Detoxify after Diwali
by Sudha Chandrasekaran
(Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India)
Detoxify after the Diwali Eating Splurge!
Most of you must be suffering from Post Diwali Guilt Syndrome, which may continue for a long time. Diwali is that festival when sweets and snacks are lavishly distributed, and high calorie temptation is close at hand. This season offers the most dangerous pitfalls for good health, thereby wreaking havoc on our systems; and also our lifestyle in a huge way. Restricting yourself from eating during this season does not make sense as such is the type of festival! But now that the festive lights have been packed away and it is time for a reality check. It is time to bid good bye to the copious amount of sugar and fats and welcome some real food in our lives. Your body is probably screaming for a thorough cleaning! For most of us, a post Diwali detoxification would be in order! What you eat over the next two to four weeks can reverse the toll on your system. Here are few detox tips you could incorporate into your lifestyle post the festival break:
Drink at least 10 glasses of water a day as it will help flush out harmful toxins from your body. All the alcohol and heavy food consumed during the festive period robs your system of hydration and hence the necessity to drink more water. Start your day by having a glass or two of warm water mixed with lemon juice. Keep sipping more throughout the day. Lemon helps to clean your gut and also helps in digestion and reduction of belly fat. Lukewarm water will help flush out toxins more effectively than very hot or cold water and will help quicken your metabolism. A good rule of thumb on your detox is to drink half your weight in ounces. One ounce equals approximately 30 ml of water.
Start your day by preparing a concoction of warm water, ginger, honey and lemon juice. This brew kick starts your day by flushing out the toxins and building up the required energy. Even a mixture of cinnamon and water produces the same result. Try this detox juice, which is rich in vitamins A and C: Put the ingredients-─10 spinach leaves; a stalk of celery; ½ cucumber; and ½ bunch of parsley─ through a juicer. Chill with ice if desired.
Beware of beverages: The consumption of one sugar sweetened drink a day on a regular basis is associated with the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Drink plain water and avoid beverages for a couple weeks after Diwali, as your body is coping with excessive sugar content.
Cut back on sugar: Say NO to all forms of sugars. If you are used to drinking tea or coffee then avoid adding sugar to it and hence save on the extra 30 calories a day. The extract of pears and apples make excellent sweeteners for baked goods. As natural sugars from fruits are rich in anti-oxidants, this will leave you feeling more energetic and help your body detox. If you are unable to avoid your cup of coffee, drink sugarless coffee and that can save you 30 calories a day.
Herbal teas: Replace caffeinated and decaf beverages with herbal teas to avoid those extra pounds because of the addition of milk and sugar. The range of herbal teas and infusions to choose from varies from ginger tea to green tea to lemon tea to peppermint tea to guava leaf tea to earl grey tea etc. All you need to do is take your pick and sip on it all day. Loaded with detoxifying agents, green tea washes poisons from your system through its fluid substance. It also contains an exceptional detox agent known as catechins, which are known to expand liver capacity. Peppermint tea serves as a mild appetite suppressant and keeps off munching temptation.
Eating light frequent meals: Eating light regular meals will ensure that you do not over-indulge. Plan a dinner of steamed vegetables of your choice with a fruit salad. Try eating only lean proteins and green vegetables. Also seafood, poultry extra-lean red meat fall in this category. Have a clear vegetable soup every day before lunch and dinner. Drink milk which is a complete food that will help you meet your protein requirements. Eat good quantity of breakfast that would make up a third of your day’s calorie requirement. This prevents temptation to order a bagel-and-coffee in your office! Avoid fried foods, sugar and starch when you are on a detox diet. Cut back on your portion size and stick to eating five or six smaller meals than three large meals a day. Consume more raw or sautéed or steamed vegetables, dal and higher fibre grains like oats and brown rice.
Eating home-cooked food should be your number one priority for at least the next month or two. Outside food is laden with oil, salt, starch and sugar, which is tasty but not always the healthiest option. Preparing a nourishing and healthy meal is advisable. A variety of spices, which helps in shedding off the extra pounds and the detox process, can be added while cooking to enhance the taste. To name a few are ginger, cumin seeds, pepper, cinnamon and turmeric. Peanut oil, vegetable oil and sunflower oil are best avoided post Diwali and should be replaced by healthier ones like coconut oil and olive oil which are rich in omega -3 acid.
EAT GREEN: Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet activates the enzymes in the liver which help in getting rid of detrimental substances which got added during the celebration. Consuming fruits and vegetables will keep a check on the calories and supplement the required nutrients and fibres. A list of detox foods include spinach, greens, celery, tomatoes and red peppers and fruits like melons, apples bananas etc. Eat raw foods in huge quantities as they make you feel highly energetic by the removal of toxins and by assisting the fast return of the body to its normalcy. Raw vegetables and fruits include apples, oranges, papaya, tomatoes, onions, carrots, cucumbers, carrots, radish, etc. It is best to have vitamin C loaded fruits like guavas, oranges, and limes for snacks as they will help you in feeling reinvigorated and the overload of anti-oxidants in these fruits will fight the overdose of sugar that you had consumed.
Increase protein intake: Consuming protein containing cereals has the benefit of making one feel full for a longer period of time. However, avoid mixing two different cereals in one meal as this can make the meal more difficult to digest, especially if it comes after your recent indulgence of oily and sugar laden foods. If you are having rice for lunch, chappatis need to be avoided. Paneer and brown bread are good protein options for vegetarians.
Switch to organic food items post Diwali as they do not contain the damaging pesticides and are healthy as compared to the regular ones in the market. Also these foods expedite the process of detoxification. Adding basil seed to your diet which is rich in Omega-3 acids keeps acidity under control and hastens the process of detoxification.
Follow the thumb rule of detox and cut down on processed food: If food comes in a bag, box or can, skip it. Processed foods, loaded with preservatives are classified under high calorie food. So banish these fattening, processed and unhealthy foods from your kitchen cabinet and instead fill your kitchen shelves with healthy and nutritive snacks such as almonds, walnuts, digestive biscuits …
Eliminate carbohydrates from your diet entirely: Simple carbohydrates add to the existing presence of toxins and therefore should be substituted by complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and starchy vegetables. These foods keep your blood pressure levels under control and relieve stress from your digestive system.
Flush out the festive toxins by incorporating fermented foods. A bowl of curd is filled with probiotics that lends your gastrointestinal passage the essential bacteria that help in digesting food better and quicker; and helps in weight loss as well.
Activated charcoal is a recent addition to the list of detoxification elements. The idea of swallowing a spoonful of what is essentially ash may not tickle your fancy. But regular use of activated charcoal can remove unwanted toxins from your body, leaving you feeling renewed and more vibrant − often in minutes! Activated charcoal is available locally and is completely odourless, tasteless, and safe to consume and can be purchased in capsules or tablet form.
You need not stay away from pampering yourself following the festive season. A massage or a visit to a spa after Diwali will relieve you of your festival stress. The steam bath will help in hastening the process of detoxification as it releases more sweat.
Last but not least is that Exercise is ‘the’ way to restore your intestines to health by sweating out, as it aids in getting rid of the impurities and extra calories. Engaging in different forms of physical exercise, such as walking and doing yoga will help in flushing out the toxins from your body. The tight sports attire will constantly remind you of the excess kilos to be shed that you had gained during Diwali!
Detoxing is mandatory after festivals, celebrations and vacations, but the clean living tips shared above are applicable anytime of the year. Start detoxification today and feel fresh and light after the recently concluded Diwali celebration!*****