When I was first told that fasting on a fruit only diet would give me more energy, or that giving up some of my favourite foods and cups of coffee would leave my skin glowing, I was skeptical. But the principals of detoxification are based on traditional “cures” practiced by European naturopaths for centuries. Giving up certain foods, or existing on fruit alone for twenty-four hours, is not hard, especially when the benefits are so great. I now give my system a regular detox boost, even if it is only over the weekend. A short detox programme is a great way to feel more energised and refreshed. It is the perfect way to revitalise the body, renew energy levels and restore glowing skin and when you have finished you will feel far fitter and healthier and motivated not to return to bad habits.
Starting with a healthy breakfast is not only the best way to boost energy levels for the day ahead, but is an easy, positive and delicious daily start to a new you. Refined sugars, found in most breakfast cereals, are the first thing I give up if I’m embarking on a health spring-clean and cutting them out gives me far more sustained energy throughout the day. On cold winter mornings, I switch to a bowl of porridge made with water and sweetened with honey, complete with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds. Or if I’m craving for something fresh, I opt for chopped fruit and berries with a dollop of natural yoghurt. You also can’t beat a protein-packed organic boiled egg that also contains useful vitamins A, B-complex and E, as well as minerals such as zinc, served up with toasted wholemeal soldiers and a glass of orange juice (vitamin C will help increase your uptake of iron from the egg yolk).
Not only is eating soup (of any kind) a good way to get various vitamins and vegetable fibre in a simple, healthy way, it’s also been proven to help shed a few pounds. This is because when food and water are finely mixed to make soup, they enter the stomach together and stay held in a homogenised state as they pass through our intestines. The increased volume of water and semi-solid food then stays in our system for longer than if we were eating food and drinking liquid separately, so we feel fuller for longer. According to researchers at Nottingham University, this means we are much less likely to over-eat. This is especially true of whizzed-up blended soups which reduce hunger-pangs the most due to this homogenisation effect. Never more useful than at this time of year, I’m swapping lunchtime sandwiches for a simple home-made soup and even pop mine into a thermos if I’m out and about, so I don’t miss out on the health and beauty benefits.
If a little overindulgence has left you feeling a little ‘liverish’, you might like to try a ‘liver wrap’ – a simple but highly effective way to stimulate the detoxification process in the liver. You will need: A hot water bottle, a flannel and a small fluffy towel. Wearing just a dressing gown, gather everything together and lie down somewhere comfortable. Start by applying the cold damp flannel to the right-hand side of your body just beneath the ribcage to cover the liver area. The coldness felt by the skin briefly lowers the temperature of the tissues beneath and your body’s reflexes respond by increasing circulation in that area. Next, place a really warm hot water bottle on top of the damp flannel to retain moisture and stimulate the autonomic nervous system. This in turn boosts blood flow to the liver and supports its detoxification activity. Cover the hot water bottle with a soft towel and rest on a sofa or go to bed. This is a useful therapeutic treatment to carry out at bedtime and you can even fall asleep with the hot water bottle in place. Otherwise, simply put your feet up and rest for 30 minutes (the longer the better). Three things to love about the liver wrap – it’s inexpensive, simple and it works.
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