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WEEK 1: Detox

This week, you’ll sweep your body of toxins, providing a clean base for the next few months of metabolism boosting, fat burning and heightened fitness.

You’ll ditch body-stressing caffeine, sugar, processed foods and alcohol for herbal teas, superfoods and easily digestible wholefoods.

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You’ll team this with light cardio, yoga and some “I can’t believe I’m detoxing” pamper-style treats.

Success lies in being organised – fill your fridge with healthy food options (see the “Have” list opposite), so when hunger strikes you have plenty of choice, and throw out anything on the “Avoid” list so you aren’t tempted to break the detox. Now, let’s get cleaning!

Detox treats

Try these luxe treatments to support your body while you cleanse.

Lymphatic drainage massage or dry skin body brushing
Give your lymphatic system (responsible for detoxifying) a manual push by booking a session at a day spa. Sauna Literally sweats toxins out. Infra-red saunas are best as they heat your body directly, while conventional saunas heat the air and seats, which then heat you. Daily detox bath Add two cups of Epsom salts to a bath and soak for 20 minutes. The magnesium sulfate in the salts draws out toxins.

What to eat

Holistic nutritionist Amanda Powell (www.healthyyumyum.com.au) outlines your rules for this week’s detox.

HAVE
■ Warm water with squeezed lemon on waking, followed by a large glass of water. This will assist with digestion.
■ At least two litres of water daily – filtered is best.
■ A daily blend of spirulina and chlorella, which will help expel heavy metals.
■ Herbal teas.
■ Stevia – a herbal sugar replacement.
■ Freshly squeezed vegetable/fruit juices – beetroot, carrot, celery, ginger and lemon is a great liver-cleansing mix.
■ Non-dairy milks, e.g. almond, oat, rice, soy, coconut.
■ Gluten-free grains, e.g. quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, millet.
■ Fresh vegetables and fruits.
■ Lean poultry and fish, e.g. chicken, Atlantic salmon, mackerel.
■ Eggs.
■ Raw nuts and seeds.
■ Beans and legumes, e.g. lentils.
■ Healthy fats, e.g. olive and coconut oils.
Note: Organic/pesticide-free foods are best.

AVOID
■ Caffeine, e.g. coffee, non-herbal tea, energy drinks, caffeinated soft drinks, chocolate.
■ Commercial fruit juices – they’re laden with added sugar.
■ Soft drinks.
■ Red and processed meats.
■ Dairy, e.g. milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream, ice-cream.
■ Refined sugars.
■ Processed carbohydrates, e.g. pastries, pies, cakes, biscuits.
■ Wheat, e.g. bread/pasta.
■ Fried, fatty foods.
Note: These foods are either full of added sugars, unhealthy fats and processed ingredients, and/or are harder for the body to digest. The aim of a detox is to reduce the strain placed on the digestive system so it’s free to clear any built-up toxins and blockages. Caffeine stresses the body and strips it of water (which we need to flush out the toxins).

5 detox side-effect busters

I miss coffee
Solution: Replace it with dandelion root tea. “Like coffee, it has an earthy flavour, but this nutritious herb nourishes, instantly energises, detoxes and helps protect your main detoxifying organ – the liver,” says Powell. It also helps the kidneys eliminate waste and relieves fluid retention.

I’m craving sugar
Solution: Drink licorice root tea. “It has a natural sweet taste, is beneficial for overall liver health and regulates blood sugar levels, which helps prevent sugar cravings,” explains Powell. Also, substitute sugar for the zero-kilojoule herb stevia. It’s available in liquid and powder forms at health food stores and some supermarkets.

I’ve got a headache
Solution: Drink more water. Research suggests that upping your water intake can be effective in relieving a headache.* “Coffee and tea drinkers may especially get caffeine-withdrawal headaches within the first three to four days [of detoxing],” asserts Powell.

I’m nauseous
Solution: Sip on ginger tea. You may feel nauseous as the body brings up toxins and tries to remove them. “Quickly relieve this by sipping warm water with a piece of fresh ginger in it,” suggests Powell.

I’m cranky and tired
Solution: Sprinkle some peppermint oil in the shower in the morning for an instant zing. Studies show that aromatherapy can help alter moods within three minutes.

Get moving: express yoga

You release up to 75 per cent of your body’s natural toxins during exhalation, reveals yoga instructor Nikola Ellis (www.adoreyoga.com). So let’s get puffing. Here are her top daily exercises to help you detox further this week

Kapalabhati (“skull shining breath”)
This breathing exercise expels toxins, tones abdominal organs, shifts stagnant energy, and leaves you feeling light, bright and energetic. Do on an empty stomach.

1 Sit comfortably and inhale, naturally.
2 Exhale forcefully through your nose from your lower abdomen, quickly contracting the lower belly back to the spine as you exhale. Do this for 10 breaths. (Your body naturally briefly inhales after each forceful exhalation.)
3 Take a rest and breathe naturally for two to three breaths.
4 Repeat step two up to four times.

Cat-to-dog pose
This lengthens and slows your exhalations so you breathe out more toxins. It’s also a gentle inversion, which helps you detox by draining lymph from the lower extremities and recirculating it around the body.

1 On hands and knees, inhale and dip your tummy towards the floor. Look up, tilting your tailbone towards the ceiling.
2 Exhaling, tuck your chin down, turn your toes under and straighten your legs, lifting your tailbone towards the ceiling. Palms are flat; press them into the floor. 3 repeat six times.

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week 1 cheat sheet

Every day this week you should...
EAT/DRINK
■ Warm lemon water on rising.
■ Spirulina and chlorella drink.
■ 2 litres water.
■ Eat to the nutritional guidelines.

DO
■ 20-minute power walk, jog or run.
■ Express yoga detox.
■ Detox bath.
■ Optional pampering treat.
■ Take measurements of waist, bust and hips, and “before” photos in bathers or exercise gear, from front and side.