Summer detox

//Posted By Lucy Osborne

If the thought of a late summer holiday has put you in a spin about wearing less and baring all, then a detox could be just what you need. This can be a simple way to get you on the road to looking and feeling fabulous – not just for summer and holidays of course, but all year round.

Summer is the perfect time to ‘eat clean’ and give your body the care and attention it deserves. A detox isn’t about starving yourself it is about using fresh and vital foods to cleanse and support your body. There are plenty of these foods seasonally available at this time of year, which simply adds to the ease of a summer detox.

The main aim of a detox is to cleanse and support our overworked livers. This can stimulate weight loss, reduce bloating, improve the quality of our skin, improve hormonal balance, assist digestion and improve bowel function. As well as increase energy and improve mood and concentration. This can all be achieved by merely thinking about the food we eat.

Planning ahead

I urge you not to embark on these dietary changes lightly, it is important to plan your detox period carefully, try to choose a time with few social engagements. If your diet is usually high in sugar then expect to feel tired initially as your body adjusts to the changes, remember you will feel much more energised by the end. If you regularly drink caffeine then suddenly stopping may give you a headache, cut down slowly over a few days before the detox. A detox can last anything from 7 to 30 days but I advise you start with 10 days, this is easily achievable for most people and should produce noticeable results.

Foods to Avoid

  • Wheat (bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits, wheat based cereals, cous cous) – wheat contains gluten which is a common allergen and can cause constipation, bloating, fatigue and anaemia, as well as coeliac disease.
  • Milk and Dairy Products (cheese and yoghurt) – dairy is common allergen for many people. If you are sensitive to milk protein, your immune system will treat it as a foreign invader and trigger an inflammatory response that can produce any number of symptoms, including bloating, headache, weight gain and joint pain.
  • Caffeine (tea, coffee, chocolate, energy drinks) – although a stimulant caffeine can really sap overall energy levels and can also interfere with the body’s ability to burn fat.
  • Refined Sugar (sweets, cakes, biscuits, dessert, fizzy drinks) – too much refined sugar not only makes you fat, it also leaches vital nutrients from the body making you tired and weakening the immune system.
  • Alcohol – An intestinal irritant, alcohol is laden with sugar and as a result makes you fat around the middle. Alcohol has to be processed by the liver and during this time the liver stops doing the important job of fat burning, making it a double whammy for our tummies.
  • Processed foods and bad fats – the more processed a food the less goodness it contains. Have you noticed how white bread is fortified with vitamins? Many processed foods contain undesirable trans fats that should be avoided.

Foods to Enjoy

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (all and any, except white potatoes) – aim to eat a serving of raw vegetables daily.
  • Whole grains (excluding wheat) – oats, rye, brown rice and quinoa
  • Fish (fresh or canned in water / olive oil) – aim for at least 4 servings in the 10 days.
  • Lean red meat and chicken (organic if possible) – limit to 3 servings in the 10 days.
  • Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans)
  • Eggs (organic is preferable)
  • Olive oil and Coconut oil
  • Nuts and seeds (raw and unsalted) – eat a handful daily.
  • Water – aim to drink 2 litres of filtered water daily
  • Green tea and herbal / fruit teas – starting the day with the juice of half a lemon in a cup of hot water will help kick start the cleansing process

Sample Menu

  • Breakfast – Spinach omelette
  • Snack – Apple and a handful of almonds
  • Lunch – Tuna and avocado salad
  • Snack – 2 oatcakes with hummus
  • Dinner – Chicken and vegetable stir fry with brown rice

Note: Do not undertake a detox if you are pregnant, breast feeding or underweight. If in doubt consult your health practitioner before starting.

For more advice on diet and nutrition, get in touch with Lucy Osborne.