Help your body rid itself of accumulated toxins
Detoxification means purging your body of the toxins that have entered it because of wrong eating habits and lifestyle. But this is not a one-time job like spring cleaning.
A simple way of reducing the toxic load in your body is to change the food you eat. First, switch to organic food because the chemicals and pesticides in food that’s usually available are highly toxic. Therefore, try to change the common ingredients used in your day-to-day food such as spices, grains, pulses and cooking oils to organic varieties. What we need to do is to make our food fun. That means going in for fresh, unprocessed and natural food.
Start with the basics. Drink plenty of water, for nothing can be more refreshing, Water cools the system and provides natural hydration. Replace aerated drinks with innovative fresh vegetable juices. It is advisable to make green drinks with leafy greens such as wheat grass, mint or coriander. Alternatives are tomato juice, carrot, mint with lemon, lemon water or ‘jaljeera’.
It is important to ensure that at least 60 per cent of your diet is vegetarian because vegetables, fruits and sprouts provide maximum nutrition. Also, ensure that your diet contains a variety of nuts, seeds, roots, whole grains and cold pressed oils. Dairy products and meat should be consumed in small quantities. Choose low fat milk products, fish over red meat, and occasionally, chicken (that too breast with the skin removed).
Remember the thumb rule — begin your meal with a salad, then go on to vegetables, sprouts and finally, grain (whole grain rotis, especially ragi and unpolished red or brown rice), followed by a small quantity of meat and dairy products.
Avoid immune suppressing foods such as salt, food preservatives, additives, stabilisers, refined sugars, flours and colouring. Use limited amounts of rock salt and sea salt.
As far as possible, eat fresh. Avoid eating food that have been fried or microwaved. These too suppress immunity and increase the chance of cancer and circulatory diseases.
Extra virgin oils
A common yet, important rule is to limit the fat in your diet. Choose cold pressed extra virgin oils: sesame, groundnut, coconut, mustard or sunflower. Best is to limit the quantity of oil used but at the same time ensure you get a combination of mono saturated fatty acids, limited saturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids which are ideally found in flax seed and fish oils.
Never reuse oil for it is carcinogenic. Always cook on a low flame. Ensure that the oil does not smoke and the vessel does not have a black ring around it. An entirely fat-free diet is not advisable as it would lead to Vitamin A, D, E and K deficiencies, constipation, depression, knee and joint problems. Stay away from alcohol and drugs. Avoid smoking as well as passive smoking. Detoxification will not happen by merely eating right. Brighten up your day by getting out of the house and into the sun. For at least 20 to 30 minutes, allow yourself to get direct or indirect sunlight which helps absorb calcium and Vitamin D. Get regular exercise; try aerobics, yoga, or pursue a sport.
Do anything that will refresh and rejuvenate you from the inside. Increase the amount of oxygen your body takes in — a must in our polluted cities. Be in an oxygen-rich environment such as in a garden or set out on a holiday in the mountains.
Take time out for yourself everyday to ensure your body is filled with only what it deserves — the best. And rid the body of the toxins that may have built-up.NAINI SETALVAD
(Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist and obesity consultant based in Mumbai.)