Have you noticed it is getting a little warmer? We’ve had a very long winter and summer seems a long way off but I actually got the urge to open the windows and let in some fresh air this week. I spent the week cleaning the house, in particular the kitchen; all cupboards were emptied and I can’t believe how many out of date packets, tins and boxes I had to throw away. When I open the cupboards now it feels so much better, cleaner and it all flows better... Imagine doing the same to your body!
My summer holiday is only 18 weeks away – deep intake of breath – and I would like to lose a little weight and get a little fitter before I go. So with this in mind I have spent the past week giving myself a good ‘Spring Clean’! This doesn’t mean I have been on a complete detox fest, I have tried in the past to detox with hot water and lemon, miso soup and lettuce leaf type plans but always find that it is far too extreme and after 24 hours I’m craving all the wrong food.
I prefer to split detoxing into two areas:
1. Detoxing the mind
It is important to rid the mind and body of the bad habits it has fallen into; firstly getting your mind in the right place. If you are not totally prepared for a new way of eating then it won’t work for you. Spend a few days de-stressing the body and mind; it is not a good idea to start a plan when your life is at a very stressful point so you need to try and chose a quite time in your life – I booked a few days off and had time to sit down and think about things and pamper myself a little. How we feel on the inside is often reflecting on the outside; when we are stressed we often shallow breathe and our body and mind are tense. Try meditation, yoga or pilates – five minutes of deep breathing in a morning and at night can help unwind the mind and body and alleviate unwanted stress and anxiety, giving you a good fresh start to the day and closing your mind for a more restful night.
I always spend time sourcing new recipes and products which will help me with my new regime. I like to buy a notepad and write down how I feel and jot down any ideas, recipes, products and exercise ideas I have; this notepad goes everywhere with me and once I start my diet it becomes like a diary. I sit down on a Friday night and plan a rough schedule of meals for the following seven days - this will then form my shopping list for a Saturday and will ensure I have everything I need for the following week. I may have to restock on fresh fruit and vegetables but there should be no reason to pay a visit to the supermarket or local shops with their tempting array or chocolates, cakes and goodies.
2. Detoxing the digestive system
I find it therapeutic to give my digestive system a regular detox. The common baddies of alcohol, saturated fat and caffeine interfere with the function of the liver and make the body and digestive system feel sluggish.
Increase the intake of foods which have a natural antioxidants such as fruits (good choices include oranges, blueberries, grapefruits and melons) and vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts are particularly good). Fruit and veg can be blended with ice and natural yogurt (where possible try dairy free alternatives whilst detoxing) to make a tasty breakfast smoothie. Good quality grains include brown rice, oats and quinoa. Remember to replace red meat with chicken, turkey and fish for a few days and limit your intake of tea, coffee or replace with green or fruit teas. And of course, drink plenty of water to help flush out the toxins in your system and where possible avoid alcohol even if it’s just for seven days – your liver will love you for it!
The path to success
The best way to succeed with your detox is to ensure you eat healthy foods and ensure you don’t starve yourself or feel deprived at any point. Make yourself a batch of fresh vegetable soup - click through to read our basic recipe for delicious fresh vegetable soup - you can change the vegetables making a different soup each time.
I hope this helps you with the first steps to getting ready for summer! Come back next week for more information, help and support and feel free to get in touch if you would like any advice.