Monday 11 April 2011

A relaxed spring detox plan

I started my Spring detox yesterday. People always tell me that I don't need to do it and that detoxes don't work, but I can feel that my one one does. I feel crap for the first three days -even though I eat loads of good, fresh produce and never starve myself - then, slowly, I start feeling better and better until eventually I am on cloud nine- wholesome, pure with just a little bit of smugness and maybe a vague halo around my head. That's when you know it's worked. This bubble of well-being takes me straight into summer, when, of course, I retox with barbeques that carry on well into the night, picnics washed down with Pimms in the park, beers on beaches, and lazy afternoons in pub gardens.  But first things first - you need to go through the hard times to fully appreciate the good, and springtime is a time for cleaning and preparation before the extravagences of summer, therefore, it seems natural to me to start with my body. I kicked off the "hard times" by swimming and having lunch on the rooftop in Shoreditch House. As the lovely waiter delivered the wrong salad and the one he handed to me looked really tasty, I didn't have the heart to send it back, so my detox began with a chicken and pecorino salad. To be fair, it was delicious, tender chicken - you could taste that it had had a happy life - and there was only a minimal amount of cheese among all the leaves and avocado, so I didn't beat myself up about it too much (read: at all). I also managed not to drink alcohol and opted instead for a protein smoothie with lots of goji berries and other amazing stuff in it. It's not like I get invited to Shoreditch House every day and a heatwave in London is even more rare, so this was a perfect excuse to slightly break the detox rules on the very first day. It kind of shows you how relaxed my approach to detoxing really is - and I think that's the way it should be anyway, I wouldn't advise anyone to become a food bore! That, below, is the detox I am aiming for, obviously I go for one of the options below each meal, not all of them, and sometimes I do break the rules a bit, like today

First week:

Fresh fruit, with bio yoghurt, honey and seeds
Oat and fruit yoghurt pot

Freshly-prepared salads with olive oil and lemon juice dressing
Leftovers (see below)

Quinoa with roast vegetables
Vegetable casserole with pearl barley
Vegetable stir-fry with salmon
Dhaal with brown rice
Vegetable curry (homemade) with brown rice
Grilled mackerel with watercress and brown rice in vegetable broth

Dried fruit and nuts
Crudites with hummus
Oat cakes with guacamole
Fruit smoothies with oat/almond/soya milk

Other drinks: White and green teas, Ginger with honey and fresh lemon squeezed in at the end, peppermint and camomile teas, Moroccan mint tea with honey (fresh mint and white/green tea), lots of water with milk thistle extract

Obviously, all processed foods are categorically out for the whole two weeks. I also aim to avoid red meat (and not eat much of the white variety either), caffeine (argh!), dairy (although goat's milk products are allowed), wheat (but I do allow dark/granary bread in moderation) and alcohol for a week. After a week, I relax a bit on the alcohol rule, because, without sounding like a have a problem, a week is all I can manage. And I have to basically give up my social life too. So in the second week, I allow myself a glass of red wine here and there or a vodka with soda and fresh lime, or two, if I go out. There are moments when it feels hard, especially in the first three days, but I believe that this makes you mentally and physically stronger. Breaking bad habits is hard but it feels right, and when you form new, healthier ones it really improves your quality of life. I didn't manage to do a detox this time last year, as I had just broken up with my ex under really horrible circumstances, and was surviving on a diet of cigarettes and alcohol. This gave me a great figure for the summer but I have also paid for it with health issues, so this year the need to do a detox is even greater. I'm in a good place mentally and spiritually now, having gotten rid of so many issues that were plaguing me throughout that relationship, and no longer feeling like anyone is draining my energy or abusing me, so the time is definitely right. I am actually quite excited, as it signals a new phase of being more self-aware, conscientious and, I won't deny it, looking pretty darn good. Come on, it's a universal fact that everyone wants to look hot for the summer!


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