Protocol Diet. This stringent diet starts out quite limited, followed by a period of reintroductions to determine what is bothering your body. Emerging science has identified that clinical tests don’t always identify unique sensitives and intolerances, but following a reintroduction diet can personalize what foods work and don’t for an individual.
  • An alternative diet that is a bit less restrictive is the Pegan diet. Formulated by Massachusetts functional medicine physician Mark Hyman, Pegan is inspired by Paleo-Vegan diets and can help heal the gut and reduce inflammation.

Hyperlocal sustenance

In your journey to less processed, more local foods, check out supporting the following:

The common theme for decluttering any diet is reducing processed food, and increasing plant-based nutrient-dense nourishment for your body. The more local, whole food we eat: the better our health.


***Before starting any significant changes to your diet, seek advice from experts – whether your general physician, a nutritionist, or a functional medicine physician. They will help ensure adequate nutrition and vitamin intake based on what you’re cutting out.***

1 thought on “Declutter Your Diet”

  1. As a Registered Dietitian I would not recommend this article. It lacks evidence based information and may provoke disordered eating.


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