Six Ways to Detox from the Holidays and Ease into a Healthy New Year

Anyone who saw the movie “Supersize Me” or has read any statistics in the last few years about the obesity problem that exists in America, must have given a thought or two to their own eating habits. It has been estimated that Americans eat about 64 lbs of sugar a year and a good proportion of that is consumed over the Holidays! Sugar is now considered by many experts to be a key factor in aging because of the additional free radical activity it causes and because of its ability to deplete the immune system by reducing the germ gobbling capacity of our white blood cells. So to lose weight, stay healthy and age less rapidly, reducing sugar consumption is something we all need to tackle when planning to detox and lead a healthier life.

Plan of Action:

Food Intake:

Eat unrefined carbohydrates like lentils, kidney beans, wholemeal pasta, bran cereals, and oatmeal and increase the protein levels in your eating programme – chicken, fish, cottage cheese, turkey – leave out the red meats. Load up on fruits and vegetables of any kind – they are much healthier than refined carbs and contain tons of anti-oxidants. Eat as much as you want.

Snack on popcorn, apples, cherries, pears, low-fat yoghurt, nuts, and dried apricots. And when a sugar craving hits, sniff some vanilla. It really works!

Fluid Intake:

First of all, time to cut out the alcohol. Not forever but for a short while to give the liver a break. (Alcohol triggers sugar cravings). Increase your water intake. I know you have heard this so many times but use this simple equation to estimate how much your body needs. Take the number of pounds you weigh and half the amount. That halved amount represents how many ounces your body needs on a daily basis. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should be drinking 65 ounces of water a day. Cut back on the caffeine – it is hard giving up sugar and coffee at the same time so maybe just one fully caffeinated beverage a day. Drink herbal teas – ginger and green tea are great for stimulating and cleansing. Another source of fluid and nourishment is soup. You can use any vegetables but try to include some watercress and celery for their diuretic effects. Also, vegetables and fruits mixed together in a cleansing juice help a lot. Blend together 5 carrots, 1 apple, 2 stalks of celery and ½ beetroot.

Exercise:

Can’t get away from it! Aerobics, weights and yoga – the perfect blend. 30 minutes daily six times a week for two weeks and then 3-4 times a week 40-60 minutes per session. Alternate weight training days with yoga and brisk walking.

Supplements:

There are so many to chose from but to get a detox plan started try Vitamin C to help neutralise free radical activity caused by over-eating and the B family of vitamins to help the body to de-stress. Milk Thistle helps to strengthen the liver and Psyllium Husks help the process of elimination, by halfing the time it takes for food to travel through the bowels. Dandelion in the form of a tea or supplement will help if you feel bloated. All of the above should be taken with plenty of water. Some experts recommend taking herbs and vitamins first thing in the morning before breakfast but it will depend on your particular digestive system. Sometimes it is best to eat first and wait for about 30 minutes. Essential fatty acids should be taken in supplement form as well as derived in the diet from nuts and fish. Try flaxseed or evening primrose oil.

Aromatherapy:

Use essential oils to support the detox process. Stimulate the lymphatic system with Angelica, strengthen the colon with Black Pepper, get rid of fluid retention with patchouli and geranium, re-energise the body with grapefruit and finally, use Juniper to boost the liver. Use these oils individually with the daily application of you body lotion or mix 2-3 oils (about 6-8 drops each) in your bath at night.

Mind Health:

Which brings us to rest. Get plenty of it! While you sleep your body goes to work repairing and replenishing. Sleep deprivation causes us to age significantly faster and when you increase your exercise and start living a healthier lifestyle, your body will need extra time to recuperate. Fatigue creates depression and a less positive outlook on life. It has been estimated that optimists live approximately ten years longer than pessimists. Be good to yourself. Get a massage and facial regularly and have at-home spa nights where you relax in the tub, surrounded by candles, sipping tea and reading your favourite new book or simply listening to the sound of silence! A good detox system is not a starvation diet – it is a permanent life care plan that can be adjusted to your needs. If done properly it will increase the production of enzymes that your liver and lungs will use to neutralise harmful toxins throughout your body. It will increase your blood circulation and the exchange of nutrients, oxygen and waste to and from all the tissues. It will strengthen your body’s immunity. It will create a healthy digestive system and give you the clearest skin that will glow with a radiance and inner beauty that will be the envy of all. Good Luck!

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