Your Best Summer Detox

We’ll admit, we fell off the health bandwagon last year with too many treats and late nights and not enough exercise, but we’re determined to get back on, starting with this summer detox.

Belinda Reynolds, nutritionist, dietitian and senior educator for BioCeuticals, shows us how to avoid drastic diets and cleanse the body for weight loss and better health. Her summer detox will leave you feeling full, satisfied and jam-packed with energy. 

Know your food
Learning to read food packaging is fundamental to knowing exactly what you are ingesting and what effects the foods may have on your body.

Stay away from foods that read fat free or diet, they are often loaded with sugar which turns into fat.

Read the ingredients listed and be wary of ingredients you do not recognise, or those that are represented by a number, as they’re most likely artificial.

The first three ingredients listed are the most predominant, as ingredients are listed in descending order according to their weight. This can be significant, particularly if sugar is listed as the first or second ingredient.

Avoid eating foods with trans fats in them. Trans fats are a product of how fats and oils are processed. Trans fats are not metabolised well and contribute to an imbalance in good and bad cholesterol,, which may cause health issues. They’re found in deep fried and commercial baked goods such as biscuits, pies, pastries, cakes and buns.

You know you are eating too quickly when you’re already preparing your next fork of food while still chewing. If you feel stomach discomfort after eating a meal it may be because you are not chewing your food enough. By chewing your food properly you encourage the release of enzymes which break down the food for effective digestion. A rule of thumb is to try and chew each bite 20 times. This can be harder than it sounds so if you start off with 10 chews per bite you are doing well.

Good bacteria
After the silly season we may need to clean up any unwanted toxins. Look out for fermented foods that contain probiotics; these help to secure a healthy gut and restore any imbalances in good vs bad bacteria. You could also opt for a probiotic supplement to complement a balanced diet. Foods like yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, and kimchi  contain probiotics and complement a balanced diet.

Try a morning smoothie of kefir, cacao, spirulina and a banana to achieve a good dose of probiotics and antioxidants to start the day.

During the summer months we may forget to compensate sweat lost with an adequate intake of water. It is important to achieve the recommended eight glasses of water per day, and you can also increase your hydration levels with coconut water, a natural source of electrolytes. Coconut water contains B vitamins and essential minerals as well as potassium and sodium.

Focus on achieving 2 fruit and 5 vegetables daily
Plan ahead with snacks of carrot and celery sticks, a stash of strawberries and blueberries, and a packed salad for lunch. This will ensure you consume healthy, nutrient dense food that supports natural detox processes, instead of convenient high sugar fast food alternatives.

Natural sugars
Refined sugars induce a spike in our blood sugar levels which means our energy levels quickly drop after a handful of lollies, biscuits, cake or a soft drink. By adopting a diet consisting of low GI foods you can help maintain steady blood sugar levels.

Opt for foods with natural sugars to keep your energy up. Fruits such as cherries, plums and peaches are low GI and are seasonal over the summer time.

Instead of refined sugar in your tea or coffee try stevia. Stevia is a natural sugar replacement, comes from a plant containing low calories and is low GI.

Remember to always consult your healthcare practitioner for advice on what supplements may benefit you. A qualified practitioner is trained to identify any potential deficiencies that may be present due to your current diet and lifestyle, and also based on symptoms you may be experiencing. Your nutritionist, dietitian or naturopath can therefore recommend the right program, including dietary adjustments and supplementation, tailored specifically to your needs.

Have you done a detox? Share your experience in the comments!

February 4, 2014

Top Tips for Kick Starting your Summer Detox

Summertime spells holiday, fun, fabulous food and sometimes too much of the things we shouldn’t be filling up on. Delicious treats like yummy (sugar-laden) pavlova; an extra wine or two; a second helping of ham and some tasty Christmas panettone are often too tempting to avoid. It’s OK to indulge here and there, but in excess these temptations are known inflammatory foods that can wreak havoc on our bodies.

