With the post-holiday blahs and everyone starting to falter on their healthy New Year's resolutions, what better time to get re-motivated with a good winter detox! Besides, Valentine's day is coming up in less than a month and admit it - as much as you think it's a dumb holiday, you still secretly want to look your best.
So how do we design a good detox? There are so many different types of detoxes out there, the choices can be overwhelming. We've all heard of the master cleanse and enviously listened to people's stories who claim they felt great going 30 days without solid food. We've all tried the little kits from the store. Some of them are good. I guess it depends on your definition of good....having to suddenly relieve about 5 years worth of crap built up in your colon at the most inopportune time isn't ideal for most of us. What other options are there? Lots. Here are some basic steps in designing your own detox.
Decide What You Will Eliminate
There are a few things that (in my humble opinion) everyone should eliminate on a detox. These are: alcohol, nicotine, refined sugar, refined flour products, fried foods, gluten, trans fats, MSG and anything that contains additives, preservatives and colouring. Some people might want to go vegetarian / vegan / raw for their detox. Some might want to eliminate dairy completely, while others may choose to keep probiotic rich items like kefir in their diet. Some people may give up grains. The key is to listen to your body, and go with the options that make you feel the healthiest.
Decide How Long Your Detox Will Be
Detoxes can run anywhere from a few days to a few weeks - the choice is yours. If you have a hectic schedule and can only manage a couple of days, it's still better than nothing. Also, if you plan on doing a liquid cleanse then a few days is much more manageable and safe. If you're only cutting out a few basic items, then a longer cleanse might be more thorough.
Support Your Digestion
Detoxing is a critical time when your body will need energy to eliminate waste. Therefore, easing the digestive process will allow your body to focus on other tasks. How do we do this? A good multi-enzyme supplement will do the trick, along with some raw apple cider vinegar before meals.
Support Your Liver
This step is key. Your liver is your master cleanser, and it will need all the help it can get in neutralizing and eliminating wastes. Support your liver with foods (or juices) like lemon, garlic, broccoli, beets, and milk thistle.
Support Your Colon
What's the purpose of a detox? To get rid of CRAP. So let's make sure you're eliminating. Especially if you're on a juice cleanse, you want to make sure you're getting adequate fiber by mixing some ground flaxseeds or oat bran with warm water. You can try enemas or colonics too if you're brave.
Last but not least, take some time to relax and unwind during your detox. Meditation or yoga are a great addition, as well as avoiding stressful situations if you can. If make the time now to do this one little thing for yourself, your body will thank you later.
Monica is a Holistic Nutritionist and avid cook. She is often found in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes or buried behind a pile of cookbooks. Local, organic, plant-based ingredients are her weapons of choice. Click here to follow her on Facebook and Twitter