Good Food Blog
Detox/retoxPosted at 12:02PM, 22 January 2009 by Stuart Walton - Food and wine writer
If you haven't started your new year detox by now, you've basically missed the boat. And if you have, I bring a message of hope. You've made your point. You can stop now.
Detoxing is a spectacularly miserable way to spend the most spectacularly miserable month of the year
Detoxing is a spectacularly miserable way to spend the most spectacularly miserable month of the year. The excuse for it is supposedly that you're compensating for all the Christmas and new year indulgence, but then, we're all doing that anyway. I don't know anybody who's still wolfing down roast goose and mince pies by now, do you, Gwyneth ?
It isn't that cutting down on high-fat foods, too much sugar, too much alcohol, are bad ideas in themselves. It's the grim regimen of don't-eat-this-don't-eat-this that goes with it that's so depressing, almost as though Lenten abstinence was meant to kick in right after the January sales.
I see one of my blog colleagues is embarking on a period of vegan torment for the month, swapping chocolate for quinoa, and caffeine for blue-green algae. Mmm, as Homer Simpson might drool, aaaalgaeee... At best, this will be a pointless interlude of self-denial while you wait to get back on the chocolate, Lorna. At worst, it's a way of punishing yourself for having had too much gastronomic fun over the festive season.
Seven years ago, I did a 30-day January detox. I consumed no red meat, sugar, cow's-milk lactose, wheat, caffeine or alcohol for the month. I stuck to it rigorously, and also to the regime of lymphatic body-brushing, magnesium baths and exfoliation the book (Jane Scrivner's Detox Yourself ) demanded. Scoffing multivitamins and iodine supplements was seemingly de rigueur. On the other hand, I wasn't allowed to eat tomatoes (too acidic), mushrooms (too fungal), or bananas (too fatty), although the book was strangely silent about eggs, so I ate rather a lot of those.
After about three days of it, I started feeling a lot better. There was a brighter, fresher look about me, and I had a definite spring in my step in the mornings that wasn't normally there. I put this down almost exclusively to going without wine for three days, and indeed for the remaining 27 days of the detox, I never felt any better or any different. The principal attraction of detoxing is the warm glow of satisfaction you derive from sticking to a joyless regime of deprivation.
Detoxing has now expanded into a multi-million pound industry , with elaborate kits on sale for megabucks in high-street stores that really ought to know better. Many of the claims made for these products, as indeed for DIY detoxing, are entirely without foundation. Your body has its own system for getting rid of waste products and toxins that is already hundreds of times more efficient than snaffling goji berries and linseed.
So, take heart, detoxers, and unite. You have nothing to lose but your wheatgrass. Real living is just around the corner, and your body will thank you for coming back to it.