Detox in Spring, Not Winter

Detoxing in January and February is ‘the done thing to do’ and there’s even a sense of guilt if you don’t.  If you are thinking of doing it in January or February this year, please take a moment to read this before fully making up your mind. And remember, your body is detoxing all the time because that’s a huge part of its function.

In winter it’s cold and dark.  You want to hibernate, curl up on the sofa, stay inside and sleep. This is because this is what we are programmed to do.  It’s why we feel sleepier during the winter and struggle to get up in the dark, even though in the summer we can get up at exactly the same time with ease.

Winter is a time to slow down, rest and recharge – when it’s cold our bodies have to work so much harder to keep us warm.  Feed your body with nourishing warm cooked foods that are easy to break down and digest.  Have a more baby food consistency to your meals; soups and stews are brilliant for this and you can cook it all in one pot!  There is a reason that many traditional British dishes in winter are stews with dumplings.  It’s to keep us going and our internal radiator fueled, so don’t go crazy with calorie counting.  (They work out the number of calories in a food by setting it on fire and recording how long it burns for, which is not how we digest and metabolise food.).  If you restrict calories and only eat raw foods – salads and juices – you are asking your body to work even harder during a season that can be stressful on the body due to the temperature change and lack of light.

I am not saying don’t ever eat salads or have juices/smoothies in winter.  I have a breakfast smoothie most mornings as it’s a way to get the day off to a good start.  I juice organic carrot, ginger, broccoli, apple and orange and add organic spirulina, chlorella and turmeric powders, black pepper, chia seeds, full-fat yoghurt and homemade Kefir.  A mix of fruit, vegetables and protein which means I don’t get a sugar overload from the fruit or a huge sugar crash.  Do be aware of that – if you make a juice or smoothie consisting of only fruit you are just drinking a glass of sugar.

If you really want to fast in winter, fast overnight rather than during the day. Not eating for 12 hours can be really beneficial as it gives the liver a break and allows it to detox a bit.  I would say in this busy world of ours, fasting from 7pm-7am will be much better for you than from 10pm-2pm 0r 9am-9pm etc.  If you eat earlier in the evening it will mean that you will sleep better as the body will have done a lot of digesting before you go to bed.  Also if you go for too long without food your body will start to store it all as fat.  Which is the last thing people want in January as it seems the main reason to detox is to lose the Christmas weight….

This post isn’t to discourage you from improving your diet in winter, but to remind you to be kind to your body– do not starve it of what it needs.  Look at what foods are in season; the naturally available foods indicate how we should be eating.  Don’t fall victim to very clever advertising or because it’s what all your friends are doing.  Wait for the spring/summer, the natural time to renew and flush out the old.  And remember, our predecessors didn’t have Asda flying in salad and tomatoes from South Africa to help us with our winter salad and detox.  Think back to how we would have eaten 150 years ago.  It’s very different to today.

If you want some Naturopathic Nutrition advice to get 2018 off to a good dietary start, contact me for a 60 minute consultation.

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