Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

The Quick And Simple Detox

It’s January, the party’s over, and it’s time to think positive and act on those New Year’s resolutions. But you can’t quite seem to kick yourself into action. Even if you haven’t actually put on any extra pounds, you feel run-down, lethargic and fat. The average person consumes around 12 elephants (65 tons) worth of food and drink in their life, but it probably feels as if you’ve eaten the whole lot in one mammoth Christmas blow-out! There really is no such thing as a “detox” as the body does its own clean-up. The liver, kidneys, bowels and skin are all major organs of elimination that get rid of the waste products produced by your body chemistry.

However, a short sharp “detox” of appropriate food and drink will let your natural cleansing work more efficiently and give your liver and kidneys a bit of a holiday!

This bloated, over-full feeling is down to not so much the amount, but rather what you’ve eaten. Christmas pudding with brandy butter, trifle, mince pies, crisps and salted nuts galore all washed down with a cocktail of wine, beer, cognac, vodka etc equals refined carbohydrates, fats, too much salt and alcohol. Not good news for your gut. Even if you did manage the odd Satsuma here and there, this token gesture to fibre is just not enough to keep things moving.

With the best will in the world we all tend to indulge in too much merry-making over Christmas. So why not face the New Year with more than a sore head and try this survival guide?

The first step is a 24-hour clean-out to give the digestive system a shot of rest and relaxation. Start your day with a glass of hot water and fresh lemon juice, followed by some exotic fruits (pineapple, mango) and a cup of mint tea. The vitamin C and enzymes in the fruit will start the process of repair and cleansing your body needs. Then go for a brisk walk.

Mid-morning, have another glass of hot lemon with a snack of raisins and dates (the natural sugar will give you a lift) and a few fresh nuts to replace essential minerals. Lunch should be a large, mixed salad that includes plenty of raw carrots, cabbage, red and yellow peppers and watercress, to ensure a high intake of vitamin A and iron. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds (rich in zinc for your depleted defences) and serve it with an extra virgin olive oil dressing. Drink at least two glasses of plain water.

The natural bacteria living in your intestines don’t take too kindly to alcohol, so after all the booze you swallowed up till now, replenish them with a daily dose of Yakult - the Japanese fermented milk drink rich in a unique natural bacteria which helps the digestive system and your natural immunity.

The evening meal is high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Have a selection of lightly cooked vegetables, including root vegetables (for minerals), served with a large jacket potato, natural yoghurt and chives, and plenty of water.

The traditional Christmas spices, like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg can all aid digestion, so include them in your cooking wherever possible. If you’re feeling bloated and sluggish, take a pinch of powdered ginger in a small glass of hot water or take a Hofels concentrated ginger perle available from any health store.

Finally, pay a little attention to your body. A sauna will help to get rid of a lot of waste products as you sweat them out of your system. A good massage can work wonders too, a professional one is great but it’s not bad to use one of your Christmas book tokens to buy a do-it-yourself guide and give it to your partner, together with a bottle of sweet smelling massage oil. It’s virtually impossible to do anything but good even with the most amateur of hands just remember that it shouldn’t hurt.

If all this sounds a bit too indulgent, then think about a little exercise. It needn’t be anything frantic or excessive, a good brisk walk for half an hour will burn off a bit of the extra weight, but more importantly, stimulate the circulation, get the heart working a bit harder and make you breathe a bit deeper. All of which is a grand antidote to the overindulgences.

The human body has amazing powers of recovery, prove it for yourself by following this simple guide and ending up bright eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to face the rigours of the New Year.


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