The result of days (or weeks) of overindulgence can place strain on your digestive system which  can result in an undesirable blend of side effects including brain fog, bloating, lack of energy, headaches and general aches and pains amongst others.

In addition to the abundance of delicious food and beverages that are playing havoc with our system, we can often find ourselves dealing with lingering stress – an overflow from a busy year that may have felt like an exhausting session on the treadmill for 12 months straight. This often leads to fatigue and other symptoms that are the result of a body and mind struggling to cope.

It’s only when we find ourselves run-down that we realise it’s time for a change. To prevent the onset of these symptoms or to treat those we are experiencing, nutritionist and dietician Belinda Reynolds shares her best tips for cleansing our system and getting our health back on track.

Love your liver
The liver is the body’s chief cleansing organ, while the skin, intestines and kidneys play a secondary, yet very important, role. The liver’s job is to process toxins that have entered the blood, and transform them into water-soluble molecules that are removed from the body. The liver needs a helping hand so by reducing your intake of alcohol and inflammatory foods you can take the pressure off and improve this process. Liver cleansing pathways are  supported by a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in foods like garlic, onions, brazil nuts, fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, brown rice and quinoa. Plus, amino acids from protein in foods such as sardines, nuts, legumes and natural yoghurt are useful also.

It is important for the liver to have the right nutrients in order for the blood cleansing processes to run effectively and efficiently. Your healthcare practitioner can also recommend supplements to support this cleanse.

Get outdoors
Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system which helps fluid balance and improves the transport of impurities for ultimate removal from the body. Try exercising at least 30 minutes each day, and mix it up by walking to work, joining a yoga class, taking your goggles to the beach for a swim or taking the stairs when you can.

Pack some protein
Protein helps to metabolise toxins and will improve the cleansing process. Whole brown rice protein is a leading choice among healthcare professionals as it is gluten, dairy and soy-free; three protein sources that some people have difficulty digesting, and that other individuals may be sensitive to.

BioCeuticals Aminoplex Cleanse is a practitioner-only supplement that contains a high quality rice protein made from organic sprouted wholegrain brown rice. It’s advised to ask your health practitioner for guidance regarding your personalised cleanse program. Tip: Add 2 scoops to your smoothie.

Revisit your diet
Make it a New Year’s resolution to reduce the sugar content in your diet. Focus on removing processed foods with added sugar and/or refined grains (e.g. white bread, pasta and rice), and fruit juices that are concentrated sources of fruit sugar (fructose) and devoid of essential fibre. Consuming whole fruits in moderation is still OK as they provide fibre, less sugar per gram, plus many health-promoting nutrients. So stay clear of sweets, cordials, soft drinks and juices and those oh-so-delicious desserts that provide short term pleasure, but long term harm to our health goals.

Liquid your way
It is important to drink at least two litres of water per day to stay hydrated and to help flush out the toxins in your body. Top up your liquids with caffeine-free herbal teas and fresh vegetable juices. These beverages are great to nourish your body and also help to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Invisible toxins
The environment we live in is laden with toxins that affect our natural body functions. During your cleanse, try to live as ‘clean’ an existence as possible avoiding hairspray; cosmetics which contain parabens and phthalates; synthetic fragrances (use natural essential oils); pesticides (found on our fruit and veggies unless you buy organic from your local market); household cleaning agents (unless you use eco-friendly brands). Convert to BPA-free plastic containers, or use glass, or better still, eat fresh food on a day to day basis, at least during this time.

The more you reduce your exposure to inflammatory agents as well as environmental toxins during your cleansing program, the better chance you have of a reduced toxic burden on your body. The outcome will have you feeling energetic, happy and light in being. Enjoy!

Remember to speak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about cleansing.

Are you starting a summer cleanse?

