As we head towards the start of a new year, with fresh goals in mind, now is the time to think about shaping up and detoxing the system. And here are some simple steps to get started.
We often tell ourselves the overindulgence we enjoy at Christmas is OK because come January, we will firmly be on the healthy living wagon, which means millions of people begin a new year with some kind of slimming and detox plan.
But to get the most benefit from such a regime, it needs planning so that you get out what you want from it, and that you do it in the healthiest way possible, so your newfound health goals don’t disappear come February 1!
So, is a cleanse plan worth considering?
Elouise Bauskis, Naturopath, Herbalist and Nutritional Therapist, from the supplement brand, Nutri Advanced, explained: “It is advocated that a therapeutic detox can help to cleanse the body, increase vitamin and mineral absorption, reduce symptoms of toxicity, clear the skin and aid weight loss, while improving cellular health and mitochondrial function.
“The benefits are many and often profound. A cleanse provides a reset for the body, and especially the liver and digestive system. Once a person is in the rhythm of their cleanse or detoxification programme, they will often continue on with these healthy changes, and we hope that they will incorporate these into a new way of living!”
Cleanse plans often start in a new year, but can you consider one more regularly?
“I would suggest that it is good to cleanse twice a year. The change of seasons can often be the best times, say going into autumn, or moving into spring. Another excellent time to cleanse is in the New Year. It is at this time many of us have made resolutions to change and clean up our health, so we are often highly motivated to cleanse and detoxify at this time,” Elouise explained.
And what advice is there in terms of the basics in getting started?
Elouise suggested: “If you’ve never done a cleanse before, you may wish to work with a Nutritional Therapist or Naturopath, who can guide and support you through the process. I would highly recommend this, especially if you have any specific health challenges, or are taking medications, as you must ensure you are working safely within what your body/condition can handle. Cleansing is absolutely not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. We do not want to be potentially liberating toxins for the foetus or baby to be exposed to.”
If you know that you are OK to get started on cleansing, it’s all in the planning to make it a success.
“Choose a time when you can really devote yourself to the cleanse, and ensure that your social calendar is free, otherwise you’re just making things harder for yourself, and more likely that you may want to ‘cheat’,” she advised. “Start to ease off the coffee, alcohol, sugar and processed foods as soon as possible, and at least a week before you undertake a cleanse.”
Plan and prepare
Making sure you have the right foods in the house (as well as clearing out the bad stuff) is imperative if you are to stick to your cleanse, with Elouise advocating planning ahead.
She recommended: “Ensure you shop well before you begin and spend some time planning what you will cook and bake. Batch cook on the weekend or on a day off in preparation.”
You also need to be set on what you can and can’t consume – and remember, cleanse plans differ, depending on the goals and the duration, so be sure to pick one that suits you and your lifestyle.
For Elouise, it is about consuming as ‘clean’ as possible.
She advised: “I would always recommend eliminating gluten and dairy, as these are the top allergens within the western diet. They are potentially clogging, mucus-producing, acidic foods. Ideally, eliminate all processed foods, and as much as possible, only consume food cooked from scratch.
“Ensure you consume a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. They are full of antioxidants and powerful phytonutrients, as well as vitamins, minerals and fibre. Consume organic wherever possible. During a cleanse, you should not consume caffeine, such as from tea and coffee. I’d advise cutting down over a week rather than going cold turkey, or else you may end up with a nasty headache that could potentially last for days.
“You should also eliminate all alcohol, fizzy drink and other processed drinks, as well as artificial sweeteners and refined sugars. These do not provide the body with any nutrition and only but do it harm, especially artificial sweeteners, and excessive alcohol.”
While your diet forms the foundation of any slimming and detox plan, you may find some supplements can support you in your journey – but remember, they must never replace a healthy, balanced diet – they are known as supplements for a reason.
Elouise highlighted a range of supplements, explaining that Nutri Advanced actually offers a specific plan, the Nutriclean Programme. Supplements to consider include those that support the liver’s detoxification pathways. In addition, psyllium husk and apple pectin can assist in bulking up the stool and binding toxins for elimination. And you may want to find supplements to promote alkalising.
You need to keep your get healthy too, so that you can promote effective elimination of toxins, so a good quality probiotic supplement is to be recommended. Aloe vera is also known to be a useful aid to a cleanse plan.
Assess your lifestyle
It is not only what you put into your system that plays a part in how ‘toxic’ you are – the lifestyle choices you make also play a role.
“Make sure that exercise is part of your daily routine, and especially whilst doing any form of cleanse. Ensure body movement, such as brisk walking, yoga, Pilates, cycling and dancing,” Elouise advised. “A sauna is an excellent way to help shift toxins from the body. Dry-skin brushing is an excellent way to slough off dead skin cells, increase circulation and move the lymph around the body. Cold showers or bathing is excellent for the body. And ensure good sleep and rest whilst undertaking a cleanse.”