Festivals, weddings, vacations and other special occasions are times when unrestricted portions of rich food is consumed. Therefore, they pose a real challenge to staying healthy and fit. Of course, you can consciously stick to healthier versions of traditional preparations during these times, but it may not be possible to avoid everything offered when out socialising. When you and your family have eaten out, taken store-bought snacks, or eaten catered food, it is essential to cleanse your bodies of the additives such as colouring and flavouring agents, and preservatives. This is where detoxification comes in.
When we speak of detoxification, juice cleanses may be the first option. These may or may not work, but if you decide to opt for them, it is not advisable to consume only liquids for more than two days. Also, it is not safe for you to administer such a diet to children under the age of 18 years. If it is medically required, it is best done with proper guidance from a nutritionist.
Real body cleansing can happen easily and tastily, with the right kind of foods and liquids. Is it all about being on ‘diet’? No. This is about making radical changes in eating, for just 1 week. And if you sustain the good food habits created during this time, natural and perpetual cleansing will make you and your family glow with health. So let’s take a look at the effective way to Diwali Detox.
What To Eat
It is always best to choose organic products for detoxification. As far as possible, eat raw food. However, if you do cook, use very little water and only for a very short duration. This will help retain nutrients.
Must Avoid At All Costs
You should avoid sugar or jaggery, and any food with added sugar (candies, chocolates, and baked foods). It is also advisable to steer clear of processed and fast foods, coffee, milk and tea. Do not consume foods bought from shops (in fact, you should avoid eating out), starchy refined foods such as white rice and white bread, refined oils, deep fried foods and every other type of food you ever heard was bad for you (just in case I missed anything).
Specific Foods And Spices That Aid Detoxification
Include a lot of the following during this week and use them regularly, in large quantities, from now on:
Coriander, garlic, papaya (with seeds), watermelon (with seeds), lemon (with seeds), moong (green gram) sprouts or any sprouts for that matter, beetroot, turmeric (raw and powder), flaxseeds (don’t roast), almonds, avocados, cabbage, cinnamon, ginger, pineapples, sesame seeds, oil and butter, and wheatgrass.
*Cleansing Through Physical Activity
For children and adults, any aerobic activity, especially those which make you sweat, is suggested. It helps to eliminate waste, partly because the skin is a major route for excretion of toxins. By these activities, toxins stored in the fat tissue are released and kidneys get filtered. Unhealthy compounds are excreted more efficiently as exercise also stimulates regular bowel movements. So, at least 45 minutes of vigorous exercise / play is essential on the days you are cleansing your system.
During festival / vacation time, encourage children to be active. Even better, walk the talk and keep exercising yourselves. Engaging yourselves in an activity empowers you to control festival indulgences.
Don’t forget ‘Dancercise’ - organise some music and create a dance event for everyone. Include very young children and seniors too!
Real body cleansing can happen easily and tastily, with the right kind of foods and liquids. Is it all about being on ‘diet’? No. This is about making radical changes in eating, for just 1 week. - Creative Movement Expert, Mrinalini Sekar
You can also teach your children to breathe deep. Enrol them in a Pranayama class and teach them the importance of breathing properly, especially during physical activities. *(Inputs From Creative Movement Expert, Mrinalini Sekar)
Natural Colon Cleansers For Kids And Grown-Ups
The colon forms the end of the intestine and its effective functioning is vital for good digestion and absorption. Enemas and colonics may be required in certain medical conditions but natural food cleansers do a good job if consumed on a monthly basis. Drink any two cleansing drinks twice in your detox week. Don’t worry if kids (or you) have loose stools for a couple of days after or if they are in a weird colour. That’s just gunk accumulated in your gut being discharged.
You can try these natural cleansers:
- Add 1 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger to a cup (200ml) of freshly boiled and purified water.
- Add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp of honey and 1 tsp of lemon juice to a cup of freshly boiled and purified water.
- Slice an aloe leaf lengthwise and extract the valuable gel. Add 1 tbsp of this gel and 1 tbsp of lemon juice to a cup of purified water. Mix well and drink immediately. Use 1 tsp of the two ingredients for children under 16 yrs of age. Add 1 tsp of honey if required.
A festival, vacation or wedding doesn’t even need to be all about the food. Shift the focus (through conversations with your kids) from food to observing and understanding the actual rituals, meeting and getting connected to family members, making new friends and playing (a lot, even you). This is a conscious process and involves effort when you or your family members are otherwise inclined. So, get active, disconnect from your electronic gadgets and have fun this festival season.
Does everyone in your family drink at least one veggie / fruit combo + one green juice during the day? Add seeds / nuts for more protein, calcium and good fats.
Anti-inflammatory banana-turmeric smoothie
(Credit: Rob R, www.yummly.com)
- Curds (yogurt): 2 cups
- Bananas: 2 big or 3 small
- Mango / apple / orange: 1 no.
- Ginger: 1 inch piece, freshly grated
- Forest Honey: 2 tsp
- Lemon juice: 1 no., freshly squeezed
- Turmeric: 3 tsp
- Cinnamon powder: 1 ½ tsp / 2 inch piece
- Himalayan pink salt: a pinch
- 1 cup water or more, if you want it thinner to serve more people
Such smoothies ensure that you ‘chew your juice‘ to get your saliva going, as they contain enzymes important for digestion and absorption.
- Spinach, amaranth and dill (sompukeerai / sapsige/ savaa / shepu): small bunch each (dill is strongly flavoured, so exercise mild caution while introducing this to your kids)
- Apple: 1 no.
- Strawberries: 1 cup or orange: 1 no.
- Ginger: 1 inch piece
- 1 cup water or more, if you want to dilute it
For both the smoothies, blend all ingredients together in a mixer / blender till a smooth consistency is reached. Play around with the quantities and innovate.
Smitha Suresh is a renowned nutritionist and child specialist from Chennai