New Year Detox – Is it worth it?
It’s all over and done. Hopefully you have had an enjoyable and relaxing period over Christmas and New Year. It is strange period of time that is both relaxing and restorative but also ultimately exhausting. It is possible to socialise yourself to oblivion and come back to work wondering what happened. Most of us have eaten and drunk to excess at some points. I think it is very important that we give ourselves the freedom to do so. Being allowed to let your hair down and celebrate significant moments during the year is part of the human condition. I think it is fascinating that documentaries about undiscovered Amazon tribes will alwayss uncover that they have discovered alcohol and halucinagenic drugs and that they consider them an essential part of a celebration. So we should not beat oursleves up about short bursts of over indulging.
Subsequently we all feel the need to cleanse and have a period of detoxifcation. I have always been a bit cynical about the benefits this can offer, but I feel recent research is suggesting that we do respond well physiologically to periods of no alcohol or fasting. The ability for your liver to regenerate and your blood chemistry to improve is remarkable.
But do we need to punish ourselves? Probably not.
If we are simply strict with ourselves and come back to some of the basic rules about healthy living and eating, this should be enough. The post Christmas issue I have is that in my house there is cake and crisps and chocolate everywhere, tempting me in to mindless eating. Recent statistics suggest that 86% of men between 40-60 are overweight. How many of them suffer from mindless eating? By this I mean the unnecessary nibbling of tasty, salty, sugary food to accompany a cup of tea or while you cook a main meal. The sort of food that if you kept a food diary you would forget to write it down.
So Stage 1 of New Year Detox is to chuck out all the naughty left-overs. Cleanse your cupboards before you cleanse your body. It is a very good feeling to clear out. Either throw it away or give it away if you wish to torture someone else.
Stage 2 – would be to revisit our 2 week sugar free period as discussed in previous blogs. In the summer I started my new eating patterns with a 2 week purge where I tried to remove as much sugar from my diet as possible. This means no carbs, no sugar, no alcohol and minimal fruit. Yes to vegetables, nuts, meat, fish, eggs and dairy. If you want to detox at this time of year I believe a revisit to this 2 week programme is plenty cleansing enough.
After the 2 weeks we can re-introduce small portions of carbs (target 50-100g per day). 50g is one jacket potato, one cup of pasta or rice or 4 slices of white bread. Below 50g per day is very low and would stimulate ketosis. 50g-100g per day would induce “weight loss” as your body will programme itself to use your own body fat as fuel rather than sugar. 100g-150g per day should allow effortless weight maintenance. Above 150g will move you into insidious weight gain. And above 300g is frankly dangerous.
So there we go. A 2 week clean up will stimulate your body to kick those sugar drives. It will also focus your mind to aovid “mindless eating” and consider and plan our daily food intake. This is as good a time as ever to get into good habits to carry you into 2017.