Detox., noun, treatment designed to rid the body of poisonous substances.
So what is ‘poisonous’? Well that depends where you sit around the table. As the great quote goes – one man’s meat is another man’s poison. For the paleofiles, grains are poisonous. For vegos, it’s meat. For the sugar-free, it’s fruit. For me, it’s caffeine, dairy, sugar, gluten and anything processed.
Regardless, the liver, kidneys and skin do ripper jobs in detoxifying the body but there is no harm in eliminating those things which are acid-forming or nutritionally unnecessary for a few days, and giving your digestive system a break.
If you’ve never done a detox before, then think in degrees and don’t make it a big deal. The key to success for your first one is reducing the ‘toxic’ food and drink and increasing the good stuff. If you drink three coffees a day, try just one. If you drink a litre of water a day, try two. If you never exercise, grab a mate and go for a walk (Just don’t swing by the café or bakery on the way home).
The second and third time you do a detox, make the see-saws bigger – even less sugar and coffee, add an extra salad and an extra kilometre to your walk. Keep a diary and note how you feel. Success begets success.
Once you’ve done that, crank it up a notch, and perhaps experiment with three days of wholefood juices and smoothies, veggie soups and broths and lightly steamed alkaline veggies. Essentially dark leafy greens and most green vegetables are best including asparagus, broccoli, celery, kale, spinach and zucchini.
Remember to drink plenty of water to ensure proper hydration and to avoid confusing hunger with dehydration. It will also help to flush out the toxins. Don’t overdo it. Two litres is generally the recommended amount per day. If plain water is too dull, try flavouring it with cucumber, strawberries and mint, or turmeric and ginger with lemon zest and juice.
For me, I don’t like the word detox. It sounds too arduous. Interestingly there are no synonyms for detox in my online dictionary. Even though it doesn’t run off the tongue as easily, I like to call the ‘detox’ days my ‘calm-diet’ days which is much more positive and energizing.
Here are my 10 golden rules to get started
1. Less mastication. Eat less unnecessary food and drink. Increase soups and smoothies, which are easy to digest.
2. Less flagellation. Be kind to yourself. No one is being harmed here. It’s just a detox.
3. Down tools. Switch off all electronica, especially when eating, to relax everything including your stomach. There is loads of information detailing the symbiotic relationship between mind and gut.
4. Be mindful not “mind full”. Eat blindfolded and see how that affects the pace you eat and the enjoyment of the food you are eating. Research in 2011 found that when blindfolded people ate 22 per cent less and enjoyed the food more.
5. Move it. Now is not the time to start Cross Fit or a Boot Camp program but it is the time for spritzing walks, detoxifying yoga twists or gentle swimming.
6. Soak yourself. A daily 20-minute bath with two cups of Epsom Salts does wonders for relaxing the body and brain. Don’t read, no selfies, just soak.
7. Do nothing to lose weight, do everything to be healthy for these three days. This is your mantra for the three days.
8. It’s a detox not deprivation. You might need to eat more often as clean food is highly nutritious but sometimes low in calories. Don’t go hungry – have another smoothie, bowl of soup, green apple, fresh berries, celery, carrot or cucumber.
9. Enjoy the process.
10. Plan to do another one.
Breakfast: Green Smoothie – 1 cup coconut water, ½ cup frozen or fresh blueberries, ½ avocado, 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon spirulina, chlorella or other green powder, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
This is so smooth and filling and feels really indulgent. I rarely snack before lunchtime when I start the day this way.
Lunch: Salad of baby rocket and spinach leaves, celery, cucumber, shaved coconut, walnuts, currants, coconut oil, lemon juice.
Dinner: Veggie soup – gently simmer chopped leek, celery, carrot, arame and spinach in 6 cups of stock for 20 minutes or until tender.
Breakfast: 1 frozen banana, 2 dates, 5 cashews, 1 tablespoon chia or linseeds, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons maca, cacao, lacuma mix. Blend until smooth.
Lunch: Beetroot Soup – simmer 4 peeled and chopped beets along with 1 carrot and 2 celery sticks in 6 cups of water until tender. Blend.
Dinner: Blanched green veggies including zucchini, asparagus, peas, beans, broad beans, kale. Drizzle with coconut oil or olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Breakfast: Smoothie – 1 cup coconut water, green apple, avocado, baby spinach, cucumber, cinnamon, mint.
Lunch: Kale, avocado, mint, green apple, coconut water, cucumber, handful of almonds, smoothie.
Dinner: Leek soup – gently sauté 6 washed and chopped leeks in some coconut oil. Add 6 cups of stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Add loads of fresh herbs like tarragon, thyme towards the end of cooking.