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Detox - all year round!


Eat! Drink! Be merry! Calorie counting? Pah! Have 3 for 2 on all Tesco party food! That’s the general attitude in December, right?
Stop eating! Drink lots of water!  Watch those calories because it’s a New Year. Magazines, supermarkets and the television are screaming that you’ve got to start off the New Year with the inevitable vow to lose weight and be healthy. It was you corporate chains who put us in this predicament in the first place!

But how long do we really stick at this new lease of life for? Are you one of the people that are a couple of weeks into the New Year and have thrown in the towel already?
Some basic and effective advice on detox should have you de-bloated and feeling better all year round, not just for 2 weeks in January!  

Firstly, what does the concept of detoxifying mean? Eating better? Drinking no alcohol? Exercising? It’s simply the removal of toxins from the body. And we’ve all got them! A toxin is a poison that affects the body from internal and/or external means. Our bodies are exposed to a vast amount of toxins daily from the food we eat, what we drink (including water) and the air we breathe.
Our bodies naturally eliminate a lot of these toxins but a little help from you will help speed the process along! Without this a build-up of toxins can affect the colon, liver and the kidneys; thus making you feel more than just under the weather.

I know what you’re thinking – just where do you start? Don’t worry, you can detoxify without having to immediately jump outside and run around the block whilst gulping down 3 litres of water and an avocado! But it does boil down to 3 important factors: what you eat, what you drink and how much you exercise. Therapies such as massage and wraps are a great way of helping the process along as well. I’ll break each factor down to make the do’s and don’ts of detoxifying nice and easy!

You are what you eat!


After the initial flashback of Gillian McKeith and her questionable dieting techniques you can start assessing what you feel needs to change in your diet to make you feel better. You know yourself where you can change things but it’s surprising what tasty things you’re advised to have to detox the body!

Detox don’ts:  Food and drink


Sugar: Try and avoid adding sugar to foods/drinks and switch your high in refined sugar cereals with filling porridge or wholemeal toast and poached eggs
Dairy products: These tend to big a big no-no in detoxifying! But I think this is very unrealistic, trying limiting the amount of milk you have and swap cream in cooking with low-fat crème fraiche instead! Avoid butter and limit margarine as much as possible.
Wheat: Again, a major food group in terms of the fibre content needed to fill us up! Swap white bread for wholemeal bread (not brown, this is just as bad for you as white!) and try oatcakes as a snack with cottage cheese or honey.
Red meat, sausages, burgers and pate
Crisps, chocolates, sauces, ready meals and takeaways (if that Saturday night craving calls for a takeaway have a look online for some healthy alternative recipes!)
Caffeine: This is a huge factor in making us feel fatigued during the day. Even though it gives you a temporary energy boost the downside is always worse! Cut out the tea and coffee but replace with yummy herbal teas! They can take a bit of getting used to but try and stick with it.  
Alcohol: Toxins from alcohol are the most disruptive in our daily lives! Excess toxins from alcohol can irritate the stomach, make you feel fatigued and energy levels generally plummet! Try and avoid and definitely avoid the ‘cheeky binge’ at the weekends as this will knacker all that hard work during the week!

Detox do’s: Food and drink


Fruit (including fresh, tinned and frozen)
Fruit Juice (pure or unsweetened)
All Vegetables (again fresh, frozen or canned)
Beans and lentils (red kidney, haricot, cannellini, butter bean and green, brown and red lentils)
Tofu and Quorn
Oats (can be sweetened with honey!)
Potatoes (Yes! You’re allowed potatoes!)
Brown rice and rice noodles
Rye crackers, rice cakes and oatcakes
Fresh fish (any fresh fish or canned fish)
Unsalted nuts and seeds
Plain popcorn
Natural yoghurt (supermarket own brands tend to be very bitter, try Yeo Valley)
Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Garlic, ginger and fresh herbs
Herbal or fruit teas (peppermint is most recommended for cleansing the digestive system and hot water with lemon is the best way to start the day!)
Water – at least 2 litres a day! If you find this difficult to keep track of try taking a 2 litre bottle of water to work and make a conscious effort to take regular sips all day!

The principle of a healthy balanced diet tends to be ‘eat 5 small meals a day’. Eating more often suppresses your appetite and leaves you feeling fuller for longer. Have a cup of home-made soup for a snack or before your main meal at dinner time will take the bite out of hunger and will stop you gorging on big, heavy meals!

Beauty and holistic treatments help this whole process along. A build up of toxins are gradually released naturally by the body and by eating the right foods the process will be aided further; the remaining toxins can be shifted by physical contact, i.e. massage! Deep tissue massages focus on lymphatic drainage which aids the drainage of toxins – specific oils should be used to make the massage more comfortable as well. Body brushing and exfoliation before a massage is excellent to start the process!
Body wraps help eliminate toxins by the sweating process involved; ridding the body of fluid retention. It’s amazing how much fluid retention we hold when our diet consists of processed foods, white bread and fizzy drinks.

Exercise also helps to detoxify the body. Walking, dancing, running, swimming and various other exercises helps the body to rid itself of accumulated wastes, toxins and poisons. When you’re exercising your blood circulation increases; when this happens nutrients are pumped into all the major organs and muscles. Lymph fluids circulate around the body at the same time which removes toxins and other harmful waste. Try 20 minutes of exercise 3 times a week – you’ll feel so much better for it!
A combination of healthy eating, exercise and body therapies will make the world of difference; once you’re in a routine you won’t want to get back out of it!

Happy New Year and all the best for 2011!

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