Muddy gets a liver detox with Harry Hewetson
If you haven't overindulged over the past year we salute you. From swigging rosé as soon as homeschool's over to piling on the Corona rolls because there's nothing to do but eat, we can all forgive ourselves for succumbing. But if you're ready for a health reboot, how about a liver cleanse?
A few weeks ago, I found myself somehow volunteering to take part in a 9-day detox. To be honest, I’ve lost all memory of how it happened, Prosecco may have been involved. But sign up I did and it was only after I’d committed myself to more than a week of clean living that I realised exactly what I would be detoxing from. If you follow my Instagram Stories you may have seen my video diaries but if not here’s the gist: no caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy, no gluten, not “bad fats” (ie. trans fats and hydrogenated fats). For 9 long days.
When I told my friends what I was up to they all asked the same question: “Errr, what can you eat, then?” I looked back at them blankly and promptly emailed Nutritional Therapist Harry Hewetson, who leads the program, to get his advice on what to stock up on. Broadly speaking, you add loads of water and loads of nutrient dense, anti-oxidant rich foods, ie. green leafy veggies, pulses, nuts and seeds; you also need to get plenty of sleep and daily exercise and there’s a list of supplements you can add to your diet during the 9 days to support your liver function. Ok, so no chugging white wine and bingeing pasta pesto and tubs of ice-cream in front of the TV? Gulp.
The idea behind the program is to reduce the toxic burden on your liver which, let’s face it, gets a bit of a hammering. Improved liver function supports your immune system, so there’s no better time to be giving yourself this kind of health glow up. It also results in more energy and focus, which can help to combat anxiety and depression.
There’s a full support package with the program, which includes a meal plan, recipes, comprehensive shopping lists, daily videos from Harry, live streamed HIIT classes (optional! – I did do these and they were short but intense) as well as a WhatsApp group for everyone taking part and, of course, Harry at the end of the phone when you need advice and reassurance. It’s really helpful to know you’re not alone and to hear about everyone else’ slip-ups and triumphs.
Want to know how I fared? Read on:
Day 1: I’m feeling optimistic. How hard can it be to cut a few minor foods out of my diet whilst also cooking for my hungry family and working from home, tantaisingly close to the biscuit tin…? I kick the day off with a hot water and lemon, as prescribed by Harry, whose lighthearted enthusiasm for the process is instantly catching. If detoxing is going to make me this chirpy I’m all over it. Poached eggs for breakfast a hearty soup for lunch and a veggie curry for tea? This is no hardship, I’ll nail it. I go to bed feeling full and smug. Being healthy is easy!
Day 2: I’m full of energy in the morning, which is quite unlike me, so replacing my glass of red wine (or two…) in the evening with a camomile tea must be having some effect, but a minor background headache is starting to make itself known. I assume this to be the caffeine withdrawal and I do love my morning cuppa but I will. Not. Quit. I down plenty of extra water and herbal tea to keep hydrated, but I’m glad to be working from home as I’m dashing for a tinkle every five minutes. TMI? Soz.
Day 3-6: Eeek, headache is raging and my energy levels have slumped. I’m lumping these days together as they feel like a bit of a blur. Can’t remember all of my food choices and it’d be quite boring to list everything, but suffice to say I am eating a lot of chickpeas, kale and avocado. Onions and garlic, as well as cruciferous vegetable (kale, cabbage, sprouts..) are supposedly good for supporting liver function, but I want biscuits and salty, carby snacks. Badly. Soups are my lunchtime saviour as I just roast a load of veggies and then blend with some stock, I find it an easy way to fill yourself up with nutritious foods quite quickly and stave off cravings. See also: fruit smoothies with seeds and peanut butter bunged in for good measure. I also make sure I have a bowl of pecans or hazelnuts nearby at all times.
Day 7-8: The finish line is in sight and, miraculously, a switch has been flipped. Even at the weekend when I’m usually indulging a bit more than during the week, I don’t seem to be craving my beloved coffee or cheeky crisps and wine nearly as much as I expected. The headache has disappeared and I’m bouncing out of bed in the mornings. I hardly recognise myself and I’m finding that I’m more focused and productive at my desk too. Maybe there is something to this detox thing?
Day 9: It’s the final day and there’s a universal consensus in our WhatsApp group to carry on until the end of the month as we are all loving the positive effects that have finally revealed themselves. Or maybe we are all just delirious with hunger? Either way, the results are in. I never weigh myself and this was never about trying to lose weight, but I do feel less bloated than usual and my jeans are significantly looser around the waist. Happily for me, my skin is vastly improved too, which is something I really struggle with. For me, this and the improvement in my focus and energy levels are the most significant improvement and if cheese and thickly buttered bread did not exist I would probably keep this up for life.
Fancy giving your liver the the boost it deserves and feel radiant with it? Thought so! Harry is running these every few weeks and the next one is a deeper 14 day detox, kicking off on 7 June 2021 – the perfect way to get out of the lockdown doldrums. Find out more about the program here.
Nutrition With Harry is part of Hot Yoga With Harry: Tel: 07973 392421 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org