There’s nothing like a new year to get you thinking about your lifestyle choices. We have the excesses of the silly season behind us, but a lot of photographic evidence in front of us about how naughty we were! Vows are made that we’ll do better, but there needs to be a plan to back that up, which leads to many of us wondering how to detox.
Here’s what you need to know about taking some time off from over-indulging and eating right to cleanse your system.
What is a detox?
So you’re ready to make a change and you’ve decided to do a detox, but what exactly does that mean?
Detox is, of course, short for detoxification. It’s a process whereby you remove all the unwanted toxins and nasties from your body so that you can ‘start fresh’. Yes, you’ve had lots of treats like chocolate, cake, ham and wine over the last month or so and a lot of the extra sugars and preserving chemicals are probably still lurking in your system. This is where detoxing comes in. Taking a break from unhealthy eating helps get rid of all the nasty chemicals and impurities. It cleans out your system and essentially gives it a kick start.
Imagine your body like an engine. It needs good quality fuel and oil to run but you’ve been pouring cheap stuff and sand into it. In this case, it’s no wonder it is not running smoothly, especially first thing in the morning.
If you want your car engine to run well again, you need to flush out all the sand that’s destroying the gears and remove the cheap fuel. The best way to do this is to wash through something pure. Granted, it’s not the perfect analogy but you get the idea! If you’re wondering how to detox, it’s simple: flush out the bad and replace it with the good.
A detox is generally a short and intense diet, however, you may find you can use it to trigger better long-term habits.
Why is detoxing a good idea?
At this point, you may already be able to see some good reasons for detoxing but let’s lay them all out.
Clearly, flushing out the toxins is something to aim for, but why? For one thing, it’s likely to make you feel sooo much better. Like the sand in the gears, all the bad chemicals and rubbish stop your system from working at its best. You may be feeling tired, worn out and lacking motivation. This is because your body is struggling to deal with all the unwanted and unnecessary junk. Flushing it all out with a good detox will help set things right again.
Many people believe digestion and gut issues are linked to overall health, including energy levels, quality of sleep and even aches and pains. By making sure that engine is ‘purring’, you may find your other health issues start to diminish.
What benefits will I get from detoxing?
There are plenty of benefits from doing a detox, not just cleansing your system. Here are just a few ways detoxing can improve your life:
Control your cravings
Everyone knows the feeling. You just neeed chocolate! At least this is how it feels. The truth is, you don’t, even at 3:00 pm when the cravings are at their loudest.
The thing about cravings is the more you feed them, the worse they get. This is where a detox comes in, as it forces you to stop feeding your cravings on a daily basis. Once you break your habit for a few days in a row, it is amazing how those cravings will disappear. After a detox, you will find you don’t yearn for chips, chocolate or lollies anywhere near as much. And if you do choose to indulge a little, you will be satisfied with much less.
You will find it easier to lose weight
Detoxing gives your body a break from heavy, calorie-laden food. Once you have detoxed, you will not only have reset your cravings but you will have reset your system. The great need that you felt for fries, pizza and ice cream will diminish. You’ll even find you don’t want to eat as much.
When it comes to weight loss, the golden rule is ‘calories in, calories out’. The happy outcome of your detox is very likely to be a smaller dress or pants size. That’s a lot of motivation to keep up your new eating habits!
Feel better overall
Once you have become used to the changes enforced by a detox, you may find yourself feeling lighter, less bloated and more energised. Once you feel better on your feet, you may even want to take up a new hobby, activity or exercise program.
The other positive outcome will be more energy and motivation at work, plus more enthusiasm to play with your children. Even that stack of dishes or overgrown lawn may not feel like so much of a chore!
Losing a few kilos is a bonus but there are other benefits too. After a detox, you may notice your skin is clearer and has a more youthful glow. It’s also possible your hair will regain its shine and lustre. Even your breath may improve!
A clearer mind
The positive improvements from a detox will even go beyond the physical. You can expect to have a clearer head and be able to think better. All that fuzziness that comes from feeling rotten and being full of junk will fade away.
Improved immune system
Sick of getting sick? Maybe you need a detox. When your system is not running at its best, it struggles to fend off those colds and bugs that go around. A healthy body means a healthy immune system and less time out due to illness.
You may spend money on a specific detox program but at the end of the day you’ll be snacking less and eating smaller meal sizes. By keeping your wallet in your pocket at snack time (no more coffees or muffins), you’ll find it is one thing that definitely stays fuller for longer!
Who should detox? Who shouldn’t?
As great as detoxing is, there are a few things you need to be aware of. For most people of decent health, detoxing should be effective and deliver positive results. Detoxing can be an intense experience though, so for certain people, extreme detoxes are best avoided.
People who have diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease or serious digestion issues should never detox by cutting entire food groups out of their diet. Pregnant or nursing women should also stay well clear.
