Healthy drinks

Slim down with these healthy drink recipes

This detox plan is a juice-only diet, and for those who have never done a juice fast, it can seem quite scary. But, the potential benefits are huge. It’s easy to follow – there’s no counting calories, points or ‘sins’. Also, by staying away from the hob, toaster and microwave entirely for three days, you may be less tempted to weaken and ping in a ready meal. Plus – and this is the real point – a juice fast can deliver fast and impressive slim-down results.

While some lose weight faster than others, the average person can expect to lose at least 3-4lb over the three days of this plan. Your progress will depend upon how much you have to lose, how much water weight you are carrying and how strictly you stick to the plan. It’s worth taking your measurements as well as weighing yourself at the beginning and end of the three days. You may be surprised at what a difference it makes, especially around that tricky muffin top area, thanks to the debloating effect of the juice fast.

How does it work?
This plan is designed to help you get in shape by addressing a few areas…
It creates a calorie deficit The simplest way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you’re burning. There’s no denying that this is a low-calorie plan, which is why on no account should anyone stay on it for more than three days.

The liver is your principle organ of detoxification, but when it’s not working properly, the resulting hormone imbalances can cause you to gain weight. By removing toxins such as food additives, alcohol and caffeine from your diet for a short period, you boost your liver function, balancing hormones and encouraging weight loss.

Sometimes, that puffy tummy is the result of bloating due to poor digestion and constipation. This plan is designed to get your bowels moving so that you feel light and energetic inside and actually want to work out.

Some of the excess weight you may be carrying could be water weight. A diet high in processed foods and takeaways can contain too much salt, which may lead to water retention. This plan is high in diuretic foods such as fruit and veggies. These cause you to lose excess water and look and feel slimmer, fast!

Is this plan for you?
A juice detox isn’t for you if you’re pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant or breast feeding. If you are underweight or suffer from disordered eating, a gentler plan would probably be better.

The prep
Before you start, set yourself up for success with these tips.

Reduce caffeine gradually
The idea of this plan is to give your body a short, sharp shock – but be realistic. If you normally down five cups of coffee a day, then use the week before you do the detox to gradually step down your latte intake. This is so you avoid a caffeine withdrawal headache. Do the same if you drink a lot of tea, or cola (both caffeinated although less than coffee).

Choose a quiet time
The best time to do this juice detox is when you are not dashing about from place to place, staying with friends or family or are trying to work in an office. You may feel tired initially, so choose a relaxing long weekend.

Invest in a juicer
You will need a juicer for this plan. A liquidiser or food processor will not do.

Don’t have a last hurrah
It may be tempting to indulge in all the alcohol, coffee, cake or pizza you’re not allowed on the plan a few days before you start. Don’t. You need determination and optimism to succeed on a detox and starting off with a hangover will dramatically reduce your chances of success.

The plan
Follow this plan over the next three days. You may find you like some juices more than others, but don’t be tempted to substitute. They’re all designed to provide you with a range of nutrients from both fruit and vegetables. While a fruit smoothie might be sweet and easy to drink, too much sugar from the fruit will cause energy surges and dips which could lead to cravings and affect weight loss. The juices on this plan have been created to keep your blood sugar stable, reduce cravings and boost detoxification.

DAY 1
On rising: Glass of hot water with a slice of lemon
Breakfast: Supergreens smoothie
Mid-morning: Apple, carrot and ginger juice
Lunch: Virgin Mary with a kick
Mid-afternoon: Cucumber and mint refresher
Dinner: Purple power juice
Before bed: Glass of hot water with a slice of lemon.

DAY 2
On rising: Glass of hot water with a slice of lemon.
Breakfast: Supergreens smoothie
Mid-morning: Cucumber and mint refresher
Lunch: Purple power juice
Mid-afternoon: Carrot, apple and ginger juice
Dinner: Virgin Mary with a kick
Before bed: Glass of hot water with slice of lemon

DAY 3
On rising: Glass of hot water with a slice of lemon
Breakfast: Supergreens smoothie
Mid-morning: Virgin Mary with a kick
Lunch: Cucumber and mint refresher
Mid-afternoon: Purple power juice
Dinner: Carrot, apple and ginger juice
Before bed: Glass of hot water with slice of lemon

Handy hints
• Have a sauna or steam, or try skin brushing. All three will boost the detoxification process. Not only will better detoxification speed weight loss, boosting your body’s own detox mechanism should ease any side effects such as a headache.
• Drink lots of water. Not only will it keep you feeling full, it will flush out more toxins.
• If you’re desperate for a hot drink, you may add herbal tea with lemon (but not milk, sugar or honey) in between juices
• Relax. Try yoga or meditation. Reducing stress will help you stick to the plan and make you feel great.
• Don’t keep jumping on the scales. If things are going well you might be tempted to cheat and if not, you may throw in the towel. Weigh and measure yourself at the beginning and end of the detox only.
• Take a fish oil supplement. The essential fats in fish oil are anti-inflammatory and will improve the function of all your cells, including those in the liver. They’re also a mood lifter.

After the detox
To get the best effect from your detox, reintroduce solid foods gradually to give your digestion a chance to readjust. Start with easy-to-digest foods such as whole fruits and vegetables, vegetable soups, salads, nuts, seeds and avocado.

Next, add in small servings of wholegrains (one cup per day of brown rice, beans or lentils, or one slice of wholemeal bread or one small jacket potato). Watch how it affects your body and how you feel. You may find that bread or pasta give you a bloated tummy, in which case you might want to give them a miss.

Lastly, reintroduce meat, fish, eggs and dairy. These are the most difficult foods to digest, which is why it’s best to leave them till the end. Then you can decide to say ‘hello’ to alcohol and caffeine. But, remember with alcohol in particular, your tolerance will have dropped, so go carefully or the office party may be memorable for all the wrong reasons!

The juices
All recipes make 1 juice

CUCUMBER AND MINT REFRESHER
1/2 cucumber
1/2 apple
1/2 pear
2 sprigs fresh mint

Put all ingredients through a juicer and serve immediately.

VIRGIN MARY WITH A KICK
3 tomatoes
1 celery stick
1/4 red pepper, pith and seeds removed
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Put all ingredients through a juicer, except the Tabasco. Spice to taste and serve.

PURPLE POWER JUICE
1 carrot
1/2 apple
1/4 orange, peeled
1/4 small beetroot
1 celery stick

Put all ingredients through a juicer and serve immediately.

APPLE, CARROT AND GINGER JUICE
1 carrot
1 large apple
5mm piece ginger, peeled

Put all ingredients through a juicer and serve immediately.

SUPERGREENS SMOOTHIE
1 small bunch watercress
2 broccoli spears
Small bunch parsley
1/2 celery stick
1/4 pineapple, peeled

Put all ingredients through a juicer and serve immediately.