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It’s not a secret anymore – healthy lifestyle habits and good nutrition can raise your vital energy and rejuvenate your body at the deepest level. In naturopathy, we sum it up with 3 concepts: alkalization, mineralization and hydration. Your food is not only fuel, it also provides all the nutrients and building blocks for all your cellular structures – including the integrity of your hair, skin and nails! There’s a lot of truth to the phrase “glow from within,” and here are some habits to get you there! 

1. Eat a balanced, alkalizing diet

This will feed, hydrate, detoxify and repair your trillions of living cells. Rather than focusing on calories, consider instead the water content and nutrient density of your foods.  A large colorful salad with dark leafy greens, purple cabbage, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, avocado and sprouts are packed with living enzymes, vitamins and minerals – it literally screams vitality.  Whereas a slice of pizza, or anything processed is completely devoid of anything beneficial to your body.  The white sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, and additives in processed foods actually dehydrate your cells and latch on to minerals and nutrients in your bloodstream, coagulating them together and preventing their absorption and utilization (yikes!!).  Now, there is a very drastic difference between these food choices, and how they each alter the chemistry of your fluids.  By choosing fresh, organic whole foods in the produce section (or even better home-grown or locally grown), you are ensuring that your body is receiving the maximum amount of living energy and nourishment. When it comes to eating well, balance is the key. Choose quality over quantity, and always remember that the 80/20 alkaline-acid rule is the golden rule. 

2. Hydrate first thing in the morning with charged, mineralized water.

This ritual is fundamental in my morning routine – it is extremely revitalizing and has strengthened my constitution SO much. Given that the body fasts and detoxifies overnight, we always wake up dehydrated, regardless of how much water we drank the night before.  This morning dehydration can easily be remedied with a large glass of water, re-mineralized with a pinch of natural sea salt to make it electrically charged. Many experts in the health community call this “biohacking,” but I prefer to call it bioactivating.

Let’s begin by noting that I’m not talking about table salt here, which is extremely abrasive to the body, and made up of only synthetic sodium and chlorine. What I’m talking about is combining natural spring water with mineral-rich, unrefined salt (my preferred choice is Celtic sea salt) to charge it up. This creates an electrolyte-dense brine that is highly absorbable in the body – even more so than regular water, which is stagnant, void of minerals and too dilute. The salt-water jumpstarts all your body’s systems in the morning, as it sends electrical signals from one cell to another. It also takes a lot of stress off your hard-working adrenal glands, and assists the kidneys in maintaining fluid balances in the body. 

The bottom line – natural salt is essential to life and all your trillions of cells. Without salt, the human body cannot produce energy, maintain blood pressure, or even regenerate. Celtic sea salt is loaded with magnesium and 80+ more minerals and trace elements that have a calming effect on the entire nervous system and will keep your skin looking clear and beautiful! 

So, what’s the perfect amount of salt? It turns out there’s no one size fits all. I recommend trying ¼ teaspoon of salt in 16oz. of water. If the water tastes better to you – not too salty, and perhaps more satisfying – it is a signal that your body needs the salt, and this is the right dose.  This is common for the majority of us, since we might be dealing with some level of adrenal weakness. Only 6% of the population is truly salt sensitive – meaning that the salt will raise their blood pressure. In these cases, a pinch of Celtic sea salt would be enough. 

*NOTE: It’s best to prepare the solution the night before and have it ready on your bedside to drink upon waking. Taking it immediately as you rise from your bed is critical for maximum benefits and to support the adrenals. 

Feel free to also add some freshly squeezed lemon juice, which is astringent and cleansing to the lymphatic system. Lemons are also high in antioxidant vitamin C, known to combat oxidative stress (aging) and kickstart bowel function by softening the stool. The importance of proper elimination for vibrant health could never be understated! Keep in mind that if the body isn’t eliminating toxins efficiently, it will likely back-up and be coming out through other channels, including the skin and its pores! Salt + water + lemon = GLOW 

3. An all fruit-breakfast

This the best and most natural way to break the overnight fast. Fruits are easily the highest electrical-energy foods on the planet, they carry the power of life in them. Ranging between 80 to 98% structured water by volume, they are nature’s perfect biological packaging of hydration and healing phytonutrients, antioxidants and electrolytes. Essentially, they are cleansing, and extremely high on the alkaline side of the food spectrum. 

It’s their astringent properties and soluble fibers that make them the ultimate detoxifiers and cleansers. Fruit fibers are definitely unique, and the most compatible to our human design. They are soothing and gentle to the human GI tract, even more so than vegetables! They support the body in its elimination mechanisms (peristalsis) and keep the intestinal walls clean to maximize the absorption of nutrients. The water from fresh fruit is also structured by nature, and can be up two thirds more hydrating than regular water from a glass! 

