Happy New Year readers! I'm going to guess that some of us are a little delicate this morning from celebrating way into the night and you're considering starting the year with, yes, that dreaded word ... DETOXING.
|You don't have to be mad to do this, but I bet it helps.|
The good news is that I think 'detox plans' are a bit of a waste of time, especially any involving specialist detox drinks/ shakes / cutting out entire food groups / giving up all nice things. As someone who has a long history with restricting and binging on food, I can promise you that making yourself suffer is not worth it at all. You'll be perfect for a good couple of weeks and then you'll be likely come crashing down in a spectacular style around the middle-end of January and undo the good work you've put in.
What do I recommend? As usual I'll come back to the old saying 'everything within moderation'. Your body has a liver and a digestive system, and these do a lot of hard work for you on a daily basis. Your liver is your body's own detox plan - it recycles and breaks down the stuff in your body which are not required and then boots them out via your digestive systems and through your skin. Detox complete with no extra costs! Isn't the body a clever piece of kit?
Obviously, you can do a few things to help your liver and digestive system stay in tip-top shape, to allow them to do their little detox magic and that's what I want to focus on in this post (and what I'm going to focus on for the coming weeks). Giving your body a helping hand like that can get rid of your sugar headaches and cravings, enable you to lose weight and stop you feeling lethargic.
Al's Quick Guide to Detox
You only need to 'detox' for a week, two weeks at most. Remember you're putting healthy habits IN to your life, not taking lots of stuff away, so you might even find that adding bits in make you feel so good that you want to make them permanent fixtures in your diet.
Reduce the bad stuff. There are things with aren't great for your liver and can upset it's functions, so reducing things like caffeine and alcohol are a good idea. I repeat, this does not mean you have to give them up entirely (for the sake of my working relationships I am not giving up my one cup of coffee every morning, I love that caffeine hit!), but a little less can be very beneficial to your body. Instead of hitting the coffee and tea all day at work, try to get a litre of water down you in the office, try some decaf teas (I like Decaf Yorkshire Tea and I've just been introduced to vanilla chai lattes, which taste amazing and have no caffeine in - perfect!).
Replace the refined. If you can switch out refined sugars and carbs for more natural sources you'll feel a lot less sluggish. Easy switches can be things like wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals. Try using wholemeal basmati rice next time you cook instead of long grain white, I honestly don't think you'll notice a massive difference in flavour but you'll get a lot more value for calories, try making up a pot of trail mix full of dried fruits and nuts instead of reaching for the cereal bars when you need a 3pm snack (or add this to your breakfast, it really helps cheer up a bowl of Bran Flakes).
Sack the Sat Fat. The GDA for Saturated Fat in your diet is 20g for women and 30g for men, you'd be surprised how easy it is to notch up those totals in an average day. Cutting out the refined stuff (as mentioned above) can help you dramatically reduce your saturated fat intake but don't forget to keep your good fats up. Good fats can help lower cholesterol, keep your skin and hair in shiny shape, fight inflammation and help protect the brain and nervous system. Add some nuts, seeds and cold-water fish to your weekly menu for an extra boost.
Fruit & Veg a-plenty. Nothing helps to keep your digestive system in great shape more than eating fruit and vegetables. Try adding a new fruit or vegetable to your diet every week, chances are you'll find something that you never knew you liked and make your body work a little better in the process.
Remember the mantra everything within moderation. Don't make anything sinful, don't cut something out of your diet entirely and don't make yourself miserable. January is hard enough without taking away all your fun, so try to make some positive and healthy changes as opposed to punishing yourself for the next four weeks. You might create some new good habits and even discover new foods and drinks that you and your body love.
Take it easy this New Year and start it as you mean to go on; being happy, healthy and as awesome as you can be.