If you have relaxed your healthy routine a little too far over the festive season, a gentle cleanse may assist in putting your best self forward in preparation for a busy year ahead. In fact, looking after your body through recognising a need to put the brakes on certain behaviours and give the body a rest is the greatest step we can take to get back on track.
What is cleansing?
Cleansing is a gentle way to clean the mind, improve digestion and recharge energy stores.
After being in a constant state of go-go-go and indulgence over the festive season, it is the perfect way to hit the refresh button and give our body some down time.
The best part of cleansing is that anyone can do it! It doesn’t require pills, potions or extensive hours in the kitchen. It’s about scaling back our diets and focusing on whole foods – easily digestible, rich in nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.
Our digestive system is exposed to toxins and the like daily, from our food, environment and even the air we breathe. Our digestive system works overtime to protect against the nasties and make sure we don’t readily feel their negative effects. Whilst our body has its own in-built detox mechanism, sometimes if over whelmed, it can become sluggish. Adopting a short-term cleanse can help take pressure off our digestive system and allow it to catch up, which helps reduce the burden on our body.
Signs a cleanse may be in order:
- Fatigue, sluggishness
- Poor sleep
- Hard to shift weight
- Bloating, sluggish bowels and digestive discomfort
- Poor mood and irritability
- Skin breakouts
- Brain fog and poor concentration
How to cleanse?
Because our emotional health is so connected to our physical health, a complete cleanse should focus on taking care of all aspects of health – nutrition, physical activity and our state of mind.
When it comes to cleansing, the focus should be on foods that are easy to digest, high in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants; foods that provide our body with the resources to function optimally. Try these suggestions:
- Adopt a wholefood diet, organic where possible: this means enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein and nuts and seeds at each meal and snack
- Include foods that are rich in natural compounds and are supportive of liver health at each meal: bitter greens (radicchio, watercress, rocket) brassica vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts) and turmeric
- Increase raw foods in the diet: raw foods are high in natural enzymes that help our body digest foods and absorb nutrients from foods, causing less load on our digestion
- Let go of packaged and processed foods: aim to reduce trans-fats, saturated fats, refined sugar and excess sodium
- For something that’s versatile and tasty, try milk alternatives: try Vitasoy Almond, Coconut, Soy, Oat, or Rice milk (they’re especially tasty for breakfast; on cereals and in smoothies!)
- Take a break from alcohol: it can be taxing on the digestive system and nervous system
- Try fresh squeezed lemon in warm water in the morning upon waking
- Replace coffee with soothing herbal teas: peppermint, rosehip, liquorice and chamomile
- Drink adequate water to help flush out toxins and remain hydrated
- Limit eating out unless you know exactly what’s going into your foods
- Eat adequate fibre daily: fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, psyllium husks to help eliminate build up
- Eat until content and not over-full: this assists in reducing any extra burden on the digestive system
- Exercise daily in a way that suits your energy levels: walking, light jog, yoga or a weights routine. Mix and match, and be present and focused with the activity you are doing
- Go to bed at night when you feel tired and prioritise rest and repair
- Reduce screen time: excess blue light at night can disturb circadian rhythm and create feelings of tiredness
State of Mind
- Focus on mindful eating: eat away from distraction, chew your food and put down your cutlery between bites
- Try a mediation class or simply try meditating at home to create a relaxed state
- Practise deep breathing daily, especially in times of stress
- Reduce clutter in your home environment and life: live more simply!
- Relax by taking an Epsom salt bath at night: it’s rich in magnesium
- Schedule in weekly ‘me’ time and indulge yourself
- Tune in to how your body feels whilst being on the cleanse and take note
Cleansing Meal Ideas
- Coconut breakfast bowl (see recipe)
- Chia Pudding with Vitasoy Coconut Milk
- Coconut yoghurt with seasonal fruit salad
- Vegetable and lentil soup
- Roasted sweet potato, kale and chicken salad
- Salmon and chickpea patties with leafy salad
- Lentil and vegetable stuffed cabbage rolls
- Baked fish with pumpkin puree and steamed vegetables
- Grilled salmon with leafy salad and steamed brown rice
- Fresh vegetable juice
- Pineapple and almond protein icy-pole (see recipe)
- Hummus with vegetable sticks
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh fruit
- Raw bliss balls
Over indulgence can often leave us feeling uncomfortable and may lead to restriction, deprivation and harsh measures. However, cleansing is truly about focusing on simple, clean and nutrient rich foods that will nourish your body, engaging in enjoyable body movement and slowing down the mind. It’s about tuning into what your body needs and what best serves your health. Cleansing may help you realise you no longer need certain foods or behaviours that don’t serve your health. And remember cleansing is not a rigid process; it can be modified to suit your personal preferences and needs. If you feel it’s time to give your body a well-deserved break, give cleansing a go, you might enjoy it more than you think!
Coconut Breakfast Bowl
- 1 cup Vitasoy Coconut Milk
- ½ avocado
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 handful berries
- ½ tsp honey, optional
- Chia seeds
- Goji berries
- Nuts and seeds
- Shredded coconut
- Place all ingredients into a blender/food processer and blend well, adding extra Coconut Milk until desired consistency is reached
- Pour mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings of choice
Pineapple & Almond Protein icy-pole
- 1 cup Vitasoy Almond Milk
- 1 tbsp crushed almonds
- 1 tbsp crushed seed mix (pepitas, sunflower and chia seeds)
- 1-2 tbsp honey (optional)
- 1 tbsp shredded coconut
- 1 cup pineapple, diced (or fruit of choice)
- 1 banana, diced
- Combine all ingredients into a food processor/blender and blend until smooth
- Pour mixture into ice-block moulds and freeze for 4-6 hours until firm