Saturday, December 31, 2011

About weight and toxins

If you want to lose weight but have found that diets never work, this is the plan for you. It explains why toxic exposure can slow even the most devoted weight-watching plans, and teaches you how to beat this problem and finally get down to your desired size and shape.

In the eyes of most of us there are only two types of weight problem: you’re gaining it too fast or you’re losing it too slowly. According to traditional dieticians both of these have their root in the same cause: the number of calories you are taking in is more than the number you are using up. Basically this is true, but it doesn’t mean that certain factors, like toxins, can’t interfere too.

Fat Gain
Most of us know that what we eat determines whether or not we get fat, but new research is revealing that there’s more to this reaction than how many calories are in a dish. Some research explains that many of the foods we eat now contain toxins that actually promote weight gain in animals, and are likely to do this in humans too. To make matters worse, because many of these toxins appear in pesticides, they are concentrated in foods that we would use to lose weight, such as salad crops, soft fruits and other fruits and vegetables; even if you eat organic, you can be exposed to these toxins from insecticides and other household products.

Fat-Burning Inhibitors
It’s not just major toxins that cause problems with weight gain. Relatively harmless toxins like caffeine or alcohol also play a role, because they destroy the vital nutrients we need to burn fat. Recent research from the University of Tennessee, USA found that the more calcium there was in a diet the more fat the body burned, since calcium has the power to convert cells from fat storers into fat burners. Caffeine, however, actually causes us to excrete calcium, taking out 6mg from our stores with every cup of coffee we drink.

Free radicals produced when toxins enter the body, or are processed, can also remove vital fat-burning nutrients. Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that 58 percent of overweight women were deficient in vitamin C (one of the major free radical fighting antioxidants); and in trials where overweight women were given supplements of vitamin C they lost weight even without dieting. Deficiencies in another antioxidant, vitamin E, are also linked to excess weight, and, again, this could be linked to toxic overload.

Magnesium is important for fat-burning, and it is destroyed by stress – a toxin that causes problems in other ways since it increases levels of a hormone called cortisol. Not only does cortisol stimulate your appetite, but it also encourages fat cells in the abdominal area to start collecting calories to store as fat.

Fluid Retention
Toxins can also interfere with your ability to lose weight because you have gained not fat but fluid. Unprocessed toxins are stored in the fat if the liver can’t handle them; stored with them, however, are large amounts of water. The reason for this, according to one nutritionist, is that the body’s ‘solution to pollution is dilution’. This means that if the body thinks that something is harmful it will surround it with water to try to minimize its strength and efficacy. If you’re storing high levels of toxins in your body, therefore, you’re probably also carrying high levels of fluid. If this is the case, no amount of fat-burning will reduce your weight.

In some people, this reaction occurs for another reason: food intolerances. These arise when the body loses the ability to digest a particular type of food properly. This means that the food stays in the system longer than it should and it ferments, filling the body with substances that it finds toxic. The body then tries to dilute these ‘poisons’ by flooding them with water.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Weight-loss diet

The Solution
This plan mixes diet, exercise and massage to tackle the toxic causes of weight gain. It is recommended that you stick to the plan for one month, after which you will have lost up to 6.5 kg (1 stone), depending on how much fluid you retain. After the month is over, if you still have more weight to lose, follow the advice in the section headed ‘Extending the plan’. If you don’t, go straight to ‘Living the detox life’.

Before you start, take a look at the section headed ‘Living the detox life’. Following the advice given there while you implement the program described below will help reduce toxic load on your body and enhance the effects of the plan.

Weight-loss diet
This is the main part of the Weight-loss Plan. Even the most devoted fitness experts admit that when you’re trying to lose weight 80 percent of the results come from a healthy diet.

However, rather than just cutting calories, this diet also aims to reduce the amount of fluid in your body by introducing foods that prevent fluid retention (bananas, prunes, orange juice and dried apricots), and by cutting out wheat and dairy-based foods, which are the ones most commonly linked to food intolerances. The diet is also low in sodium, which will also reduce the amount of fluid you retain. In addition, it supplies large amounts of detox foods and supplements that will help neutralize any harmful toxins released into the body as the fat breaks down. This is important, so please don’t skip your daily Chelating Cocktail. It will also boost your efforts if you use organic products and keep toxins such as alcohol and caffeine to a minimum so that your liver can deal with any large toxins that are released.

