The Not Quite New Year Detox

The Not Quite January Detox
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ANY OTHER year and I’d already be off the beer, be 20 days into a fairly stringent 21-day no-alcohol, no-junk approach to my food but with the wedding two weeks ago and a food-filled trip to London finishing up in time for the weekend (with a writeup to follow tomorrow), I’m about 20 days behind.

I’m pretty sure that once Christmas hit, so too did the skids on any manner of serious healthy eating and I can safely count on just one hand the number of times I’ve cooked in the kitchen since the turn of the year. With dinner already prepared for tomorrow, that’s all about to change. Any later and we’d be heading for the Chinese New Year*.

Why Do I Do It?

Traditionally, I’d put myself on a January detox to put Christmas to rest, reset the body, and start getting some good sleep, followed by some good energy during the day. In reality, it’s more for the latter – good sleep and good energy levels the following day. I find after a food and drink-filled Christmas and New Years, that sleep becomes broken, my nose/head/chest becomes blocked and aleviating those issues makes general living a hell of a lot easier.

There’s five things that will pretty much disappear for the 21 days or so, namely

  • Crisps (as a snack)
  • Fizzy drinks (as a go-to or indeed as a mixer, including in diet form)
  • Excess sugar, including any sugary sweets, jellies, any of the usual suspects found knocking around in the wake of Christmas (and organising dozens of jars of sweets for the wedding)
  • Beer (in all its forms, pints and bottled beers are out the window until the middle of February. The slight exception to this rule may be this event taking place next month).
  • Takeaways. One must cook or one will starve.

Like anything, once you’re in the swing of things, it’s pretty simple. Porridge returns for the breakfast as fuel for the fire, green tea, honey & lemon drinks, some added vitamin C to ward off everything else January has to offer, small coffees (no sugar, and just a single cup in the day), an actual lunch, dinner and no snacking at night time. Sounds straight forward enough, and that’s because it is.

I’m pretty much guaranteed that after a few weeks of reducing the intake of processed foods and sugars that the body and mind will be much better off, without skimping on good home-cooked and wholesome food. Have you started the same? Is it something you do on a regular basis, or just on a January basis?

I’ve previously written about the virtues of green tea, but if you’re in a detox frame of mind, here’s some good foods and links to help you along your path.

5 Foods Good For ‘The Detox’

  1. Almonds – If you’re a cereal eater in the morning, a spoonful of crushed almonds sprinkled over your breakfast can add a great taste. Oh, and they’re also high in monounsaturated fates (like those found in olive oil), they’re rich in magnesium and potassium and pack viatmin E in. More here.
  2. Lemon – Loaded with vitamin C, and known for aiding a liver detox, lemon juice is something I’ll keep plenty of in the kitchen all year round. A good squirt of it with some honey or just by itself in hot water can really help cleanse the body first thing in the morning.
  3. Garlic – Get over the stinky breath end of things and load up on garlic, the fresher the better. It’s got a myriad of benefits including lowering blood pressure, cleansing arteries, fighting bacteria and much more besides. It’s packed with antioxidants and if you’re to believe your granny, it’ll cure just about anything.
  4. Cinnamon – If you’re baking your way through a detox, doing up scrambled eggs, French toast, pancakes or anything along those lines, reach for the cinnamon. It can stire up your metabolism and boasts solid manganese, iron and calcium content.
  5. Ginger – An acquired taste for some, you could pop ginger in tablet form, as a tea or load up on fresh root for benefits steeped in Chinese medicine. A sliver or two in a stir fry can do wonders for flavour and health benefits and if you wind up with heaps of it, just bang it in the freezer where it will hold up nicely.

*If you didn’t know, Chinese New Year 2014 is 31 January.

Written by Ken McGuire

Writes and talks a lot about food, spending way too much time in the kitchen or behind the lens taking photos. Digital Media Specialist by day, broadcaster by night, living in Kilkenny with Mrs. Any Given Food and two crazy rescue hounds.