Detoxing is not suitable for children and teens or people who are getting on in years as it may rob you of important nutrients. If you have any doubts at all about whether you are fit to detox, consult your GP. Your health is the most important thing and it is never worth risking.
How long does a detox take?
The duration of a detox varies and depends on the kind and intensity you have chosen.
Some detoxes last only a few days though the most common is generally around a week. The short duration is because a detox is usually a temporary but extreme way to cut back on your food intake and give your system a ‘break’. Most detoxes aren’t designed for the long term as they cut out a number of still-important food groups.
How to detox: Five different popular detox methods
If you’re wondering how to detox, there are a lot of answers to this question! Here are some of the most popular ways to cleanse your body.
The 3-Day Cleanse
For a quick and easy detox, the 3-Day Cleanse is a good way to go. Simply put aside bad carbohydrates and refined grains. Focus on protein heavy foods like lean meats and fish. Bulk out the rest of your meals with raw or steamed veggies. If you must, allow yourself one single serving of whole grains every few meals. During this cleanse, your diet will rule out salt, sauces and condiments. Stick with fresh herbs if you need to add flavour.
If you must have something sweet during the 72 hours of cutting back, avoid processed sugars like chocolate or cake and grab some fruit. Finally, drink water. No caffeine, no sweetened beverages and no alcohol. Just water for the 3-day duration. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if your palate needs something a little more stimulating.
As this detox is short, you shouldn’t find it too difficult. Once you have completed the three days, try introducing other foods gradually.
The No-Drinking Detox
Probably the simplest detox and the most highly recommended is the No-Drinking Detox. This doesn’t mean saying no to all liquids! Simply set yourself a time goal, (a week is good, a month is better) and completely abstain from alcohol.
Not only are alcoholic drinks high in calories, they often instigate junk food binges. Without alcohol, you’ll sleep better, feel less sluggish in the morning and notice your skin is clearer. And again, there’s the cash factor — wine and beer aren’t cheap.
Taking on the juice cleanse is as simple as forgetting solids for a period of a day or a week. During this detox, everything you consume will need to be juiced. This means a diet of almost entirely fruit and vegetables.
Be warned! A juice cleanse can be very effective for weight loss but it does have its drawbacks. It can be very difficult and stressful to go without food and many nutritionists worry that it doesn’t actually provide all the nutrients you need for energy. Do your research before attempting a juice cleanse and start with one day instead of a full week. If you have any concerns about whether a juice cleanse is necessary for you, talk to your GP.
Sugar detoxing doesn’t mean cutting all sugars completely – it’s generally just processed sugars. This means no sweetened drinks, only water, herbal teas or green juice. Any sugar consumed during this detox should be from berries or low sugar fruits like apples or pears.
While on this detox, start with a protein heavy breakfast to help keep you full. Avoid potatoes and corn, stick to low starch, low sugar veggies and make sure you still get good fats like eggs, fish and nuts. As a final tip, keep some healthy snacks like nuts with you at all times. This will give you an immediate backup up when temptation hits!
This one is simple enough but will take some preparation. We all know that caffeine, while it delivers a short-term boost, can stop us from being our best. Many of us feel trapped in a cycle of feeling sluggish without coffee and then ‘tired but wired’ by the end of the day. The result is a bad sleep and then the need for another latte!
Unfortunately, our bodies are used to getting coffee and they don’t like it when we stop. You will probably notice you get a bad headache and feel very cranky when you force yourself to go without. It can be handy to keep some headache tablets close for the short-term. During a caffeine detox, drink lots of water and green tea. If need be, reach for some decaf. You may even get used to the taste!
After a caffeine cleanse, you should be able to reduce the amount of coffee you drink on an ongoing basis, or find you are happier and feel more rested without it.
How to detox
Once you have chosen your detox method, do some preparation. Go through your pantry and fridge and get rid of as many of the no-go foods as you can.
If your detox involves a different diet, some prepping may be in order. Spend a Sunday afternoon making salads and light meals which you can grab and take to work or reheat when you get home. The convenience of doing this means you won’t struggle with decisions when you are busy or hungry.
Often, working with a buddy will make your detox easier. One sure thing, particularly with a juice cleanse, is that you will feel hungry! Having a pal to commiserate with will make your journey less stressful.
Hopefully, your detox will help you hit the reset button on your habits, giving you a break from the things you know you’re doing wrong. As a result, you should feel more energised, less bloated and less prone to cravings. However, if during your detox from certain foods you feel excessively sick or lightheaded, it may be time to try a less intense option. A short detox can be beneficial but you don’t want to put your health at risk.
When you’ve completed your detox, you can come in and celebrate at Lantern Club. At MàZi Restaurant, we offer a range of delicious (and of course healthy) menu options. To book a table call 8037 8200.