We all indulge over the holiday season, whether with rich food and drink or by simply taking a break from exercise. This can lead to weight gain, bloating, skin breakouts and an overall feeling of fatigue and unhealthiness. What it shouldn’t lead to is a feeling of regret. Avoid starting the New Year in a depressed state of mind. Instead, opt to be empowered by health over the next few weeks to balance out past choices.
Organs Working Overtime
When we over indulge, the systems that work the hardest and need to detoxify are our liver, kidneys and colon. There are many products on the market with liver-stimulating, kidneycleansing and laxative-promoting herbs. To determine if herbal detox products are right for you, consult a qualified healthcare practitioner. However, eliminating certain foods and ingredients from your diet while focusing on others helps stimulate your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. Simple changes in the diet will also enhance herbal detox programs.
Cut it Out
You can make a metabolic shift within your body by simply cleansing your cupboards. Donate or toss the refined sugar and starch foods. The holiday treats will be back next year, and potato chips never go off the market, so you don’t need to mourn them too deeply. Ban white breads and other processed baked goods. Some may also want to whittle down the wheat and opt for other grains to add variety and limit gluten. Keep foods very simple; stick to ones without added chemicals, preservatives or artificial flavour enhancers. Limit red meat as it is more difficult to digest, and consider taking a break from dairy foods such as milk and cheese.
Add it In
When replacing what you cut out, focus on high-fibre, nutrientdense foods. Aim for 10 servings per day of fruits and vegetables; the more colourful, the better. This ensures you increase your intake of healing antioxidants. Choose whole grains such as steel-cut oats, quinoa, barley, millet, amaranth, brown rice or polenta with no added sauces or flavourings, except your own fresh herbs and spices. Perfect your protein intake by choosing legumes, eggs and fish 2 – 3 times per week. Add up to ¼ cup of a variety of nuts and seeds per day to gain a balance of nutrients like iron and healthy fats. As a dairy alternative look to fortified and unsweetened plant-based milks and try to include other calcium sources, which includes leafy greens, tofu, sesame and almonds.
Drink it Down
To keep the extra fibre moving smoothly through your system and to help flush out toxins, ensure you are drinking a minimum of 8 – 10 cups of water a day. Herbal or green tea, homemade soups, sparkling water and a maximum ½ cup of pure fruit juice can be included. However, limit coffee, black tea, alcohol, sodas and other sweetened or diet drinks.
Timing is Everything
This may be a major change in your current lifestyle. If it seems overwhelming, think of it one day at a time with a potential upward limit of two weeks. At that point, you will notice a decrease in bloating, a potential weight loss of 3 – 5 pounds and the lightness of consuming a clean, healthy diet. Consider this now your new foundation and add extra foods, in moderation, to achieve the 80/20 rule of healthy to less healthy choices.