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Many like to think that a solid month of detoxing will help balance out a month of indulgence. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true, for it is far better to forego overindulgence and maintain a consistent, healthy diet throughout the year. For those of you who have the willpower for such balance, it also means that your overindulgence is limited throughout the year and not all packed into a month-long food and alcohol binge. Giving your brain and body a few days rest from excess – regardless of the time of year – is the best way of keeping a functioning liver. Remember – the body craves consistency, not wild fluctuations between indulgence and flagellation. Keeping things to a happy medium will make it easier for you to keep to a healthy lifestyle both physically and psychologically, and make you less prone to binging on alcohol and foods full of unnecessary sugars and/or trans-fats.

For those of you who have overindulged over the Christmas, a period of detoxifying may well be necessary. Remember however that there are no quick fixes, and anyone serious about getting healthier should eschew the idea of “detoxing” altogether in favour of a year-long “happy medium” lifestyle, with several days of hedonistic enjoyment spread throughout the year for social and psychological well-being. In the meantime, here’s a few common problems in a detox diet and some simple ways of overcoming them when in an office environment:

Problem: Elevenses

Keep away from the biscuits!

Solution: This is one of the big ones when it comes to keeping to a detox when in an office. The general hubbub and/or tedium of being in work makes you seek out foods that will give you an instant rush of energy as well as a little pleasure, so those biscuits, pastries and cakes look all the more tempting. The thing is, having a morning top-up of food isn’t a bad idea, it’s just what you decide to eat during your mini-break that may be the bad idea. Some honey on good quality wholemeal bread/toast can keep the sugar cravings away. Honey also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, as well as being a source of antioxidants, making it a great alternative to sugar, especially when in the midst of detoxing.

Problem: Missed Breakfast

Stomach growling like a bear?

Solution: Detoxing shouldn’t mean going hungry. In fact, being hungry is the worst thing to be when detoxing. Whipping up a large fruit and yoghurt-based smoothie the night before is a good way of making sure you get at least something in your stomach in the morning. Make a second batch for elevenses, or keep it for a post-workout vitamin and mineral boost.

Problem: Post-Work Drinks

Alcohol is best reserved for the weekend

Solution: The answer is quite simple: don’t drink alcohol. Of course, keeping sociable with colleagues can be rather important, and even the non-alcoholic pub drinks can be laden with sugar, so the answer’s simple but is a very difficult one to carry through. Again, making your own drinks from home might be a solution, with ginger beer being one of the easier ones to make (and it doesn’t require much sugar). Home baked thin-sliced root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, potatoes etc.) are a good alternative to pub snacks, and are likely to make you more friends than ever before, while also giving you at least one of your five-a-day. Just keep your pub trips restrained to Fridays.

Problem: Caffeine

The art of leaving caffeine alone

Solution: First of all, dump the fizzy drinks and the Red Bull. As for coffee and tea, they’re not necessarily that bad for you, assuming you don’t load your cuppa with lots of sugar or have a ten-a-day espresso habit. Part of the reason many like a cup of tea or coffee is because it’s warming and comforting, and is rather good for you to boot. Replacing coffee and black tea with varieties of herbal, green or white tea will make sure you keep the comfort blanket of a warm drink while also cutting down on the caffeine.

Problem: Not Enough Time to Exercise

You don’t have to have won the Tour de France to be able to cycle to work

Solution: Not everyone’s a gym person, or some may be unable to fit in exercise time in their busy day. Walking or cycling to and from work is a good, simple way of ensuring some daily exercise and can save on the transport costs. Should you be tired of heavy daily workouts in the gym or just generally averse to gym going, take a break and go out for a walk everyday for half an hour, whether on your own or with others. In fact, even if you’re a relatively fit person, going for a half-hour walk once or twice a week can help gather your thoughts and prove to be a way of meditating. Even Buddha recommends walking, so it may be worth taking his advice.

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