Should you detox?
After a festive December and January some of us are feeling the need for a health reboot.
As a dietitan I support the concept of a detoxes from the point of view that going back to basics, cutting out the processed foods and treats lets you reset your normal. It makes you aware of all the bad habits that have crept in and helps you return to a much healthier way of eating. In addition you feel more energetic, less hungry, and more clear thinking!
There’s detoxes and cleanses (terms you can use interchangeably) and some of them I would not recommend -eg drinking lemon water for a week, use of laxatives and colon cleanses- and others that I would, which have a back to basics of healthy eating kind of approach.
Challenging yourself to a health kickstart might be just what you need to shake up your old habits and make some positive changes to your everyday eating.
Most detoxes start the day with a glass of water with lemon juice - a big dose of vitamin C and a glass of hydration to start the day both get my tick.
Fruit and vegetables
On average we all under consume fruit and vegetables and therefore miss out on the fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they provide (any wonder our skin can look flat and lifeless, and we feel slow and sluggish), so increasing fruit and vegetables (raw or cooked) can be nothing but positive. Some fresh juices /green smoothies are great, but have the whole fruit/veg too.
Now we recognise that fat is essential for our brains and every cell of our bodies, & our focus has shifted to actively including all the good fats -Avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds, olives have all lost their bad guy fat image.
Some detoxes restrict animal proteins (turkey, chicken, fish, lean red meats, eggs, dairy) and encourage plant proteins such as nut, soy and legumes, and to a smaller extent some grains like quinoa, which boosts fibre and plant phytochemicals. If you want to keep animal protein, choose fish and lean meats.
A lot of detoxes eliminate dairy however you’ll need to consider alternative sources of calcium or supplementation as dairy provides calcium & phosphorus which contribute to strong bones. Cutting out dairy does make you aware of how many coffees you drink, and that can be enlightening!
Going grain free for a week can help you realise just how many processed foods you eat- biscuits, cakes, crackers, bread, noodles…If you replace grains with vegetables the nutrient density of your diet increases by a mile.
Cut out the lollies, desserts & processed foods with added sugars, but natural sugars in milk and dairy come bundled with a raft of good nutrients.
Drink 6-8 glasses of water, herbal tea, lemon water, water with mint… tea and coffee do count as fluid just try to keep caffeine to a couple of glasses per day. If you need caffeine to prop up your energy levels stop and notice that. Maybe your body needs you to rest, not give it stimulants.
Think of detoxes as a reset, be sure to be mindful and notice how good it feels to be eating unprocessed whole foods!