You shouldn’t  get hungry on this diet, as you are eating regularly; but, if you do, don’t give in to the craving. While detoxing enhances results, it’s cutting calories that ensures weight comes off, so try acupressure instead. The appetite point is on your ear about 1cm (½ in) from the top; on the side next to your head you’ll feel a small hollow. Use a cotton bud to press it gently a few times.

Early morning
·         -  Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement plus 1g of vitamin C.
·         -  Take 2,000mg of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). In Swedish research, patients taking this   healthy fat for 14 weeks lost 3.8 percent of their body fat, even when they didn’t change their diet.
·         -  Take 5g of psyllium
·         -  Wash these down with two glasses of water, and aim to drink at least eight more during the day.

Breakfast (eat this half an hour after your supplements)
·         -  Start with a glass of Antioxidant Cocktail.

Antioxidant Cocktail
      50g (2oz) prepared blueberries
      50g (2oz) prepared strawberries
      ½ mango
      250ml (8fl oz) orange juice
      Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

·         -  Choose a high-fiber breakfast from the list below. Fiber not only fills you up, but it also reduces the number of calories you absorb from food. Wholegrain cereals also contain antioxidants and have the ability to bind to some toxins in the bowel.

   - Bowl of bran cereal topped with soya milk and a handful of prunes.

   - One cored apple filled raisins and baked in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 220 degrees C /425 degrees F. Top this with soya yoghurt.

   - Two slices of rye or pumpernickel toast spread with honey and one boiled egg.

   - Porridge made from oat flakes and water or soya milk. Mix in a handful of chopped dried apricots.

   - Two oatcakes topped with mashed banana and strawberries.

Mid-morning snack
·         -  Two pieces of fruit and a cup of dandelion tea. Dandelion helps the body excrete excess fluid without destroying other vital nutrients.

·         -  Half an hour before lunch, take another 1,000mg of CLA and 5g of psyllium and wash these down with at least two glasses of water.
·         -  Chelating foods are those that are able to bind to dangerous pollutants in the body, which helps to detox them from the body. Lunch focuses on high quantities of these foods in order to help reduce the levels of toxins in the body. Such chelating foods include alfalfa, apples, beetroot, bananas, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cereals, garlic, onions, seaweed, tofu and watercress.
·         -  Start with a glass of Chelating Cocktail.

Chelating Cocktail
      2-3 carrots, peeled
      1 beetroot
      1 apple
      Juice all the ingredients, then serve.

·         -  Now choose from one of the following vegetable bases, using as much of each vegetable as you like, except for avocado, which you should limit to half a fruit due to its high calorie content.

Spicy salad: alfalfa sprouts, tomato, red pepper, black olives, radish.

Clarifying coleslaw: shredded white cabbage, grated carrot, sliced beetroot, sliced onion.

Pure power: watercress, cucumber, tomato, artichoke hearts and avocado.

Stir-fry sensation: in a tiny amount of oil that has sliced ginger in it, stir-fry the following vegetables – asparagus spears, bean sprouts, shredded green cabbage, mangetout and broccoli.

Good-for-you grill: grill mushrooms, thinly sliced aubergine, red onions, yellow peppers and courgettes until they soften. Then drizzle each base with any of the following:

balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of olive oil containing some chopped chilli (chilli boosts the metabolism), a spoonful of salsa, lemon juice or fat-free vinaigrette. Top with 75g (3oz) of lean protein such as chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, lean ham, lean roast beef, a bean blend made up of kidney beans, green beans and chickpeas or grilled or marinated tofu.

Afternoon snack
·         -  Two more pieces of fruit.

Evening  meal
·         -  Start with another 1,000mg of CLA, plus a glass of Chelating Cocktail or a bowl of Supercleanse Soup.

