The season of indulgence starts with Diwali and continues with bingeing sprees during Christmas, New Year and the wedding season. Holi doesn’t help either. The result — you feel bloated and sleep-deprived, your head feels a few kilos heavier and your pants a few inches tighter.
To get back on track, detoxifying your system is the way to go. Dr Nishat Anjum, nutritionist at Hinduja Healthcare Surgical Hospital, and Rasesh Vissanji, director of Samskara Wellness, an organic lifestyle initiative, answer frequently asked questions about going on a detox diet.
What is a detox diet?
A detox diet is a dietary regimen that works towards cleansing toxic material from the body. The follower has to consume certain kinds of foods and avoid some ingredients, so that the blood and vital organs naturally cleanse themselves. The diet is planned in a way that the body eliminates waste through biological processes such as sweating and urinating.
Why we need to detoxify.
After heavy indulgence, our body becomes a store room of excessive carbohydrates, alcohol, fat and processed food additives. This puts a load on our primary cleansing organs such as the liver and kidneys. Detoxifying the system helps get rid of these accumulations and brings the functioning of these organs back on track. A detox diet also clears the acid build-up in the body and protects against inflammation of digestive organs such as the stomach, intestines, gall bladder and pancreas. Even mental factors such as stress and a change in sleep pattern can be mended through this diet.
Who needs a detox?
Those who want to get rid of temporary bloating lose weight, achieve a clear complexion, boost immunity and improve digestion should undergo periodic detoxification diets. However, if you are on any kind of medication, therapy or clinical diets, then consult your diet advisor before undergoing it.
What is the aim of this diet?
Since the diet flushes out the toxins that bog us down and cause lethargy, you feel more active and energetic post detoxification. Detox also cures sleeping disorders, improves mood swings and increases concentration.
Who shouldn’t go for a detox?
A detox diet should not be taken without the supervision of a medical practitioner. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, diabetics, thyroid patients and anyone suffering from eating disorders, autoimmune diseases, cancer, terminal illnesses, certain genetic diseases and other chronic conditions should avoid detox programmes.
Different types of detox diets
The Master Cleanser
Also known as the lemonade diet, a master cleanser involves sipping lemon juice or lemon tea made using maple syrup instead of sugar, for three whole days. The diet is known to remove processed fats from the system and make one lose fat and bloating over a period of time.
Here, the focus is on consuming raw, vegan and unprocessed foods in small quantities. This diet involves eating foods such as flax seeds, whole and fresh fruits, coriander, mint and sprouted salads. In terms of drinks, you can have only unprocessed vegetable and fruit juices and barley water. It has to be followed for four to five days.
Fat flush diet
A fat flush diet helps to boost metabolism and reduce fluid retention. Here, you have to restrict saturated fats, margarine, alcohol, sugars, fried foods, refined flour products, starchy vegetables, shellfish and milk and milk products from your diet. Indulge in fresh fruits, fruit juices, green tea, vegetables, egg whites, fish and sprouts. This detox regimen spreads over three to four weeks and includes 30 minutes of physical exercise.
Pre-breakfast: Sip on green tea or lemon tea.
Breakfast: Eat one scrambled egg with a no-starch vegetable and barley water.
Mid morning: Eat one serving of whole fruit (you can choose between apples, grapes, oranges or sweet limes).
Lunch: Eat one fish (only of non-shell variety) with ginger, salt and olive oil dressing. For vegetarians, one slab of tofu or cottage cheese with a bowl of salad made using leafy vegetables, cucumber and tomato is recommended. Drink a glass of barley water.
Afternoon: Sip one glass of lime juice.
Early evening: Eat one whole fruit.
Late evening: Drink one glass of green tea, lime juice or cranberry juice.
Dinner: Same as lunch.
(Six to nine hours of sleep is recommended while on this detox.)