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Unlike being on a diet, where the calories are counted, the purpose of detoxification is to flush out the toxins that have accumulated over the months in the body. By Vaishnavi Narayanan

Detoxification is a very powerful tool to beautify the body from inside out and therefore a favourite with every bride to be. The trouble begins when a woman in her eagerness to look beautiful on her special day plunges headlong into an unscientific regime of purging fats from her body through fad diets and semi starvation just days before her wedding and ends up harming her body rather than helping it.

Detoxification is a simple, scientific technique where you give your body a break and let it use its own incredible power to heal you therapeutically. This not only helps you procure the promised silken tresses, healthy nails, glowing skin and a fit body, but it also recharges your energy levels and rejuvenates your spirits, transforming you into a radiant and confident bride.

The secret is to make an early start. Beginning the cleansing programme at least a month prior to the wedding day provides the maximum benefits. Keep the dos and don’ts in mind before commencing your detox routine:

Raw Appeal

A raw food diet primarily refers to the unprocessed foods; semi cooked foods are also widely accepted. Depending on the type of lifestyle and the results desired, the diet comprises of fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts, dry fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains. These foods contain natural enzymes which are critical in building proteins and rebuilding the cellular tissues, and cooking these items can kill the essential enzymes and leave behind the toxins in the body.

Green and Lean
Green leafy vegetables and lean meat are very important in order to eliminate the toxins and aid weight loss apart from imposing a check on the cholesterol levels. These nutritional powerhouses boast of fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamins E, C, K and most of the B group of vitamins as well.

Skip Counting
Skipping meals may seem like a quick fix slimming solution but in reality it is the main cause of subsequent weight gain. Irregular intake of food will slow down the body’s natural metabolism, resulting in more fat deposits rather than optimum utilization of the foods consumed. These deposits gradually escalate the level of toxins in the body.

Calorie Consumption
Calories are the most misunderstood and abused term in the dieter’s dictionary with most weight loss aspirants believing that zero calories mean zero fat gain. This misconception is self destructive and the scientific explanation is this: With a very low calorie diet, around 30 % of the weight loss is muscle and the rest is fluid with traces of fat loss. The amount of muscle in the body sets the metabolic rate. So as muscle is lost, they perform less metabolic work, hindering the weight loss. Glycogen, the storage form of glucose, is stored along with water, so when it is broken down for energy to compensate calorie inadequacy, water will also be released. It is this fluid that is responsible for initial weight loss, resulting in dryness of the skin, making it appear dull and scaly. Simply put, adequate calorie consumption during the detox period is very significant.

Detox pals
It is wrong to assume that following a detoxification routine leaves you with a pitifully low choice of edibles to munch on. Fruits are the best friends of detox plans and include apples, banana, peaches, orange, pineapple, grapes, papaya, berries and melon varieties: eat them raw, pulp them into juices, or blend them into fresh low fat smoothies. Other guilt free eatables include vegetables, beans, lentils, oats, brown rice, unsalted nuts and unsalted seeds. Keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water and the occasional cups of herbal tea.

Detox adversaries
Food items filled with sugar, fat and empty calories provide the fastest ticket to weight gain, dullness and low energy levels. One month before the wedding consider cutting down on sodas, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, refined sugars, processed foods, red meat, pickles, fizzy drinks and fatty dairy products.

Artificial Sweeteners
Are you a health savvy person, who is smart to shift to those artificial sweeteners? Then be aware of the artificial sweetener toxicity. The key to detoxify your body against these toxins is to stop using them. Start including the more natural forms of sweeteners like honey, jaggery, palm candy, palm sugar and coconut scrapes instead.

Eat Stop Eat
A day’s fasting with intake of plain water and tender coconut water throughout the day is ideal to boost the elimination of toxins. By this, you are giving your body the much needed rest and the time to catch up on neglected repair and cleansing. Fasting is strictly not recommended if you are pregnant, on medication or treatment, infirmed or in any other abnormal circumstances that requires supervision. In a 30 day detox period, one day fasting can be done fortnightly.

Liquid diet
A liquid diet predominantly consists of fresh fruit juices and tender coconut water. Nutritionally they would provide few calories and no proteins or fats. Yet they are packed with rich vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which help in the elimination of toxins. Liquid diet should not be used as a weight loss technique; rather it is an important cleansing mechanism. This is very gentle on the body since it requires less energy to digest yet provides the body with amazing nutrients. Like one day fasting this diet can be followed fortnightly in a month long detox period.

Formulate your own detox plan and don’t resort to quick fix detox programs if you need to experience sustained benefits. Designing a detox plan that is sensible and nutritionally balanced is more important rather than going in for extreme detox. In fact, a proper diet rich in fibre, organic foods combined with the intake of plenty of water is the safest way to detox naturally.

(The author is a Chennai based nutrition consultant. Mail in your queries to )


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