If you’re like most people, you may have overindulged over the holidays a little and you feel a little bloated. Maybe your pants are a little snugger than they used to be, maybe your weight has hedged up a little over the holidays. Maybe this is your year to get back in shape, eat better, and feel better. It’s one of my goals. So how do you go about getting there? Some people do detox diets, living on lemon juice and maple syrup for a week or colon cleanses. Not my thing. I’m not really sure how safe they are and I’m pretty sure I’d be uber-cranky ingesting just lemon water for a week. Here are some things that I like to do that are pretty easy to do to help get back on track (well, maybe not the last one).
1. Drink Water
Simple. Drink water. It helps flush your body of all the sugar, salt, and fat that are in all those yummy holiday foods. It seems counterintuitive, but if you’re bloated from either eating too much salt or because of those pesky monthly hormones, increasing your water intake will get rid of the bloat. Even better, add a little lemon to water for extra detoxing powers. Lemon juice aids in digestion and helps detox the liver.
The best way to get this to work would be by replacing the water for sugary drinks. Yes, I mean soda. Put the soda down.
2. Drink Green Tea
Need a little caffeine buzz? Try green tea instead of soda. It’s detoxifying, full of antioxidants, and it will also help flush your body since it’s mostly water. Green tea is touted to help fight cancer, improve cardiovascular health, improve immunity, and aid in weight loss. Pretty good stuff. You could even add some lemon to it. (Black coffee without added sweeteners and whipped cream or whatever else is in those fancy drinks is preferable to soda, but green tea is still probably better.)
3. Eat Your Veggies
Specifically cruciferous veggies. These veggies are members of the cabbage family and include cabbage (surprise), kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, and watercress. Okay, I know, these are the yucky ones. But why do they taste a little strong? It’s because they’re full of good for you phytochemicals, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They help stave off cancer and help your gall bladder function more efficiently (that would be the detoxing part).
Overcooking can lead to a yucky taste and loss of some of the good things in them, so they are best enjoyed lightly steamed. Have a cup of steamed broccoli for lunch. Chop up some kale and add it to a salad. It’s really not that strong. Look for the Italian variety, it’s a little milder. Add some kale or cabbage to soups, stews, or sauces. My kids eat up kale in spaghetti sauce. Watercress is fantastic for you. Add some to a salad or on top of a sandwich instead of lettuce.
4. Get some exercise
There’s nothing better than sweating out some of the toxins. Plus, after exercising, you’re more likely to eat healthfully. It doesn’t have to be much, shovel some snow if you’re somewhere it snows, go for a ten or fifteen minute walk, do a little yard work if you’re in a warmer clime, run around with your kids, or go for a more traditional work out at the gym. Anything that gets you moving is good.
5. Avoid Processed Foods
They’re full of sugar, salt, and fat that your body doesn’t need. Give them up for a couple weeks when you’re trying to detox and then only occasionally after that. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel and how you stop craving them.
6. Try Going Vegan
Okay, before you stop reading, I’m not saying permanently, unless you want to, just for a few weeks. I know a vegan diet isn’t for everyone (although I will happily talk to you about all the benefits if you want), but it is a great way to detox and focus on really healthy eating for a few weeks. In fact, I’m not big into those fad detox plans, but eating vegan will probably give you a lot of the benefits without the living on water thing.
Right now, PCRM is doing their 21 day vegan kickstart. You can check it out and sign up by clicking on the link. For three weeks, they provide menu plans as well as videos and celebrity encouragement for three weeks of vegan eating. I did it last September out of curiosity and decided eating vegan all the time was right for me. You may not. That’s fine. But it will jumpstart weight loss, get you eating more veggies, and help detox your body after the holidays if that’s what your looking for.
If you sign up, try to stick it out. The first seven to ten days were a little rough for me. I was really hungry, and I ate a lot, yet still lost weight. Also, drink a lot of water. A lot. If your body isn’t used to all that fiber, well, lets just say, you’ll notice some changes. Drink water (or green tea) so it’s not uncomfortable. I was amazed at how great I felt after the three weeks (that would be why I’m still vegan). But even if you don’t stay vegan, you’ll start the New Year out healthfully.
Those are some things I do to detox when I’m feeling like I overindulged a little. Do you have anything to add to the list?