DIY Post Holiday Detox
The holiday season is officially over, and so is the excuse to indulge on sweets, breads and tons of booze. If you really went for it over the last month, then hats off to you. However, now may be a good time to rein it in and kick off the New Year by cleansing your body instead of clogging it with a simple do-it-yourself detox.
The practice of detoxing is nothing new, nor trendy. There is early evidence of Hippocrates (400 BC), the mythical Greek “Father of Medicine,” prescribing fasting for patients with an oncoming disease, and a spare diet on other occasions. Buddha even "detoxed" while he was on his path to enlightenment. To this day most religions practice some sort of fasting to observe a holiday and celebrate their spirituality.
Whether you're religious or not, detoxing has amazing health benefits for the body and mind. Not only can you clear up nagging issues in your body like spotty skin or a bloated belly, but you can also gain clarity on some nagging issues in your life!
You can spend hundreds of dollars on a juice cleanse delivered to your doorstep, but let's face it; the holidays can be quite draining on the wallet. So, if you can carve out a few hours to food shop and prepare your food for a few days, you're in business. Now let's talk logistics.
A detox is different things to different people. It can range from abstaining from all food and drink, which is commonly called fasting, to allowing juices and clean, solid foods which is more of a cleanse.
If you are a busy, on-the-go gal or guy I don't suggest that you subsist on a "lemonade" detox or starve yourself by any means. We need to be able to follow our New Year fitness program simultaneously. Therefore, we'll need a sufficient amount of calories, plant-based protein, and healthy fats to maintain our workouts.
The payoff for temporarily giving up your lattes and French fries is to give our detoxifying organs (mainly the liver, kidneys, and lungs) a chance to better do their jobs. A cleanse will also help strengthen our immune system to fight off winter colds while at the same time flatten our holiday bellies from the excess sugar and the army of candida wreaking havoc on our gut.
Time it well:
Choose a few consecutive days that you don't have many social commitments. The length of your cleanse can start anywhere from 3 days to a week, but can go much longer if you're eating the right amount and balance of solid foods. If you're new to this, start with 3 days. You can always extend it or repeat it later in the month.
Keep it simple:
Enjoy an abundance of organic (when possible) raw, steamed or roasted vegetables like carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, etc. as well as fruits like berries, apples and oranges. Use spices and herbs like cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, basil, and rosemary to add flavor to your meals without adding salt or fatty sauces. Add healthy fats to your cleanse like avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and nuts and seeds like, almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Hummus, guacamole, bean-based soups, nut butters, and salads are great building blocks for your meals. Drink only water, freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit combo juices, and herbal teas.
All other foods including, refined carbohydrates like breads, pastas and all baked goods, dairy, sugar, caffeine, meat, and booze.
An Easier Option:
If all of this sounds a bit too overwhelming, consider detoxing just one meal a day for at least a week. Breakfast is the easiest considering you can most likely prepare at home and there are less chances of being derailed by evening social plans. Make yourself a nutrient packed smoothie with fruits, veg, raw nuts and any extra goodies you'd like to add like chia seeds, green powder, flaxseed or coconut. Use water to help liquefy instead of dairy milk or non-dairy options that contain sugar or additives like carageenan. Blend and enjoy before you head out for work. This alone can do wonders for your body if you are used to starting your day with cereal, bagels, and lattes.
On the other side of your cleanse you will feel more energetic and may even shed a pound or five, which is a nice way to kick off your year. Most importantly, you should feel a sense of accomplishment that will keep you motivated to stay strong, safe and sexy throughout the winter. Enjoy your newfound vitality!
Jennifer Cassetta is a third degree black belt, clinical nutritionist and personal trainer. She loves kale, chocolate and wine. She loves to punch, kick, lift weights, meditate, and dress up in stilettos. She empowers people to be strong, safe and sexy through nutrition, fitness and self-defense, and you can read more at www.jennifercassetta.com.