Give your energy levels a boost in time to tackle a brand new year with a detox program designed to suit you.
Clearing the toxins from your body with a detox program is a great way to rejuvenate in preparation for the year ahead. Everyday life places pressure on the body’s immune system – pollution, medications, alcohol, stress and processed foods all use up valuable nutrients and antioxidants until we begin to lose energy and focus. A detox program is one of the easiest ways to regain your sense of vitality.
WHAT APPROACH TO TAKE?
As you have probably seen and heard there are plenty of different ways you can approach a detox. Liquid fasting, single-food fasts or the famous ‘lemon detox diet’ have all been popular over the years. However, one of the safest ways to detox is to fast for a few days or consume a limited diet for a short time. Lengthy cleanses are not recommended by health professionals because the body needs a range of nutrients, from varying food groups, for it to function properly.
FOODS TO AVOID
It places stress on the liver and robs the body of valuable nutrients.
A perfect chance to give up.
This includes coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks. Oh yes, and chocolate. Eliminate coffee gradually if going cold turkey brings on headaches.
Foods high in saturated fats include red meat, cold meats, butter and dairy foods (including yoghurt, ice-cream, milk, sour cream, cottage cheese and soft and fresh cheeses). Give salad dressings and mayonnaise a miss.
Sugary foods and drinks
Cakes, pastries, chocolate bars, muesli bars and fruit drinks (not freshly squeezed juices).
Frozen and processed foods Chips, corn chips, packaged meals, frozen dinners, cook-in sauces and tomato sauce.
Hamburgers, pizza, fish and chips, Thai, Italian, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese. Even if they look healthy, a lot of these foods contain loads of sugar and salt in their sauces.
For those new to detoxing, beginning with a restricted detox diet rather than fasting is a less stressful, safer approach to a cleanse and is easier to maintain.
RESTRICTED DETOX DIET
The focus is usually on eating smaller, more nutritious meals or eating a single food type for several days. The foods you choose to eliminate are up to you. Some people like to stop eating all meat, while others choose to also restrict their intake of wheat and yeast. Your choice will often be to do with how you are feeling and what you have been overdoing in your diet leading up to the detox.
A standard regime will begin with a few days of raw fruit and lightly steamed vegetables. Introduce grains, nuts and seeds over the next week or so before adding fish, dairy, eggs, and then red meat. It is important to drink plenty of water throughout the whole detox.
The most important part of a detox is how you break it and return to normal. The foods you first eat after the detox will be the foods you naturally crave in the following months so it is vital that you make healthy choices.
Pay particular attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating (downsizing the size of your plate can work wonders). Adopt healthy cooking methods, such as steaming, roasting (without oil) and stir-frying using water instead of oil.
These are all fantastic ways to ensure you stay on track. And try to stay away from alcohol for as long as possible – your liver will thank you for it.
TOP 10 DETOX FOODS
1. Leafy greens
Kale, spinach and Asian greens are packed with chlorophyll, a good source of energy. Rids body of toxins.
A vegetable that will kick-start the enzymes that protect the liver and keep it in an optimum state.
Especially good for the kidneys, it has a diuretic quality that helps flush out the system.
Rich in soluble fibre, it works like a broom to cleanse the bowel of toxins and cholesterol.
5. Green tea
Although it still contains a small amount of caffeine, it is packed with antioxidants.
Helps to replenish the enzymes in the liver to help flush out the digestive system and boosts the immune system.
7. Sesame seeds
Great for cleansing the blood and rejuvenating the liver. A good source of vitamin E.
Their sourness helps break down fats and support the liver. They contain vitamin C, the detoxing vitamin.
Packed with vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. Top choices are berries, goji berries and pomegranates.
Have an alkalising effect on the body. When a grain or seed sprouts, its vitamin and mineral content increases dramatically.