Start 2014 with a January detox!

2014January05_DietNutrition_AIf you feel bloated and full to the brim with the indulgences of the last month, then you are not alone. Festive fare, lack of exercise and lots of sit-down dinners and calorie-rich buffet foods, can play havoc with your waistline and energy levels. January is a time of change and after the excesses of New Year, it’s a perfect time to take stock while cleansing your whole system.

This is the month when you probably want to tighten the purse strings and cut back on spending on entertainment and socializing. At the same time, you are probably craving simple foods and no-fuss dinners, while hoping you can get rid of any excess weight gained over the festive season. If you’re not going to have a wild month anyway, you might as well go with that and go all out on a detox. To get you started, follow our 10 top tips for cleansing your system and starting the year with a healthier outlook.

  • Cut out alcohol: It was the season to be merry but now it’s the season to cut back on mixing your drinks and to give your body a rest from any excess merriment. While opinions are split on how effective this is in respect of long-term health, there’s no doubting that considering your relationship with alcohol from time to time is healthy. By cutting drinks out you can re-establish a different lifestyle that is healthier too.

  • Cut out caffeine and sugar: If you rely on your morning cup of sugary joe to get you going then this might be a struggle initially. In fact, when the body is loaded with toxins you might feel worse before you feel better. You will have built up a tolerance for caffeine and so by giving your body a break from this stimulant, you might find that when you go back to an espresso shot that you enjoy it much more.

  • Follow a vegetarian diet: If you’re a meat eater then give your digestion a break with a diet full of rich, leafy greens and fresh ingredients. You could even try and follow a raw diet for a real vitamin boost. You can get the protein and carbohydrates you need from vegetables, so look for interesting recipes that are appetizing and appealing. Think of your new diet as exploring different vegetarian foods, rather than giving something up.

  • Cut back on dairy and gluten: Many people are lactose intolerant or have a problem with gluten, even those who are not suffering from celiac disease. Check food labels as you might be surprised at how many different foods gluten is added to. Avoid wheat and look out for gluten and dairy free alternatives.

  • Hide the frying pan: You might be more likely to shallow fry in olive oil rather than deep fry in lard, but to really come up with a new diet plan you might want to remove the temptation to fry altogether. This way you can come up with alternative ways of cooking, such as grilling.

  • Drink water: Let’s face it, unless you’re feeling hot, you possibly don’t feel the need for water, and many people go all day without even one glass. However, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of keeping hydrated. Remember, thirst can feel a lot like hunger and it’s easy to snack when all you really need is a few sips of water instead.

  • Don’t go OTT: There’s a lot to be said for moderation. Certainly, if you are too extreme in your detox then you risk either failing altogether or simply feeling miserable. Feeling negative is not good for the body or the mind and a detox can backfire if it becomes an arduous chore rather than a joyous challenge.

  • Epsom salt baths: Throw a handful or two of epsom salts into a deep and hot bath and lie back for 20 minutes. Let the heat soothe you as the salts draw out the toxins. Try rubbing your skin with some rock salt for an exfoliation too, before keeping moisture in with a body lotion. Lie down after your bath to completely relax.

  • Meditate and practice mindfulness: Throughout the year, your mind is busy operating at full speed, solving problems, thinking over solutions and ideas. It’s no surprise that stress is such a big issue in so many people’s lives. Don’t just detox your body but also your mind. Try some simple mediation to instill a feeling of total relaxation and bring the mind to the present moment to let go of the past and future and create a sense of space and lightness.

  • Exercise: By working out you can boost your body’s systems and this includes circulation and digestion. Exercise aides the lymphatic system to function well, along with the organs, with oxygen-rich blood pumped to vital parts of the body to create a feeling of wellness.

Think of your January detox and exercise plan as a change of lifestyle rather than a one-off month long regime. Let your detox be the start of a healthier you.

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