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Post-Christmas cleanse

Elle Fox, Naturopath, CNM Graduate (College of Naturopathic Medicine)

Once the festivities are over, a gentle cleanse gives us something to aim for and can brighten up the still grey, chilly season.

What’s the fuss about cleansing? Isn’t the body perfectly capable doing its own detox? This could be true if all our elimination pathways worked properly, removing all metabolic wastes from eating, drinking, breathing, exercising – and if we lived a ‘cleaner’ life. But most of us lead lives far from perfect, so, like regularly doing dusting and laundry, it makes sense to give our bodies a helping hand:

Eat – Foods that provide more helping nutrients for the body’s natural cleansing (juices, smoothies, soups). Include: artichokes, peppers, beetroot, brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale), cucumber, celery, pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, watercress, sprouts, apricots, cantaloupe, citrus, red grapes and berries. When juicing go for vegetables with very limited fruit (apples, lemons/limes are good). Reduce pesticide residues and antibiotics by buying organic.

Avoid – Processed foods, trans fats, sugary foods, salt, alcohol, caffeine, refined carbohydrates (white rice, pasta, bread).

Drink – Pure water, around 1.5-2 litres per day (depending on age, weight, season, exercise levels) to help your kidneys.

Herbal helpers – Burdock root and dandelion leaf are well known cleansing herbs; or try a daily tea of nettle leaf, cleavers and calendula flowers.

Tiny packets of power – Beans, grains and seeds (pre-soaked/fermented), help reduce cravings, stopping you reaching for quick, dirty energy fixes.

Take away points – Cut out processed foods; increase whole foods; add powerful cleansing foods; drink pure water. You can employ this strategy all-year round; it’s not faddy or extreme, can boost energy, restore motivation, support healthy weight and help you feel better faster.

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