The holiday and festive season can be a time of great indulgence. No matter how hard you try to stick to your diet, it’s difficult to avoid the temptations that surround you at every function and party. Sweets laden with ghee, deep-fried snacks, rich curries packed with butter – it takes a truly Herculean effort to say no to all of it all the time. And even though moderation is the key to making the most of the festive fare, we don’t always stick to the maxim.
After a couple of weeks of bingeing and casting your diet to the wind, the body can be in dire need of detoxification. One of the best ways to do this is to drink nothing but juices and smoothies for a few days, allowing the liver to flush out the toxins and the gut to rebalance its bacteria culture, restoring glow to your skin and pep to your step. But store-bought commercial juices and smoothies packed with ice cream aren’t the answer. You need to make them at home using fresh and natural ingredients that will do the jobs you need them to.
There are a few key ingredients in any juice or smoothie that will really work wonders. Ginger and mint are fantastic for the digestive system; both have a soothing effects that can calm even the worst of stomach upsets, and while mint is great in clearing out the upper digestive tract, the benefits of ginger extend to the lower portion. Along with other water-concentrated fruits and vegetables like cucumber and melon, they’re vital components in any concoction designed to give you a break from the rich fats and sugars of festive food.
As the organ responsible for siphoning out harmful foreign substances from the bloodstream, the liver can sometimes become backed up with toxins, affecting bile production and generating a range of symptoms that include stomach upsets, loss of appetite and acid reflux. Thankfully, a good dose of antioxidant-rich berries and other liver-friendly vegetables (beetroot, spinach and carrot) will do the trick and get you back to optimal health in a few days.
There are also a number of unconventional ingredients and some supplements you can rely on for additional benefits. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are incredibly rich in vitamin C, a crucial nutrient that helps the body synthesise toxic compounds and convert them into substances that can be expelled through urination or perspiration. Chia seeds are fibre-dense grains that pack a strong dose of antioxidants and proteins, and help build stronger bones and vastly improve physical performance.
Whey or casein protein isolate is wonderful if you want to add some muscle to your beverage, but combine this with a bit of low- or no-fat yoghurt if you want to extract maximum benefit (the isolate is absorbed more easily when consumed with whole, natural protein). You could also add fish oil, spirulina or other supplements based on your personal needs. Consult a physician before taking any supplements for the first time.
LIVER DETOX SMOOTHIE
INGREDIENTS QTY PURPOSE
beets (quartered) 3 medium stimulates liver function
carrots (chopped) 3 large stimulates liver function
leafy greens 2 cups neutralises toxins
bitter greens 1 cup stimulates bile production
lemon (quartered with peel) 1 large facilitates toxin flush
apple (cored, sliced) 1 large reduces liver burden
purple cabbage (chopped) 1 cup boosts enzyme production
chia seeds 2 Tbsp adds fibre, protein
- Beginning with the larger fruits and veggies, add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender.
- Top the blender up with chilled, filtered water until about ¾ full.
- Liquefy on high, adding water until you reach the desired consistency.
- Pour into a glass. Top with a sprinkling of chia seeds and enjoy!