Merry Christmas (almost). If you’d like to feel happier, lighter, slimmer and healthier before the season comes around and you overload on nommy food, then you might like to try a detox. I certainly do. So for the next couple of weeks, I will be testing out some different ways of detoxing so that my belly and body are happy in time for the Christmas chocolate meltdown. If it works, I will definitely be using it after the holidays, too…
I’ve read a few different ways to do this and some of them sound pretty scary (colon cleanse – yum), so I decided to try the more natural methods. The big thing is to get rid of toxins which make your body slow down its functions. This can slow metabolism (preventing weight loss), reduce the function of your organs and generally make you unhealthier. Toxins come from everywhere, like pollution, the foods we eat, the things we drink and the lifestyle we lead.
So in order to flush out these nasty beggars we’ve gotta be kind and gentle with our bodies. Here are the tips I’ve been following for a little while so far, and the results I’m seeing (if any).
- No alcohol
Alcohol is a major source of toxins and empty calories. No doubt many of you will be drinking a lot at Christmas, so make sure that you don’t overdo it beforehand too. I have cut out alcohol since living in France and I feel a hell of a lot healthier, to the point that when I do drink, my stomach feels very bloated and sad 😦
- Drink lots of lemon water and green tea
As you know I am a green tea fiend, and I cannot sing its praises enough, especially for a detox. But when I haven’t got time to make a cuppa the easiest thing is to drink a bottle of water. If you have a big 1L bottle with you wherever you go (or keep one at work, one in the car etc) then you will reach for it automatically after a while. Added lemon juice is great because it does something to the toxins (apparently), rather like when you use it as a natural cleaner in the house and it gets rid of germs. So aim to drink 1-2L of this stuff every day and you’ll be weeing out nasty toxins in no time (ew).
- Added fibre
Substituting your everyday pasta for cheap, wholegrain versions will do wonders for your body. The reduced amount of processed fat in them is great for weight loss, reduces bloating, and pushes along your digestive system which in turn will give you a great detox. The best wholegrain alternatives for your normal every day staples are brown rice, brown pasta and wholegrain crackers (such as Ryvita or Wasa). Adding these to your diet and even just cutting down on the refined carbohydrates will really make you feel better (especially if you’re not a fan of your tummy).
- Cut out sugar
The best thing you can do in a detox (whether it last for a few days, weeks or longer) is to cut out sugar. Sugar is the source of many of our body woes, and by just reducing the amount you put in your tea or coffee, you can save yourself a helluva lot of calories per day, week, month etc. Sweeteners are included too, though, so try and get used to more savoury tastes that can be just as fulfilling as sweet ones. If you really want sugar, eat fruit, but don’t go overboard.
- Reduce dairy intake
The hardest thing for me to do at the moment is NOT EAT CHEESE. Cheese is the tastiest, alluring, tempting little thing I’ve ever known and it really is the biggest challenge for many of us. However, after just a couple of days of not eating it (and having major cravings) I can say that I really do feel lighter and purer all round. I did succumb one day to some mozzarella, and man it tasted good. I think it’s allowed. Maybe. Shhh. But yes, not drinking as much milk (or drinking less fatty versions) also really helps, and if you want a yoghurt always go for the greek style or the natural biopot yoghurt mixed with some real fruit (those fruity ones can often be loaded with sugar and do more harm than good).
These are the main tips for a nice healthy detox (don’t try anything drastic like not eating or doing too much exercise, it can really damage your health!), which will improve your complexion, make you feel lighter and ultimately flush out mean toxins which have accumulated in your body. And if you feel like it’s too much one day, you are of course allowed a little treat. Don’t deprive yourself of things you love.
Someone pass me the cheese, please?