December 27, 2013

Detox Tips For Busy People

With the weather warming up, bikini season looms on us again. And if you’re anything like me, and tend to get a little extra cuddly over the winter period, a pre-summer detox is just the trick to get us out of our sweats and into the sun. Now I can’t stand the whole mentality that argues we need to become hungry and stressed to feel dignified in our summer clothes – no thanks.

But getting back into the exercise routine that may have been neglected for the couch, while enjoying all the gorgeous food that’s around is never a bad idea. The thing is, I don’t have time to spend four hours on yoga a day or grow my own organic celery for snacks.

So here are my simple pre-summer detox tips, for busy people.

When you wake up, squeeze a wedge of lemon into hot water for a revitalising drink. Because it aids digestion, it’s great for beating the bloat and speeding up the release of toxins from your body. Beyond this, it’s an effective way of fitting more vitamin C into your day, which promotes healing and helps to maintain healthy bones, cartilage and tissue. Bottom line is it’s a fantastic, cheap way to get your body hot and healthy from the inside out.

We all know how important water is to a healthy diet, but chugging away glass after glass is often unpleasant unless you’ve been mountain climbing that morning. Keep a bottle of water with you at your desk and in your handbag, that way it’ll always be on hand and you can get more into your system without the hassle.

If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add cucumber or lemon slices – it adds taste and you’ll be packing in more vitamins. I’m a huge fan of glass water bottles as they have a reduced risk of chemical toxins being leeched into the water from the bottle itself. Drinking more water is great for flushing out all the nasties that make us bloated, tired and puffy looking and it’s one of the easiest ways of getting yourself feeling healthy and detoxed for summer. Plus it’s a super simple way to counter last night’s sangria.

I love a smoothie when I’m in a hurry. I literally just smash everything in the blender and drink it in the car on the way to work. It’s basically a quick, portable breakfast packed with nutrients, that you can tailor to suit your tastes. Being a big fan of super foods I throw in a heaped teaspoon of my favourites, which at the moment are maqua powder, gubinge powder, chia seeds and bee pollen. I stock up at, which is a great spot for everything healthy.

A good breakfast needs carbs, protein and loads of vitamins and minerals to set you up for the day. Always add greens like spinach to the smoothie, you can’t taste it, but it’ll be doing you good. Try one of my favourite breakfast smoothie recipes:

1 cup of organic almond milk
A splosh of coconut water
1 banana
½ cup of frozen blueberries
A handful of spinach
A few spoonfuls of superfoods (add your favourites)

Blend until creamy. Enjoy!

Being high in fiber, sweet and chocked full of vitamin E, iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and more, this will have you feeling super virtuous, satiated and full of energy.

Juicing – we’ve heard all about it. It pumps your body full of micronutrients and is far easier to work into your day than eating a kilo of raw veggies at your desk. Always base your juices around veggies and add a dash of fruit to keep it sweet and palatable – that way you aren’t just pumping your system full of just fructose. Ideally keep your veggies cold before you juice them as it well help keep the juice from spoiling. If you want to make a big potion, bare in mind to keep it cold and drink it within a few hours to maintain optimum nutrient levels. If you’re on the go, make it first thing in the morning and keep it travel-handy in a thermos.

I love this earthy, citrus juice recipe for early morning juicing:

½ celery bunch
4 carrots (washed not peeled, most nutrients are just beneath the skin)
1 beetroot (raw not tinned)
2 green apples
2 oranges (peeled)

Or if you fancy a power cleanse, try ‘The Hulk’ juice recipe (because it’s bright green and super potent, yet delicious).

½ celery bunch
1 spinach bunch (roots removed)
1 kale bunch
2 pears
1 apple

Incorporating little, healthy changes into your everyday routine is the best way to kick-start your healthy self for summer, and small changes can make a big difference to how you feel and look. You don’t need to be miserable and hungry, just healthy and happy. And the healthier you are, the happier you’ll be.

Have you ever done a detox? Share your detox experience!

Kate Jones blogs about writing and pop culture at Calvicle Capitalism.

October 13, 2013