Are you looking for a detox plan to get rid of the excess of the festive season? Here Jackie Lynch gives you some easy and efficient tips to help you get back on track.
When you’re feeling sluggish after the festive season, it’s easy to be tempted by the promises of rapid weight loss, glowing skin and boundless energy which feature in so many of the January ‘detoxes’ that are all over the media. Health professionals all agree that a short-term detox followed by a return to the old regime is medically futile as it simply doesn’t work in the long-term.
Your body is likely to benefit far more from a small permanent change than a rollercoaster of feast and famine. It’s much less stressful for you and your body to pick one key change and stick to it, so choose your favourite of these health-boosting ideas and try it out throughout 2016.
- Commit to 3 consecutive alcohol-free days per week. This will have a far more beneficial impact than gritting your teeth through a ‘dry January’ and then partying on for the rest of the year. The liver is responsible for up to 500 vital functions in the body – if it spends all its time ‘detoxing’ then it doesn’t have time to focus on other very important jobs, such as processing hormones, fat metabolism and energy production. Three clear days of catch-up time for your liver can reap dividends in terms of energy levels, skin health and the quality of your sleep, to name but a few benefits. If you make a habit of this you’ll find that you’re feeling fitter, more vibrant and more productive all year round.
- Change the ratio of your 5-a-day so that the balance is 4:1 in favour of vegetables instead of fruit. You’re really missing a trick if your 5-a-day is mostly made up of fruit, as vegetables tend to be far richer in protective antioxidants and they contain much less sugar. They’re also full of fibre which promotes healthy digestion, hormone balance and sustained blood sugar levels and they’re a great source of energy and mood-boosting B vitamins, which put a real spring in your step. Soups, casseroles and stir-fries are easy ways to increase your vegetable intake in the winter, without too much effort, as you can just throw them in and let them cook. You could consider investing in a juicer, as this is a great way to have a whole range of vegetables in one hit. Veg-based snacks are another easy option to help reach your target: think houmous or guacamole with carrots or cucumber, for example.
- Audit your caffeine intake. If your cumulative daily intake exceeds 4 cups of tea, coffee or caffeinated sodas, then you’re having too much. Consider how you can reduce your intake and set yourself a realistic daily target – for example, if your morning coffee is non-negotiable, then try halving the dose by asking for one shot instead of two at the coffee bar or think about avoiding caffeine at other times of the day instead. Find a herbal or fruit tea that you like, and drink this in the afternoon. Try sparkling water with cordial as an alternative soft drink, and choose non-caffeinated mixers for alcohol, such as tonic or soda water. If you can manage to even halve your caffeine intake, you will start to see quite a difference: caffeine has a very powerful influence on the body, increasing the heart rate and impacting blood pressure. Excess caffeine affects the nervous system, resulting in poor quality sleep and impacting mood and energy levels.
- Reduce the amount of wheat you eat. Can you feel your digestion knotting or tightening when you get stressed? If so, this could be very effective for you. Wheat can be a real irritant to a sensitive gut, so (even if you’re not actually intolerant to wheat), you may find that you benefit from cutting it down in times of stress. If you’re regularly having cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, then that’s quite a burden for your digestive system. Try eliminating wheat from one or two meals by having an oat-based cereal or porridge for breakfast, a rye bread sandwich or soup for lunch or swapping pasta for rice at dinner time. These small changes could reduce that niggling bloating you experience, making you feel a lot less lethargic and a lot more comfortable.
Good luck, and wishing you a happy and healthy 2016!
The Right Bite
Available from March 2016
Preorder from Amazon now.
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