Written by: Farah
PLEASE NOTE: People suffering with chronic health conditions or on long-term medication are advised to see a qualified health professional for a personalized plan.
Has the thought of getting back in touch with your body this year crossed your mind? Chances are it has. With January almost coming to an end, it may feel as if you’ve left it too late. Maybe next year. . .
But wait! It’s not too late. Indeed, the New Year is synonymous with starting afresh and creating new and positive change. But positive change can come at any time of the year. You just need a little motivation to get you going.
WHY WE NEED TO RE-SET
Did you know that digestion uses up a large amount of the body’s energy? It is in fact one of the most strenuous activities that the body carries out. Allowing your digestive system a rest gives it a chance to rejuvenate, allowing it to perform at its best, thereby protecting you from disease and increasing your vitality. The ultimate rest is of course Ramadan, but a few of us may be feeling the effects of recent seasonal over-indulgence and craving that change a little sooner.
We are living in an increasingly toxic world. Even with the best intentions, we find ourselves exposed to an astounding amount of pollutants on any given day. There are PCBs and mercury in the fish that we eat, antibiotics and hormones that are injected into poultry, cattle given hormones to produce dairy products and then slaughtered and eaten, and pesticides being sprayed over crops to increase production for an ever-increasing human population. Even the cosmetics and toiletries that line the supermarket shelves are full of untested and potentially harmful chemicals.
Some unpleasant by-products are also produced by the digestive process. Some of these intermediate products can be harmful when poorly detoxified (such as oestrogen), and some of them are released from ‘bad bacteria’ that have made an unwelcome home in our guts.
Our bodies do an amazing job of clearing this waste out, but there are things we can do to help it deal with this effectively and prevent disease or disharmony in the body.
SIGNS THAT YOU NEED AN INTERNAL CLEANSE
- Sluggish digestion: Bloating, gas, pain, sluggish bowel movements
- Fatigue and lethargy (regardless of how many coffees you have!)
- Food sensitivities
- Bad skin: Acne, eczema, itchiness
- Difficulty losing weight
- Lowered immunity
- Puffy eyes or bags under the eyes
But it’s not all doom and gloom! Our bodies are extremely responsive to any positive change made, the effects of which you will start to see in a few short weeks. Here’s how to start.
RE-SETTING YOUR SYSTEM
The idea is to effectively remove harmful products from your body, encouraging them to leave, and then feeding healthy nutrients back into the system.
- Set yourself a time frame and stick to it: Ten days to 2 weeks is a good amount of time to feel some significant changes.
- Meal planning: If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail! This is key to a successful re-set. Decide in advance what you will be eating for the week ahead and go grocery shopping before you start so you have everything you need. Finding yourself hungry after a long day at work with no food in the fridge will make that late night take-out seem incredibly appealing.
- Stop all sugar: There is no better way to do this than by going cold turkey from sodas, sweet drinks, teas, store-bought sauces and condiments, artificial sweeteners, and desserts (obviously!). Although dates and honey are natural sources of sugar, do not overeat them. Replace sweet cravings with some apples, berries, or fruit of your choice and sweeten food and drinks with cinnamon.
- Stop coffee and tea for this period: If you are a big caffeine drinker, then gradually reduce the number of cups down until you get the first day of your re-set. This will help you avoid withdrawal headaches. Replace coffee and black tea with herbal teas instead like dandelion, nettle, fennel, and ginger, which are all great for the liver.
- Drink green tea: Although this does contain caffeine, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. Owing to the powerful compounds contained within it, green tea is linked to weight loss, reductions in inflammation, and cancer prevention.
- Start your morning with: A squeeze of lemon in water or with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (with “the mother”–the ball of enzymes that gives it its amazing probiotic properties).
- Keep hydrated: Drink at least 6-9 cups of water per day to keep your digestion going. Ideally drink it warm or at room temperature water rather than ice cold.
- Fill your fridge with greens: Saute them, juice them, eat them raw. However you can get them in to your diet, do it. They help improve elimination and infuse the system with much needed antioxidants.
- Make 3 of these days juice only days where you are allowing the digestive system to really rest. Juices, soups, herbal teas and water only. (Please do this only under medical supervision.)
- Get your sweat on by visiting a steam room or sauna regularly.
- Don’t forget to keep moving: Exercise is a must during this time.
- Remove toxic foods: All highly processed, packaged foods and hydrogenated fats. Go au naturale and cook from fresh as much as you can.
- Buy organic and free-range as much as possible.
- Choose natural cosmetics and toiletries: Look for products that are paraben- and SLS-free.
- Get rid of teflon non-stick frying pans: These contain PFCs. If you can, use ceramic pans to cook with instead.
Within the first week, you may feel a little tired and sluggish as you try to adjust to the reduced caffeine levels and lack of sugar. Your skin may start to break out. Give it a week, and you will start to feel revived and energetic, no longer craving those very things that you thought you couldn’t do without. Longer still, and your skin may begin to clear up, revealing a more glowing you with weight loss as an added bonus.
So that’s all there is to it! Give your body a much needed clean out, it will surely thank you for it.