THE SAFE WAY TO DETOX

If you’re feel­ing slug­gish af­ter the fes­tive overeat­ing, it might be time for a cleansing diet. Here’s how to do it the right way.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Love Your Body - SH

Acom­plete detox is one of those prom­ises we make to our­selves af­ter a food-filled fes­tive sea­son. But most of us end up putting it off again and again. With­out a reg­u­lar and holis­tic cleanse, how­ever, the mind and body will start to feel the ef­fects of tox­ins – from chem­i­cals in the pro­cessed food we eat and the prod­ucts we use, to the pol­lu­tants in the air.

Most detox di­ets are struc­tured around the two Fs – fluid and fi­bre – that step up your flush­ing-out process. While detox­i­fi­ca­tion is a ba­sic bod­ily func­tion, an ir­reg­u­lar life­style and poor eat­ing habits dis­turb it. A detox diet – un­der­taken with care – is tough love for the body, but the re­sults can make you feel like a whole new per­son. The diet can last from just a few days to a few weeks.

Ease In

A detox cy­cle is like learn­ing to ride a bike – you have to start slow. It’s not ad­vis­able to cut out solids im­me­di­ately and de­pend only on flu­ids to get you through the day. For the first few days, ease the tran­si­tion with por­ridge, fruit smooth­ies and nu­tri­tious broths.

Fol­low this up with a pre-detox two-day soup fast. Legumes, cab­bage and other veg­eta­bles may not be the most ex­cit­ing com­bi­na­tion, but soup made from them is the per­fect way to start you off on cleansing your sys­tem. Fill your­self with the soup at break­fast, lunch and din­ner, and have a cup or two in be­tween when you feel like snack­ing.

A detox diet – un­der­taken with care – is tough love for the body, but the re­sults can make you feel like a whole new per­son.

Go Steady

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that a detox diet should not rid you of es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents. Eat­ing light and eat­ing healthy aren’t mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. Be­gin your day with yo­gurt, fruit and oat­meal and have wa­ter­melon or orange juice for a mid­morn­ing snack.

The rules of detox aren’t very dif­fer­ent from those for weight loss, where sev­eral small meals punc­tu­ate your day. Lunch should be a sum­mer salad with dress­ing or raw/steamed veg­eta­bles with a curd dip and glass of lemon­ade.

Eggs, whole­grains and raw nuts will for­tify your diet. Make sure you get your fill of green tea – when you’re off dairy, it’s the only break you’re go­ing to get dur­ing a long work­ing day. In­stead of red meat for din­ner, try grilled fish and a tofu and bean salad with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil. Tip: The pace of our lives of­ten re­duces meals to five-minute in­ter­ludes. When you’re on a detox, try to stretch your meal out. Re­lax your mind, chew slowly and re­ally taste the food you’re eat­ing.

Ease Out

Just like you can’t rush into a detox cy­cle, it’s not ad­vis­able to aban­don your detox diet all of a sud­den. Rein­tro­duce semi-solids like por­ridge or con­gee to your meals and make a grad­ual shift to your nor­mal diet. Start off with a pro­tein-rich, low-fat plan. Tip: Avoid caf­feine, al­co­hol and su­gar. Eat yel­low fruits rich in vitamin C. Tempt­ing fatty foods should only make a stag­gered come­back. The trick be­hind a suc­cess­ful detox cy­cle is to flush out your de­sire for fatty food with the tox­ins. Think of it as a psy­cho­log­i­cal cleanse.

Avoid Snack­ing

Snack­ing is a deal-breaker for most di­ets. The first thing to do is to make your peace with healthy snack­ing.

Most hunger crav­ings be­tween meals are signs of de­hy­dra­tion that can be put to rest with a glass of wa­ter. Avoid snack­ing, but if you ab­so­lutely must, drink herbal tea in­stead of break­ing out a batch of pop­corn or un­salted nuts. The im­por­tant thing is to hold out till the next mini-meal of the day.

Detox Your Mind

While eat­ing healthy en­sures you’re phys­i­cally fit, di­ets of­ten wreak havoc on the mind with a vi­cious cir­cle of sati­ety and guilt. To pre­vent your­self from think­ing about food con­stantly, try and calm your mind.

Make time for a 30-minute med­i­ta­tion or yoga ses­sion to cleanse your mind of neg­a­tive en­ergy at least once ev­ery day. As part of your detox plan, work in a few re­lax­ing mas­sages as well.

Take a day off from tech­nol­ogy ev­ery week, prefer­ably over the week­ends when you’re not likely to be called in by the boss. Break­ing free of smart­phones can go a long way in keep­ing you stress-free, and your mind off com­fort food.

Detox Your Skin

Be­fore your bath or shower, grab a loofah or nat­u­ral-fi­bre brush and spend 10 min­utes mov­ing it in a gen­tle cir­cu­lar mo­tion over your body. Go from toes to thighs, fin­gers to up­per arms, belly to back. Avoid the face and decol­letage. Af­ter bathing, mas­sage your­self us­ing olive or co­conut oil with a cou­ple of drops of rose­mary or sage oil to en­hance cir­cu­la­tion and detox­i­fi­ca­tion.

Detox Your Gro­cery List

Your weekly shop­ping trip needs a com­plete over­haul when you’re on a detox. Here’s how to shop smart and in­clude foods that aid your body’s nat­u­ral abil­ity to flush out tox­ins.

1 Go or­ganic. Re­duce your ex­po­sure to pes­ti­cides and fer­tilis­ers. Or­ganic foods are said to con­tain a higher level of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als as well as mi­cronu­tri­ents that build the body’s im­mune sys­tem.

2 Don’t buy calo­rie-laden foods high in su­gar, sat­u­rated fats or those that have ar­ti­fi­cial ad­di­tives. Ready-to-eat food pack­ages are heav­ily pro­cessed and should be avoided when on a detox. A detox em­pha­sises an in­creased fluid con­tent in your diet. How­ever, you can­not rely on fizzy diet drinks or squashes. Opt for co­conut or bar­ley wa­ter in­stead.

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