Get your eating habits back on track with a kickstart detox

The festive season is a lot of fun. However, with the excess of food and alcohol that it entails, Christmas time can be detrimental to health, beauty and well-being.

So January is the perfect time to embark on a body detox, with the aim of rejuvenating body and mind and eliminating toxins. Improving energy, mood and digestion, aiding weight loss and clearing the skin, it is a very sensible way to kickstart your year.

Try to distribute your food intake over the course of the day. Eating at three-hourly intervals can help boost your metabolism and ensure feelings of hunger are kept at bay. An ideal approach is eating five light meals a day.

These should focus on the cleansing foods listed below and omit the foods from the second list. You should only follow this diet for about three days; never prolong it more than a week because nutritional deficiencies can occur.

Choose your foods from:
1. Fruit and vegetables:
Green vegetables are particularly good, including artichokes, spinach, green beans, chard, lettuce and other salad leaves, but don't forget tomatoes which contain high levels of lycopene. Fruit's a must, too, with pineapple, papaya, oranges, apples, grapes and tangerines high on the list. You can either eat them 'as is' or in juices.
2. Carbohydrates with fibre. This includes wholemeal cereals and breads, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, soybeans, etc.
3. Vegetable Protein. As there is practically no animal protein in the detox diet, you should include soya, tofu, pulses and legumes.
4. Plenty of liquid. Fluids – water, herbal teas and juices – play an important role in cleansing the system, helping to cleanse the kidneys and helping the body eliminate waste.

Steer clear of:
1. Fatty animal protein:
For the three days of the diet, almost all the protein you eat will be vegetable protein; eliminate all fatty animal proteins, including shellfish and oily fish and all dairy products. Milk can be replaced by soy or other cereal 'milk'.
2. Butter and other animal fats.
3. Refined sugar, white flour, processed and pre-cooked foods.
4. Alcohol, caffeine and tobacco

Do moderate exercise and drink about 2 litres of water daily.

Remember: one of the good things about the detox diet is that it only lasts a few days, so it's worth making an effort not to cheat. It'll help get your body back into good habits and set you off on the right foot for the year ahead.

Your diet may look something like this:

Day 1:
Breakfast: 1 kiwi + small glass soy milk + 1 slice of wholemeal bread
Mid-morning: 1 apple
Lunch: Sauteed green beans + lean chicken breast grilled with salad
Mid-afternoon: 1 soy yogurt
Dinner: Artichokes + tofu

Day 2:
Breakfast: Pineapple + 2 soy yoghurts
Mid-morning: Papaya
Lunch: Lentils + salad
Mid-afternoon: 1 soy yogurt
Dinner: Spinach omelette (made without the egg yolks) + tomato salad

Day 3:
Breakfast: 1 orange + small cup soy milk + 2 wholemeal rice cakes
Mid-morning: 1 soy yogurt
Lunch: Wholemeal pasta + turkey fillet
Mid-afternoon: 2 tangerines
Dinner: Salad + grilled or poached hake