On The Bench Blog
January "Detox" Offer
How are you feeling after the Christmas festivities? Lethargic? Bloated? Skin gone to pot? Over-indulgence in rich food, sweet treats and alcohol can really take its toll on the body causing the pounds to pile on and the symptoms of toxic overload to reveal themselves. So it's no surprise that so many people decide to "detox" as part of their New Year plan.
If this is something you are considering, read on!
Gentle but effective
I have followed "detox" diet plans in the past. They work well for me but I have found some of the 4 week plans very draining for the first fortnight and quite hard to stick to with a physically demanding job. Now, I follow a 10-day Elimination Diet (see below) and use Nature's Sunshine's Healthy Starter Pack or Healthy Starter Programme for additional support and find the shorter duration just as effective and easier to stick to.
The Elimination Diet requires that you completely cut out specific foods for the 10 day period.
I find that with careful planning it is actually a very easy plan to follow. Cook meals from scratch to avoid hidden ingredients on the 'Banned' list (it's only when you look at the labels in detail that you appreciate how much hidden sugar, salt, fat, wheat and so on are in store cupboard staples); hide/throw out any items that you can't eat for the 10 day period so you're not tempted to cheat and stock up on healthy snacks such as organic raw nuts and your favourite fruits. I make a big supply of homemade vegetable and lentil soup and freeze it in individual portions for easy, filling and nutritious lunches, chop up carrots, celery and other veggies to enjoy raw with some homemade guacamole or humous dip and have stir-fries with some wholegrain basmati rice and organic tofu for dinner. Replace your morning caffeine fix for a cleansing herbal tea such as Neal's Yard's Detox tea and drink plenty of water throughout the day and you will soon feel re-energised, less bloated and have better skin as well.
Dry skin brushing before you shower can help the detoxification process further by stimulating the lymphatic system. It also helps reduce the appearance of cellulite! For added benefit, massage an organic toning body lotion in afterwards.
To get you started, I have put together a special Detox Package including many of the items featured in this article. This is available throughout January 2013 at a special discounted rate and is available to order now through my webshop.
Detox for life, not just after Christmas
I have also taken steps to reduce the amount of toxins in my life all year round which then reduces the withdrawal symptoms when I follow the strict 10-day diet. Once you have completed the 10-day Elimination Diet, reintroduce items you have cut out gradually and see how you feel with them back in your diet. Once you know which items cause you to feel worse, it is easier to choose to avoid them throughout the year. For me, as soon as I start eating wheat again the bloating returns and after a few days I start to feel irritable too. And too much cheese causes a stuffy nose and sinus pain. If in doubt as to which foods are most toxic to you, a kinesiology session can help identify food intolerances.
Our toxic burden doesn't just come from the food and drink we consume: we are bombarded with harmful chemicals every day. But this is something else we can reduce by taking steps to reduce the chemicals we apply to our skin, switching to safer household cleaning products and quitting smoking.
Over the past 12 months I have gradually replaced all my bathroom products for organic alternatives. It can be a daunting and expensive exercise but start with products you use daily (shampoo, shower gel, deodorant) and replace other items as they run out. I choose Neal's Yard products because they are beautiful and the company is an ethical, British company that practices what it preaches! A product only needs to contain 2% organic ingredients to be marketed as "Organic" so do check labels and make sure that there are no parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulphate etc alongside the organic, natural ingredients. Neal's Yard use only natural ingredients and clearly label the percentage of Organic ingredients on every item.
The first product I switched was my deodorant having read many reports about the link between chemicals (especially aluminium and parabens) used in deodorants and cancer (amongst other things). The ingredient list of the Dove Deodorant I was using is: Cyclomethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Talc, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PEG-8 Distearate, Glycerin, Silica, Parfum, BHT. When I Googled some of the ingredients I found this blog post. I now use Lemon & Coriander deodorant and it does the job without causing the skin irritation I regularly experienced before switching.
For more information about the chemicals commonly used in beauty products, read Not Just A Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan - it's quite an eye-opener!
To further reduce your toxic intake throughout the year, here are a few suggestions for healthier alternatives to everyday products:
- Replace caffeinated, sugary energy and fizzy drinks with water, herbal tea or Solstic Energy. Coconut water is a great natural alternative to Sports Drinks.
- If you can't resist bread, spelt or rye is easier on the digestive system as it has a lower gluten content than wheat
- Don't be tempted to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Try organic honey or agave nectar instead but use sparingly!
- If you need to cut back on dairy products from cows milk but can't live without cheese, opt for goats or sheeps milk cheeses. Be careful if choosing a milk or yoghurt substitute as many of these contain added sugar/sweeteners
- When cooking, season food with herbs and spices instead of salt
- Switch your air freshener or scented paraffin-based candle to a natural alternative. Try a burner filled with water and a few drops of essential oil (which have healing properties too) or choose an organic beeswax candle.
- Replace toxic household products for more environmentally friendly brands such as Ecover, Method (both widely available) or Nature's Sunshine's versatile Sunshine Concentrate.
- Boost your antioxidant intake by eating plenty of organic fresh fruit (especially berries) or supplement with a daily shot of Zambroza antioxidant drink. Antioxidants are anti-ageing and fight free radical damage caused by exposure to toxins, cardiovascular exercise and so on.
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