I have recently returned from a weeklong detox at the Mayr Clinic in Altausee and I feel amazing. The situation in the Austrian Alps is beautiful, the aerial yoga was great fun, the food delicious and more copious that you might imagine. That might explain why I didn’t lose much weight, that wasn’t really my objective – although I did go down a size.
I was really there to give my liver a rest by abstaining from alcohol for a week. It gave me a virtuous glow but perhaps, more importantly, it proved that you can control your alcohol consumption rather than the other way around.
Working in the booze business, a dry week is not always easy or possible to achieve so here are five things we can do at the start of every day to help our body’s natural detox function.
Drink water! Drink a glass of water at room temperature even before you get out of bed. Aim for two litres of still water throughout the day.
Stretch. You know those cartoons when people wake up and stretch. How many people really do that? If you don’t, you should. You could even go a step further and do a few sun salutations.
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurveda practise, which claims to increase oral hygiene, reduce gum inflammation, and keep teeth white. Take a small teaspoon of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth. Swish it around for about two minutes or so. It’s called pulling, as you pull the oil backwards and forwards through the mouth. If you can’t bear the taste, add a few drops of peppermint into the bottle. As saliva production slows overnight, swishing oil around the mouth first thing encourages saliva production, which has a cleansing effect, important for reducing bad bacteria and preventing infection around teeth and gums. Emulsified with saliva, it gets in between teeth and reaches part of the mouth that regular brushing doesn’t. Stained teeth are another side effect of wine tasting, so this is a lifesaver for any one tasting young red wines.
Body brushing. The liver is the major detox organ of the body, but the skin also detoxes, mainly through sweat. Body brushing stimulates the circulation of the lymph just under the skin. Your lymph is a parallel circulatory system to blood, moving mainly fats and some waste products, taking its name from the Roman god of water, Lympha. Body brushing helps stimulate this system and gets it started first thing in the morning. It relies on your movement and muscle activity to work—another reason to keep moving and to exercise.
Lemon juice in hot water first thing in the morning stimulates digestion and the liver and kick-starts the system. Add a slice of fresh ginger, a pinch of turmeric, and a screw of pepper (pepper and turmeric are absorbed better when consumed together), and you’ll have three major antioxidants that are thought to offer protection against colds and infections. Try to drink this within a half hour of waking and a half hour before eating breakfast. Some of my friends also add apple cider vinegar or have a blend of apple cider vinegar and honey at the start of the day, this has a similar effect and cider vinegar is supposed to be good for your microbiome too.
Five little additions to your daily routine, even when you are on the road (I carry ginger and lemon tea bags!) that can help compensate for some of the less healthy decisions we might make later in the day. It’s the little daily changes that make the biggest difference.
Read more about the daily detox, sun salutations and other liver friendly ideas in The Drinking Woman’s Diet A Liver friendly Lifestyle Guide. available in paperback as an e book or on Amazon. The perfect stocking filler for the drinking women in your life!