“I need to go on a diet!”
As usual every January we hear a lot of detox and cleansing chats as people feel ‘guilty’ after all the festive foods in December and influencers and businesses are jumping on board to promote the latest skinny tea and juice cleanse!
But what is a detox diet exactly?
The idea behind a ‘detox’ diet is that our bodies are constantly accumulating toxins from unhealthy food and that these toxins are the cause of all ill health. A ‘detoxing diet’ is then advertised (typically by businesses or marketers) as a period when you can cleanse your body from these toxins by removing junk food from your diet and assuming overpriced cleansing health products. Interestingly, the nature of these toxins is never identified.
Truth is that we do not need any ‘detox regime’ because our body is already constantly detoxing and filtering out waste from bodily functions. Several organs are involved in this including the skin, intestine, liver and kidneys. ‘Detox’ juices, pills, patches, TEAS and lotions cannot carry out these intricate processes. To help your vital organ to detox effectively instead, a healthy life-style is essential and you can achieve this through having a balanced diet, staying active and hydrate through the day and getting adequate sleep.
Surely, fad diets such as a 3-day juice cleanse and the like may help you lose weight fast (by having energy deficit and losing water from body), but what happens next? There is no science behind the efficacy of fad diets and often they are not only unnecessary but likely to hinder your relationship with food and result in fast regaining weight. Even worse, they can lead to a return to former poorer eating habits and sap energy needed to perform daily activities.
In addition, any food and drink are not unhealthy per se (unless you drink cicuta of course!). The key is the amount of these food consumed within the context of someone’s whole diet. Let’s say, a brownie only becomes unhealthy if it is eaten frequently, say few times a day or a lot at once. The odd brownie within the context of a healthy and balanced diet, on the other hand, is far from unhealthy.
However, we should give some credits to this ‘detox’ idea. While there is absolutely no science behind the detoxing efficacy, it does gives some people that extra push to kick-start their healthier regime and be more conscious of what they eat.
However you feel, taking the time out to be more mindful is bound to make you feel better. So, forget about the hype on the latest detox diet or products. You can however put in place a few changes to your diet after a period of indulgence, make it your own plan!
Here’s what DETOX should be:
DITCH the diet – stay clear of any diet chat this month (or forever more!). Instead of going on diet, eat sensibly and focus on your intention, without any judgment or anxiety towards your body.
EAT an abundance of whole foods including fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish (plant protein for vegans), nuts, seeds and wholegrain.
TEN-a-day – aim to eat at least 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. 5-a-day is the minimum you should have.
ORGANISE and plan your week in advanced. – Make time for exercises and taking time to cook from scratch is a good way to be more mindful of what you eat. It also helps you saves time, having more time for yourself to relax and getting enough sleep at night.
EXERCISE – aim for 30 mins of moderate intensity activities five times a week. Do not forget to stay hydrated with water throughout the day.
Hope these tips will help you to adopt a healthier lifestyle and if you feel you need any nutrition support, please only ever seek advice from a registered and qualified nutrition professional.
Jordana Chin, MSc., ANutr.