Supercleanse Soup:
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1.5 litres (2 ½ pints) light chicken stock
    2 small potatoes, diced
    2 large handfuls of spinach
    1 large bunch of watercress, stems removed
    salt and pepper

    Cook the onion in 2-3 tablespoons of chicken stock or water for one minute. Add the potatoes, seasoning and the rest of the stock/water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the potatoes are soft. Add the spinach and watercress and stir for three minutes. Remove from the heat and blend in a liquidizer.

This recipe will make enough soup for a couple of days so you can store it in the fridge and have some another day.

      Choose one of the vegetable bases from lunch, but top it with 50g (2oz) of lean protein and 50g (2oz) of carbohydrates such as a jacket potato, new potatoes, mashed potatoes, roast sweet potatoes, rye or pumpernickel bread, mashed swede, parsnips or pumpkin, sweetcorn or corn-on-the-cob, brown rice or wheat-free pasta.

Before bed
·         -  Slice of rye or pumpernickel bread topped with half a banana or a teaspoonful of honey.

Weight-loss exercise program

The point of this program is to help you burn fat, but also to detox the system by stimulating the lymph flow and blood circulation. As a result, you will be combining aerobic exercise with a fat-burning and detox yoga program. For each week you are on the weight-loss diet, carry out the following.

Monday: 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise (you can break this up into ten-minute bursts if it makes life easier).

Tuesday:  20-30 minutes of brisk walking, plus the fat-burning and detox yoga program.

Wednesday:  30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise.

Thursday:  20-30 minutes of brisk walking plus the fat-burning and detox yoga program.

Friday:  30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise.

Saturday:  30-45 minutes of walking plus the fat-burning and detox yoga program.

Sunday:  have a rest.

Fat-burning and detox yoga program
This program helps tone the body’s muscles. You can do this with traditional exercise, but by using yoga moves you will also help calm the body and deal with the potentially stress-induced elements of weight gain.

Yoga breathing. Lie down with your legs straight, and press your lower back into the floor. If you find this hard, bend your knees instead. Put your fingers on your navel, and breathe in and out a few times. This time when you inhale aim to fill your lungs from the bottom so your tummy balloons out, then fill the middle of the lungs and finally the chest. Aim to breathe in for a count of five. Now exhale for a count of ten, letting the air out of the belly first, then the middle and finally the top of the lungs. Repeat the whole process five times.

Mountain pose. Sit cross-legged and breathe in and out deeply. Inhale and stretch your arms up close to your ears and then press your palms together. As you do this, your abdominal muscles will pull in; hold this position for as long as you can, breathing regularly as you do so. Then exhale and bring your arms back to the starting position.

Stick posture. Stand with your feet about 25cm (10in) apart. Bend your knees as if you are preparing to sit, but then turn them slightly outwards. With your hands on your thighs, keep your torso as erect as you can and breathe in and out. Now exhale, and with the air still out of your lungs pull your abdominal muscles back towards your navel and up towards your ribs. Hold this position until you need to inhale, then inhale and straighten your body. Repeat the whole thing once more.

Side leg raise. Lie on your side, supporting your head with one hand, and with the palm of the other hand on the floor to aid stability. Inhale and slowly raise your upper leg; it should come straight up, not slightly back or to the side. Also try not to bend the leg at the knee. Hold the leg in this position for as long as you possibly can, remembering not to hold your breath but breathe regularly. Exhale and lower your leg. Repeat this leg raise on the other side.

Half-moon. Stand up straight, with your feet together, and your arms by your sides. Inhale and bring your arms upwards, close to your ears, and press your palms together if you possibly can. Exhale and slowly bend to one side as far over as you can. Hold this position for as long as possible, breathing regularly as you do so. Return to the center and repeat the process again, this time bending to the other side.

Finish the program by repeating the yoga breathing techniques from step 1.

Extending the weight-loss plan

Fluid-busting massage
This massage should be carried out once a day. It aims to help the body eliminate fluid more effectively, stopping it from being reabsorbed into the tissues. It uses a very basic form of manual lymph drainage to do this, which means that instead of deep probing strokes you should use long, very gentle moves.

For best results, carry out the massage with a blend of essential oils that are designed to fight fat and fluid retention. For example, take two drops of grapefruit oil, two drops of mandarin oil and one drop of black pepper oil and add them to 10ml of carrier oil (test this first, since black pepper can irritate sensitive skins). You can also boost fluid loss by trying steams of saunas. Aim for one a week.

Start on your legs, at the ankles, moving upwards and towards the knees. Work both the front and back of the body. Then move up the thighs, focusing upwards and towards the groin.

Work around the arms, moving upwards from wrist to elbow. Now move past the elbow, massaging the upper arms towards the armpit.

Now massage your torso. The area above your chest, the upper abdomen, should be massaged outwards and either up or down towards the armpits, depending on the area being treated. If someone is massaging your back, strokes on the upper back and shoulder blades should be toward the armpit; neck strokes toward the ears.

Work the lower abdomen. Anywhere under the area of your navel should be massaged toward the groin. If someone is massaging your back, strokes should go upwards.

Extending the plan
If you get to the end of the month of the plan and still have more weight to lose, there’s a good chance that it’s fat that you now need to reduce, not fluid. You can therefore reintroduce wheat and dairy products into your diet in small amounts. Switch from soya to skimmed milk in breakfast meals. Add cottage cheese or 50g (2oz) of reduced-fat hard cheeses to your protein choices (and choose these once or twice a week). Also add wholegrain breads and wholewheat pastas to your carbohydrates in the evening (and again choose these once or twice a week). The rest of the diet stays the same.

You will also need to change the program, because after a few weeks of carrying out the same activity the body begins to get used to exercises and they become less effective. The simplest way to beat this is to add intervals to the aerobic part of your plan. After every two minutes of your normal aerobic activity, add 30 seconds to two minutes of working out at least 10 percent faster. These mini energy bursts stimulate your body and stop it from getting ‘bored’.

Living the detox life
If you’ve got to the end of the month and have lost all the weight you wanted to lose, that’s great; but you need to make sure you don’t put it back on again. Around 90 percent of people who lose weight do just that, so here are some tips:

Know your calorie count. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight no matter how cleansed your system is. To work out how many calories you can consume in a day without gaining weight, do this simple calculation. Multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.9, then multiply this figure by 24. Multiply this third figure by one of the following: 1.3 if you are in a sedentary job and do no exercise; 1.5 if you are in a sedentary job but exercise for 1-3 hours a week; 1.7 if you are in a manual job or exercise heavily (for more than three hours a week). (For example, if you weigh 65kg and fall into the second category above, the calculation for your calorie intake would be: 65 x 0.9 = 58.5 x 24 = 1,404 x 1.5 =2,106 calories.)

Start re-introducing wheat and dairy products. If you don’t have a food intolerance, there is no point cutting out wheat and dairy products any longer. If you aren’t sure, go back to normal levels but listen to your body: if you notice your waistline getting puffy, or the scales rapidly adding 2kg (4lb) or more in a day, you are intolerant. If this is the case, stay off them again for a few days, then introduce just low levels: no more than 1-2 servings of dairy foods and 1-2 servings of wheat foods daily. If you do keep dairy foods low, boost your calcium intake through leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, calcium-enriched products like orange juice and bony fish like sardines. (The body needs calcium to burn fat.)

Reduce your toxic load. It’ll also help to drink the Chelating Cocktail daily from now on.
Keep exercising. According to the National Weight Registry in the USA, which is the world’s biggest survey of people who have successfully lost weight, this is the key to keeping weight down. The average person, in their studies, burns 2,800 calories a week through exercise – that’s a walk of 5-6km (3-4 miles) each day. Make this your aim too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mandarin rose

Serve this delicate, dainty drink after a long afternoon on the croquet lawn.
375 ml (1 ½ cups) mandarin juice
1 teaspoon rosewater
2 teaspoons pomegranate syrup
250 ml (1 cup) soda water or lemonade
ice cubes, to serve

Combine the mandarin juice, rosewater, pomegranate syrup and soda water or lemonade in a jug. Serve over ice. Make 2 large glasses.


Suck it in and prepare for the sour cherry punch.
250 ml (1 cup) blood orange juice
125 ml (½ cup) sour cherry juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
250 ml (1 cup) soda water
ice cubes, to serve

Combine the blood orange juice, sour cherry juice and lime juice in a jug. Stir through the soda water and serve over ice. Make 2 large glasses.

