So March was detox month but I realise I never did come back and say anything about my actual detox. Truth is, I’ve been less successful than in previous years, thanks to the usual (not quite) excuses: time, work, energy levels, lack of sleep. I find it very easy to get stuck in the low energy = high sugar consumption cycle. Having the equivalent of two day jobs makes me even more susceptible.
So I bring you my 10 simple commandments for detoxing and a couple of places to go for more inspiration. You definitely don’t need to exist on purified grapefruit juice for a month just to feel healthier. Little changes can make a big difference.
Some of the things below are good practice in general, some you may want to follow for a few days. It’s really your choice how you detox and what you do to focus on your own health.
And now I’m off to follow my own advice for a change…
- Get the right kind of sleep – ideally before midnight. Someone once said to me that every hours sleep before midnight is equivalent to two hours after it. And I believe that. You don’t necessarily need (or have time) for 8+ hours a night. But 7 hours at the right time can be life-enhancing. Vaporise lavender or vetiver essential oil to help aid restful sleep.
- Drink water. Aim for 1.5-2 litres per day. Herbal teas count towards your total but fruit juices don’t because of the high sugar content.
- Exfoliate. Both face and body to help speed up cell turnover and reveal glowing skin.
- Reduce stress. Yoga classes are a good place to start but if you want something quicker, cheaper and simpler just focus on your breathing. Aim for 10-15mins a day to switch off and concentrate on your breathing. Turn off electrical appliances where possible – lights are ok, tvs and laptops aren’t. Then close your eyes and breathe deeply aiming for 4 counts on the in-breath and 8 on the out. Try not to think of anything but if that proves impossible (and it will…don’t think of pink elephants! See? You’re thinking of them? Right?!) then just let the thoughts flow. Acknowledge them but don’t dwell.
- (Temporarily!) avoid alcohol, sugar (apart from the natural fructose sugars in fresh fruit), excess salt and processed foods. The ideal scenario is making your food from scratch. That way you’ve got complete control over what goes in it.
- Try some treatment bathing. You could use a well-known detoxer like Epsom salts, magnesium salts or essential oils that are renowned for their detoxing properties. Lemon, cypress, grapefruit or fennel are good oils to start with. Use a maximum of 6 drops in a little carrier oil or milk and swirl into your bathwater.
- Get some gentle exercise every day. If you’re on a more serious detox and not taking in as many calories as usual, then this should be very gentle exercise indeed. A 15-20min walk in the fresh air is plenty.
- Boost your immune system. Vitamin C-rich foods are always a good place to start (try Baobab powder mixed into water or fruit juice). Other good immune boosters are manuka honey, onions and garlic.
- Make fresh fruit and veg the basis for each meal.
- Try a detoxing supplement like wheatgrass to help alkalise, purify and nourish your system. Organic Burst is a good place to start.
Some recommended reading:
- Neal’s Yard and their 7-day-cleansing diet. I’ve used this as the basis for brief detoxes in the past. I’ve never followed it slavishly, but the principles behind it are a good place to start and I’ve definitely used the method outlined where you start with fruit, then veg, then add fibre in the form of seeds and brown rice. You don’t need to do the full 7 days to feel benefits either; just a couple of days can make a difference. I also don’t believe you should follow any form of exclusion diet for any more than 7 days. Your long term goal should be meals that are balanced with fruit, veg, good fats, protein and fibre.
- Jo Fairley and Sarah Stacey (of Beauty Bible fame) have a good page on their website with ideas for juicing and a fabulously comprehensive plan for creating your own 48hr at-home spa experience.
- Thoughts from Quinessence (one of the suppliers I use for base and essential oils) about incorporating aromatherapy into your detox.