The Detox Diet: Get Slimmer in Time for the Festive Season

At this time of year, there’s a whole bunch of upcoming events that you need to look fabulous for, but not very much time in which to get your wellbeing in shape. However, before you panic and attempt the latest fad diet, relax. You can lose weight fast without putting your wellness at risk by trying a detox diet. According to nutritionist Teresa Boyce, ‘Detoxing is the ideal method for losing a few kilograms. It also motivates you to take control of your diet and inspires you to continue eating well after the programme is over.’ Fast weight loss with long-term motivation? Sign us up!


Boyce explains, ‘We are exposed to toxins every day and a build-up can affect our neurological, immune and endocrine (hormone) systems. The most common offenders are air pollution, food additives, pesticides, alcohol, cigarette smoke and heavy metals. When large amounts of toxins are consumed over a long period of time, health issues arise. By following a detox diet you reduce the toxic load and enable the body to function more efficiently. Detoxing simply requires a little discipline and a fridge full of nourishing foods.’ For Boyce’s plan, you prepare for the first week, followed by two full weeks of detoxing.


When doing your shop for the next few weeks, include fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, gluten-free grains, legumes, soya products, lean protein, green and herbal teas, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, flaxseed oil, organic honey, and almond or cashew spread. Do not put any of the following foods in your trolley: grains containing gluten, non-lean sources of protein (beef, pork, shellfish, bacon, sausages and preserved meats), dairy, sugar, processed foods, refined foods, fast foods, unhealthy beverages (alcohol, coffee, black tea, soft drinks, cordial and commercial juices), salt, peanut butter, commercial dressings and sauces, artificial colours, flavours, additives, flavour enhancers or hydrogenated fats.


‘In week one, start weaning off caffeine and alcohol,’ Boyce instructs. ‘If you drink two cups of coffee a day, reduce it to one or every second day. This early stage is aimed at limiting potential withdrawal symptoms that vary from a light headache to migraines, nausea and low energy levels. Start to up your water intake.’ Throughout the next three weeks, you should drink at least two litres of pure water each day, eliminate alcohol, exercise daily and choose organic wherever possible. Boyce adds, ‘Onions, broccoli, kale and cabbage are top vegetables for cleansing. They help the liver convert toxins to harmless substances to be excreted out of the body.’


Boyce also has some useful tips for getting the most out of your detox diet:


1. Start the day right: ‘Start the day with a glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice in water,’ Boyce advises. ‘This enhances digestion and liver detoxification. Don’t throw out the peel; the nutrients in lemon zest further promote liver detoxification. Add the zest to salads, cooked quinoa or fish.’


2. Go green: Boyce recommends, ‘Sip on green tea throughout the day. It will help manage coffee withdrawal plus provide the body with antioxidants to help neutralise toxins. Green tea does contain caffeine, but it’s only a small amount and the benefits outweigh the minimal caffeine levels.’


3. Add some flavour: ‘Add fresh herbs to meals, especially coriander,’ says Boyce. ‘This delicious herb has a unique detoxifying action and goes particularly well with stir-fries, fish and salads.’


4. Eat slowly: Boyce points out, ‘Chewing each mouthful of food 10 to 12 times improves digestion and allows you to feel a sense of fullness without overeating.’ Take your time with your food and really focus on what you’re eating, rather than wolfing it down in front of the TV.

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