I should begin by saying that I don’t, strictly speaking, believe in detox. I’m pretty comfortable with my own body’s everyday capabilities in that department. It is, after all, what the liver, kidneys and miles of intestine were invented for.
However, I was persuaded to try this simple and non-extreme set of guidelines for revitalising and rebalancing, by my Vitality Coach (great to have support when you’re making big changes). Having found it perfectly doable, and seen benefits even over a short period, it’s become a regular monthly thing.
So here it is. For just three days:
- Begin each day with a diaphragmatic breathing exercise: 10-15 deep and slow in/out breaths
- Drink a glass of warm water with lemon juice, ginger and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt
- Get the day moving – a minimum 10-15 minutes walk, ideally longer. But if all you do is 10 minutes, definitely do a longer walk later in the day.
- Spend 10 minutes in an ‘inversion’ position – that is, legs higher than heart. Fear not, you don’t have to be upside-down! If you do Yoga or Pilates, you’ll know exercises which fit the bill.
- Exclude all wheat and wheat products (ie, bread, crackers, pasta)
- Exclude all added sugar (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?)
- Exclude all milk products (ie milk, cheese, butter) except for natural yoghurt (because we like friendly bacteria)
- Exclude all alcohol (sorry!)
- Replace any poultry or other meat with fish
- Eat any fruit before, rather than after, a meal
- Drink plenty of water.
There. I have found this surprisingly easy as I don’t drink much alcohol anyway, and I’ve already eliminated added sugar from my diet. The first time I tried it, back in early November, I lost 4lb in the three days. More significantly for me, my ankles, which had been oedemic for the whole of the summer (think swollen, water-filled balloons), deflated, and the problem and discomfort has not returned. I have normal ankles again – a cause for much alcohol-free celebration!
I did the detox again in early December and with the turn of the year comes the perfect opportunity for another run at it.
That first three-day detox also led to me cutting back quite a bit on wheat. Whilst I don’t believe myself to be ‘intolerant’ of wheat, I’ve certainly noticed I feel more comfortable having reduced the amount I eat. I do enjoy the odd ‘healthy’ cracker (my favourites, for UK readers are NoNo with sesame, Ryvita with pumpkin seeds and Rude Health multigrain crackers), but I rarely eat bread or pasta these days, and I haven’t missed either. That surprised me as before, I would eat toast every day and pasta several times a week, especially in winter.
I realise people with an alcohol or sugar habit will find this harder than I did – but then, they might see even more positive outcomes. It is just for three days, and in January many people focus on eliminating the boozy and sugary treats in which they’ve over-indulged across the festive season.
I’m not a medical person, so let’s be clear, I’m not offering anybody any advice. But for me this regimen, over three short days, feels vibrant and healthy. I think it could be a great way to rebalance after a period of excess, and I’ve certainly found it a valuable point of refocus within a longer dietary journey.