The big clean up!

Overindulged this Christmas? Start the New Year the healthy way with these top detox tips

Cut back on the sweet stuff

Reducing your sugar intake can help you reduce your body fat, feel energised, strengthen your immune system and improve your skin. Try these tips from Alison Beadle, personal trainer and author of Sugar Free Me (www.sugarfreeme.org)

1) Eat or bin any sugary products you have at home so you won’t be tempted. Restock with protein and good fat-rich snacks such as nuts, seeds, natural yogurt, oily fish, hummus, avocado, oat cakes, biltong and eggs. These will keep you fuller for longer and help curb cravings.

2) Cut out refined sugar and the obvious sugar treats such as cakes, sweets, chocolates and sugary drinks.

3) Avoid hidden sugars. The key culprits include breakfast cereals, cereal bars, low fat yogurts and pasta sauces. Sugars can be in the form of honey, molasses, agave, coconut palm sugar, fructose, sucrose, maltodextrin, rice syrup and coconut nectar. Although coconut palm sugar and honey aren’t empty calories, like refined sugar, and contain nutrients, they are still sugars.

4) Review your fructose intake. Whilst fruit contains vitamins, minerals and fibre, how much of it you eat needs to be considered. Fruit juices with no fibre are high in sugar so eat the fruit whole instead. Dried fruit, whilst marketed as healthy, is still high in sugar. Dates are often used in raw foods which are marketed as ‘sugar free’ but have one of the highest glycaemic loads of all fruits. It is recommended that we eat five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day. See if you can get your five-a-day by eating mainly vegetables. Maybe eat less of the high-sugar fruits like grapes and bananas and focus on low-sugar fruits such as raspberries and blueberries.

Rejuvenate your system

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic philosophy that shows how to live a healthy, wholesome and more fulfilled life by balancing your mind, body and spirit. “In Ayurveda, it is important not just to detox regularly but also to nourish and rejuvenate the body,” explains Ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist and Pukka Herbs co-founder Sebastian Pole (www.pukkaherbs.com). “If you keep yourself topped up with organic, natural and supportive foods for your constitution then your body will be fighting fit and well equipped for a period of detoxification. Similarly, after a detox your body will naturally be slightly more vulnerable because it’s just had a good clean out. So, it is important to support rejuvenation through nourishing your body with strengthening herbs and a nutritive diet. Essentially, it’s all about maintaining a cycle of nourishment, detoxification and rejuvenation.

Eating foods that support a healthy circulation will support a healthy blood flow and, therefore, its ability to re-energise and oxygenate the body. So, warming, stimulating and slightly spicier foods are great during a detox. Avoiding mucus-forming foods such as dairy and highly processed fats which are more difficult for the body to digest and break down, and this will support a more productive detox. Support your detox with the following tonics:

  • Aloe vera juice is a potent cleansing and rejuvenating tonic that can be taken during a detox. Drink one or two tablespoons in the morning. Use an aloe vera juice which is 100 per cent organic and made from the inner gel of the whole plant to get the most from your aloe.
  • Triphala is known as Ayurveda’s most renowned formula for cleansing the digestive system. It is made with three Indian fruits: amla, which is high in antioxidants; haritaki and bibhitaki, which work together to remove toxins from the digestive tract.

Start the day the alkaline way

“One of the best ways to detox, retrain your taste buds to enjoy eating highly nutritious foods again and start a positive habit for the new year is to get into alkalising your body with a super-healthy and tasty green smoothie each day,” says Laura Wilson, author of The Alkaline 5 Diet (www.LauraWilsonOnline.com).

“Throw a couple of pieces of fruit such as an apple and some pineapple into a blender with a handful of spinach, a chunk of cucumber and the juice of a lime and blend with some ice for a minute or so. You will then have a great on-the-go pick-me-up energiser that will satisfy your hunger in the morning.”

Activate your ‘skinny genes’

Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, authors of The Sirtfood Diet, have devised a new diet plan which is based around activating the body’s sirtuin genes, which are sometimes called the ‘skinny genes’.

“By eating a diet rich in ‘sirtfoods’ you can mimic the effect of fasting and exercise and achieve the body you want,” say Aidan and Glen. “Sirtfoods also go beyond the effects of fasting, acting as master regulators of metabolism, not only stimulating fat-burning but promoting muscle gain. One of the best ways to kick start your new year programme is with our green juice which contains the perfect ingredients to turbocharge your initial weight loss.”

Add the following ingredients to a juicer:

  • 2 large handfuls (75g) kale
  • A large handful (30g) rocket
  • A very small handful (5g) flat leaf parsley
  • A very small handful (5g) lovage leaves (optional)
  • 2-3 large stalks green celery (150g) including its leaves
  • ½ medium green apple
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ level tsp matcha green tea powder (mix this in after you have made the juice)

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