Like your car, your body needs a little tune up from time to time, to get rid of unhealthy build-ups and keep its motor running smoothly.
So, if you feel like you’re running on empty, now’s the time for a little body work with a detox cleanse. Even just a short health kick will leave you feeling refreshed. Here’s how to get started.
DO YOUR RESEARCH:
Search online for detox diets and you’ll find enough different plans to make your head spin! A few are definitely not for the faint-hearted (daily saltwater colon flush, anyone?), while others require you to purchase supplements or can be dangerously restrictive. More well-known detoxes such as The Fat Flush and The Master Cleanse (aka The Lemonade Diet), go in and out of style like haute couture, often gaining street cred when linked to an ‘amazing’ celebrity weight-loss story.
While it’s true you will lose weight if you drink only lemon juice and cayenne pepper for two weeks, it’s also true you will pile it all back on when you start eating normally again. But, if you are still tempted to try a cleanse that’s particularly restrictive, you should be in tiptop health and consult your GP first.
What to do:
A safe and achievable detox to try is The Gentle 3-day Cleanse. This plan combines common-sense healthy eating with the elimination of known toxic troublemakers such as alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar. For three days you will dine on delicious smoothies, fresh juices and soups for breakfast and dinner, with a hearty meal of lean protein and vegetables for lunch. And as long as you steer clear of those items on the ‘avoid’ list, you can be as creative as you like with your menu and snack on endless amounts of raw vegetables, fresh fruits and unsalted nuts, along with drinking plenty of water and herbal teas.
Smart tips for success: Plan for your detox several weeks ahead of time by gradually weaning yourself off caffeine, wheat, red meat, dairy and alcohol. Stock up on everything you will need before you start and clear your pantry and fridge of anything that could tempt you to stray. If you can, choose organic produce.
• Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and herbal tea.
• Choose a time when you can clear your diary so you’re not stressed out.
• Pamper yourself while detoxing – it will help you stay on track.
• Sleep and rest as much as you can.
If you do any exercise keep it low impact; now’s not the time to attempt a half marathon. Common side effects include headache, fatigue, extreme hunger, nausea, chills, bloating, diarrhoea and increased urination. This is referred to as ‘the healing crisis’ and occurs as your body rids itself of toxins. In most cases, these symptoms pass quickly, and it’s advised to try to tough it out. When you come off a detox, ease your stomach back into it with easy-to-digest meals like soup and grilled fish.
What to avoid:
• Refined sugar
• Refined carbohydrates (white bread and pasta)
• Fast food/junk food (burgers, pies, pizza)
• Processed meats
• Pre-prepared frozen meals
• Artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives
• Added salt
• Dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, eggs, yoghurt)
THREE DAY MEAL PLAN
Breakfast: Mango smoothie
Blend 2 fresh mangoes, ice, and combine with 1½ cups of either almond, rice or organic soy milk.
Lunch: Baked fish with brown rice or quinoa and mixed steamed vegies.
Dinner: Spicy sweet potato and peanut soup
In a large pot, lightly stir-fry 2 carrots, 1 red capsicum, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, all chopped, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp fresh grated ginger. Add 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped, and 4 cups organic vegetable stock or broth. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 1 hour. Put in 4-5 Tbsp creamy, unsalted peanut butter, then use a stick blender to puree the soup. Makes about 4 serves. Freezes well.
Breakfast: Berry delight smoothie
Blend 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries (or berries of choice), 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice and 1 cup ice-water. For a creamier drink, substitute water with 1 cup almond, rice or soy milk.
Lunch: Chargrilled chicken strips with baby spinach, avocado, pine nuts and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Dinner: Roasted capsicum and tomato soup
Chop and chargrill 2 red capsicums and set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot and add 1 large chopped onion, 1 large chopped carrot, 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 tsp dried Italian herbs. Add capsicum, 1 can crushed tomatoes and 3 cups organic chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Puree and season with black pepper.
Breakfast: Beetroot and carrot smoothie
Peel, chop and steam 2 small fresh beetroot and 2 large carrots until soft. With a stick blender combine vegies with 1 large chopped apple, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp grated ginger and 2 cups cold water.
Lunch: Stir-fried mixed vegies (such as broccoli, snow peas, bean sprouts) with buckwheat or rice noodles.
Dinner: Chilled ultra-green juice
Blend 1 firmly packed cup baby spinach, ½ cup fresh parsley, 1 chopped Granny Smith apple, 1 ripe banana, 1 Tbsp agave syrup, 2 cups ice-water.