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Women's health, fitness and nutrition.

Detoxing In Autumn Is Smart! Here's why...

by Libby Babet 8. May 2012 12:35

We’re all great at getting our detox on in spring, perhaps thanks to the looming threat of bikini weather and/or party season. But there’s another time of year that’s perfect for detoxing and we’re right smack-bang in the middle of it. 

Yep, autumn is one of the best seasons for launching into a clean-eating program. You may feel like all you want to do as the cold weather sets in is bunker down with buttered bread and mugs of warm, spiced wine but here’s why it might be a better idea to turn to veggie stews and hearty soups instead… 

As it turns out, spring and autumn are the two times of year that your body naturally has the highest energy for pushing toxicity out of your cells. 

In spring, undergoing a detox is all about shedding the winter weight, lightening up your system and revving up for the active summer months ahead. 

But the reasons for detoxing in autumn are just as important - it’s all about slowing down, restoring the body and releasing the toxins accumulated from a summer of sugary cocktails at dusk! 

It’s about making sure that when the big chill hits, your body and mind are in a good place, you’re able to relax and enjoy the mildly slower pace of winter with a healthy bod that’s functioning efficiently and free of the toxins the summer season often lumps it with. 

The result of going into winter without a cleansed system can be anxiety, irritability and a tendency to fall into old addictive habits, such as a reliance on sugar, caffeine, processed foods, or alcohol. Then, of course, there's the dreaded winter weight gain...

So rather than 'blah' your way into the chilly season, use the autumn months to your advantage and before you slide into the winter frump, set aside 2-4 weeks to embark on a clean eating program that will have you strutting into winter with confidence… and coming out the other side with perhaps just a few pesky kilos to lose, rather than having to desperately shed a dozen before beach weather hits! 

An autumn cleanse doesn’t have to be a big deal. If you’re up for the big heave-ho, go for it (like those of you doing our BUF Your Stuff detox have!) but if not, just pick a few of the healthy habits below (perhaps try a new one each week, so you’re not overwhelmed) and promise yourself you’ll stick to them as the cool weather sets in. 

  • Start your day with a glass of warm water and a big squeeze of lemon, to kick-start that sluggish winter metabolism.
  • Choose warm foods – they’ve been proven to leave you more satisfied than their raw cousins throughout the cooler months. Think healthy options like stews, soups, steamed or baked veggies, lean proteins and baked eggs, all of which are guaranteed to satisfy your chilly season cravings.
  • Eat light at night! Help your body to take advantage of hibernation season by eating lighter meals at night time and stopping your eating a few hours before you hit the sack. Digest, then rest… not both together, for optimal sleep.
  • In autumn and winter, our bodies want to slow down, unwind and rejuvenate. Support this process by removing as many stimulants as possible from your diet. Reduce caffeine intake by switching your regular large coffee for a piccolo or espresso and swapping that second cup of the day for a herbal or dandelion tea. Reduce alcohol intake by sitting on that one comforting glass of red all night long, rather than downing countless sugary drinks.
  • And on the topic of sugar… cut down your intake, or even better, eliminate it altogether for a few weeks to reset those taste buds! Stick to a few pieces of high fibre fruit per day to get your hit of sweetness (we love berries and green apples) and if you’re still craving the white stuff, curb that pesky ol’ sweet tooth by sipping on a few cups of hot carob throughout the day. Make this by popping one heaped teaspoon of unsweetened carob powder into a mug, along with a little cream, or your milk of choice (we love coconut and home made almond!). Stir until the carob is mixed in, then add boiling water and if you really need to, a teeny dash of organic honey. A sprinkle of cinnamon is yum too! Let the contents cool for a minute, give it a stir and you’re in for a treat that will actually help to kick your sugar demons out the door!
  • Add a cleansing juice to your daily ritual. Rather than reaching for diet soft drink when the afternoon slump hits, head to your local juice bar and pick up a liver-loving juice of beetroot, carrot, celery and ginger with a dash of lemon. Or lighten the load by sipping on a cleansing combo of celery, cucumber, spinach, green apple and mint.
  • Make easy switches – ditch white potato for sweet potato, white rice for brown or wild varieties, white bread for low-gluten spelt or fermented sourdough, avoid sweetened yoghurts and opt for plain, organic varieties. Choose tempeh or edamame beans over tofu and tempura. Hot carob or raw cacao drinks over a block of chocolate. There are plenty of great swaps you can make to optimise your diet without feeling deprived.
  • Struggling to stay motivated to exercise? A sure-fire way to switch your dedication button to ‘ON’ is to purchase a ticket to a sporting event/race that you’ll have to train for. The City 2 Surf is perfect, as it’s scheduled for mid-August, meaning you’re guaranteed to be training all throughout the coolest months of the year. Not into serious events? Try an adventure race, like Tough Mudder, Tough Bloke Challenge, or Warrior Dash.

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