January and February is the perfect time to implement some dietary changes to help eliminate stored toxins and support the body back to optimal health. A detox helps to rejuvenate the body and mind. It improves energy and mood, aids weight loss, clears the skin and improves digestion - with all those benefits, who wouldn't want to give it a go?
Toxins damage the normal functioning of our cells, and therefore prevent us from reaching optimal health. We are exposed to an array of toxins on a day to day basis, and with approximately 4000 chemicals used in food production our food can be a major source. Toxins we consume include preservatives, artificial colourings and flavourings, pesticides, fertilisers, antibiotics, growth enhancers, caffeine and alcohol. As the majority of these are relatively new man-made substances it's not surprising that our body isn't designed to process them, and overtime can leave us with fatigue, headaches, skin problems, cellulite, digestive problems and weakened immunity.
If this sounds familiar, give your body a well deserved January cleanse. Experience the benefits of increased health, energy and vitality by following our top ten tips for a minimum of 7 days:
Start the day with a cleansing mug of hot water with ¼ squeezed lemon, slice of root ginger and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Eat a fruit-based breakfast, such as stewed or fresh fruit salad with natural yoghurt, or a freshly made smoothie.
Avoid black tea, coffee and alcohol and replace with herbal tea, such as nettle to support the kidneys, or dandelion root coffee to aid liver function. It's important to stay well hydrated, so drink at least 1 litre of water daily. Fresh juices, such as carrot, beetroot, apple and cucumber are also fantastically nourishing and cleansing so aim to drink one fresh juice daily - ideally on an empty stomach for maximum benefit.
Avoid all processed and prepared foods - this really means anything that has been manufactured and comes in a packet e.g. ready meals, savoury snacks, biscuits. Instead eat food in its natural unprocessed state and cook by steaming, lightly boiling or poaching rather than frying.
Chose organic food over non-organic food to minimise your intake of toxic pesticides.
Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, aiming for more. For lunch and dinner, cover at least 60% of your plate with vegetables and eat as much variety of colours as possible, aiming to cover the whole spectrum of the rainbow.
Avoid wheat (e.g. in bread, pasta, pastries and biscuits) and replace with wheat-free alternatives such as brown rice, buckwheat noodles, quinoa, rye bread and oat cakes.
Eat snacks, but replace sugary treats such as chocolate and cake with supportive foods such as fresh or dried fruit, vegetable sticks with houmous , half an avocado or mixed seeds.
Reduce consumption of animal products. Avoid dairy products, except natural live yoghurt, and replace milk with soya or nut milks. Avoid processed and fatty meats and replace with fish, eggs, lentils, beans, tempeh (fermented tofu), quinoa, seeds and nuts as good protein alternatives.
Incorporate lifestyle factors into your regime to support the process: get a good nights sleep, take a yoga class, treat yourself to a massage or sauna, try dry skin brushing before showering and use natural organic skin products.