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The holidays are officially over. It’s time to move on from the big food feasts, to shrug off the holiday hibernation, and to face another challenging year ahead at school or work. If you’re experiencing bloating, heartburn, reflux, indigestion or sudden weight gain (blame the big meals and large volumes of alcohol intake), it might be time for you to flush out the accumulated toxins, too.

Detoxing can sound fancy and expensive but it’s not as difficult to relate to as it sounds. In fact, it can be done while busy getting a head start this year.

Still feeling the aftermath of holiday overindulgence? Here are simple and effective ways to detox:

1. Drink up!

Yes, drink up – not the alcohol you’ve had multiple glasses of during the New Year and Christmas celebrations but the water that you’re body needs to flush out toxins. Start your morning with a glass of water before any lick of coffee, tea, or toast. Fifth grade Science told us that kidneys and the digestive tract dispose the toxins from the body. Drinking water assists the two so make sure to consume seven more glasses throughout the day. If plain water is becoming too repetitive, a simple drink of warm water with slices of lemons can also help in after-holiday cleansing. Lemon contains alkaline that starts up the metabolism and curbs unnecessary snacking throughout the day, helping the organs to further filter out toxins.

2. Avoid SOS. 

SOS (a.k.a. help) is most likely the reason why you’re reading this article but we’re referring to a different SOS here: salt, oil, and sugar. The family’s feast in the past two weeks has been anything but healthy, especially with all that irresistible lechon, pasta, and leche flan. Exlcuding sugar from fruit, beans, legumes, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds, added sugars, refined sugars, corn syrup, dextrose, among others encourage snacking and disrupt your cleansing. It’s not helping with your weight management goals you set as soon as the clock struck 12 on January 1st, too. Fat or oil that has been refined and processed are just as unhelpful, too. Try whole food fat sources such as avocados, olives, coconut, nuts, and seeds.  Sodium, just like sugar, also encourage snacking and high blood pressure. Ditch the excess salt and go for herbs and natural flavoring options. Most food options already have sodium, anyway.

3. Eat plant-based meals.

If you can’t eat anything salty, oily or sugary, what can you consume then? Focus on plant-based meals. Go for fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins. Swap your rice for some oats, quinoa, or flax. You could also go for alkaline-forming foods like parsley, kale, pears and lemons. Have a green smoothie, a plant-based yogurt, or chia pudding instead of graham ref cake. Breakfast, apart from being the most important meal of the day, is one of the easiest meals to eat plant-based. Try some homemade granola, fruit and nuts with seeds, soaked overnight oatmeal with coconut yogurt and coffee.

4. Try fasting.

In the strictest dietary sense, fasting means complete abstinence from everything except water. However, you can always tweak this dieting pattern according to your preference. You can try the popular juice fasting where you can drink water, and fresh vegetable and fruit juices. Further modification includes small amounts of solid food such as raw fruits as well as raw and steamed vegetables. One fasting variation called intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity recently and it’s easy to see why. It involves a total or partial abstinence from food for pre-defined periods of time as opposed to just cutting down food items. Some fasting advocates like Dr. Michael Mosley recommends 2 days of fasting per week while eating normally for the remaining 5 days. Alternate-day fasting can also be done. The easiest and most achievable would be the fasting method recommended by Dr. Joseph Mercola. It requires restriction of eating time to a window of 8 hours in any given 24-hour period.

5. Work it out.

Successful detoxing will always need a little more push – literally. No matter how diligent you are in carrying out the aforementioned tips in this article, it won’t work well with physical inactivity. Sweating it all out through the largest organ of the body — your skin — is the most effective cleanse you can do. You don’t have to follow exercise regimes that are on trend. You have to find what works for you and enjoys you the most. You can try pilates, zumba, ballet, or high-intensity interval training. You can even go for a sauna session with your friends or simply take a hot shower at home.

While it can be avoided, you don’t have to feel bad for indulging more than usual during the holiday season. You’ve worked hard the past year and you’ve been good with your health routine and maintenance. However, the New Year has come and it’s time for another hustle.

Photo from Manila Bulletin

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