A detox can be a great start to a New Year or Spring when you are feeling a bit stagnant, or Start to a weight loss programme, or boost to a weight loss programme.
I watched Channel 4’s Food Hospital program and they pretty much proved that Detox’s don’t do much. So whatever they do, it’s probably partially placebo, and partially giving your system a bit of a reboot so that you can go back to a healthier lifestyle. But I still like doing one 1-4 times a year.
I recommend that if you are going to do it, then don’t just detox your body, detox your life as well and make it a more holistic experience.
A Simple Detox
Here is a simple detox plan for 3 days, maximum of 5 (prepare to be a bit grumpy and maybe have a headache at the beginning):
- No Caffiene, sugary or fizzy drinks (OR ALCOHOL!)
- No wheat (so no bread, no pasta, no biscuits, no cereal)
- No sugar (no biscuits, cake or ready made anything)
- No red meat i.e. beef, pork, ham or lamb
- No sweeteners, low fat or low sugar meals (ladened with chemicals)
- Replace all drink with green/fruit tea or water (how much to drink)
- Just eat chicken, turkey or fish for protein
- With vegetables or salad
- Any Fruit
- Corn Thins, Rice Cakes, or Ryvita can be a great alternative to bread, it’s not totally wheat free, but it’s a good option.
- Nuts and Raisins make good snacks (a palm full, not a big bowl full!)
- Couscous, wild/brown rice, new potatoes (lower sugar) and sweet potatoes are great alternatives to wheat based carbohydrates.
- Use herbs, coconut, olive oil and butter for ‘sauce’ and taste instead of mayonnaise, tomato ketchup and jar sauces.
Breakfast for sugar lovers …
If you love your carbs, and seem to struggle with your weight, despite not over eating, then I would recommend a protein only breakfast. I’m not into no-carb diets, but not having carbs for breakfast helps reset your system so that the insulin is produced correctly during the day. Options are:
- Scrambled egg – stick an egg in a bowl, add a dash of milk and a pinch of himalayan rock salt (or normal sea salt if you don’t have the pink stuff). Mix it up. Pop it in the microwave for 1min. You won’t feel instantaneously full, but it will last you until lunch time.
- Haddock – buy some frozen smoked haddock, pop a knob of butter on top, stick it in the microwave for 3-4 mins. It’s particularly lovely with the scrambled egg!
- Porridge – I’m not actually a fan of porridge in the morning, I find it too heavy and although it has protein in it, it’s still carb oriented.
- Natural Yogurt – add berries for taste and a dash of manuka honey
Sweating is important to aid the detox process. Many northern countries have embraced the sauna and been shown to have longer lives and stronger hearts. So you have a few options:
- If you belong to a gym, do 20-30mins gentle cardio, drink 2-4 glasses of water and then go in a sauna for 10-30mins (unless you have a health condition that would contraindicate it).
- Go for a walk/jog for 30mins each day, nothing too extreme, we just want to get you moving and breathing hard.
- Have a warm bath with a couple of cups of Epsom salts or Magnesium Flakes each night.
- Update: Try a Far Infrared Mat experience like we have at Espiritu – they are great for detoxing without the uncomfortable sweating, and really get the circulation going.
Other Helpful Options
The success of a detox is often helped with a treat to motivate you and help remove that rubbish more quickly:
- Massage: A standard swedish massage will help as it massages the muscles, but it’s even better if you add Aromatherapy oils or go to a therapist who can do Lymphatic drainage (see the Purifying pamper at Espiritu).
- Dry body brushing: Helps to get the circulation going. Brush towards the heart for 5 minutes before having a shower.
- Go out to a healthy cafe where eating the food will feel like a treat, as they are cooking it for you; it’s easy now a days with so many gluten free options.
- Lie down and rest to help your body focus on healing itself and watch a good film to take your mind off your cravings.
- Fresh air helps everything, and breathing more deeply will also help the detox process.
Detox Your Life
Now while you are physically detoxing, have a look at the rest of your life. Start with your kitchen cupboards and have a jolly good clear out; especially of anything that wont be helping with your weight loss.
Now don’t be telling me that you need all those treats for the kids, they don’t have to have treats every day, and what they have doesn’t have to be sweet, chocolate or crisp based either. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have treats, just that it wont do them any harm to not have many. Help yourself to succeed.
Now go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything that makes you feel rubbish when you wear it. Do you feel sexy, happy, attractive in it? If not, then bin it. Is it too big? Then either pack it up and put it in the loft or get rid of it. Clear out all your drawers. Have you not worn it for a few years, then why take up space with it?
You can even look around at your life. Do you have any friends who are taking up too much space or just sapping the energy from you? How are you managing your finances, could that do with an overhaul? I’ll give you some tips on looking at your emotional and mental health as well.
I love detoxing, spring cleaning and decluttering having lived with a hoarder Mum. It took me years to get really into it, but eventually when you have been doing it for a few years it becomes second nature and is really quick because you keep everything in it’s slimmed down state. I find it fascinating that suddenly loads of people will get the detox urge or the declutter urge; maybe there it’s something to do with the change in seasons, or maybe there is something to astrology after all? There are certainly times of the month when I feel more up for it, and I’m very much a ‘go with the flow’ type of person, so bear your menstrual cycle in mind when choosing to do a detox/declutter.
You can also buy detox herbs, which take anywhere from 3 days to 3 months to clear your system out. The 3 day ones will be a quick boost, but the longer ones will be also looking at clearing out things like parasites (again something you probably don’t want to know about!). I did a 3 month detox once and it was amazing, but I don’t have the motivation to do it every year, maybe every decade instead!
I’m a fan of detoxing once a year, but NEVER underestimate the power of these detox herbs. Don’t take anything without being sure that it is from a reputable supplier, and if you have any health issues, check with your doctor first. You can expect a bit of a headache, but make sure you check the instructions for what symptoms are not normal. Definitely don’t do this if you are breast-feeding.
Don’t do a Detox if you are exhausted or have a baby under 3 months old, just get a bit healthier. If you are breast feeding, then you might want to wait until you reduce how much you are feeding baby and do a detox at 6 months when you start to give them normal food too and they are less reliant. Definitely stick to a light detox like this one if you are breast feeding or have young children.
Definitely don’t do any more advanced detoxes until you are sure your healthy eating regime is firmly in place. Otherwise you are going to get rid of a pile of junk and want to fill the hole back up with a new pile of junk! The same goes for Colonics (if you don’t know what that is, then take it as a sign you are not meant to know!); I once tried it in order to be able to advise a client on it, and my whole body system went into shock. I know some people love it and really recommend it. I would only recommend it, after a good detox, when you know you will eat healthily and as a very infrequent thing.
Slimming pills are NOT a detox and should never be taken without a prescription from a doctor. In fact I still think that there are many problems solved by surgery and slimming pills that could be solved with in depth therapy, however if you were going to die without the surgery or pills, then I can see that they make sense.
Update 2017: If you have a chronic illness of any kind, be very careful with detoxing. Your system will be more sensitive and there could be an underlying infection. When killing off bugs like that too aggressively they can produce toxins and it can be extremely unpleasant. Since being diagnosed with Lyme disease, my detox has to be very gentle as the Herx reaction can leave me bed ridden for a couple of days.
Let me know if you have any questions about detoxes.
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