I’ve been on juicing retreats and felt amazing afterwards. Being away from my usual temptations, surrounded by people who are only juicing and not eating, lying in the sun and doing regular yoga has really been beneficial to me. However, I understand it can be difficult to do that even once a year due to our busy schedules and expense. However, there is no point in being mega-good for one week of the year and eating junk food for the other 51.

So, I designed a three-week cleanse for busy people who want to feel more energetic, less tired, eat healthily, but also want to retain some flexibility. If you have a dinner booked you won’t need to cancel it on this programme as I’ll give you the healthiest options to choose. I want to make healthy choices as easy as possible, because if it’s easy, there’s more chance you will stick to it.

Another good reason to do a detox or cleanse programme at least twice a year is to give the digestive system a rest. Did you know that our digestive system produces as much serotonin, the happy chemical, as our brain does? Therefore a sluggish gut can affect our mood, mental well-being and energy levels. When our digestive system is in good health, it absorbs nutrients and removes toxins more effectively. Just like the skin on our bodies is shed and regenerated every few months, so is the lining of our digestive system. A detox allows the lining to recover and regenerate from the stresses caused by the foods, drink, chemicals and drugs we consume.

THE HISTORY OF DETOX

The principles of detoxification aren’t new. In fact, they originate from the ancient Egyptian and Greek ideas of autointoxication, which acknowledged that some foods can cause toxins harmful to the body. Every religion promotes fasting, from Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, and is traditionally associated with penitence and purification. As such it has played a part in various cultures for over a thousand years. However, as yet, no scientific evidence has proven that detox diets are effective, therefore some scientists have declared we don’t need to detox or cleanse the body as it has methods of cleansing itself.

This is true in principle. The body has processes for removing toxins through sweat and faeces and the lymphatic system, but in our modern times these can become less effective due to being exposed to chemicals through pesticides and preservatives in our food, pollution and drugs, the excesses of food and alcohol we consume, and our busy lifestyles.

Recent research showed that having two days of fasting a week is very beneficial to your health. As well as contributing to weight loss, having two days a week of 500 calories for women or 600 calories for men has been shown to regulate your blood sugar, which can lead to improved energy levels, and can also be protective against heart disease and illness. My experiences with my clients –and myself –have shown time and time again that detoxes are incredibly beneficial for allowing the system to rest and recharge.

My experience as an integrative medical doctor is that most illness is caused by chronic inflammation in the body, and this inflammation is mainly caused by the foods we eat as well as highlevels of stress. Research has shown that inflammation is a contributing factor to cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A cleanse programme is a good kick-start for reducing inflammation and introducing a healthier way of life and eating.

MY ADVICE

This three-week cleanse will make you feel better than ever by gently weaning you off sugar and resetting your metabolic balance. It will help you regain your energy and vitality, lose weight and feel confident and fabulous. I’ve tried loads of detox and weight-loss plans throughout my life and I’ve taken the best of all of them and put them into my three-week cleanse.

Based on my experiences, I honestly believe this is the easiest plan to follow without having to hibernate for three weeks and give up work and your social life. People often presume a detox is just about what they eat and put into their bodies, but it’s also important to cleanse your mind, use good natural products on your skin which contain few or no chemicals and let go of negative emotions in order to really restore your energy.

So how does it work? Week one is an induction week, where you very gently reduce your bad habits, choosing instead unprocessed foods and fruits and vegetables. In weeks two and three we add in more liquid meals and supplements for a deeper cleanse. The three week cleanse is available in my book The Tiredness Cure.