Yes, it’s January. Yes, everyone is off doing crazy fasting and detoxing regimes. But do you need to? Should you even? I’m really not convinced that January is a good time for a stringent detox (unless you have the luxury of heading off to somewhere warm and lovely). It’s just too cold. Bodies need a bit of warmth and comfort in January. However, if you really did overdo it over Christmas and the New Year, you might consider a period of ‘easing off’, shall we say?
In The Detox Kit (Hay House) I offer what I call the Cheat’s Detox. It’s for those times when you’re not up to a complete cleanse. Here’s the lowdown…
So you can’t face a total detox or your lifestyle makes it just impossible? Don’t panic or get depressed. There are plenty of things you can do in everyday life to minimize your toxic exposure and even to let go of many of the toxins you have already accumulated.
Try incorporating as many of these guidelines into your life as you can. The more you do, the better you will feel–but even one or two will make a large difference.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Try keeping a bottle of fresh spring or mineral water on your desk and sip throughout the day. You could also try the ayurvedic way of sipping hot or warm water – keep a thermos by you (you can add a squeeze of lemon if you like).
- If you aren’t getting a good whack of vegetables in your diet, then squeeze them in via fresh juices. It’s worth investing in a really good quality juicer (otherwise you’ll get fed up of endless cleaning). I still adore my Oscar Neo. You can juice pretty well anything but try to include greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli etc.) Celery adds good flavor. You can include a little fruit juice to improve the flavor but don’t overload on fruit or you’ll spike your system with the sugar.
- Cut right down on your alcohol intake. Drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage. Try diluting your drinks–i.e. spritzers instead of straight wine; small spirit measures plus a liberal dose of fresh juice.
- Cut out all “junk” and processed food–they’re one of the quickest ways to toxic (and fat/sugar) overload. You can still eat “fast” food if you’re short on time– hummus or nut butter on oatcakes, stir-fries, soup – all pretty ‘fast’
- Cut down on your caffeine intake. Try cutting out one cup of coffee and having herbal teas, hot lemon and water (deeply detoxifying) or coffee substitutes instead. Gradually replace more and more.
- Introduce regular exercise into your life. Maybe make yoga part of your morning routine. Or buy a mini-trampoline (a rebounder) and bounce while you watch the news – absolutely THE best exercise for your lymphatic system. Or take up a new sport. Just get moving on a regular basis.
- Try skin-brushing before your shower or bath. It needn’t take long – just work on dry skin using a natural bristle brush and always move towards the heart. Work clockwise on your abdomen. Don’t forget the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands.
- Practice good deep breathing. Even if it’s just for five minutes a day, take time out to focus on your breath, allowing your abdomen to press out as you breathe in, and flatten as you breathe out.
- Toxicity isn’t just about what we eat and drink – it’s about our environment too. Switch to non-toxic natural alternatives for cleaning materials around the home. If you dry-clean your clothes, take them out of the wrapping and leave outside in the fresh air for at least an hour before bringing them into your closet.
- Everything we put on our skin is absorbed by it and goes into our bloodstream and right around our bodies. So, do you really want to overload your body with chemicals? Switch to truly natural cosmetics, make-up and beauty products. There are very few ranges that don’t use any chemicals (even those labeled ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ often sneak in nasties because of loopholes in labeling rules). Less truly is more–all our skin really needs is gentle cleansing and moisturizer over damp skin. Hair dyes are particularly toxic–there are no really non-toxic alternatives (though I’ve switched to henna) but health shops tend to stock less unpleasant brands. Dump the depilatory creams and use a razor or sugaring instead.
My favourite natural beauty brands include Aromatherapy Associates, ila-spa and Pukka. I also use plain argan oil (with a few drops of essential oils added) – it’s a superb moisturizer for face and body.
If you fancy a more stringent detox, check out my book The Detox Plan, now updated and available for download to your Kindle. It contains two full detox programmes and also a lot more information on environmental detoxing and emotional/mental detoxing.