The Great Holiday Clean Up


Steps to a Healthy and Natural Post Holiday Detox:

The Holidays are now behind us and if you are like most people, you may have ‘Decked the Halls’ a bit too much over the last few weeks.  That can be so easy to do, since our Holidays seem to revolve around rich, fat-laden meals, sugary, sweet treats and a few too many alcoholic toasts.

You may be ready for a major detox right about now.  I can almost hear the ranting–No More Candy!  No More Alcohol!  No More JUNK FOOD!

Be forewarned.  New research shows that a sudden transition away from fatty and sugary foods can cause symptoms similar to those seen during a drug withdrawal, according to an article in Prevention Magazine.   By making simple changes in your daily meal  plans, you can get your system back on track and minimize the ‘withdrawal’ effects of  cleaning up your diet.

Bear in mind that many of us were a bit sleep deprived over the Holidays.  This lack of sleep can aggravate irritability and enhance sugar cravings.  Make an extra effort to get your sleep pattern back on track and give your body the rest it deserves. Without proper sleep, your physique goals will suffer dramatically.

Here are some tips and steps to take to clean up your diet:

Concentrate you improving the quality of your meals.  By making sure your meals are well-balanced,  you can improve your blood sugar levels and make sure your metabolism is optimized.   This means, including high quality protein,  and fiber-rich carbohydrates, plus some healthy fat in your meal plan.   Eating every 3 to 4 hours will help keep your energy levels up and prevent blood sugar levels from dropping. These spikes in your blood sugar are what contribute to sugar cravings and a less than effective metabolism.

Hydrate!  I can’t stress enough the importance of drinking plenty of water throughout the day.   I also highly recommend drinking a ‘Green’ Juice or Smoothie for one your meals.  I will provide some delicious Green Smoothie Recipes in a post to follow.    Including a Probiotic is also very beneficial in aiding the body to get back on track.  Kefir is an excellent choice.  I prefer low fat, plain Kefir that is Organic, but if you simply cannot get past the taste, you may want to try a flavored Kefir.  You can find this in your dairy aisle.

Include alkaline-forming foods in your meal plan.  Include more alkaline-forming foods in your meals, such as parsley, kale, pears, and lemons, which balance the body’s pH levels, reduce inflammation, and keep blood sugar levels under control.

Foods that can naturally detox your body:

Onions.   This ubiquitous kitchen staple is as healthy as it is tasty. It’s brimming with sulfur-containing amino acids, which efficiently detox the liver. Raw onions deliver the most health benefits.

Beets.  This brightly colored root vegetable is a great source of betacyanin, which has cancer-fighting properties.   Plus, it’s full of magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium to help flush out toxins.

Basil.   Basil has anti-bacterial properties, and it’s full of antioxidants to protect the liver.

Ginger.  Kick your natural detox process into high gear by adding ginger to your diet. It spikes your metabolism and flushes out waste. Plus, a recent Columbia University study found that eating more ginger may help keep your appetite in check.

Pineapple.  This tropical delight contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps cleanse your colon and improve digestion.

Avocado.   Avocado is one of those fiber-rich foods I mentioned previously.   This will not only help your metabolism operate effectively, but will help to keep your colon cleansed due to its good source of  insoluble and soluble fiber.

Cinnamon.  Sprinkle this delicious spice on your morning bowl of Oats!    Not only will it taste good, but it’s loaded with iron, manganese and calcium.    Manganese is a good for helping regulate blood sugar levels and helping to process fatty acids.

Apples.  There are plenty of good reasons why the expression,  “An apple a day keeps the Doctor away, ” has been quoted.  Apples are a great detox food. Theyare nutrient-rich, plus they contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps remove food additives and metals from your system.

Fennel.  Fennel is  a root vegetable that tastes like licorice, and it’s packed with dietary fiber that will help you flush out toxins and boost digestion.

Parsley.  Parsley is not just a  pretty garnish on your plate. Parsley boasts plenty of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and K to protect your kidneys and bladder.

Mushrooms.  Shiitake, maitake, and oyster mushrooms are types of mushrooms you look for.  All three are potent immunity enhancers. 

Magnesium-Rich foods.  Include foods that are rich in magnesium, such as pumpkin seeds,  or almonds.  Magnesium can help your body cope with the stresses of the Holiday.   Place serving-sized portions in ziploc bags to prevent overeating.  A serving of almonds is about 18 to 24 almonds and no more.

Asparagus.  Asparagus supplies inulin, a special fiber that helps the “good” bacteria in your digestive tract.

Cherries.  Cherries are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, making them potent healers reduce inflammation and cleanse the joints. Cherries promote healthy connective tissue and clean out the free radicals, reducing “oxidative stress” – the stress created by free radical formation.  It has also been widely believed that tart cherries contain natural melatonin, which improves sleep.

Lemons.  Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which is known to help the body detox and burn fat.

Broccoli.  This green superstar is loaded with nutrition and health benefits.  Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a powerful phytonutrient that fights bacteria and helps the body detox naturally.

Garlic.  Research suggests that garlic seems to have a significant impact on the build-up of plaque in blood vessels.

Green Tea.  Green tea contain catechins, powerful antioxidants that can raise resting metabolism by 4% (about 335 kJ, or 80 cal, a day). A recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that exercisers who drank the equivalent of approximately 4 cups of green tea a day for 12 weeks lost over 8 times more ab fat than those who drank an ordinary caffeinated beverage did. Researchers speculate that catechins (phytonutrients in green tea) may help speed the breakdown of fat.

Cabbage.  I’m sure you have heard of the Cabbage Soup Diet?   While I don’t recommend any ‘Fad’ Diet, there may have been some benefits to a pot of this delicious soup.  Cabbage contains fiber and 84% of your recommended intake of vitamin C.   Cabbage is a great detoxifying food.

Beetroot. Not only can beetroot help lower blood pressure and reduce the amount of oxygen that active muscles need, it can also help support liver detoxification, making it an ultimate detox food.  Beets can be a delicious ingredient in your Smoothies.

The key to a healthy and natural detox is avoiding processed foods.  The more processed foods you eat, the more unwanted ingredients, such as hidden sugars, fats, and sodium in your diet.  Be sure to include plenty of whole foods, such as vegetables, some fruits, and high quality, lean protein.



Prevention Magazine

Huffington Post Healthy Living