Hah! It’s Easter and maybe you were expecting a chocolate truffle recipe or some statistics which you could use to justify your red wine consumption this long weekend… No. I figure you can find an excuse for hyperglycaemic episodes and binge drinking all by yourselves.
Instead, I am going to ease the pain you may feel on Monday and/or Tuesday by giving you some simple recipes and activities which will help you to detoxify your system. We’re not talking juice fasts or sweat-lodges: professional opinions about the safety and efficacy of extreme detoxing practices are polarised, and anyway, who has the time? I’m just giving you simple recipes and tips which you can fit into your normal routine.
All tea from the camellia sinensis plant – black, oolong, and green – has detoxifying properties, but green tea has the highest levels of anti-oxidants, and is therefore the most effective. It is relatively low in caffeine, so will not place stress on your adrenal glands, which have no doubt already been over-worked.
Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you. Boiling them up in a broth makes them easy on a stomach which might be a little sensitive right now. I just boiled two brown onions, three celery stalks, three carrots and some garlic and ginger with filtered water for half an hour, seasoned it with cracked pepper and slurped up the whole thing. If you really must, you can also add salt, but we typically get too much salt in our diet, so it’s good to give our kidneys a break sometimes. The warm nature of this soup, and the added ginger, ease nausea. Vegetable broth is alkalinising, thus combating the acidity of excessive sugar- and alcohol-consumption. Acidity of the blood has been linked to joint pain, headaches, skin problems, irritability and stress.
If you’ve over-indulged in the alcohol, you’re probably dehydrated as well as hungover. Drink as much water as you can and you will help relieve your headaches and “polluted” feeling. Warm or room-temperature water is best if you have an upset stomach.
We’re talking freshly squeezed vegetable juices. If it comes out of a bottle, it might taste good but it’s probably filled with added sugar, preservatives and artificial flavours. You’ve had enough sugar, and your liver has had enough to deal with without you throwing chemicals into the mix. Experiment with combinations of apple, carrot, celery and beetroot, and add ginger if you’re queazy.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and sweating is its way of eliminating toxins as well as cooling down. Spending time in a steam-room or sauna will help your sweat glands to perform their function. Remember to take regular breaks and drink as much water as you can to avoid dehydration.
This might be the last thing you feel like doing, but you will feel great afterwards. If you eaten too much chocolate, you can put some of that sugar to good use with some high-intensity interval training, like hill-sprints or a thai-boxing session. If alcohol was your poison of choice, a gentle walk or jog may be all you can handle. Getting out into the fresh air and sweating a little while drinking plenty of water will clear your head and help to flush out the toxins.
Your liver needs to have more unsaturated than saturated fats in order to function well. Fish oil capsules, flax seed oil and olive oil are all good sources of unsaturated fats. The latter two are easily incorporated into your diet drizzled over salad, steamed vegetables, or soup, or brushed over bread as an alternative to butter.
Lemon juice also helps to stimulate good liver function. Drink the juice of half a lemon in warm water, or add to your olive and flaxseed oils in dressings.