Company logo
Rated "Excellent" by our customers
Rated "Excellent" by our customers

Search articles

Search tips...

Rated excellent by our customers A banner saying how to sign up for our mailshots
A banner showing nuts and seeds

Detox without the denial

Author: pip phillips

Dare we say it? Detox. After the wonderful indulgences of the festive period, we can't help but feel in need of a period of cleansing.  This traditionally cold and bleak time, when daylight is still short and money is tight, sometimes feels at odds with New Year zeal. 

So don't feel bad if you're not yet raring to go - just relax, wrap up warm and put the quinoa on, because Real Foods has a different way to detox.

Salads can wait

Those light, summery salads can wait, while we get back to basics. This New Year, try a hearty wholefoods detox based on healthy grains, pulses and seasonal veg.

Add beans to comforting casseroles, throw rice into warming soups and try a few new plants on your plate!

Aduki Beans ORGANIC





Add Aduki beans to soups, stews and rice dishes. When simmered with rice, these beans give the rice a nice purple tone.

You, along with your doctor if necessary, can decide how long to detox for and how many foods to cut out. Common foods to avoid include meat, eggs, dairy, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and gluten.

The very word detox will have some scientists rolling their eyes. The human body has an amazing ability to look after itself as long as you have a varied diet, lots of water and regular exercise. Severe fasts or extreme diets based on dodgy science will not help you out in the long run. Here's what will help... and some quick fixes too!


Step one

Drink water. LOTS of it. It's recommended that you drink 6 - 8 glasses a day (1.2 litres approximately) and some people recommend up to 2 litres a day, particularly if you are recovering from a hangover, having strenuous exercise or overheated. The vast majority of the chemical reactions that occur in your cells need water to carry them out. If your urine is coloured and you're suffering from headaches, lack of concentration or are irritable the chances are you're dehydrated. Many people find themselves mistaking thirst for hunger so have a glass of water first and then see if you're still peckish. Obviously, you can get water through your food and flavoured drinks, try to avoid the sugary ones though! Try Thorncroft Vineyard's detox cordial for a refreshing drink (with no added sugar). Or try one of the detox teas from Clipper, Dr Stuart's, Yogi and Pukka.
Quick Fix for your hangover? Try Morning After Hangover Comforter for a soothing drink.

Step two

If you've been drinking alcohol and smoking. Stop, give yourself a break. Your liver function can return to normal remarkably quickly but not if you're continuing to introduce poisons. You can reintroduce your favourite foods in moderation and the odd tipple also, but smoking will undo most of your good work. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble stopping as there is a range of free advice and supplementary prescriptions to help you stop. Alternatively try the herbal tobacco to help you if you waver (it's still not good for you, but at least they don't contain nicotine so you'll smoke far fewer), or consider vaping to help quit.
Quick Fix for a simple detox? Milk Thistle extract has been proven to support liver function. Try Erbology's to protect your liver against damage.

Step 3

Fruit and vegetables. You need the vitamins, minerals and fibre of fruits and vegetables. Not only that but they're in a remarkably easily digestible form. Not to say you shouldn't be taking a multivitamin to boost your intake, but start with the basics FIRST.
That means a bare minimum of 5 portions a day (that's roughly 80 grams of fresh or 30 grams of dried fruit). Find our fresh fruit and veg range here.
To keep things interesting in the winter months, you need tinned and preserved goods, find them here.
Try porridge for breakfast, or make your own muesli (we have a great article here with suggestions.) A full range of oats, grains and wholefood ingredients can be found here.
A small glass of orange juice with your breakfast, with some berries sprinkled on your porridge? That's 2 already. Take an apple for snacking on at work and a handful of banana chips for the mid-afternoon slump. Throw in a slice of melon for dessert at dinner and that's 5 from fruit alone! Try some of our recipes for tasty vegetarian meals, or whip up a raw food extravaganza and impress your mates!
Quick Fix for better digestion? Try sauerkraut or other fermented foods  -  helping to support your body's natural digestive effectiveness.

Step 4

Exercise. Raise your heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week to maintain fitness. Do a little more to achieve fitness. If you haven't done any for a while, start slowly. Always warm up and try something a little more fun if you're feeling blue about joining a gym. A walk in the fresh air with a friend or ice skating with some kids will still get your heart rate up. Here are some free tips from the NHS on exercising to help inspire you.

Quick Fix for exercise - little and often works - try some basic stretches every time you boil the kettle!

A hearty wholefoods detox

What to replace unhealthy options with so you don't feel deprived?

Real Foods' Essentials and Organic ranges

Real Foods has over 50 years' experience in gathering the finest, most nutritionally-rich grains and pulses from around the world, from everyday butter beans to black quinoa. We have our own Essentials and Organic ranges of pre-packed wholefoods, and we pass on the savings of buying in bulk to you.

Real Foods Pre-pack range

Look out for the full list of Essentials and Organic products shown above, available in print from either of our stores or by email. If you would like a copy by email please click here.

How to Cook leaflets

Our How to Cook guides are available in store and online, to help you get to know our more unusual grains and pulses as well as suggesting new ways to use more familiar ones. 

Try different types of grain for your porridge in the morning, like amaranth or millet with a sprinkling of chopped, dried fruit. Add heartiness to soups with tasty lentils and bulk-up warm veg salads with beans, chickpeas or healthy brown rice. 

Real Foods how to cook cards available in store

Here are the How to Cook guides available to read right here on our website:

Hopefully, our detox advice takes the bleakness out of back to basics, so here's to a happy, healthy start to 2019.