Good Food Blog
New year, new detoxPosted at 11:02AM, 14 January 2009 by Lorna Whittick - Writer and sub-editor
Packing away the Christmas tree, taking down the decorations and the cold, dark January mornings always make me think of one thing - a new year, another detox.
For the past few years, I've tried to make up for my seasonal over-indulgences with a detox (cleansing the body). To be quite honest, I find it to be very effective and the month of abstinence quite rewarding.
I always leave my detox until about the second week of January to give me a chance to enjoy the last of those mince pies, Christmas cake and chocolates, before entering my austere period. Then I head down to the supermarket and the health shop armed with my shopping list. Basically, I give up caffeine, alcohol, dairy, meat and fish, sugar, all processed foods and wheat.
The severity of my detox depends on my mood and how much I feel I can do. I have tried everything from raw food and juicing for a week to Carol Vorderman's Detox for Life (I've found this one works really well for me). This time I'm doing something between the two.
For breakfast I buy a range of fruit and wheat-free cereals - I really like Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise and Alara's Active Muesli. For lunch I stock up on salad items and a good-quality virgin olive oil to dress them with. I snack on nuts (no peanuts), seeds and fruit, and I've recently discovered halva (a mix of sesame seeds and honey) - a healthier alternative to sweets.
The green juice does get some curious stares, but it's a great conversation starter
Part of the plan is drinking lots of green juices, so as well as starting my day with a quick smoothie made from banana, kiwi, pressed apple juice and spirulina (a blue green algae powder), I also add wheatgrass, barley grass or chlorella to a bottle of water to drink throughout the day. The green juice does get some curious stares, but it's a great conversation starter.
For dinner it's a mix of vegetables, grains and pulses. The best thing about my detox is I use it as an opportunity to try foods I wouldn't normally buy and experiment with cooking them. Now I know what to do with quinoa , buckwheat , linseeds, pumpkin and sesame seeds, butter beans, all types of lentils and goji berries.
The hardest part is giving up some of the things I really love. I confess to having a really sweet tooth and I always start my day with a huge cup of tea with too much sugar. But after each detox, I find my palate changes and some of the foods I craved no longer have the same appeal.
So, as well as feeling better and looking better, I will end my detox about half a stone lighter, with a few broken addictions to things like caffeine, chocolate and sugar. It really works for me and I prefer it to going on a calorie-controlled diet. I'll be finished just in time for the chocolate-fest of Valentine's...
Have you ever detoxed, or tried any other outlandish diets? Did they work for you?
NB Always consult a doctor before starting a detox and follow a recognised plan.