The winter season can throw a bit of a curve ball into even the healthiest of diets. After months of comfort eating and indulging in rich stews and hearty dishes, it’s not hard to believe that we all overindulged at least once. Whether you’ve gained a couple of pounds or are feeling a little sluggish, a post-winter detox is a fantastic way to reboot your system and get your diet back on track.
But fear not! We are by no means suggesting you ditch solid food for cups of lemon water and green smoothies. While traditional juice cleanses ruled the roost in the world of health trends for quite a while, these kinds of detoxification methods aren’t long-lasting and can even be harmful to your body, depriving it of a variety of macronutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Technically speaking, the body doesn’t need outside help to rid itself of toxins (that’s what the liver is for), but your system can run more smoothly with a few go-to guidelines. The best kind of detox or cleanse works to replenish you by minimizing the intake of toxins that can overrun and overwhelm the body. So the questions becomes: how can you do this?
1. Reduce Portion Sizes
If you’ve spent the winter season enjoying creamy mashed potatoes and warming pies, you’ll likely do well to slash your overall calorie intake. Consistently overloading your body with too much food keeps your system in a steady state of digestive distress, and can even reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This reduction in your body’s digestive ability can result in a build up of toxins that can translate to weight gain, high blood pressure and more. Therefore, eating smaller portioned meals is a great start to detoxing your body.
2. Make Smarter Food Choices
In order to stay satisfied while eating smaller portions, it’s important to choose whole foods over processed foods, and to eat foods that fulfil multiple nutritional needs. For example, subbing avocado for butter allows you to cut out saturated fats while adding in a source of vitamins C, E, K and B-6. Similarly, try subbing Greek yogurt for sour cream, raw honey in place of white sugar and lean protein like Tilapia in place of red meat. In short, it’s about making smarter choices with your diet.
3. Drink More Water
You’ve probably heard that hydration is the key to health and wellness. Along with flushing out wastes and toxins, proper hydration supports a healthy immune system and optimizes cell turnover, digestion, disease prevention and more. Not to mention, being dehydrated can trick your body into thinking you’re hungry when really you’re just thirsty—a sneaky ploy that can lead to unnecessary binges.
4. Incorporate More Diuretic Foods
Incorporating more diuretic, water-based foods into your detox meal plan can provide your diet with an extra cleansing boost. Diuretic foods help the body stay hydrated and expend excess fluid, efficiently removing more of the bad stuff. Some of these powerhouse foods to integrate into your detox include lemons, beets, cucumbers, garlic, broccoli, fennel and watermelon.
5. Prioritize Lean Protein
It’s incredibly important during your detox that you do not neglect your protein intake. Many people are under the impression that an effective detox needs to consist of fresh fruits and vegetables and that’s it, but that’s not the case. Protein is essential to a healthy and sustainable detox. It supports cellular growth and repair and helps you retain muscle mass, however, while detoxing, it’s important you prioritize lean protein. With 21 grams of protein in a single 4 ounce fillet, Tilapia is an excellent source of lean protein, and one that is easy to incorporate into clean, detox friendly meals.
When it comes to approaching a detox or cleanse, your best bet is to implement attainable changes that you can maintain in the long-run. So give your body a break and get your diet back on track quickly, smartly and efficiently!
Learn more about the positive influence a healthy detox can have on your entire system in What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Clean.
Photo Credits: AS Food studio / Shutterstock Inc., Alter-ego / Shutterstock Inc., FoapAB / Shutterstock Inc.