Christmas is a time when most of us will be indulging in the things that we probably shouldn’t - alcohol, high fat high sugar and high salt foods, not enough sleep, too much partying and so on.
Chances are, a good few of us will also enjoy doing this and won’t want to be health conscious for a couple of weeks while we have fun with our loved ones and eat all the things that we love.
SO what’s the alternative to make sure we do stay healthy? Detox!
- Why should I detox in the New Year?
- Understanding how detoxification works
- 10 new year health detox tips
- The detox FAQ
You get to do what you like over Christmas and as the New Year arrives, you can flush out all the toxins and start again.
It must be said, we don’t generally recommend that you simply live an unhealthy lifestyle and detox whenever you like.
Putting unhealthy foods and living and unhealthy lifestyle will inevitably end up with long term bad health.
But as a one-off at Christmas we don’t see the harm in enjoying some of the things that you like if you get your health back on track in the New Year and you don’t over-indulge during the festive season.
So, get ready for the New Year and here’s Amchara top detox tips and suggestions:
Lets look at this subject from two perspectives, firstly regarding detoxing of the body and secondly, detoxing of the mind.
You should detox for health, vitality, and rejuvenation.
We cleanse our body to clear symptoms, treat disease, and prevent future problems.
A detox program is an ideal way to help you re-evaluate your diet in relation to your body, an easy input versus output consideration.
If you are lethargic, puffy, stressed, anxious, prone to depression and mood swings, these symptoms can be due to your diet and an overload of toxins in your body.
Detoxification is also helpful for weight loss, simply because the body stores toxins in fat cells.
When you cleanse your body these toxins are more easily released from their fat stores.
Since you then become less toxic, your toxin stores (the fat) are not as necessary and, thus, your body can rid itself of excess, unnecessary fat.
Weight loss also occurs on a detox retreat because there are fewer calories being consumed and excess matter stored in your intestines is flushed away.
Since weight loss boils down to creating a caloric deficit, eating less overtime is a simple way of losing weight.
A question, which often arises is “Will I feel hungry all the time?”
The answer to this is “No”.
At Amchara Detox Retreat, our natural, freshly prepared juices are combined with psyillium husks, which swell in your stomach leaving you with a feeling of fullness, while your body is able to concentrate on healing your organs, rather than constantly digesting food.
Optimal health truly begins with the health of our digestive system.
Detox your mind
Aside from the internal health benefits, detoxification can also be a great catalyst for external change.
For instance, it can provide a great opportunity to reflect and re-evaluate what is most important to you.
It can serve to help you cleanse your house, your work, your relationships.
After a cleanse, you will even feel more organized, more creative, more motivated, more productive, more relaxed, and more mentally focused and clear.
So, if you want more energy, greater vitality, more youthful and radiant skin, and greater health for life, then cleansing should be a regular (annual or semi-annual) part of your life.
Detoxification is a fancy word for cleaning your blood.
There are many programs available to help, but your body actually has its own way dealing with toxins.
There are two major systems involved with detoxification: anti-oxidation, and the detoxification process in the liver.
Oxidation is best illustrated by looking at rust, which is a reaction of metal to oxygen.
When free radicals come in contact with the body, oxidation can occur.
Oxidation causes all kinds of problems, such as allergies and certain types of sickness.
The body has a natural anti-oxidation system which includes vitamins such as C, E, B2, bioflavonoid, beta-carotene and other substances to prevent oxidation.
Oxidation occurs at the cellular level, so detox must occur there as well.
Any deficiency of these in the diet causes problems removing toxins.
What a good full body detox does is also remove impurities from the blood through the liver.
The liver is an important organ, and is where toxins are processed.
The body also uses other organs such as kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph nodes and skin to remove toxins.
Most toxins are not water-soluble.
When toxins enter the liver, two groups of enzymes break down the toxins into water-soluble substances to be excreted via the kidneys and other organs.
When this system is not functioning properly, toxins can go unfiltered and your whole body suffers.
There are several ways a body detox program boosts your body’s clearing of toxins.
