Health & Fitness
Dec 1, 2015

The value of a pre-holiday detox

By: Carli Whitwell

Getty Author: Elle Canada Credits: Getty

Health & Fitness
Dec 1, 2015

The value of a pre-holiday detox

By: Carli Whitwell

Our typical January 1 goes something like this: wake up (or maybe never go to bed) with a headache, a sugar hangover and a promise to detox (no booze, sugar) after a particularly gluttonous few weeks.

But some people are pre-empting these (typically) empty promises with a pre-holiday detox. Doing so may help you eat less over the holidays, according to experts – because you feel so good, you might be less likely to overindulge. “You have given your body the chance to feel what its like to be inflammation-free and feel good so when you tip toe back to the unhealthy choices, your body lets you know it doesn’t approve much sooner,” says holistic nutritionist Jenn Pike.

MUST-READ: Can your muffin top kill you?

And, if you do indulge, your body will bounce back faster. “A few days of holiday indulgences have marginal impact on a system that is able to quickly and efficiently process them,” says Dr. Krystina Milloy, a naturopathic doctor at Helix Healthcare Group.

WHY DETOX?
Our bodies already have internal detoxification system, explains Dr. Milloy. But sometimes, we need a little jumpstart. “When our inputs [i.e. what we eat or drink] overwhelm the liver’s ability to process them (excessive intake of anything that is processed by the liver – toxins, pesticides, alcohol, medications, hormones), the system gets backed up. And when the system gets backed up, it wreaks havoc on our mood, our weight and our health.”

We’re not advocating a lemon water and almond fast here. Pike describes her dream pre-holiday detox as including “loads of organic produce, plant-based protein, healthy fat, fibre and ample hydration.” That means no meat, caffeine, dairy and sugar. “The reason for cutting back on animal protein, gluten dairy and sugar is these foods can be some of the hardest to digest and break down therefore leading to the greatest amount of inflammation in our gut, our hormones, skin, sleep, energy and our weight.” You may also choose to supplement your detox with liver herbs such as Milk Thistle and other supplements, but it’s best to speak to a trained nutritionist.

As to how long you should detox, Dr. Milloy recommends 21 days. “It’s enough time to rebalance the system, remove toxic accumulations in the system, and improve digestion and metabolism, without being overly daunting.” (Read: start now so you can enjoy your turkey come Dec. 25).

But, if you’re looking for a little reset, try a (minimum) five-day detox to shed some inflammation, water and sodium retention. If you’re a bit more hesitant, try a whole-foods diet that incorporates high-quality protein and at least 25 grams of fibre, suggests Dr. Milloy.

Here are some more expert tips.

Slideshow

prev next 1 of 5

Detox tips from the experts

Holiday detox tip: Don't scrimp on sleep

Turn off Home Alone – you already know what happens to Kevin – and go to sleep for at least 7 hours. Make sure you stop eating at least three hours before bed. “Sleep is not meant for digestion of your food; rather it is meant for digesting your body’s day, to help you heal, repair and restore on the deepest cellular level. The more interference and distraction your body has going on the less that can happen,” says holistic nutritionist Jenn Pike.   READ MORE: How to avoid overeating at holiday parties

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

Detox tips from the experts

Holiday detox tip: Skip the pill or box detox

“While there are some decent products out there, most cookie-cutter detoxes are just that – boxed for the masses and designed to do a little of everything rather than a lot of anything,” says Dr. Krystina Milloy, a naturopathic doctor at Helix Healthcare Group.   READ MORE: 9 athleisure lines that will make you embrace the trend

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

Detox tips from the experts

Holiday detox tip: Drink lemon water in the morning

Make yourself a mug of warm water, fresh lemon juice, touch of raw honey and pinch of turmeric. “This drink is purifying to the liver and blood as well as stimulating to the digestive and metabolic system,” says Pike. Follow an hour later with a green smoothie for breakfast.   READ MORE: 10 celebrities who are giving us major fitspo

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

Detox tips from the experts

Holiday detox tip: Yes, you can exercise

“Exercising is its own form of detoxing,” says Milloy, who notes we eliminate toxins through breathing and sweat. But don’t overdo it. “If you’re following a detoxification protocol, making major dietary changes and stimulating processes that may have been dormant for a while, it make take a few days until you’re feeling 100 percent.”   READ MORE: 5 ways to get more mileage out of your fitness tracker

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

Detox tips from the experts

Holiday detox tip: Dry-brush skin

Yes, this can help the body detox for realz. It improves lymphatic drainage, stimulates detoxification, and can improve the appearance of cellulite, say experts.   We like The Body Shop Round Body Brush ($12), thebodyshop.ca.   READ MORE: 4 personal trainers you need to follow on Instagram

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Courtesy of The Body Shop Credits: ELLE Canada


READ MORE:
8 Instagram accounts that inspire us to eat better
12 immune-boosting superfoods you need to add to your diet this winter
How to work out like Kate Middleton
Share X
Health & Fitness

The value of a pre-holiday detox