January…when we start to regret eating the entire box of chocolates in one go…on our own. The extra bottle of wine doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore and neither does the extra helpings of turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies to “help soak up the wine”. Many of us want to start the New Year in a positive fashion and look towards exercise, diet and detox as we recover physically and mentally from the Christmas holidays.
The foods we consume during a detoxification period certainly has a significant effect on how successful we are, as are those we cut from our diet. The first thing to do is restrict the intake of sugar, salt and wheat based foods whilst avoiding red meat, processed foods and ready-made meals. Limiting the amount of tea, coffee and alcohol can have untold benefits too.
It is important to lighten the load on the digestive system. This can be helped by focusing on eating mainly fruit and vegetables, with fruit juices and homemade soups a tasty way to get all the benefits. Eating food in its raw state has significant benefits because it helps to preserve the enzymes naturally present in the food.
Keeping the bowels moving effectively is an essential part of a healthy detoxification and therefore the use of high fibre foods such as pulses, porridge, millet, quinoa and brown rice as well as ensuring adequate fluid intake is important. It is recommended to drink at least two litres of water per day preferably at room temperature. Herbal teas can be of great benefit for their cleansing properties and as a pleasant alternative to water.
To achieve our desired results not only do we need to address our diet but we also need to take regular exercise. January and February aren’t always the best months to be outside but small changes can make a big difference; try walking to the local shops instead of driving, catch the bus from the next stop along and get off a stop earlier. If the weather isn’t great, look for indoor activities such as swimming, climbing and exercise classes. You could always look at joining a gym but be careful of signing up for a membership that you’ll never get your money’s worth from! You also risk upsetting the regular gym-goers that aren’t happy with the increased traffic of New Year sign-ups (but we didn’t complain when they used our pubs in December!)
Supplements can have a positive impact on your New Year lifestyle change. Milk Thistle is one of the most important supplements for detoxification with its ability to remove toxins from liver cells, prevent the entrance of fresh toxins and help damaged liver cells recover. A good multi-vitamin and mineral is essential for the processing of food and the removal of toxins whereas an antioxidant rich formulation provides the added benefit of helping to neutralise free radicals.
Kelp can help to regulate metabolism by virtue of the fact that the naturally high levels of iodine which exerts a beneficial effect on the thyroid. Chlorophyll rich green foods such as Spirulina, Barley Grass and Wheat Grass also offer great benefits to those looking to cleanse their systems. In addition. Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, have a wide array of functions from boosting the immune system to keeping the skin looking healthy so you feel great both inside and out!