Spring Reset: An Interview With Dr. Rachel Farber
This week, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Rachel Farber—a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac), who has been serving Santa Cruz and the greater Bay Area for 20 years. Over the years she has specialized in healing eating disorders and depression through her work, yet more recently her research has focused on autoimmune disease.
In Chinese Medicine an overall healthy diet is the foundation for full-system wellness. Rachel is a firm believer in using food as medicine—as each individual ingredient has its own unique medicinal properties. Dr. Farber also incorporates bodywork and acupuncture into her treatments, maintaining an emphasis on nutrition and herbs to support holistic health and well-being. Rachel has carefully crafted 21-day seasonal resets that help guide participants to their healthiest, most energetic selves by diving into habits and patterns that may be holding them back from fuller health and wellness. The reset gives the opportunity for individuals to listen in on the body and better understand their individual needs for a longer term shift in all aspects of self-care.
Mary, our in-house nutritionist, had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Farber about her philosophy around and approach to seasonal diet resets. We also learned a great deal about the many benefits to be had by taking the time to slow down, reconnect, and make some shifts as we move into a new season—we hope you find the conversation illuminating!
Mary: What are some of the benefits of completing a seasonal diet reset? Is this something that you recommend before each seasonal shift?
Dr. Farber: Many people who have done the reset tend to come back each time it’s offered to tighten up the loose ends. By clearing out the excess, it enables us to really listen in more deeply to what our bodies are asking for. Resetting at the beginning of each season is a great way to take a couple of weeks to give the digestive system some deep nourishment and rest.
Mary: What is your philosophy around “resetting” vs. dieting, or more restriction-oriented approaches?
Dr. Farber: A reset is focused on all aspects of self care such as: sleep, gut health, mental health, meditation, yoga, and decluttering. We want to think of integrating all of the good things that allow us to thrive before taking things out. The reset is heavily focused on supporting the gut microbiome by bringing in healthy gut flora and having a healthy diet that feeds that good bacteria. In Chinese Medicine we look at the body as an ecosystem, and we want to support the digestive system to function at its maximal energy. When the digestive system is functioning at its best, the rest of the systems will function properly. I’ve found for myself, and many of my clients, that a moderate approach that involves listening to your own needs is the best long-term approach.
Mary: Doing a larger scale reset may feel like too much of a commitment, or may feel too overwhelming to some people. What are some small steps or recommendations that you have for people hoping to integrate a few simpler shifts as we move into spring?
Dr. Farber: I like people to focus on four simple pillars to reset: eat four cups of vegetables a day, focus on hydration, breathwork, and sleep. During spring we focus on incorporating more leafy greens such as dandelion, chicory and kale.
Mary: Do you recommend any preparation before beginning a reset?
Dr. Farber: Begin by clearing out your pantry and shopping for fresh exciting foods. Start letting go of the things that no longer serve you in your home, and bring in things that will nourish you. You can also prepare by using the workbook provided through my program, and by setting an intention—asking yourself, “how do I want to feel in 3 weeks?”
Mary: What are some releases—emotional, physical, and mental—to expect for someone who has never gone through a reset?
Dr. Farber: We go through the world holding our habits as security blankets, and when we face letting go of the things that bring us comfort—or the illusion of comfort—it can feel scary. Some may find themselves feeling raw, cranky, and irritable. Fear can crop up from the comforts we've kept for a long time as we shed through layers. This typically doesn't last more than 3-5 days and often by the sixth day, people feel amazing. The reset really focuses on letting go of shame and simply acknowledging where you are on your journey.
Mary: Can you give a brief overview of what each week of the reset looks like?
Dr. Farber: The program is broken down into three phases. Week One: Reset; this covers the mechanics of what to eat and what not to eat. Week Two: Restore; we delve into the effects that sleep, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar have on the body, as well as suggestions for any challenges. Week Three: Revitalize; foundations of the Reset and Chinese Medicine.
I provide a 40 page “Thrival Guide” with research and information in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, healing intestinal permeability, and adrenal hormone imbalances—this also includes a shopping list and recipe guide. I provide an option to be a part of a private Facebook group to connect with others participating in the cleanse. And there will be weekly interactive webinars where people can ask any questions.
Mary: For those who may be concerned with any extra time demand that goes into participating in the reset, what is your advice?
Dr. Farber: Golden Roots Kitchen sure is helpful! Setting aside some weekly time for veggie prep will also be very important and helpful, so there’s always something to grab!
If you’re interested in participating in Dr. Farber’s Spring Reset (link below), it runs from this coming Monday, April 8th - April 28th. Rachel will still be accepting participants through the first few days of the program. As an additional perk, reset participants will be offered a Golden Roots Kitchen discount code for 20% off all orders over $100.00 during the three week program.
Wishing you wellness, always,
Dena & Mary
Dena Zlotziver, M.Ed., is a teacher, writer, and member of the kitchen staff at Golden Roots Kitchen.
Mary Smith has her Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Food Science, and serves as GRK’s in-house nutrition expert.