Whether you’re trying to start the new year with better habits or are keen to find some easy ways to get back on track, who better to share their wisdom than this week’s special guest, The Detox Kitchen’s Lily Simpson. From the detoxing pitfalls to avoid to the caffeine-free energy kick to know about, read on to discover Lily’s golden rules for cleaning up your diet...
Juicing Isn’t Always The Answer
Don’t be deceived by juice cleanses – they’re not a quick fix and don’t work for everyone. Listening to what your body needs rather than telling your body to fast or just drink juice is far more effective. It’s harder to stay on track when you purposefully restrict yourself.
When you’re feeling sluggish or looking to get back on track after a particularly indulgent weekend, try to avoid stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Instead, aim to drink at least three litres of water per day and fill your plate with plenty of vegetables – things like sweet potato and coconut dals or roasted vegetable stews are an easy and comforting way to pack in the nutrition. You’ll notice the difference in your energy levels almost immediately.
Don’t Ditch Fruit
Due to its sugar content, many people avoid fruit when trying to clean up their diet. However, a piece a day is a great way to get in a healthy dose of fibre and antioxidants. The golden rule? Don’t just stick to the fruits you know – get experimental and chose a wide variety.
Don’t be lured by expensive supplements and superfood powders – they’re not worth it for a short-term kick and only really work if you’re truly deficient and need to build up your stores. If in doubt, visit a naturopath or nutritionist.
If you’re on a mission to clean up your diet, cutting everything out in one fell swoop is a sure-fire route to failure. Instead, try reducing sugar, alcohol and processed food consumption over a period of a few weeks or even months. This will enable you to really understand the benefits and see the longer-term improvements in your energy and mood.
Think Twice Before Going Vegan
From an ethical point of view, cutting back on your fish and meat consumption is a humane thing to do – over-farming is having a devastating effect on animal welfare and the planet. However, if you’re planning on going vegan, or just cutting back, it’s worth researching how to get adequate nutrition from plant-based sources. For example, vitamin B12, omega fatty acids, iron and calcium are four essential micronutrients commonly found in food of animal origin. They can easily be found in plant-based sources too, but knowledge is power.
Caffeine metabolises differently between individuals but if it makes you feel anxious or uneasy, swap your daily cup for a green tea or matcha. Don’t rely on caffeine for an energy boost – a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of sleep will ensure your energy levels are on an even keel. For a healthy energy kick, try wheatgrass – it’s packed with chlorophyll, which mimics the action of haemoglobin in the blood, helping to transport oxygen to the body’s cells for an instant hit of energy.
Stock Up On Real Food
Real food is food in its most natural form that’s as fresh as possible, seasonal and preferably organic. Try to avoid eating anything pre-prepared, especially foods claiming to be low-fat, fat-free or diet. Instead, stock up your fridge and cupboards with fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.
If you invest in good-quality, non-stick pans, you’ll find you need less oil when cooking. Also try adding some toasted nuts or seeds to your salads and experimenting with different dressings – this can really transform a vegetable-based dish.
Listen To Your Body
Last but by no means least, make an effort to listen to your body and how it feels after eating certain foods. It may sound obvious, but we’re all biochemically unique and there really is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all regime. Learn to understand what your body needs – and don’t be afraid of healthy fats and low-GI carbs.