Fasting for a short period of time is usually part of any full body detox.
When you fast, your organs rest.
This gives them time to rejuvenate themselves and assist with the cleansing.
In addition to fasting, a good detox program will stimulate the liver to eliminate common toxins from your body the way it should have been doing all along.
This also extends to elimination through the skin, kidneys and intestines.
Circulation is always a big part of any natural body detox.
Boosting circulation of the blood through exercise, deep breathing, and other means helps toxins be carried quickly out of the bloodstream.
The simple act of breathing deeply brings more oxygen to your blood, thereby allowing for faster elimination of toxins.
Even though oxygen contributes to oxidation, lack of oxygen can also cause serious problems.
Blood flow helps push more blood through the liver, allowing more toxin removal.
Diet is another major component of a body detox program.
It is important to get rid of any toxins in the diet.
It is usually necessary to cut out all sugar, caffeine, nicotine and other harmful chemicals from your body.
This is one of the most important components, and it is helpful to continue giving your body nutrients even after your program is complete.
Abstaining from using certain chemicals also aids in toxin removal.
Free radicals come from many household products.
Perfumes, shampoos, household cleaners, sunscreens, and much more all contain toxins that get stuck in your body if there is no way to eliminate it.
This is why abstinence and diet are two important ways to keep your body cleansed.
Drink water first thing in the morning, try and drink at least 2 glasses and preferably 3 or 4 before you do anything else. Remember ideally you will drink water 20 minutes before any food.
Follow this with a juice, a large glass of juice can give you your 5 a day in just one drink.
If you need a good energy boost have porridge for breakfast made with water and fruit, I love blueberries. Add milled seed for extra flavour and goodness.
Eat fruit in the morning, typically the body is going through a greater absorption phase during the morning. Normally indigenous fruits are recommended so pears and apples are particularly good.
Get winter sun whenever you can, if you happen to catch some sun please avoid putting on sunglasses! Winter sun is a rare opportunity for your body has to get some vitamin D. When sunlight hits the back of the retina it helps to stimulate the natural production of serotonin, the happy hormone.
Keep water beside you during the day and sip at it constantly, a hydrated body is a healthy body and also helps with alertness, moods and concentration.
Keep healthy snacks with you for when you fancy a graze. Seeds and nuts are a great way to stave off hunger pangs. Just a few mouthfuls can normally be enough.
Eat when you’re hungry, don’t deprive yourself, but eat a little and keep it healthy. A little and often is better than a couple of heavy meals that are hard on your body to digest.
Be mindful of stress, the pressures to be somewhere else or to meet deadlines or to get things done. Breathe deeply, try and recognise the signs early and take mini breaks. When you go to make a cup of (herbal) tea take 5 minutes to run some breathing exercises, do some stretches, these little 5 minute breaks are very important in themselves and also to help you remind you to put you first sometimes.
Create a time in your calendar or in your diary for you. Allot some time and decide now what time you want for you, preferably something healthy. One of my favourite things is to plan something with a healthy friend, maybe a walk, or going to yoga. It’s a lot easier to motivate ourselves into something when a friend comes with us, that’s why personal trainers are needed! If we all had will power there would be no personal trainers in the world!
More detox tips:
It is a well known fact that eating a mostly vegetarian diet or a raw food diet is far better for your health than eating heavy, protein packed meat with every meal of every day.
Vegetables and fruit, pulses and nuts, grains and everything else in between contain all of the nutrition our bodies needs and they are far easier to digest than meat.
Even by promising yourself two to three veggie days a week, you could vastly improve your health, detox your body and even lose weight! Bonus!
Eating raw nuts, fruits, vegetables and so on is the best way to get the highest nutritional value from your meals.
When we cook foods, chemical reactions happen that break down the nutritional value of your foods and so eating them raw means you’re getting the best you can out of them.
Microwaving is a massive no-no too, as you will see by reading this frightening article.
If you must cook your vegetables, simply steam them lightly by placing them in a colander or sieve over a small amount of boiling water for 5 minutes or so.
