Tag Archives | detox

The Not Quite New Year Detox

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.

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The Traditional January Detox

The January Detox

DID YOU wake up on New Year’s Day and say to yourself “this is it, no more blah blah blah”? I know I did. Then again, I’d been telling myself that from the minute I broke for Christmas.

Well, we’re almost a week in, how’s your detox working out?

Mine has become something of a ritual. Despite also writing about and reviewing beers, I’m on a no alcohol kick for the month of January, which for the first year or two astounded those I hit the pub with.

Equally taking a back seat for the month would be regular fizzy drinks, any kind of sweet, chocolate (despite a press and fridge full of them), takeaways and other fast food, pizza, white breads, white pasta and rice and sugar in coffee.

In come the extra home cooked lunches, dinners, juices at breakfast (I really need to up my fruit and veg intake so this is a help), the green tea at the desk, taking a lunch to work, and the additional exercise.

Granted, it’s only been five days, but having the extra week of work has really helped to put a shape on things and allow me focus on what my food habits are and have become.

Detox may be a strong word, but that’s what it is, it’s giving the body a chance to recover from a crisp, chocolate, cheese-and-wine-fuelled Christmas period and get back on track (I’m also on a bit of a mission).

My January detox is holding fine and looks set to last the pace. How’s yours going?

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Let The Detox Begin

January Detox at Any Given Food

The January Detox kicks off on January 2nd. What will you be doing to shake off the Christmas?

2012 has arrived and a Happy New Year to all. Customary as it is at Chez McGuire, it’s now time to let the detox begin. Christmas has been great in terms of food and drink but there were way too may tins of Pringles opened, boxes of chocolates attacked, Tayto sandwiches (a Christmas ritual), cans of coke and orange opened and all the rest.

With 31 days in January, I tend to let these things run from January 2nd to 31st inclusive, then back on the bike come February for spring training. Burger and chip takeaways are out the door, as are beers in pint and bottle form. Generally speaking I tend to let January be an alcohol-free month but if a half glass of wine happens to surface come dinner time, I won’t say no.

The new dogs are happily settled in which means there’s more walking on the cards (an added bonus), though having carried a cold and what’s likely a chest infection for the best part of the last month, I’m not exactly exerting myself on the physical side of things.

The final thing the January detox brings is a month of home-cooked meals (outside of the restaurant resolutions), be they lunch or dinner. It’s somewhat of a financial detox as well so I’ll be skipping out on the €5-€10 a day trips to the shops around the corner from the office and vesting more time and household budget into actual proper trips to the supermarket where I know I’ll have food in the press each night I’m home.

Hopefully Christmas has been good to you and the heads aren’t too sore after last night’s celebrations (those at Chez McGuire were suitably more low-key with a slow-roast beef dinner and a few episodes of 24 to ring in the new year) and if you too are kicking off the New Year’s Detox, then hopefully that goes well for you too. Anyone else have any foodie New Years resolutions or detox rituals getting underway? Do share!

Happy New Year to all y’all, here’s to kicking ass in 2012.

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Foodie Roundup #22

Foodie Roundup #22

Foodie Roundup #22: April 24th - 30th 2011

With breakfast already done, a 25km cycle under the belt and the rain finally easing off, it’s time for your Foodie Roundup on this the first day of May. The BBQ came out yesterday and, fingers crossed, it will be out again this evening before tipping in to town to soak up more of the Rhythm & Roots Festival. So, if you’re after some morning reading, check out these ten posts that you may have missed earlier in the week. Don’t forget that if there’s something you would really like to flag for the Foodie Roundup (even if it means squeezing in an extra post or two) you can drop me a line here.

Enjoy the bank holiday!

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Wild Harvest, Shifting and a 22 Day Detox

Pizza Connection

Pizza Connection - A Guilty Pizza Pleasure

FORGIVE ME father, it’s been a few weeks since my last blog post. I’ve allowed work, the theatre, a magazine, more theatre, more work, music and even more work to consume me. A lot of which I’ve managed to lay to rest in the past week, much to my delight. In fact, you know it’s been a too long between posts on the blog when your mother checks in with you on Facebook asking where your Foodie Roundup is. Thankfully, it will be back again on Sunday morning, right where it should be. No point rounding things up when you haven’t had the opportunity to read them in the first place.

So, while I catch up with myself and the blog and put myself on track, here’s a few things that have happened in the past 2-3 weeks. Also, while I missed, completely, So Sligo, I’m aiming to make amends by taking a spin to the Waterford Food Festival next week. If you’re heading that way, let me know.

I Finished A 30-Day Detox

I lie. Well, kind of. It turned into a 22.5 day detox. No beer, no chocolate, no crisps, plenty of water, plenty of green tea, a pound dropped here there and everywhere. Then Wild Harvest kicked in, a show I was doing with Watergate Productions. Office by day, theatre by night, bridged by a takeaway and topped off with a pint. Or two. For five nights. Ruined.

