Tis the season for family and friends to come together to share good cheer and of course, lots and lots of food and drink! With all the social engagements during the holidays, it’s easy for the calories to add up and extra centimeters to gather around the waist! So, in the face of all this dietary adversity, how does one stay healthy through the holidays? The answer: a pre-holiday detox or a pretox!
While most everyone has heard of post-holiday detox cleanse, people are less familiar with pretox. So how does pretox work? Below, we’ve outlined the overall concept and provided tips and tricks so that you can sail through the holiday season relatively unscathed and feeling pretty darn good!
Golden rule: stick to a light and healthy diet in the days leading up to the holidays.
1) Prep your body:
Consume natural and healthy foods
During this step you will want to consume natural, high quality foods and avoid overeating. Limit the consumption of foods that are high in fat and/or refined sugars and reduce your consumption of animal protein. Avoid snacking between meals as it interferes with the body’s digestive process. In summary…
- Do eat lots of fruits and vegetables : these will be the staple of your diet during the pretox process (and perhaps even after , pourquoi pas ?).
- When consuming starches choose whole grain cereals: they are preferable to processed grains.
- Avoid pre-packaged meals which are often loaded with salt, saturated fats and sugar.
- Red meat and charcuterie : better to replace these with poultry and/or fish during the cleanse as red meat slows digestion.
- Lactose and gluten : are to be limited as much as possible, even if you are not allergic, as they often provoke an inflammatory response in the body, as well as water retention.
- Limit your salt intake.
- During pretox cut out alcohol, soda and sweets.
Prep your gut (your intestinal flora that is)
This is the ideal time to boost your digestive function through the use of probiotics. These “healthy” bacteria when ingested improve digestive functioning, comfort and maintain a healthy level of intestinal flora. They are already present in the GI track but their quantity and quality can be compromised by the use of antibiotics, stress etc. Therefore, it’s a good idea to supplement with probiotics before and during the holidays. They are available in pill form or can be found in some yogurts.
Detox your liver :
Your pretox regimen will be even more successful if your liver is at the top of its game! You can boost liver function by ridding it of toxins.
Some ways to detoxify your liver are:
- Drink warm water with lemon on waking every morning
- Take a black radish or artichoke supplement to cleanse the liver and eliminate toxins (for adults only) or eat them fresh.
2) Stay hydrated:
It is essential to stay hydrated. Pure water is best but soups, bouillons, teas and infusions also count towards your water intake. This is one area where you don’t need to exercise restraint! The recommended water intake per day is 1,5 L.
3) Get Active :
30 minutes a day of light to moderate physical activity (doing too much all at once will have a negative effect on your body), 5 days a week. Getting active will further boost the positive effects of the healthy eating choices you’ve put in place.
Pretox has numerous benefits: 1. cleansing and prepping your body to deal with the onslaught of holidays meals 2. limiting weight gain and eliminating bloat and 3. quelling digestive discomfort often brought on the day after a big night out.
So there you have it, dear MAMers, you now have all the tools you need to survive the holidays healthy and happy. Be reasonable but don’t be too hard on yourself, afterall it wouldnt be the holidays without the occassional overstuffed belly and outings that carry on into the wee hours. So treat yourself and remember to make the most of your time with family and friends !