Friday, April 4, 2014

Time For a Detox? by Helen Scott Taylor

I don't know about you, but winter always gets me down. The dark dreary evenings and cold weather do not nourish my soul.
Normally about this time of year I start to feel much better with the brighter evenings, spring bulbs popping up in the grass, blossom on the trees and the birds starting to nest. This year things haven't gone as usual—this year I'm still feeling weary, lacking in energy and short on enthusiasm. I wake up tired often with a headache.
My poor health has even started to affect my writing. With a muzzy head the ideas aren't flowing like they normally do. When that happens it's time to take action. Searching for a way to feel better I came across Carol Vorderman's 28-day detox diet. (She is a British Television personality, so you might not have heard of her, but I'm sure there are many similar detox books available.) I'm not sure if this diet is the answer for me, but from the positive accounts I've read of people who've tried detoxing, it sounds promising.
The claims of success include better sleep, increased energy, waking early full of enthusiasm for the day, sharper mind and better memory. (And I so badly need the last!) Oh and shedding those extra pounds—always a welcome benefit.
So on Monday I started a detox diet. It's too early to say if it is having the desired effect, but in case any of you would like to try a 28-day, Spring detox, here are the basics.

What to Eat
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables & Salad
Nuts & Seeds
Fruit Juice & Herbal Teas
Oats/Brown Rice/Millet
Non Dairy Milk Alternatives
Non-Wheat Bread, Pasta or Crispbreads

What to Avoid
Tea & Coffee
Wheat & anything containing gluten
Artificial Sweeteners and Food Additives
The recommendation is to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to help flush out the liver.
For breakfast I've had strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, chopped nuts, seeds and soya yogurt. This is delicious!
For lunch I have made soup from fresh vegetables. The soup has been tasty, but the preparation time is eating into my day. I also had a blender disaster the first time I made tomato soup. I took about twenty minutes to clean off the walls and cupboards. I won't make that mistake again!
For dinner I have so far prepared two meals that I normally make with meat, Peanut Chicken and Cottage Pie, but I used tofu and quorn as meat substitutes. The dishes worked remarkably well without meat. I can see myself using a lot less meat once my twenty-eight day detox is over.
It is too early to know if I feel any different, but I am hopeful that eating natural fruit and vegetables and drinking plenty of water will cleanse my system, give me back my lost energy and fire up my stalled brain to work on my stories.
I'd love to hear if you have tried a detox diet. If so, how did you get on?

Helen lives in South West England near Plymouth in Devon between the windswept expanse of Dartmoor and the rocky Atlantic coast. As well as her wonderful, long-suffering husband, she shares her home with a Westie a Shih Tzu and a burmilla cat. Helen's latest book is the sixth in her Army Doctor's series, The Army Doctor's Honeymoon Baby. Find Helen on FaceBook and Twitter, or visit her website.


  1. This sounds like a great way to celebrate spring, Helen! Thank you! I am so sick of winter. I need some sunshine and warm temperatures.

    1. I agree. I'm fine up until Christmas. It is Jan and Feb that really get to me. After Christmas I want Spring!

  2. Helen, I recently participated in a 21-day "Daniel Fast" with my church -- it's a partial fast, or I never would have attempted it! The guidelines were very similar.

    I wasn't perfect on it, but I was amazed how quickly my cravings for "bad" foods went away. Just keep the fruit and those protein-packed nuts handy!

    I did lose 5 or 6 pounds, which wasn't the goal, but I sure didn't mind! And I've kept it off. A change like this really does make you re-think some of those things we THINK we can't do without. My eating habits have been better since, and it's been about a month.

    Now, a quick question: What is "quorn"?

    1. Interesting, Sierra. I haven't been on the diet long enough to notice much difference yet. But I am enjoying the food. The only thing I'm missing is coffee. I hope I lose a few pounds as well.

    2. Quorn is some sort of micro protein that can be used instead of meat in recipes. I don't intend to have much of it as it doesn't sound very natural. But it is allowed on the diet.

  3. This looks interesting, but I don't know if I could give up tea for a month!

    1. For me it's coffee, Aileen. I thought I would really miss coffee, but I've been fine so far drinking peppermint tea.

  4. This is interesting. Let me know how it turns out. I might try it.

  5. I went a different route, Helen. My dh and I just finished 2 months of a low carb program. Both of us are thinner and peppier! Good luck with your program.

    1. In some ways this is similar as it is low carb as well. Thanks for the good luck!

  6. I guess many of us find renewal in spring through changing habits - for me it's going back to a stint of low-carb menus for a while. In winter I just crave pasta, pudding, potatoes ... it's time for some fresh greens! Going back to my exercise program, too, now that the weather is a little more friendly. My brain doesn't clear the same way when I'm forced to exercise indoors (which, of course, is an easy way to let myself off the hook and not exercise at all!) I wish all of us a healthy, peppy, happy and productive spring!

  7. I followed a similar diet three years ago and lost 30lbs, I couldn't maintain for more than a year. The only good habit I kept are the 10 glasses of water per day.