It’s cold, wet and miserable, aka brilliant hibernating weather. It’s also the time that the dreaded D word gets kicked around – no not Diet, Detox. Fundamental for all yet friend to none; t’is the season to deprive one. Ok, so it’s not so unlike a diet. Much like how after Christmas everyone is either starting Atkins or never (“and this time I mean it”), drinking again, detox is the midwinter buzzword that we all love to talk about but struggle to commit to.
On the one hand, winter is the perfect time for it. You’re cold, you don’t want to go out as much, so passing on a social with the inevitable wine guzzling is easier. However, chilly evenings in front of the fire without a glass of red wine seem somehow sad. It’s a tough choice, but I am almost physically incapable of detoxing during summer with my social calendar. Call it FOMO, but I can’t bring myself to give up wine for 2 weeks when the sunshine is literally begging me to have a good time. So winter it is.
But why bother with it anyway, you might ask? If I’m as healthy as I say I am, how many toxins can I possibly have built up? The answer is a hell of a lot.
Detoxing is not just about giving up drinking, although many people do a dry month once a year and that on its own is admirable. A proper detox though, is the elimination of the build-up of toxins in the body caused by harmful substances that we’re exposed to in our normal diets, of which alcohol is only one. Next time you add a sauce or spice to your food, read the label on the back. Notice how many ingredients are both unrecognisable and unpronounceable? It’s these artificial bad boys that over time clog up your system and cause your liver to work overtime to clean you out. A sluggish liver causes symptoms such as sleep struggles, weight gain, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, skin complications and mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Toxic build-up also inhibits the digestive process, and since good health starts in the gut, poor digestion comes with an array of frustrating side effects like low energy, lack of absorption of essential vitamins and minerals and that general blah feeling you get when you’re not at optimum health (I know, my descriptions are so scientific!).
Embarking on a detox – or cleanse – frees the body from all the rubbish that is weighing it down and returns it to its optimum state of performance. You will think better, move better, feel better, look better, and you will burn fat more easily.
So what kind of detox am I talking? If visions of 7 day juice fasts and long hours spent in silent meditation have you running for the hills, then my style of detox is for you (although there’s nothing wrong with doing it that way if that’s what you prefer). The idea behind my detox is to cleanse my system while still eating normally, so I simply cut out all foods that contain ‘liver loaders’, or ingredients that put strain on the liver and digestive system. This is not a weight loss plan, although you might see a small decrease in weight which is natural as your body starts to burn fat more easily.
My CUT IT OUT list:
Wheat and gluten
Refined sugar and sweeteners
Bad fats ie trans fats found in vegetable oils as well as processed and deep fried foods
Synthetic additives/ingredients (ingredients with numbers or chemicals)
I’m on day 3 today and feeling smug and superior….you have the right to feel smug when you detox because you can’t drink wine. My way, my rule.