6 Steps to Detox after Holidays
Andreea Macoveiciuc | On 02, Jan 2014
If you went a bit overhead with the holiday meals and had too many cookies or overindulged in cheesy or meat-based dishes, it’s normal to feel overstuffed, deprived of energy, bloated and nauseated. Normal, but not desirable, so if you want to get back to your happier and healthier self, it’s time for a quick detox after the holidays.
Still, cutting on sweets and highly caloric meals may not be as simple as it sounds, after so many days of eating without any restriction. Moreover, a sudden transition to a clean diet may be perceived as too harsh by your body, and it’s quite likely to experience symptoms similar to those seen during any withdrawal, whether we refer to drugs, sweets or coffee.
I’ll therefore give you some tips on how to remove the food debris and toxins from your body and get back to a healthier eating regimen, without experiencing all the unpleasant manifestations of a typical detox diet.
1. Adjust the water intake
First rule in any detox diet is to drink more water, as your purpose is to flush out the toxins and food debris accumulated inside the digestive tract and to restore the proper levels of blood glucose.
If you had high amounts of sugar and salt during the holidays, it’s quite likely for your body’s ability to manage toxins to be slightly altered, and for you to experience the unpleasant puffiness and bloating caused by increased fluid retention.
If you’re still struggling with cravings for sweets, these are most probably caused by the spikes in blood sugar levels triggered by the high sugar intake, and if you’re feeling dehydrated and tired, it’s very likely to be the result of the higher caffeine intake during the holidays.
Increasing the water intake is the simplest strategy for getting rid of these symptoms, for improving your blood’s composition, restoring the normal lymph circulation, achieving control over your cravings and boosting your energy levels.
Start by drinking one glass of fresh water in the morning, on an empty stomach, and add 2 more glasses of water between breakfast and lunch, respectively lunch and dinner. Sip some more water after the morning and afternoon snacks, and replace juices with fresh water during the day.
Do your best to have at least 8 glasses of water per day in the first week after the holidays, and increase this amount if you also practice physical activities that make you sweat. Also, before grabbing another snack from the refrigerator, have a glass of fresh water, as your body often mistakes thirst for hunger, especially after overeating for so many days.
2. Replace unhealthy desserts with sweet fruits
It’s going to be very tough for your body to suddenly stop craving for sugar, so instead of completely removing any source of sugar from your diet, you should pick the healthier alternatives and replace desserts with sweet fruits. These will provide enough sugar for your body to slowly transition to a healthier eating regimen, so it will be easier for you to deal with the tiredness and mood swings after holidays.
The high amounts of vitamins and minerals provided by fruits will help with your energy levels and improve the digestion. Opt for bananas and avocados, which balance the blood sugar levels, for grapes, as they provide high amounts of potassium, needed for supporting a healthier kidney function and for removing toxins from the body, or for lemons and grapefruits, which are alkaline and able to restore the pH of your digestive tract.
3. Replace cheese with yogurt and change meat for mushrooms
Just because you’re detoxifying, it doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself, so instead of completely removing dairy products from your diet, try replacing cheeses with plain ,low-fat yogurt. This will help restore the bacterial balance in your gastrointestinal tract, promote a healthier digestion and support the removal of food debris. Also, probiotics in yogurt will strengthen your immune system, reducing the risk of inflammations after the not so healthy holiday choices.
As for meat, you can either opt for leaner products, such as fish or poultry, or replace it completely with mushrooms for a couple of days, until the acidity of your stomach is normalized and your digestive tract starts functioning properly.
4. Pick alkaline vegetables instead of cereals and grains
Kale, parsley, endives, celery, corn, turnips, cucumbers and onions are the best replacements for the acidic grain products after holidays, as they’re alkaline and able to restore the internal balance of your body. Also, they provide dietary fibers and able to curb hunger pangs by filling your stomach and keeping you satisfied for longer.
Alkaline veggies are able to reduce the risk of inflammation and help in maintaining proper blood glucose levels. To speed up the detox, opt for light, alkaline veggie meals instead of having another bowl of rice or pasta or a sandwich filled with cheese and meat.
5. Replace coffee with green tea
The high intake of caffeine during the holidays wasn’t beneficial for your body, so it’s time to switch to healthier habits. I’m not saying to completely cut the caffeine intake, but to replace the 3rd cup of coffee with green tea, as this provides less caffeine and has detox properties as well.
6. Start exercising 40 minutes a day
When you practice physical activities at moderate to high intensity, your body burns the sugars and carbs at the beginning and starts burning fats only after 30 minutes of exercising. 30 minutes of daily exercises are ok for faster restoring your blood sugar levels, improving circulation, speeding up the detox process and restoring your mood, but if you want to see faster improvements in your silhouette as well, it’s important to exercise a little longer and to push your body to its limits.
Not to mention you’ll be more likely to stick with the exercising routine if you start seeing results faster, so it’s a win-win situation: you’ll help your body get rid of the food debris and toxins after the holidays, speed up the weight loss process and switch to a more active and healthier lifestyle.
If you have other detox tips, we’d like to hear them from you, so please feel free to add your comments below!