Our bodies are complicated vessels. Luckily, we are learning to receive and translate the messages our bodies are sending us, because believe it or not, if we really tune-in, our bodies can tell us exactly what we need. Helping us to rewire our mind-body connection and receive the messages without all of the static, is Taryn Toomey’s new cleanse, The Layer. A supplement to Toomey’s renowned cathartic movement experience, The Class, her new cleanse aims to tame our cravings and create an overall better relationship with the food we eat.
We know what you’re thinking- we are thinking the same thing. What about ice cream!? What about Cherry Clafoutis!? We aren’t ready to give up sweets and our favorite indulgences for all of eternity, at least, not just yet. The Layer is about hitting the reset button so we can re-learn how to connect with our food, and think about how the food we put in to our mouths feeds our body and our soul. Natalie Kuhn, The Layer expert, gave us the rundown on the cleanse, her favorite lunch recipe, and all of the goodness that arises from Toomey’s dietary reboot.
The Moment: What was the inspiration in creating The Layer?
Natalie: The Layer was created by Taryn Toomey with the hope of helping others to create a stronger, healthier relationship with food. To give this some context, The Class by Taryn Toomey is not purely about fitness. It is about one’s response to intensity. Similarly, The Layer is not purely a cleanse to be done once and never again. It is a way to understand your response and relationship to food. We all have emotional reasons for either indulging or refraining, habitually eating things we don’t realize we are sensitive to, and/or ignoring an entire food group completely. To create a truly transformational journey, Taryn called upon culinary nutritionist, Mikeala Reuben, to create the recipes that fuse seasonal, anti-inflammatory, and ayurvedic principles of eating, and she also consulted with triple board certified nutritionist, Dana James, to round out the program.
The Moment: How does The Layer differ from other cleanses you’ve tried?
Natalie: I’ve tried cleanses where you only drink juice or only eat one particular thing. The difference I find in The Layer is that it isn’t about omission. It is about bringing awareness to the emotional underpinnings that surround your patterns with food. When the 10 days are over, you are armed with information about you and how you would like to best support yourself. You’ll know what makes you bloat, you’ll know what you reach for because of stress, and from there, you can make informed choices about what your unique ecosystem requires to operate at its most optimal.
The Moment: When you did The Layer for the first time, what was the hardest part for you?
Natalie: Sugar. Absolutely. It’s my comfort crutch. But the way that Taryn and our team discusses cravings, we see it less as “no no, you can’t have that!” and more of “Isn’t that interesting? At the same time of the day, every day, you crave sugar. Perhaps a cookie isn’t actually going to satiate that midday or end of day appetite. You might need movement, sunshine, water, or food that will actually stimulate or calm your brain rather than haywire it.”
The Moment: We’re missing cookies just thinking about it… Best practices to curb sweet or salty cravings?
Natalie: Cravings are your body’s way of talking to you. We are so used to responding without awareness or thought. During The Layer, we encourage you to ask yourself what’s underneath the craving. And then “feed” that – hint: it may not actually be food you are craving. It might be time, space, kindness, patience, etc. Of course, if you’re actually hungry… eat!
The Moment: At The Moment, we’re always exploring the concept of beauty and the search for beauty. How does a cleanse fit into your idea of beauty?
Natalie: The most beautiful women I know are women who are comfortable in their skin. That confidence can be discovered through self-awareness: awareness of what foods make you feel your best, of what habits aren’t supporting you, and of what self-care rituals reboot and/or sustain you.
The Moment: Mindful routines are mentioned as part of The Layer program. It’s very whole body, whole life. What is a mindful routine you practice to keep yourself present?
Natalie: If you promise not to roll your eyes, I’ll tell you exactly the practice that has changed my life. Gratitude. Part of The Layer involves putting your legs up the wall at the end of the day and listening to a particular song we give you. That practice of slowing down and taking stock of my day changed everything from the quality of my sleep, to the strength of my digestive system. For the skeptics in the house (of which I was one!), Dana James tells us, digestive enzymes are not released when your body is under stress. Practicing mindfulness, particularly gratitude, actually helps your body work optimally.
