Your Cup Match detox
So … how are we all feeling after Cup Match? A little sluggish?
There’s nothing like a four-day weekend to put us in party mode. If you’re under 30, you probably rolled out of bed with a spring in your step …. the rest of us, not so much. (I confess I actually skipped Cup Match. I’m currently in the airport with a glass of wine in hand as I am off to a family reunion which will probably be just as boozy!)
There’s no doubt that fun in the sun is good for the soul and one or two drinks never did anyone any harm. But if you’ve had an overly social summer or, if against your best intentions you just let all your healthy habits go, it’s time to get back on track.
Getting back on track doesn’t have to mean being super strict. In fact, being too regimented can sometimes backfire. Humans don’t do well with deprivation and tend not to keep it up for long. It’s best to find a good balance that you can maintain over the long term. To do that, it helps to focus on what to eat, rather than what not to eat. It’s a crowd it out theory ie, if you’re so full of the good stuff sometimes there isn’t room for the bad stuff anyway.
So, I thought I’d give you some tips for daily detox. Here are some easy things that you can do every day that nourish your health and support your liver. Focus on these and you won’t have time to focus on the doughnuts!
Water, water, water
Are you sure you need that morning coffee? The first sign of dehydration is fatigue so if you drink a coffee to get going, make sure you are well hydrated first! I’m not strictly anti-coffee; I think good coffee is an enjoyable ritual and a decent source of antioxidants. But if you have fluctuating energy levels, headaches, anxiety, tension, depression or mid-range weight gain, then caffeine might not be the best option. So, take a big glass of water to bed with you. If you didn’t drink it during the night, finish it before you get up. Then sip steadily through the day – your pee should be pale yellow!
Green smoothies are a great way to start the day. And once you’ve started so well, it’s motivating to keep making healthy decisions. Just be careful not to add too much banana as this can make them super sweet and over-do the carbs. Try the equivalent of one frozen banana and then add frozen peach or pear (both low on the glycemic index). After that add some protein (a protein powder, collagen, nut butter or seeds) and a giant handful of leaves. I suggest you rotate your greens to increase nutrient exposure and to prevent overexposure to any one thing. You can use any unsweetened milk as your mixer but I prefer water these days!
Two servings of cruciferous veg
These include the leafy greens – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and radishes. Cruciferous veg contain special nutrients that support both phases of liver detoxification. It’s common for people to do phase 1 quickly and phase 2 slowly. (That’s because caffeine, alcohol, pesticides and painkillers can all overstimulate phase 1.) If phase 1 outpaces phase 2, then you can get a build-up of chemical intermediates that aren’t so great. It’s a little like putting all the trash in the trash can and never taking it out of the house! So aim for two servings of cruciferous veg daily to give your liver a helping hand.
This superfood is also great for both phase 1 and phase 2, so get a little dose every day! Just remember that avocado contains good fats and it is possible to have too much of a good thing. So aim for a small half daily, but don’t have it at the same time as other fats such as nuts, olives or cheese!
Of all the fruits, the berries have the most antioxidants per serving size. Antioxidants help to protect your body from oxidative damage and boost the immune system. You can add them to your green smoothie – but be prepared to have your smoothie turn brown! Alternatively, have them as a snack with nuts, or as a healthy dessert with some plain organic or vegan yoghurt.
The great thing about supporting your detox pathways is that it’s not all down to your diet. Exercise is great for helping to stimulate and drain your lymphatic system, which helps to support your natural detoxification. And it doesn’t have to be strenuous, a gentle half-hour walk is good enough for this purpose. So, make sure you move every day!
Dry skin brushing
Another good way to support your lymphatic system is to try dry skin brushing every day. Every day, before you shower, brush your limbs with a dry brush (from the Body Shop or a pharmacy) from the extremities towards your centre ie from your fingertips towards your heart and from your ankles towards your groin. Make sure you follow this with a big glass of water to help flush your system.
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram