Living the Sweet Life: The 12 Days of Detox

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and
award-winning columnist.

Yes, you read that title correctly! In the most outlandish time for feasting each year, I began to think about what a detox would look like – especially during the holidays. With that in mind, I discovered that it’s only 12 days, and it’s not scary at all!  And, it may even, perhaps, help you start off the new year at your very best in quite some time!

Eighty percent of our immune system is located in the gut, and the time of the year we are most likely to get the flu or other nasty viruses is in the winter months, invariably while on planes and among other family members, some of those who are sick. It’s a smart concept to put in play measures to prevent getting sick in the first place. Build a strong immune system, and you can fight off even an aggressive cold.

The 12 Days of Detox involve four days of cutting back, four days of cleaning the inner body and mind and four days to build up again. I am not talking about a detox needing a doctor either; it is, after all, Christmas! In the first four days, rather than eating a heavy breakfast of eggs and processed meats and starches, make juices from fresh apples, beets, carrots and cucumbers. Alternate with adding pineapple, berries and spice for flavor with fresh ginger, parsley, cilantro or celery. Add in some cayenne or cinnamon, too! For lunch, have a salad and some grilled or baked fish and a cup of tea. In the evening, have some rice with steamed vegetables and chicken or fish.

The next four days, eliminate breakfast and lunch with juices made from the freshest selections, mentioned above, and for supper, the same rice with vegetables and a light, easy-to-digest protein – nothing with butter or fried. In the last four days, add protein to your breakfast such as a few boiled eggs with more of that scrumptious fresh juice. For lunch, add back in salad with grilled fish or chicken and for supper, eat rice steamed with turmeric, a light protein and then – back to bread!

The liver appreciates a break from its full-duty routine. You’ll find these helpful during the fa-la-la-la-la Christmas detox: avocados, artichokes, beets, shoots, lettuce, onions, carrots, all berries, ginger, garlic, turmeric, rosemary and pomegranate are all liver-friendly during the 12 days and beyond.

The body already has its own detox mechanisms, but giving the liver and kidneys a tiny respite will make you feel better in general. Never underestimate a day off from drinking alcohol and caffeine. It makes a difference systemically even as a small gesture. I also recommend if you would not eat something, then don’t put it on your body either. Oils and chemicals used in our everyday lives build up in the body, and cleaning our bodies inside, although we cannot see our organs, is as important to good health as general hygiene. The mind matters too, and a bath drawn with lavender can calm the mood and mind after spending all day making your lists and checking them twice!

Take Care of YOU!