SEVEN STEP SPRING DETOX
1. Treat yourself to La Donaira's Gourmet Detox Weekend, April 19-22
For anyone who doesn't yet know, La Donaira has designed a detox weekend that banishes once and for all the notion that a detoxifying involves any form of sacrifice. While we like to think we are a bastion of good and healthy living all year round, the Gourmet Detox Weekend is a fully-immersive self-indulgent treat for mind, body and soul.
The timing – at the glorious peak of the Andalucian spring – is cleverly calculated to help you slough off winter and emerge like a butterfly ready for summer.
Centring around an expert-designed diet, the programme includes tailored group and private sessions of yoga, tai chi and meditation as well as swimming and spa treatments, invigorating mountain walks and revitalising sleep.
The detoxifying group and team will have exclusive use of La Donaira. If you are in need of space, peace and calm as well as rejuvenation and regeneration, this is for you. From €830/pp (3 days/3 nights). Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org. Easy access from Seville (1hr), Jerez (1hr) and Malaga (1hr 40mins) airports. Full details at ladonaira.com.
2. Cut it Out. Download and memorise the Things to Avoid list
Gwyneth Paltrow's annual detox plan appears on Goop each January but if you prefer to spend the winter eating cake, adopt it in spring. If you are confused about what to eliminate from your diet, you'll find a comprehensive list at Goop.
3. Spice it up
If you don't believe a detox diet can be absolutely delicious - see above: La Donaira has expertly designed a gourmet detox diet. However, a little inspiration and a plan can help when attempting this at home. Goop offers a breakfast, lunch and dinner plan complete with recipes. So far so good, but the genius stroke is the list of six basic recipes for 'sauces, dips, pickles, and the like' which can be made in advance and added to clean meals to add flavour and a dash of piquant excitement.
4. Drink strange things
Like cauliflower, say Hip and Healthy. In 8 Seasonal Foods for Spring + Their Health Benefits they single out celeriac, radishes, watercress, cucumber, Savoy cabbage, asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower for their anti-inflammatory properties and/or supporting liver function, but cauliflower is the one writer Alessandra Felic genuinely recommends steaming, freezing and mashing into a smoothie. True.
Meanwhile, Goop gives a recipe for a Fruity Chlorella Smoothie, a tantalising mix of single-celled freshwater algae blended with 'antioxidant-packed berries, peaches, and a little ginger' to pack in the power and balance the 'slightly swampy flavour'.
We, rather more conservatively, swear by a daily beetroot and ginger blend.
5. Consider what your liver does and when to give it a break
The liver doesn't do all the work, but when it comes to detox work, says holistic health practitioner Tegan Wallis, it's one of our most important organs. Writing on Justbreathe.com he outlines the liver's job description (receiving, filtering and repackaging all substances useful for bodily functions; safe removal of harmful stuff), and explains the two-step process they deploy. First, 'Enzymes and oxygen are used to partially break down toxins in order to make them water-soluble for easier removal'. Then, 'the processed toxins are combined with amino acids to prepare them for safe removal via watery fluids like bile and urine'.
This behind the scenes work goes on quietly and relentlessly but if the liver's finding the clean-up process tough-going, it will let you know. Read the article over at Justbreathe.com and learn to spot the 10 Signs Your Liver Needs Help! Spoiler alert: you feel tired.
6. Understand just how badly you need a detox
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (in the USA) is not great bedtime reading (here if you want it). Luckily, US fitness consultant Ben Greenfield provides the keynotes. The latest report, he says, identified an average of '212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine, 75 of which had never before been measured in the U.S. population.' And he goes on to list some of the alien chemicals that were found:
'Acrylamide (formed when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures, and as a byproduct of cigarette smoke)
Arsenic, found in many home-building products
Environmental phenols, including bisphenol A (found in plastics, food packaging and epoxy resins) and triclosan (used as an antibacterial agent in personal care products such as toothpaste and hand soap)
Perchlorate, used in airplane fuel, explosives and fireworks
Perfluorinated chemicals, used to create non-stick cookware
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, used in fire retardants found in consumer products such as mattresses
Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), found in paints, air fresheners, cleaning products, cosmetics, upholstery fabrics, carpets, dry-cleaned clothing, wood preservatives, and paint strippers.'
While the body has its detox toolkit, tackling this stuff is only possible if you have a healthy and well-functioning liver and kidney in the first place. To read more about alarming problems and helpful solutions you can visit Ben Greenfield Fitness
7. Take your detox to the office
The Forbes 2018 Digital Detox Guide is one of a slew suggesting obvious moves which are tricky to make. Most digital use has a Pavlovian element; escape the stress of the office for somewhere like La Donaira and the only time you use your phone will be to take a picture. But it's great to see common sense going mainstream.
Top among Forbes' suggestions is the retro notion of restricting the working week to Monday to Friday. The most counter-intuitive is to install an app, Mute, on your mobile in order to learn how to use your mobile less.