The Moment: What is the importance of forming rituals and habits?
Natalie: Willpower comes and goes. That is why, in my opinion, diets don’t work. When you set in place rituals that support you, you have given yourself the structure for your success. My habit used to be: chocolate before bed. Through The Layer, I came to understand that the sugar was causing my sleep to become interrupted, putting on weight of course, causing my bloating in the morning, and ultimately didn’t truly satisfy that need to pat myself on the back for a day’s work. I learned that there’s another way to “reward” myself at the end of the day. A cup of Steep Rise tea and my gratitude practice are the habits that actually reward my highest self.
The Moment: It’s mentioned that The Layer is like a reset period for our bodies. Why do we need this reset? What’s happening to our bodies prior to the reset?
Natalie: Just as we have rituals that support ourselves, we have rituals that don’t. Most of us walk around with a low-level amount of bloating from foods we’ve eaten for ages, not realizing that we have a layer (pun intended) of inflammation, causing our bodies to spend extra energy dealing with the inflammation rather than digestion. With a reset, we remove the most common culprits to give our bodies a break. Let the body spend energy on healing rather than triage.
The Moment: How does The Layer affect someone physically?
Natalie: The Layer has many effects. Many clients claim that they lose weight, sleep better, have more energy, do not experience bloating, clearer skin, and have mental clarity.
The Moment: Favorite recipe from The Layer?
Spring Salad w/ Basil Dressing
Makes 3 side servings
Serving size: 2 heaping cups of salad with 1/4 cup dressing
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup radishes, very thinly sliced with a mandolin (approx. 6 radishes)
1 cup carrots, very thinly sliced with a mandolin (approx. 1/2 big carrot)
4 cups butter lettuce, ripped apart into bite size pieces (either red or green or a combination of both!)
1.5 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup hemp hearts
Makes: 1 cup = 1/4 cup per serving for 3 servings
*FYI There will be dressing left over
1 cup packed basil
2 tablespoons ginger juice
(*To make ginger juice, grate ginger and squeeze. You do not need to remove the outer skin of the ginger for this)
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
Finely chop the red onion and place in a bowl, cover with the apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, allow to soak for 15 minutes. Prepare the salad dressing by combining all of the ingredients into a small food processor, blend well until everything is thoroughly combined. Place all of the remaining salad ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Strain the red onion through a colander and mix it through the rest of the salad.
When ready to serve, take 2 heaping cups of the salad mixture and toss together well with 1/4 cup of the dressing.
For storing – Place a piece of paper towel into the bottom of a large glass tupperware container. Store the mixed salad (w/o dressing) overtop of the paper towel, adding another piece of paper towel on top of the salad before placing the lid on. This will help minimize the wilting of the greens. Due to the higher water content from the vegetables, this salad can wilt quickly. It is best to consume within 24 hours.
The Moment: Community support seems vital to this detox and very important to you personally. Can you elaborate on the importance of community in this process?
Natalie: The community aspect of The Layer is my absolutely favorite part of the program. We do this as a community because of our chat about willpower. Willpower is like a mood – it shifts, often quickly. And when you find yourself ebbing, it is so helpful to have people around you to commiserate with, to ask advice from, to be lifted by. People chime in with “I added cayenne and love the extra kick!”, “Did anyone else yell at their husband for no reason today? Tell me this change!”, and “Yep, that was me yesterday. Hang in there. The clouds are about to part!” Taryn also sends daily emails that speak to exactly how you may be feeling and guide you into a deeper understanding of where you’re at. To begin with, change isn’t easy. So let’s not make it harder by trying to do it in a vacuum!
The Moment: What do we gain from this aspect of The Layer? Any additional thoughts on staying in the moment?
Natalie: The effects are not just physical (as mentioned above). The thing I hear most from clients is that they have come to an understanding about what an intense grip the body had to certain food and drink habits. And when that grip was loosened, they discovered choice. Choice is the basis for true, long lasting change.
Many thanks to Natalie Kuhn!
Photos courtesy of The Class.