I kickstarted my home cooking

As a result of long hours in the offices – I’m splitting time between my own office on the edge of town and a temporary office in town – my home cooking has suffered something fierce and Wong’s Deli on John Street will have me broke before the year is out. So I made a promise that for April, I would cook something – anything – no matter how simple or technical, to get my cooking back on track. So far, it’s working and last night the cast of Shifting that were hanging out in the kitchen between scenes devoured a spicy tomato and chorizo pasta dish I had whipped up for dinner.

I Signed Up For A Charity Cycle

I’m back on the bike, in a big way. Or at least three days a week knocking out 20 miles a day. This June Bank Holiday weekend I’m off to Cork, cycling back to Kilkenny with a gang from the “old neighbourhood” (hell, I still live there but most of the others have come and gone from it). It’s a fundraiser for the Chernobyl Children’s Project but I’ll have more about that in another post. The week of Wild Harvest virtually undid everything the previous 22.5 days had achieved so it’s time to knock myself into shape and raise some money for a good cause in the process.

I Returned To Podcasting

I’m back behind a mic and I’m producing a new music podcast that gets released every Sunday evening. It’s called Indie Switch and each Sunday you get six new bands, leading to a free downloads and music videos across the blog (IndieSwitch.com). In a former life I won Best Podcaster at the Irish Web Awards for the Playlist Mix. That show started on March 25th 2007 so it was fitting to start Indie Switch on March 25th 2011. We’ll see how it goes. It’s 30 minutes, give or take, and aims to help you discover new music albeit largely driven from my own wide taste in music. Still, you never know what gems you might find in there.

I’m Producing Another Show

Shifting, with The Devious Theatre Company, owns my evenings for the next few weeks as the new class of Devious Theatre take to the stage in an original comedy about making the first move (in more ways than one). If you find yourself in Kilkenny, the show runs at Kilkenny Arts Office, 76 John Street, Kilkenny from April 18th – 23rd. You can buy tickets online or find out more at DeviousTheatre.com.

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My Thirty Day Detox Is Here

I love the theatre. Absolutely love it. Going to shows, performing in shows, producing, directing, rehearsing, the whole shooting gallery. But if there’s one thing about a Devious Theatre production, it sure brings a hell of a lot of eating.

The company was given a six month residency which commenced in January, effectively providing a home, office, rehearsal and performance space for the first six months of 2011. All well and good until you find that you’re hitting the office to cook breakfast, you’re located beside one of the best health food stores in Kilkenny (that also hides a terrific deli counter with all kinds of spring rolls and other delights), you’re a few doors away from the Chinese, the Italian, the chipper and when it comes to show week (last week), you’ve got your pick of the pubs to choose from, whatever your poison.

So, coming off the back of my first production of 2011 (hence the quiet time the last week or two and absentmindedly missing Sunday’s Foodie Roundup, largely due to not having a spare second to read anything during the week), I’ve decided to put myself on a detox for 30 days.

In fairness, I used to be so good. When the rolls warrant a physical change in appearance, I’m game for it. Hell, I dropped 35lbs for Trainspotting, I can do it again. That said, since Trainspotting, those 35lbs have most certainly appeared back on but with the better days coming, the bike growling at me in the corner to get back on the road and on review of the eating and drinking activities for the past fortnight, it’s time to ditch the lot – or at least most of it.

Gone are the crisps with lunch. Gone are the pre-packed sandwiches. Gone are the biscuits with the tea, the sneaky piece of cake that was in the kitchen thanks to one of the actors having a birthday or two. Gone are the mid-morning trips for a spring roll or chicken balls. Gone are the pre-show cans of red bull. Gone are the pints. Gone, gone, gone.

I’ll be in the corner, crying into my peppermint tea.

The whole notion of a detox though is a bit double-sided. Yes, the past week or two have seen a major increase in takeaways, post-show pints and all that jazz. But about 2-3 weeks back, before all of that even started, I began to notice certain reactions to foods. Coming from a family of coeliacs and given herself is following a gluten, dairy, lactose and wheat free diet – and is vegetarian – I think it’s finally starting to rub off, so dropping certain foods for the sake of month might give me a better idea of how the body is going. While I don’t think I’m heading down the road of a gluten-free diet straight away, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s in my future.

Anyway, it all kicked off yesterday and in reality there’s just a few basics I want to cover.

  • Greatly reduce the amount of sugar in my foods
  • Greatly increase the amount of water I drink on a daily basis, getting back to 2L per day
  • Have a good breakfast, cook a lunch and cook a dinner

After that, I’ll let the bike and the lack of beer take care of the rest.

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Foodie Roundup #10

Foodie Roundup #10

Foodie Roundup #10 - 26/12/10 - 01/01/11

First off, a Happy New Year to you all. The head is certainly a little fuzzier today (did the celebrating on New Years Day instead of New Years Eve), hence the delay in the ole morning roundup. So instead of your morning cuppa, sneak a few minutes to yourself on this Sunday afternoon to recap some post-Christmas blog posts from a selection of Irish food bloggers.

If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be the one trawling Dublin at a slow pace in search of food and a cure for a headache.

Happy reading, and don’t forget that if there’s anything you would like to suggest or if you’ve a post during any week that you would like me to highlight, you’re most welcome to make a suggestion here or give me a shout on Twitter.

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