Peach nectar spider fluff

The ultimate classic combo, give peaches and cream a modern makeover.
600 ml (21 fl oz) peach nectar
600 ml (21 fl oz) soda water
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 peach, sliced

Combine the peach nectar and soda water in a jug. Pour into 4 tall glasses, top each with a scoop of ice cream and garnish with peach slices. Make 4 medium glasses. 

Lychee passion fizz

Clean, crisp lychees hook up with earthy passion fruit for an affair worth remembering.
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) lychees, peeled and seeded
2 cm piece ginger
3 large passion fruit, halved
500 ml (2 cups) lemonade or soda water

Juice the lychees and ginger through a juice extractor. Scoop out the passion fruit pulp and stir through the lemonade or soda water. Make 2 large glasses. 

Fuzzy peach

Add heat to sun-warmed peaches with a pinch of spicy nutmeg.
6 peaches, stones removed
1 lemon, peeled
large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
250 ml (1 cup) dry ginger ale
ice cubes, to serve

Juice the peaches and lemon through a juice extractor. Stir through the nutmeg and dry ginger ale. Serve over ice. Make 2 large glasses. 

Lime and kiwi sparkler

Get to know this kiwi sparkler and it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
2 limes, peeled
9 kiwifruit, peeled
375 ml (1 ½ cups) dry ginger ale
ice cubes, to serve
mint sprigs, to garnish
lime slices, to garnish

Juice the limes and kiwifruit through a juice extractor. Stir through the dry ginger ale and serve over ice with a mint sprig and lime slices. Make 2 large glasses.

Plum and basil tango

Yummy plummy in your tummy keeps you on the go.
10 small plums, stones removed
2 limes, peeled
10 g (1/3 cup) basil leaves
375 ml (1 ½ cups) lemonade
ice cubes, to serve
basil leaves, extra, to garnish

Juice the plums, limes and basil through a juice extractor. Stir through the lemonade. Serve over ice and garnish with basil leaves. Make 2 large glasses. 

Mango tango

They say it takes two to tango, so try not to drink this on your own.
2 mangoes, peeled, stones removed
1 small pineapple, peeled and chopped
2 large passion fruit, halved
375 ml (1 ½ cups) sparkling grape juice

Juice the mangoes and pineapple through a juice extractor. Scoop out the passion fruit pulp and stir through the grape juice. Make 2 large glasses.

Apple fizz

Revisit your cider-fuelled student years without the grungy flat mates.
6 apples, stalks removed
1 lemon, peeled
250 ml (1 cup) apple cider
ice cubes, to serve

Juice the apples and lemon through a juice extractor. Stir through the apple cider and serve over ice. Make 2 large glasses.

Sober mule

For a nightlife moment without the morning after, kick back with a sober mule.
3 grapefruit, peeled
7 g (1/3 cup) mint leaves
375 ml (1 ½ cups) ginger beer
ice cubes, to serve
2 small mint sprigs, to garnish

Juice the grapefruit and mint through a juice extractor. Stir through the ginger beer and serve over ice, then garnish with mint. Make 2 large glasses.

Mango and mandarin chill

Mangoes have never had it is good – cosseted by fizzy sweetness.
1 mango, peeled, stone removed and sliced
500 ml (2 cups) mandarin juice
125 ml (½ cup) lime juice cordial
375 ml (1 ½ cups) soda water
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
ice cubes, to serve

Freeze the mango for about 1 hour, or until semi-frozen. Combine the mandarin juice, lime juice cordial, soda water and sugar in a jug. Put the mango slices and some ice cubes into 2 glasses, then pour in the juice mixture. Make 2 medium glasses.

Note: For those with a sensitive sweet tooth, add the sugar to taste at the end.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fresh pineapple juice with mandarin sorbet

Bewitch yourself with this tingly little teaser.
1 large pineapple, peeled and chopped
250 ml (1 cup) dry ginger ale
4 scoops mandarin sorbet

Juice the pineapple through a juice extractor. Combine the pineapple juice and dry ginger ale in a large jug and chill. Stir to combine, pour into 2 glasses and top each with 2 scoops of sorbet. Make 2 medium glasses.