The New Year marks a time to start afresh, a new beginning. When I was consulting, this was always the time of year when I was bombarded with old and new patients alike requesting support to detox, or kick-start a healthier way of living. This, my first ‘New Year’ at Well Nourished, I’ve been asked the same question. So, here it is – my views on detoxing.
To detox or not to detox your diet?
I first need to begin with a warning. Detox programs that severely restrict your calorie intake or require extended periods of fasting can do more harm than good. Please be sensible and listen to your body. My approach to detoxing is gentle and about setting in motion a realistic, sustainable and healthy relationship with food (as opposed to unsustainable deprivation). In fact, I would call it a gentle cleanse rather than detox.
So you feel like you need to get back on track?
As disciplined as I am with my diet, even I tend to let go a little at Christmas time – they don’t call it the silly season for nothing! This Christmas, sugar has crept back into my life, also an extra cup of coffee and too many social glasses of wine – it’s very easy to justify when you’re ‘stressed’ or ‘relaxed’ or ‘on holiday.’ I get it and I’m the best at it. I’m currently paying the price for my overindulgence so I’ve set about getting back on track, and, after just 3 days I’m feeling more like my old self!
Where to start…
Let’s face it, life is full of ups and downs, good days and bad. To maintain a healthy mind and body is to be true to yourself – to find that 80/20 balance and to be able to recognise and rebalance when you do get out of sorts.
Some of the things you might like to consider…
Hydrate – simple, obvious and profoundly beneficial. If your feeling like much of my parched garden looks, that is wilted (exhausted and unmotivated), then hydrating will be your saviour. If alcohol and caffeine are your poisons, this becomes even more crucial. Replace them with water, herbal teas (only un-caffeinated) or coconut water. For more ideas about how to hydrate, check out this post here.
Avoid all processed foods
The best detox involves eliminating all refined grains, sugar, vegetable oils and processed foods from your diet. Basically, cut out the crap and try to eat the types of food our ancestors ate. Real food that our body is designed to recognise; food that is more a product of nature, than industry. I like to call this low HI (human intervention) food.
For breakfast, avoid ALL commercial breakfast cereals and processed bread. Check out this post for breakfast ideas or some of the recipes on the site. Aim to eat mostly a little protein and a variety of vegetables for lunch and dinner. Sprouts, green leafy, and cruciferous vegetables should form part of each meal. Include no more than two serves of fruit per day.
Nurture your gut
Your digestive system is so important to the functioning of not only your physical but mental health too. It really bares the brunt of over indulging, overeating and poor food choices. Any detox needs to begin with the gut. This post will give you ideas to help to support its proper functioning.
Love your liver
Your liver also bears the brunt of overindulging, especially in alcohol and sugar. If the festive season has left you feeling bloated, frustrated and a tad irritable, your liver is in need of some loving. Lemon juice in warm water first up in the morning is very nurturing. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil for an extra boost. Increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables like coriander, parsley and broccoli are important. Also, make sure you have a little protein with every meal.
To really regenerate your liver, look at taking herbs such as St Mary’s Thistle (Milk Thistle), Dandelion Root, Globe Artichoke and/or Schisandra – preferably in a liquid herbal extract or tableted formulas (see your naturopath for further advice).
Move, relax and get some help
Set in place an exercise plan, reserve time for yourself (the one thing I struggle with repeatedly) and enlist the help of a naturopath or adequately qualified health practitioner.
I won’t cover old ground, but if you’re new to Well Nourished, or just feel like a little more inspiration to get back on track, then these posts will inform and motivate you to make the most nourishing choices.
For more on sugar
For more on dietary fats
For more on healthy digestion
Just scout around the Well Nourished site. I have a fair bit of content aimed at helping you to become nourished, happy and healthy.
I’d love to receive yours. What helps you set a healthy habit in motion?
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