THE THREE WEEK DETOX
Bridget’s current diary is VERY indulgent, jam-packed with events where hearty food and drink are a central focus.
The chances of her abstaining from a 50-day feeding frenzy on her round the world trip are slim.
Tough measures are needed, and I recommend a 3-week detox diet - it's the ultimate health and beauty boost and the perfect way to prepare Bridget for her trip.
WHAT IT DOES
A simple detoxifying diet for a week will help your body to rid itself of toxins, to re-balance and run more efficiently. It can also relieve a host of health problems, from abdominal bloating and indigestion to headaches, poor skin condition and loss of energy.
This pain-free detox programme aims to eliminate common allergy inducing 'toxic' food and drink from your diet for three weeks. After a few days Bridget and you, because I would love Saga readers to join us, will notice improved body shape, energy levels and self-esteem. Food portion size is not a problem because the recommended foods are high in fibre and low in fat. Drinking plenty of water will be important.
ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVES
Wheat & Dairy: Bridget will be removing wheat and dairy foods from her diet. These are two of the most common food types which - without you even realising it - could be leaving you feeling bloated, tired and even contribute to food cravings. Replace bread, pasta and some breakfast cereals with wheat-free alternatives: rice cakes, cereals and porridge oats. To eliminate dairy products without suffering, use soya, soya yoghurts and cheeses.
Red Meat: It's hard to digest and often contains a high level of saturated fat. Avoid red meat products such as bacon, ham, pate and sandwich meats because they often contain high levels of salt and artificial preservatives. Replace red meat with low-fat chicken, fresh fish or eggs.
Refined Carbohydrates: Cut out cakes and biscuits and any other 'junk' snacks. These continue to be BANNED Bridget! Snack on fruit, vegetables and add plenty of steamed vegetables to meal choices.
Saturated fats: Butter, margarine, all fried foods, mayonnaise and crisps are off the menu while you're detoxing. You can use a little olive oil, coconut oil or flaxseed oil to dress salads and cooked vegetables.
Additives: Avoid all artificial preservatives and additives including sugar, ready meals and packaged foods for the detox. Wherever possible choose organic products. Flavour your ‘cooked from scratch’ food with plenty of garlic and onions - both vegetables are renowned for their wonderful cleansing properties.
Drinks: Avoid tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, full-strength fruit juice and squashes. Instead, drink a minimum of 2 litres of water throughout the day, plus green tea, herbal teas, diluted fruit juices and cleansing apple cider vinegar in warm water.
MARK’S SUGGESTED DETOX MENU
* Porridge. Use a banana or sultanas to sweeten and soya milk
* Poached or boiled egg on brown toast
* Avocado on brown toast
* Soya yoghurt with linseeds, sunflower seeds and a little honey
* Muesli with soya milk or water
* Salad with baked sweet potato
* Potato salad made from chopped jacket potato with French dressing
* Pasta salad using brown pasta with steamed vegetables
* Steamed or grilled fish (4 servings a week) with steamed vegetables
* Grilled skinless chicken breast (no more than 2 servings a week) with steamed vegetables
* Brown rice with steamed vegetables and tofu
* Bean or lentil stew served with brown rice
Fruit, raw vegetables, raw nuts and seeds (unroasted and without salt or coatings)
To boost the detox effects of the diet, in the morning…
* Drink a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon to cleanse your system.
* Eat two pieces of fruit mid-morning
* Eat two servings of fresh, stewed or baked fruit after dinner
While modifying her diet – exercise will also continue to be a key to success for Bridget during this detox. In particular cardiovascular exercise will play a major role so there is still plenty of work to do Bridget!!
Do not panic at the thought of exercise. We all do cardiovascular exercise every day, without paying much attention to it, but it's best to do it regularly and deliberately.
Here are some examples: walking, running, cycling, swimming, and even rowing. Aerobics classes are fine if they have sustained movement. Stretching and toning doesn't qualify. You should do this exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time at a pace that elevates your heart rate but doesn't tire you out. Most people over 50 years old who are starting out choose walking as their exercise. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and some comfortable clothes.
Bridget enjoys her running! There are people in their 80s who run marathons and dedicated runners who started in their 60s. Walk first, then if you want to, start a walk and run routine and then get into your running. The basic guideline for how much cardio you need for good health is walking 150 minutes a week. If you want to make your walking harder, walk faster or uphill.
Sports? If you're a badminton player, then stick with it – Bridget trains once a week at her local club. I know she works hard because she beat me (just) when we last played. But remember, get in shape to play sports, don't play sports to get in shape.
Let's sum it up. Start walking at whatever ability you have and work up slowly until you are walking briskly at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. You can get by with less time if you run, swim or cycle. You can do your exercise 10 or 15 minutes at a time if that works better for you. If you do vigorous, high impact exercise, take a day off between sessions.
Good Luck everyone!