Your new year body cleanse

Amanda Hamilton
Monday, November 28, 2011
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New year, new you? How many times have you made that resolution? This year is going to be different, right?

If it feels like you have a slow, gradual hangover that has become really difficult to shake off, chances are your poor organs of detoxification such as your liver or digestive system can no longer cope with your festive excess. It doesn't mean you've lived it large like Lohan. Just a bit too much a little too often adds up to a muffin-top and muggy head.

What you probably need is a Priory detox without the price tag. A toxic body can also have a huge impact on emotional wellbeing; those blues can be a direct result of seasonal overindulgence. Whichever way you look at it, getting back into work clothes in January can be a painful wake up call.

Besides, detox is trendy as long as you avoid the McKeith-like exploits on reality TV. Donna Karan and she of my favourite lifestyle crush Gwynnie Paltrow, wax lyrical about detox on the cover of cult detox book, Clean (only available in hardback, natch).

The detox plan

To save you the cash (though it's worth buying), I've generously outlined the basics below in my Seven Day Detox plan. Everyone can do it but it takes more than a jellybean of self discipline to cope.

During the early stages of the plan you may well feel the 'cold turkey' effects of coming off the food and drinks that have propped up the festive period. Caffeine, alcohol and sugar are the worst offenders and cravings or feelings of fatigue are common - it is simply a sign that the body is losing its dependence on the artificial high and is getting back to being well again. Stick with it and by the end of the week you will begin to feel like a different person.

Now, it pays to be organised so to ensure that you get the most out of the programme, stock up on healthy foods before the week begins rather than falling into the trap of half-hearted attempts at shopping when you are tired or hungry. Not a great combination.

Two-step action

There are two steps needed to guide your body through a successful detox - hydration and diet. First, hydration. During a detox process you are focusing on the break down of fat and toxins and for this process you need to hydrate the body. Dehydration is not just a hangover problem, if your lovely legs are developing cankles, a sure sign of dehydration, then it's time to detox.

There are two stages to rehydrating the body. The first, and most obvious, is to drink a minimum of four pints of water every day - still, not sparkling ideally. Tap water is just fine. Secondly, you should cut out diuretic drinks such as coffee, tea, most fizzy drinks and alcohol. If you are really going to get your detox head on then an ideal start to every detox day is a glass of warm or hot water with a slice of lemon.

When it comes to eating, it's all about ingredients. You don't need to calorie count. A detox works by sorting the body out on the inside with weight loss, peachier skin and better digestion just a few of the benefits.

Look at the table below. For the first week, 70-80 percent of your diet should be in the green column, rather than those listed in the red column. Please note that this is not a long term diet but a temporary measure for detox purposes only! Keep it up for 28 days and I'll wager that you will truly have a new year, new(er) you.

GreenRed
Carbs Brown rice, porridge oats, millet & quinoa. Sweet potatoes and potatoes. Rye bread, rice cakes & oatcakes. Wheat — especially white breads, pasta, biscuits & cakes. Processed cereals.
Proteins & pulses Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, butter beans, hummus, tofu. Unsalted nuts & seeds. Almond milk. Nut butters. 'Heavy' proteins such as any kind of meat or dairy products. Oily fish and eggs only in moderation — up to 3 times weekly.
Vegetables All vegetables & juices, especially salad greens.
Fruits All fruits, including dried fruits (if possible, go for non-sulphured).
Condiments & sweeteners Apple cider vinegar, molasses, fresh or dried herbs, organic honey & organic maple syrup. Sugar, bottled salad dressings & distilled vinegar.
Oils Organic olive oil & organic flax seed oil. Animal oils & other vegetable based cooking oils.
Other Any processed or canned food, coffee, tea, alcohol & fizzy drinks.

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