Every year I promise myself that I’ll be sensible over Christmas and New Year, and by most people’s standards I probably am, but after a few sweets too many, lots of lovely home cooked dinners and less exercise than usual, I’m starting to feel a bit sluggish.
Detoxing can be a very effective way to clear out and revive your system after these weeks of festive overindulgence. I usually follow a gentle seven-day detox plan.
These are the nine detox tips I plan to follow to make sure that I start 2014 feeling healthy and full of energy:
1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
It is advisable to avoid caffeine and alcohol (and smoking) completely during your detox. If the thought of giving up caffeine sends you into a panic, you could always swap your usual tea or coffee for green tea. This still contains caffeine but is packed full of antioxidants (try to drink one to two cups a day maximum though).
2. Drink more water
I find one of the most effective ways to help my body detox is to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This flushes out those extra toxins from your liver and kidneys.
Start each day with a glass of warm pre-boiled or cold bottled water. Add the juice of a fresh lemon to really detox your system.
3. Detox your fridge
It can be hard to detox if your kitchen is overflowing with Christmas ‘goodies’ such as sweets, biscuits, crisps and alcohol. To give yourself the greatest chance of success, I’d always suggest clearing out your fridge and giving away any Christmas bounty you would prefer not to eat.
Instead, stock up on low-fat, low-GI foods such as apples, lentils, oats and sweet potatoes.
4. Eat food as near to its natural state as possible
When you’re detoxing, it’s important to give your body a break from processed or heavy foods. I usually avoid any products containing wheat, as well as red meat, and I keep dairy to a minimum too.
Try eating food as close to its natural state as possible, i.e. raw fruit and vegetables, or making homemade vegetable soups and smoothies. Ideally, I try and stick to fruit and veg only for the first two days of my detox. If I want something more substantial, I might eat chicken with brown rice or vegetables for my main meal of the day.
You could try juicing some celery to help your digestion, or blending 600ml (1 pint) of grapefruit juice with two teaspoons of lime juice and one teaspoon of ground cumin to flush alcohol out of your system.
5. Go organic
Although we may not be aware of it, much of the food we eat has been exposed to synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, contaminants and ingredients, e.g. preservatives or dyes.
Organic agriculture uses natural methods for soil enrichment and pest control, and recent studies have apparently shown that eating organic food can reduce our dietary exposure to synthetic chemicals. It therefore follows that eating organic when you’re detoxing will further reduce the number of toxins your body needs to eliminate.
6. Use aromatherapy oils
If you’ve used Mellow Skincare products before, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of essential oils when it comes to looking after your skin. Patchouli, lemon, grapefruit, geranium and juniper oils are all fantastic for when you’re detoxing. Simply add six to eight drops to your bath water or two to four drops to a carrier oil for a lovely detox massage.
If you haven’t used essential oils before, you should patch test them on your skin 48 hours before using them properly to check for sensitivity.
7. Exfoliate/dry skin brushing
Your circulation and skin can really suffer over the Christmas period, thanks to too much alcohol, lots of processed food, not enough sleep and the cold weather. I make sure that I exfoliate my skin regularly to boost my circulation and improve the appearance of my skin. Dry skin brushing is great as well.
When you’re detoxing, it’s a good idea to use gentle exfoliator every two days for a week, then drop down to once a week to protect your skin. It’s fine to dry brush your skin every day. With dry brushing, you should always brush from your legs and arms towards your heart.
8. Create a home spa
In a recent blog, we talked about how you can create the perfect spa facial at home. Why not try this at the same time as you dry brush your skin? You can help detox your whole body by mixing sea salt with almond oil to create a salt scrub. Massage this over your body (again, working towards your heart) before having a shower. Smooth on a rich body cream, then wrap yourself in a warmed towel and lie down and relax.
Exercise is great for speeding up your metabolism, removing toxins from your body, managing cravings and lifting your mood. If you can’t face the thought of hitting the gym this January, that’s fine. A brisk 30-minute daily walk or just ten minutes of yoga twice a day can work wonders.
Just a few simple steps can make a world of difference when it comes to boosting your energy and being fighting fit for 2014.
I hope this is a wonderful New Year for you, full of health and happiness.