Three-day detox diet
It's that time of the year when our thoughts are turning towards a healthy start to the New Year and cleansing our bodies after a month of eating and drinking.
To help you reach your goal, Laurence Kirk, a naturopath and Dean of Clinical Studies at London's British College of Osteopathic Medicine, has designed a three-day detox exlusively for Mail online. This safe programme will help you eliminate toxins from your body and strengthen your immune system and should be carried out no more than once or twice a year.
DAY ONE: YOUR pREpARATION DAY:
To help your body prepare for this short detox, try to cut down your protein intake by around a third. It takes four to five hours for the gut to process protein and reducing the amount of you eat gives your gut a break and will help recharge your digestive system.
Next, try to cut down on dairy products and fatty foods, such as cream and cake, by around one third. Both these foods contain hidden fats and and cutting down on them will help support your liver in detoxifying your body of toxins that have built up over the Christmas period.
Finally, try to increase your fibre intake by eating more fruit and vegetables than usual. Boosting your fruit and vegetables by eating at least six to eight portions a day will help accelerate the time it takes for food to travel through the bowel and out of your body because of its high fibre content.
In addition, drink at least two litres of fluid each day and try to avoid tea and coffee as caffeine slows down the liver's ability to detox.
DAY TWO: RAW FOOD
Try to cut out all carbohydrates such as rice and pasta, fat and protein, to give your digestive system a break. Instead, choose fruit and vegetables to eat on their own or in a salad. Eat three set meals, or if you prefer, five to six smaller dishes throughout the day.
Try to eat your fruit and vegetables raw or lightly steamed to benefit from the antioxidant activity contained in fresh food. Boiling food can slow down antioxidant activity and the idea of this detox is to increase antioxidant levels so your body can fight off damaging molecules caused by the season's excesses.
If you want to spice up your salad, make a light dressing based on one pot of low fat yoghurt, two cloves of garlic, half a lemon (squeezed) and a sprinkling of paprika and fresh thyme. Many people assume bananas and avocados are fattening so don't count, but you can include them in this detox.
DAY THREE: COMING OUT OF YOUR DETOX
Continue to eat three set meals, or if you prefer, five to six smaller dishes throughout the day, based on plenty of fruit and vegetables. Slowly, re-introduce complex carbohydrates such as whole grain rice and pasta into your diet. Keep your portions small for each meal, aiming for one small dish (around 30g) or one slice of granary bread each time. For your third meal, add a small portion - around 30g of protein. This is about the size of a small chicken breast.
Choose a cup of green tea, rather than standard tea, as this will top up your antioxidant levels. Green tea is thought to help prevent cancer because it contains high levels of phenols - plant chemicals - which are thought to have antioxidant properties enabling them to eliminate harmful free radicals from the system and preventing the onset of cancer.
AFTER THE DETOX:
Try to eat a balanced, healthy and well-varied diet. A typical healthy diet consists of a third of fruit or vegetables and a third of complex carbohydrates such as whole grain grains, breads and cereals. In addition, dairy produce should make up one sixth of your meal and one sixth should be meat, fish or an alternative protein. You should try to drink up to two litres of fluid a day and avoid sugary and high fat foods as much as possible