Summer is ideal for a light cleanse. The temperature is warm and we tend to opt for lighter foods naturally, which can make the whole process just a little bit easier.
By having a summer detox, you can give yourself extra energy to make the most of the long summer days, take advantage of the copious fresh fruit and vegetables, prepare your body for the more challenging winter months ahead, and help your skin at a time when it’s most on show.
Nothing has a bigger impact on your skin than what you eat. Eating the right food is one side of the coin, detoxification is the other. All food contains toxins as well as nutrients, as do air and water. If you are unable to efficiently detoxify substances from your food and your environment, your skin is likely to become congested.
DETOX DO’S AND DON’TS
For an instant upgrade in how you feel and look, there are four habits to break and four habits to make. So, let’s start with the hard part.
To give your system a break, you need to avoid:
1. Wheat. All wheat contains gluten and this irritates the gut. So, give your insides a break.
2. Milk. It’s the most common food allergen and most people produce antibodies to it. In other words, it causes your immune system to react. It’s also mucus forming. Give your system 9 days off milk and all dairy products.
3. Caffeine. This might be the hardest part if you’re addicted. But that’s the point. Caffeine is an addictive toxin that makes your liver work hard to detoxify it. If you can bear it, cut out caffeine for 9 days. If not, then two cups of green tea a day is the thin edge of the wedge.
4. Alcohol. Of course, this is your liver’s worst enemy. Take a complete break for the 9 days.
The habits you need to make are:
1. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. After all, your body is 66% water and this alone will help you detoxify.
2. Eat superfoods to summer-clean your system including fresh apricots, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, kiwi, papayas, peaches, mangoes, melons, red grapes and all types of berries. Vegetables that are especially good for detoxification include artichokes, peppers, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, watercress, and bean and seed sprouts.
3. Load up on anti-aging antioxidants. They are the key players in detoxifying your body. If you boost your intake, from both food and supplements, you’ll definitely notice the difference.
4. Take liver-detoxifying supplements. From MSM to milk thistle, there’s a combination of seven top detoxifiers to give your liver’s detox capacity an upgrade. Look for a supplement that contains: N-Acetyl Cysteine, Milk Thistle Extract, Cruciferous Vegetable Compounds, MSM, Ellagic Acid, Dandelion Extract and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
Once you start making these changes, you’ll soon notice a difference in how you feel and look. You should start feeling more energised and motivated, and your skin and eyes should appear clearer.
In addition to these dietary changes, make sure your daily supplement programme includes a good, all-around antioxidant complex and a liver-support complex – visit HOLFORDirect to purchase supplements online.
The aubergine and borlotti beans in this dip give a smoky, rich flavour to this delicious blend of vegetables. Cooked tomato products, such as tomato puree, are a better source of lycopene than raw tomatoes. This antioxidant nutrient not only helps to protect eyesight but it has also been shown to reduce skin damaged by UV rays by as much as 30 per cent! Consider it an edible sunscreen to keep wrinkles at bay. Serve this dip with crudités and oatcakes or spread on pumpernickel-style rye bread and top with watercress, rocket or baby spinach.
1 tsp coconut oil or medium (not extra-virgin) olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red onion, diced
¼ medium aubergine, cubed
1 tbsp tomato purée
½ a 410g (14oz) can borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp Marigold Reduced Salt Vegetable Bouillon powder
2 portions of Super Greens Mix (see below)
1 Heat the oil and sauté the garlic and onion for a couple of minutes to let the onion start to soften then throw in the aubergine and cook for a few minutes until it browns and softens.
2 Stir in the tomato purée, beans and bouillon powder, and stir together.
3 Place the mixture in a food processor or blender and whizz until fairly smooth. You can also add Super Greens Mix to the mixture to blend at the same time, if you like, or stir in afterwards.
SUPER GREENS MIX
This pesto-style blend of dark green leaves and herbs is a brilliant way to increase your intake dramatically of these flavonoid and vitamin-C rich ingredients without having to wade through buckets of salad. Simply blend it all together with some oil and serve on soups, salads and main meals.
We recommend you have a serving of this on at least one of your meals each day, ideally two, to give your liver a helping hand. You can vary the leaves and herbs used according to taste and availability. Add avocado (rich in vitamin E and protein) for a thicker consistency, or cucumber (a very cleansing vegetable) for a thinner texture. Equally, you can ring the changes by adding raw garlic (to get your daily intake of sulphurous vegetables), sun-blush tomatoes or roasted peppers, olives, marinated artichoke hearts, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts.
¼ bag (a good handful) watercress, rinsed and dried
¼ bag (a good handful) baby leaf spinach, rinsed and dried
a good handful of basil leaves
a good handful of parsley leaves
a good drizzle, about 1tbsp, of extra-virgin olive oil or an omega-rich seed oil such as hemp or flax-seed oil and sqeeze of lemon juice to taste
Whizz all the ingredients together in a mini blender or food processor, or, if you don’t have one of these handy, finely chop the herbs. Stir in the oil; the mixture should hold together a little like pesto.
THE 5 DAY DIET
A more general cellular detox can be achieved on a ketogenic diet. If you think you’d like to try a diet based on this new science, then take a look at my 5 Day Diet book which summarises the science while giving you daily meal plans, recipes, a supplement programme and exercises. The diet has been devised to help you kickstart ketosis, lose weight, gain energy and transform your health in just five days. The book is available from HOLFORDirect - FREE with the supplement combo needed to get cracking with the diet - or the book is available on its own.