The Christmas party season is traditionally a time full of celebration and indulgence, or, dare we say it, overindulgence.
Turkey with ALL the trimmings, Christmas pud, mulled wine, boxes of chocs and biccies; drinks and sweets and, of course, the obligatory turkey sandwich feast on Boxing Day.
And that’s all before the big day itself.
During the run up to Christmas, you’ve also got the parties, where everybody gets into the festive spirit with delicious meals and equally delicious drinks.
The treats just keep on coming, and before you know it, you’ve ‘just had another one’ because, in the words of Noddy Holder, ‘It’s Christmaaaas!’
With the party season, and the probability of plenty of food and drink indulgence just around the corner, there’s no time like the present for a body detox.
Not only are they great for being kinder to your body and giving it a little TLC, but also for preparing it for what’s to potentially come.
How do I do a detox diet?
Good question, because body detox diets aren’t all the same, you know.
Some are longer, some are shorter, some focus on eating certain food and drinking certain drinks and some involve cutting out certain food and drink.
Some diets involve just doing one thing, while other diets work by doing multiple things.
For instance, detox diets can involve one or more of the following:1
- Only drinking:
- Fresh fruit or vegetable juices, smoothies, water and tea
- Certain liquids, such as salted water or lemon juice
- Completely steering clear of:
- Food that contains contaminants and allergens (more on this below)
- Alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and refined sugar
- Taking supplements or herbs
- Fasting for around 1 to 3 days
Detox diets advise you about what you should and shouldn’t be putting into your body for a certain period of time.
When it comes to focusing on what you’re eating, certain food is classed as being ‘compliant’ and ‘non-compliant.’2
Compliant food includes:
- Fruit and veg
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Probiotic-rich foods
- Lean protein
- Healthy oils
- Nuts and seeds
Non-compliant food includes:
- Processed foods
- Refined grains
- Fatty meat
- Wheat or gluten foods
- Food additives
- Sugary drinks
Signs your body needs a detox
When your body’s not firing on all cylinders it will let you know in its own way. You may potentially benefit from a diet detox if you:3
Have digestive problems
If you're feeling like your digestive system is not working at its best, then it could be a sign that your gut is overwhelmed with your current diet.
Are always craving sugar
Eating whole, fibre-rich foods can help reset your body and help prevent it from craving processed and sugary food.
Your body may have become sluggish because you’re not feeding it what it needs.
Have skin issues
Your skin is your biggest organ, and if you’ve developed spots, rashes or dry patches, your body could possibly be trying to signal to you that something’s happening inside that needs to be put right.
How do detox diet plans work exactly?
They’re dietary plans that are designed to encourage the body to get rid of certain toxins, such as synthetic chemicals, heavy metals and pollutants, that have built up over time.
It’s believed that the diet form of detoxing can help by:
- Giving our organs a break during the fasting period
- Encouraging the liver to eject toxins
- Supporting circulation
- Encouraging toxin elimination via faeces, urine, and sweat
- Providing the body with a flow of healthier nutrients
However, at the time of writing this article, research on the proven effectiveness of detox diets was still very much limited.4
Can you lose weight while detoxing?
It’s possible to see a shift in your weight if you’re following a detox diet.
But the truth of the matter is, the loss has most probably been caused by water loss, not necessarily weight loss.
It’s the latter that you need to achieve in order to permanently lose weight.5
Water loss can potentially lead to muscle loss.
It’s also possible for you to put the weight that you lost during a detox regime back on as soon as, or not long after, you’ve finished it.
What’s the best detox diet?
As you’ve most probably guessed by now, there are lots of different detox diets, which also go by the name ‘detox cleanse’ and ‘body cleanse’ to choose from.
So, how do you know which one’s the best detox diet?
The answer? Well, it depends on what you want your detox to achieve.
On the whole, the best possible thing you can do for your body, is to ease yourself into detox mode by trying to embrace more of a clean eating diet. For example:6
- Do – make sure your fruit and veg is providing you with a balanced mix of nutrients, fibre and natural sugar (i.e. you’re not eating the same fruit and veg every single day and that it doesn’t contain similar properties)
- Don’t – forget to ease back on how much refined sugar you’re putting in your drinks and elsewhere, and check it’s not hidden in other food you’re eating (i.e. cereal and sweet treats)
- Do – think about your gut and how you can make it happier and healthier. There are many other things you can do to support your gut health. Eating prunes, pulses and pears is said to help a lot because:
- Prunes: are renowned for helping maintain good digestive health by having a positive impact on our gut bacteria.
- Pears: contain prebiotic fibre that helps support intestinal health
- Pulses: can reportedly strengthen the gut barrier - For more on gut health, read, ‘How to have a happy gut.’
- Don’t – overlook the importance of keeping your body hydrated through both drinks and water. For instance, fruit, vegetables and soup are all good fluid sources. It’s important to get your fluid intake from multiple sources.
Handpicked content: Do detox drinks really work?
Some other tips about diet detoxing
Detox diets are a whole new world in themselves, which we’re sure you’re more than familiar with now.
Rather than do an all-out diet detox, which can be a challenge to stick to, the widespread advice out there is for people to give yourself a ‘gentle detox’ e.g. make sure your diet contains a good mix of fresh, nutritious and cleansing food overall.7
Here are some other ways you can embrace the detox way of life:8
- Exercise regularly – we know, this advice is nothing new, but it is part and parcel of living a more toxin-free and healthier lifestyle. It can help reduce inflammation which, in turn, can help the body detoxification process
- Eat sulphur-rich food – such as onions, garlic and broccoli, that can help the body get rid of heavy metals, like cadmium
- Use cilantro when cooking – it’s also said to have the same properties as onions, garlic and broccoli…
- Use natural cleaning products – for instance, vinegar and baking soda that don’t contain any chemicals
- Go natural with your body care too – reduce the amount of chemicals you put on your skin by using deodorants, make-up, moisturisers and haircare that have been made from natural ingredients. (For more on this read, ‘6 of the best natural deodorants.’)
Detox diets may be hugely popular, but it’s important to remember not to jump straight into doing one.
Everybody’s bodies and dietary needs are different, so make sure you do your research first to make sure your detox works well for you.
And if you’re planning any major changes, make sure you seek the advice of a professional first.
Fancy having a go at a full body detox? Check out this article, which talks you through how to detox your skin, mind, tummy and hair, for more details.
Last updated: 16 July 2021