The New Year marks a time to start a fresh, a new beginning. When I was consulting, this was always the time of year when I was bombarded with old and new patients alike requesting support to detox, or kick start a healthier way of living. So, here it is – my views on detoxing and tips to regroup and develop healthier habits for 2015.
To detox or not to detox your diet?
I first need to begin with a warning. Detox programs that severely restrict your calorie intake or require extended periods of fasting can do more harm than good. Please be sensible and listen to your body. My approach to detoxing is gentle and about setting in motion a realistic, sustainable and healthy relationship with food (as opposed to unsustainable deprivation). In fact, I prefer to focus on a gentle cleanse, rather than a detox.
So you feel like you need to get back on track?
As disciplined as I am with my diet, even I tend to let go a little at Christmas time – they don’t call it the silly season for nothing! This Christmas, sugar has crept back into my life, also an extra cup of coffee (I’m a one-a-day max girl) and too many social glasses of wine – it’s very easy to justify when you’re ‘stressed’ or ‘relaxed’ or ‘on holiday.’ I get it and I’m the best at it. I’m currently paying the price for my overindulgence with less energy than normal and poor focus – so I’ve set about getting back on track, and, after just 3 days I’m feeling a lot more like my old self!
Where to start…
Let’s face it; life is full of ups and downs, good days and bad. To maintain a healthy mind and body is to be true to yourself – to find that 90/10 balance and to be able to recognise and rebalance when you do get out of sorts.
- By identifying what needs to change. e.g.; I need to cut back/ avoid caffeine
- I always recommend replacing an unhealthy habit with a health one. e.g.; have a herbal tea or hot lemon drink when coffee craving hits. Herbal teas also help me when I’m feeling like something sweet.
- Commit to making a change. How you implement changes will depend upon your personality type – all at once or one by one, it’s up to you but only do what is attainable and sustainable. If you set the bar too high, you might not achieve what you set out to achieve.
Some of the things you might like to consider…
Hydrate – simple, obvious and profoundly beneficial. If you’re feeling like much of my parched garden looks, that is wilted (exhausted and unmotivated), then hydrating will be your saviour. If alcohol and caffeine are your poisons, this becomes even more crucial. Replace them with water, herbal teas (only un-caffeinated) or coconut water. For more ideas about how to hydrate, check out this post here.
Avoid all processed foods
The best detox involves eliminating all refined grains, sugar, vegetable oils and processed foods from your diet. Basically cut out the crap and try to eat the types of food our ancestors ate. Real food that our body is designed to recognise; food that is more a product of nature, than industry. I like to call this low HI (human intervention) food.
For breakfast, avoid ALL commercial breakfast cereals and make it your most important meal of the day. You will have more success making other dietary changes if you have set yourself up with a good, nutritionally balanced breakfast. Check out this post for breakfast ideas or some of the recipes on the site. My ebook offers lots of inspiration and simple recipes to make breakfast simple and nourishing.
Aim to eat mostly a little protein and a variety of vegetables for lunch and dinner. Sprouts, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables should form part of each meal. Include no more than two serves of fruit per day.
Nurture your gut
Your digestive system is so important to the functioning of not only your physical, but mental health too. It really bares the brunt of over indulging, over eating and poor food choices. Any detox needs to begin with the gut. This post will give you ideas to help to support its proper functioning.
Love your liver
Your liver also bares the brunt of overindulging, especially in alcohol and sugar. If the festive season has left you feeling bloated, frustrated and a tad irritable, your liver is in need of some loving. Lemon juice in warm water first up in the morning is very nurturing. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil and pinch of turmeric for an extra boost. Increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables like coriander, parsley and broccoli is important. Also make sure you have a little protein with every meal.
To really regenerate your liver, look at taking herbs such as St Mary’s Thistle (Milk Thistle), Dandelion Root, Globe Artichoke and/or Schisandra – preferably in a liquid herbal extract or tableted formulas (see your Naturopath for further advise).
Move, relax and get some help
Set in place an exercise plan, reserve time for yourself (the one thing I struggle with repeatedly). I have made a commitment to myself this year to spend at least the first 10 minutes of each and every day practicing mindful meditation. I figure if I can’t reserve 10 of the 1440 minutes given to me each day to meditate, then I clearly have a problem! I know the benefits of regular meditation are profound, so I have made doing so a priority. If you are looking for a good place to start, check out the Smiling Minds (free app).
Seek professional support
Perhaps enlist in the help of a Naturopath or adequately qualified health practitioner for a personalised approach to wellness.
I won’t cover old ground, but if you’re new to Well Nourished, or just feel like a little more inspiration to get back on track, then www.wellnourished.com.au has loads of content aimed at helping you to become nourished, happy and healthy.