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If January came and went, along with your healthy living resolutions, don’t fret. We asked world renowned detox expert Jennifer Thompson to give us the 411 on what’s new in the world of detoxing for 2016 and she shares four practical programs based on the healing powers of food that you can undertake at home no matter how busy you are. Get ready for clearer skin, better digestion, more energy and that youthful age-defying glow that leaves people asking: what’s her secret?
The Soup Detox
Set aside your green juice and superfood smoothies ladies and gents, 2016’s hottest cleanse trend is all about soup! In fact, souping is the new juicing. Coming home to a warm bowl of soup is so much more appealing than a cold smoothie, especially during the cold, wet winter months. A hearty soup leaves you feeling satisfied and nourished, while still filling you with a host of nutrient, just like a juice or smoothie. You can do one, three or even five days of soup, depending on your schedule. Even better, plan a whole week of nothing but soup! The best soups are a blend of homemade broth (see Green Queen’s broth recipes here) and a vegetable of your choice. Make sure to add onion, garlic, celery, leeks and/or ginger to your broth base for added nutrients/prebiotics (see below) and then throw in your veggie(s), before simmering on low heat for up to 2 hours. You can choose to eat the soup as is or you can puree it for a more blended texture. We heartily recommend green soups like watercress, spinach or broccoli. You can also do an all-rounder with chopped cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, tomato, daikon, and sweet potato. For added protein and fiber, add lentils or beans. We count dahl as a soup in our house, don’t you?
The Go With Your Gut Detox
Last year was just the beginning of the gut health revolution, and this year, the focus on your tummy flora will continue to become mainstream. “Going with your gut” is all about improving your microbiome, AKA the microscopic universe of bacteria that makes up your digestive system. The quickest and most natural way to boost your gut bacteria is to add more fermented foods to your diet. Raw kefir drinks, kombucha, raw sauerkraut, – all of these help to increase and foster your gut flora, the good bacteria that is responsible for keeping you strong and healthy. Introduce one of these per day to get your body used to them, especially if you have previously been probiotic deficient. If it’s hard to come across live probiotic rich foods, then it’s best to supplement with a daily probiotic (I like to recommend a bifidus blend) at night before bed to help replenish your gut. Probiotics are great, but you also need prebiotics, which are the foods the probiotics consume. Foods that contain naturally occurring prebiotics include garlic, leeks, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, asparagus and bananas- so make sure to include at least one or two of them in your daily meals. Studies show that having more diverse gut bacteria enhances your health in a plethora of ways, from boosting your immune system, to reducing allergies to improving concentration to reducing anxiety and depression. What do you have to lose? Check out Green Queen’s awesome list of local fermented foods resources.
The 6:1 Diet – Fasting For Urbanites
For the most devoted of detox fans, I have one last fasting option to recommend to you for 2016. You may have heard of intermittent fasting before. The 5:2 diet, a huge detox fad in the UK over the past few years, helped to mainstream the concept of giving your digestive system a break every few days by fasting. The 5:2 diet involves 5 days of eating and 2 days of fasting per week. Whilst the diet did help a lot of people lose weight, many adherents were not able to maintain 2 days of fasting per week in their fast-paced, busy lives and ended up gaining all the weight back. Enter a more sustainable version of 5:2, the 6:1 diet, which involves only one day a week of fasting, a much more reasonable commitment for the average urban dweller. On your fasting day, limit yourself to only herbal teas, hot water with lemon and/or honey, and plenty of H20. Avoid juices, smoothies and even soups. Give your digestive system a rest and let your body catch up on internal housework. Think of it as a mini-reboot and an opportunity to clear out brain fog, recharge your adrenals and get focused for a healthy week ahead. Inspiring fun fact: if you fast one day a week, after seven years you will have fasted an entire year of your life! Many scientific studies have linked caloric restriction to increased longevity and many ancient health traditions promote intermittent fasting as natural approach to boost longevity and delay ageing. With nothing to lose and so much to gain, why not give it a try?
The Megadosing Vitamin Detox
This year you’re going to hear more and more about megadosing vitamins, especially Vitamin C, B complex, Vitamin D and Vitamin E. What exactly is a megadosing? Basically, you consume a large amount of vitamins, typically more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) on any given day. The theory behind medagadosing is that all food, even organic food, is low in vitamins due to soil depletion from years of industrial agriculture, and we need to take a whole lot more vitamins than we think we do in order to achieve optimal health. Proponents of megadosing say it gives your immune system a huge boost and can even allegedly reverse certain types of cancer naturally. If you want to start with one vitamin, choose Vitamin C. Note: this is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Take 1, 000mg Vitamin C every 3 hours throughout the day. If you get diarrhea, then you’ve reached what’s called your “bowel tolerance” for Vitamin C. It’s not dangerous, it just means that your body can’t store any more. Take 500mg of the amount you imbibed and that’s your personal maximum daily amount of Vitamin C. Most people will max out at about 12, 000mg but it really depends on whether or not you’re deficient to begin with. Vitamin C is the best antioxidant for better skin, a more youthful glow and strengthening that immune system. Find out more about vitamin megadosing here.
Editor’s note: Vitamin megadosing is a controversial therapy and should not be undertaken without the appropriate medical advice. Please consult with your allopathic and/or alternative health practitioner before undergoing any kind of detox program/therapy and ensure you are being monitored by a medical professional during your program duration.
Jennifer Thompson is a certified iridologist, detox expert, holistic health coach, speaker and author of Green Smoothies for Dummies. She healed herself of a nasty chronic skin rash by adopting an additive-free plant-based diet and supporting the natural detoxing and cleansing of her body. For more fantastic healthy living and detox resources, follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and check out her blog Healthy Bliss.