Time for a detox

by Judy Davie, The Food Coach

It's so normal to gain weight over winter as the body naturally wants to store food as fat for extra protection. It's the season we feel more tired, and look for food as fuel for extra energy. It's also a time of year, when we feel a little "blue" and crave carbohydrates to produce the uplifting brain chemical serotonin.

Reclaim the spring in your step as the weather warms up! Do this through good, clean, healthy eating.

What is a detox?
A detox technically rids the body of toxic waste. If the body is functioning well it should be doing that very nicely on it's own -that's what it's designed to do, but, if it's overloaded, putting excessive strain on the liver - the organ that detoxifies the system, you may need to help it along ( recommended for 21 days).

The liver
The largest organ in the body, the liver's job is to process and dispose of toxins. A diet heavy on processed foods and artificial additives can stress the liver, as can drugs (recreational and prescription) and alcohol. The Chinese call the liver The General - in charge of his army of organs. When the liver is taxed, The General cannot command his army and the rest of the body suffers.

What to cut out on a detox
All foods that contain artificial colours preservatives and additives should be eliminated from the diet. These include: lollies, cakes, biscuits, crackers, chips, bacon, salami and other processed meats. Also cut out soft drinks alcohol, packaged sauces and fast food. No, it doesn't sound like much fun, but the rewards are worthwhile!

Dairy
Many people have problems digesting dairy products. Cut out all cows' milk dairy products including butter, cheese, and milk and drink rice milk or unsweetened soy, sheep and goat's products.

Wheat products
In addition to digestion problems, carbohydrates from wheat products can lead to weight gain. Cut out all wheat products including bread, pasta and noodles and eat oats, barley, rye, brown rice, quinoa and spelt instead. (*those with gluten allergies should only eat rice and quinoa)

Red meat
Too much red meat can overtax the system releasing excess acidic digestive enzymes and a build up of toxins in the joints causing inflammation and joint pain. For 21 days eliminate red meat) and eat organic chicken, tofu and fish instead.

On rising
A 300ml glass of hot water with the juice of lemon at the start of each day is a great way to boost the metabolism and start the digestive process.

Juicing
Don't go overboard with sweet fresh juice made from fruit alone. While they may be delicious and natural, they're still higher in energy (KJ) than fresh veggie juice. A fresh carrot, beetroot, celery, ginger, lemon, parsley with a small piece of green apple to sweeten is the best detox before breakfast.

Drink more water
Throughout the day drink at least 2 litres of filtered water. Remember the last sign of being dehydrated is feeling thirsty and there is no greater way to flush the system of toxins than drinking water.

Cooking techniques
Pack away the slow cooker, the essential cooking appliance for winter and pull out the wok and steamer. Spring cooking should take less time to cook. Steamed fish and vegetables, stir fried organic chicken and veggies with almonds and brown rice are terrific spring dinners. Flavour with lemon, ginger and wheat free tamari sauce.