By Paola Bassanese
Over-indulging at Christmas is impossible to avoid, so how can we get back on track in January?
Restrictive, punishing diets promise fast weight loss, however an eating regime based on a very low amount of calories will affect your mood making you feel miserable and deprived.
After New Year’s Eve you might feel a mild sense of sadness as the holidays are over so the last thing you want is to feel ever more miserable.
A good detox programme you can do at home should make you feel energised and happier. Of course, consult your doctor before restricting your calorie intake in any way.
Why does a detox make you feel good? After an initial adjustment phase lasting between one and three days when you might feel worse before you get better, a good detox should help you put a spring in your step.
Here’s some tips on what you can do at home to counteract the effect of over-eating at Christmas.
1 Avoid ready meals and replace with fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and organic meat and fish. To give your liver and digestive system in general a break, you can choose to go vegetarian for two weeks. Replace meat and fish with pulses like lentils, beans, broad beans and chickpeas. Start your day with a smoothie packed with nutrients: you can combine any berries of your choice with oats and a nut-based milk like almond or hazelnut. For lunch and dinner have stir-frys with plenty of vegetables. If in doubt on how to plan your meals, speak to a qualified nutritionist or dietician. Cholesterol charity Heart UK suggests to have plenty of filling and nutritious soups and swap dessert with bowls of cooked fruit with yoghurt.
Dr. Glenn Braunstein is professor and Vice President, Clinical Innovation, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center advises to have 25 grams of fibre per day for women under the age of 50 and 38 grams of fibre a day for men.
Dr. Anthony Komaroff from Harvard Medical School warns that no detox diet can promise to remove toxins from your body. Our bodies were designed to get rid of toxins automatically; natural foods support our digestive and elimination system.
2 Hydrate your body throughout the day with plenty of water and herbal teas. Also, if you have a juicer at home, blend fresh fruit and vegetables but make sure you blend the fibre in the juice to ensure you keep your digestive system healthy. Fibre also makes you feel fuller compared to plain juice.
3 Try some yoga. To ensure you are performing all the exercises correctly, join a yoga class first with a qualified instructor. After you feel confident enough you can get a yoga DVD and practice at home. Yoga works on different levels, from toning to stretching. Our digestive system needs movement to function at its optimal level so exercise is beneficial for good digestion.
4 Try some meditation. It may seem strange to practice meditation when you are detoxing, but keeping the mind in a relaxed state can help in many ways. When you are changing your dietary habits, willpower helps. Being relaxed and not feeling anxious about your next meal can make a difference.
5 Remove stimulants like tea, coffee and sugar. Start the day with a mug of hot water with lemon and ginger instead.