Now, to address the elephant in the room, we know that fruits are higher in sugars. But we also need to consider the chemistry of fruit sugar, which is completely different from other sugars. Fruits hold an even keel of both glucose and fructose in their most natural, living form. These simple sugars are easily digested, and one of the most important factors in encouraging cells to cleanse and regenerate. As the engine in your car needs a carbon-based fuel to run, so does your physical body. Inside the cell, glucose or fructose is mixed with oxygen to achieve energy known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Without ATP, a cell will weaken and become attacked, mainly by parasites or bonded with a virus, or an antigen. So, sugar (carbon) and oxygen are naturally the number one need of every single cell in your body.  Especially our brain cells (neurons), which require a constant 24/7 delivery of glucose to do their work. Therefore, eating fruit in the morning is the absolute smartest strategy on the planet, one designed by nature to cleanse the body and provide the best quality fuel. Fruits will give you a powerful jolt of useful energy to boot!

*NOTE: if you eat fruit in combination with other foods, it can be held in the stomach for too long. This can cause the fruit to ferment in the gut. As the saying goes, we should “eat them alone, or leave them alone,” to ensure their healing action and proper digestion. 

4. Incorporate herbs and spices in your meals.

Not only are they incredible for taste and flavor, they are also fantastic for digestion and detoxification. I love to incorporate a dash of cayenne pepper with almost every dinner meal, it is one of the purest and most effective stimulants in the herbal kingdom. It improves the secretion of all organs (digestive fluids and enzymes) and the circulation of your blood and lymph system. The capsaicin in cayenne peppershas metabolism-boosting properties, and Chinese herbalists often refer to this as moving the “Chi” through the body.

Ceylon cinnamon (aka “True Cinnamon”) combines wonderfully with fruit. It helps to control sugar metabolism and fights bacterial overgrowth in the gut. Turmeric, an all-star spice in Ayurveda, is also highly anti-inflammatory and should be added to fatty-rich meals (healthy fats of course!), to enhance the liver’s digestive functions and the flow of bile. A few other staples that I love to use are cumin, garlic, ginger, holy basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and the list goes on!  No matter what your diet looks like, we can all benefit from nature’s amazing pharmacy. Anything that enhances digestion, absorption and the utilization of nutrients will have you glowing from within!

5. Drink nettle tea dailyone of my personal favorite herbs!

Nettle is a powerful strengthener and revitalizer to the body – notably a blood cleanser and blood builder. This herb is so valuable, that many highly esteemed herbalists recognize it as a “HEAL-ALL” tonic.  It’s the broad mineral profile of nettles that makes them so magical. They are notably high in magnesium, potassium, calcium (nature’s most alkalizing minerals) and the best source of digestible and absorbable iron in plants. It also has lavish amounts of Vitamin A, D, K and B vitamins. Because of its nourishing and anti-inflammatory properties, nettletea is a natural beautifier to skinand hair. It has been shown to clear acne and eczema as well as encourage thicker, shinier hair and new hair growth.

The most noteworthy action of this herb is its efficiency to support the kidneys, helping you flush out any water retention or swelling, including toxins and cellular waste. Being a diuretic, it is known as a “Jing tonic” in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Jing is the seat of your vitality and primal life force energy. It keeps the body healthy, strong and resilient. Poor eating habits could slowly or quickly reduce Jing, and as a result we age, dehydrate and become susceptible to disease. So, why not amp up our Jing with one of nature’s most potent herbs – shall we?

Maria Stefaros, N.D.

Over 2,400 years ago Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, was the first to proclaim ‘the healing power of nature’. He believed in the natural healing ability of rest, a good diet, fresh air, exercise, cleanliness and herbs. The center point of naturopathy is based on this ancient philosophy and wisdom. As if by fate, Maria’s grandfather was from the tiny island of Kos Greece, the home and birthplace of Hippocrates and his school. Her visit to the island as a young teenager was a pivotal moment in her life, where she desired nothing more than to carry on this lasting legacy and learn the healing arts and sciences of nature.

She pursued her naturopathic studies at Christian Limoges’ school of naturopathy in Montreal. She is also accredited in anatomy, chemistry, and physics and has been awarded in biological sciences. She continues to work alongside Christian Limoges and is further inspired by the works of Dr. Robert Morse, Dr. Bernard Jensen, Professor Arnold Ehret and countless other pioneers of natural medicine. In her current practice, her goal is to educate and empower others who are seeking to be vibrantly healthy. She believes in recognizing the work of God and nature to help revitalize, regenerate and restore balance. To activate the body’s self-healing mechanisms, we need to understand the way our body works and use the strong potential of alkalization and herbal medicine. We need to harmonize with nature.

You can book an appointment with Maria at Clinique L’Aube.

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