If you do boil any vegetables in water, keep the water and add to gravies, juices and soups to retain as much nutrition as possible.
If you know much about Amchara, you will know we are huge fans of the juice detox and the wondrous benefits of fasting.
Juice fasting is a brilliant way to give your body a fantastic detox and cleanse away all of the toxins in the body.
Again, this helps you to lose weight too which may be a goal for some of you come the New Year.
Juice detoxing, or juice fasting as it is also known, is the best way to eliminate toxins and replenish the body.
The replenishment comes from the fact that all of the ingredients in the juices contain all of the nutrition that your body needs.
Your sole calorie intake when juice fasting should come from around 4-5 juices per day made up of various vegetables and fruits, although you should ensure that the majority of the ingredients are vegetables as fruits contain natural sugars.
Juice fasting can be dangerous if you have any health conditions however, and so it is always important to discuss with a health expert prior to starting.
Alternatively you could join in with a juice fasting programme to ensure that you are monitored for health and safety reasons and that way you are also given expert guidance, as well as getting expertly educated on the subject.
Yoga and meditation
Detoxing isn’t just about the physical aspect of a detox. It is also about detoxing the mind and allowing yourself to think differently and have a different relationship with food, and to make the right choices.
This results in better health overall for longer rather than just crash dieting when you feel unwell or unhealthy.
Meditation can help to clear the mind and refocus, and can help to ground you and bring your attention back to what really matters.
It can also help you to think in the right way about your relationship with food and your lifestyle to promote Change For Good.
Yoga also aids with detox and can help with energy flow in the body as well as gently reintroducing you to exercise.
If you want to detox after Christmas and want to become a healthier person, you can start gently by doing some yoga moves each morning to help get your digestive system flowing, to exercise your body and to generally lift your mood.
Why do I need to detox?
Everyday, our bodies take in a wide range of toxins and pollutants. It is an unfortunate by product of our modern lifestyle. There are many different chemicals in our food, pollution in the air, bacteria and metals in our water and so on (for instance alcohol, tobacco, pesticides, herbicides, air pollution, heavy metals, food additives, oral contraceptives, and drugs).
Toxins can wreak havoc on our health in the form of carcinogens and free radicals which can cause fatigue, serious illness and premature aging. The outcome of a successful and well-planned detox can help you recover from illness, increase your energy, boost your immune system, help you lose weight, clear your skin and much more
Do I have to fast or starve myself?
No. A common misconception is that a 7 day detox or cleansing the body involves restricting your food and basically starving yourself for days on end.
Okay, so what do I eat while I detox?
To give your body the tools it needs to detoxify, cleanse and regenerate, a detox must give the body even more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than normal. You want to eat foods rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants that enable your body to flush the toxins and pollutants that have accumulated over your lifetime.
Can I lose weight effectively while I detox?
Yes. A proper detox program will require that you eat the most nutritious foods possible. By eating these foods, you will detox safely and also lose weight. The best part is that you will see many other benefits besides weight loss. You will also lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, boost your immune system, have much more energy etc.
I’ve heard some people have bad reactions to a detox… what happens?
When detoxing, some people experience what is known as a ‘detox flu’ or ‘detox crisis’. As your body systematically cleanses itself of toxins and pollution, some people experience headaches, nausea, cold-like symptoms (blocked nose, shivers etc), spots and pimples. These symptoms are mild and usually last for a short while. The best medicine is to drink lots of fluids to help speed up the toxin flushing process. If symptoms persist, however, you should go see your doctor.
Can I continue my exercise routine?
Light exercise improves circulation which helps carry toxins out of the body. Some forms of exercise are beneficial to cleansing and detoxing, such as gentle jogging, walking or rebounding – however you should try not to place undue stress on the body during this time.
Do something different and healthy this Christmas!
Join us at Amchara for Christmas and New Year and stay healthy all through the festival period!
Spaces at our festive retreats fill up fast, we’ve been fully booked the last 2 years. if you’re interested, get in touch soon.