So last week I gave you an snippet from the never-published Flojo’s Easy Detox book from the chapter about hydration – why we need to drink water, how much water we need to drink and when we should drink it. I got some lovely emails from past-detoxers who’d slipped a bit with their water consumption and got right back on it after reading this post! Thank you – always lovely to get feedback! This week I’d like to talk a little bit about some of the dehydrators, the lifestyle factors that mean we actually lose valuable fluids from our bodies, and give you a few tips on what to do about them.
Some common dehydrators are:
- Stress. Doesn’t that stress you out just reading it?! Don’t worry about this one right now; it’s waaaay too big a subject. I’m going to give you some really easy ways to reduce your stress levels over the next few weeks (because I’m nice like that!)
- Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, drugs (both pharmaceutical and recreational).
- Any foods to which you have sensitivities or allergies.
- Central heating and air conditioning. Add as many house plants to your home and working environment as you can to help counteract this. You can also place a wet cloth or a small bowl of water on your radiators.
- Breathing through your mouth. If you are susceptible to bad early morning breath it’s largely due to sleeping with your mouth open. Not much you can do about this at night, but during the day you can remind yourself to breathe through your nose. And, for added detox points you can easily practise this while you do my easy meditation!
- Also, tea, coffee and caffeinated sodas or “energy drinks” act as diuretics, meaning that they encourage the kidneys to increase the amount of fluid and salts (some of which we need) that we excrete via urine.
No detox is complete without looking at your caffeine intake and cutting down can be particularly hard if you drink a lot of tea or coffee without really noticing. At work or at home it can be all too easy to squeeze out a tea bag or drop a teaspoon of instant coffee into boiling water and then drink it while you get on with other things. This is not a great habit. So, although it sounds counterproductive, try this: make your daily cuppa into a ritual, something you look forward to. More on that in a minute but in the meantime you will need to find something else to replace those cups you chug back without really noticing. My mindless drink is having a mug of hot water on the go which is topped up from the kettle when it gets lukewarm. My morning drink is an enormous mug of very weak green tea which gets drunk in between sorting breakfast and plaiting my daughters’ hair. My watching-tv-at-night drink is always some kind of herbal tea. You’ll need to find what works for you.
If your addiction is coffee you’ll need to find the blend of real, roasted coffee that you really like and take at least ten minutes out to really savour it. If I’m starting a weekday off with bulletproof coffee I’ll make sure I sit down at the table to drink it, treating it as I would an actual meal. At the weekend or on my days off I love making coffee in my stove-top espresso pot, pouring it into one of my very favourite handmade mugs and adding either warm milk whisked to a really good froth or a good splosh of cream. Instant coffee with semi-skimmed milk on offer at work now seems completely pointless.
If tea is more your bag (sorry) then listen up… No stewing your tea and then mashing the bag! Tea is a drink, not a soup. Whether you use tea-leaves in a teapot or go straight for the bag in a cup please treat your tea with respect. In many parts of the world both tea making and tea drinking is treated with reverence. If you gulp down your brew from a chipped mug, shame on you! Using filtered water helps to stop that scum line forming around the cup, as does only brewing it for a short time before gently lifting the bag out. Sit down somewhere quiet to enjoy it.
I’d like to encourage you to try green tea, fruit teas, redbush tea and herbal teas as an alternative to those continual cups of tea and coffee that you use as a distraction but tend to chuck back without really tasting them. Green tea, of which there are some lovely flavours to try, needs to be made with water off the boil and only brewed for about 20 seconds otherwise it tastes bitter. Fruit teas are generally nicer with the bag left in the mug. Herbal teas vary so check the instructions on the box.
“I used to drink about six cups of tea each day and now I often drink green tea instead. I found myself ordering it when I was out the other day.” Tess M.
Chai Latte is a lovely drink to try when you are cutting back on tea and coffee. There’s no caffeine and the herbs all have great therapeutic effects. Simmer 5 cardamom pods, 2 thin slices of ginger, ¼ tsp cinnamon, 2 cloves, 2 peppercorns and a pinch of fennel seeds in 300mls of water for 15 minutes. Stir in a bit of honey, if you like it, and then strain into a mug. Warm full fat dairy, coconut, almond or hazelnut milk in a separate pan, whisk to a froth and pour on top. You can experiment with different spices such as coriander seeds or star anise, add a strip of orange peel, dip in a redbush tea bag for the last three minutes of simmering, replace the stronger spices with vanilla essence or replace the honey with molasses. Just remember to sit and enjoy it at leisure!
“I actually had a homemade caffeine free chai for my first drink of the day today. I made a big jug yesterday so it would be ready quickly this morning. For those that know me, they will be shocked. I mean SHOCKED!” Anita M.
Please chuck out any table salt right now! Due to the refining process and general tampering to keep it free flowing, the chemical make-up and additives included mean our body doesn’t recognise it as a substance it can easily process; subsequently your cells tend to hold onto it. Sea salt is fine to use and is much tastier. And Himalayan pink salt is the bomb! Yes it’s expensive, but it’s seriously good for you! I have up to a teaspoon a day dissolved in water and feel both a noticeable rise in my energy levels and a dip in sugar cravings.
Also, please avoid any products with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) listed in the ingredients – it’s no good for you! In particular, check stock cubes and gravy granules; some brands contain MSG and others don’t.
Ok, I’m all out for this week! I’d love to hear from anyone who attended the detox groups – are you all drinking your water?!! Drop me a line…