Healthy regular Kim Wilde extols the virtues of detoxing for real vitality, especially at this time of year.
Last summer, I made a video and DVD called '10 Day Detox' with one of Healthy's original experts, Michael van Straten (find him on page 123). He'd spotted me taking part in Channel 5's 'Celebrity Detox Camp' in Thailand, where myself and some other celebs followed a pretty intense cleansing programme. No solids passed our lips, while daily, self-administered enemas continued the cleansing 'down there', too. Luckily, the detox Michael had in mind for me was less extreme. For a start, there wouldn't be an enema hose in sight. Plus, as a busy working mum, I needed a plan that didn't involve flying to exotic locations.
Detoxing with Michael was a great learning experience. First, he brought home to me the importance of quality food, using as much organic produce as possible. He also dispelled the myth that cutting foods out is good, telling me that a little of everything was fine - even giving in to 'temptation'. You just need a certain amount of awareness and will power to manage your weight and stay healthy. Michael also reinforced something I learned in Thailand: I need to take time out for me. Sounds simple, but it's something I had overlooked for ages (as anyone with kids will tell you), with no notion of the impact it was having on my wellbeing. Michael champions massage, exercise and simple beauty treatments as a way to win back quality time for yourself and enhance your health in the process.
The detox itself also left me some good health legacies. It didn't just help me rein in bad eating habits and lose weight, it got my mind and soul back in tune, too. At the time, detoxing put me on a bit of a high, and as my spirits lifted I found myself getting more done. Piles of paperwork and other clutter were sorted and cleared. In general, I find detoxing improves my concentration and I'd recommend it before starting any important project or task.
The programme is designed to support immunity with thorough internal cleansing, and having successfully completed it, I enjoyed a winter free from my usual round of colds and chest complaints. I should also mention the strong nails, brighter skin and shinier hair wich I noticed almost at once. So what pain did I, as a confirmed foodie, have to endure for such gain? Well, the first two days were difficult. They're the fasting days, although organic fruit juices, hot water and organic, unwaxed lemons help you through. I also found staying busy about the house kept my mind off the hunger. But after that initial hurdle, I felt fully motivated and I just couldn't envisage letting myself down.
Day three brought fresh fruit and vegetables back on the menu as well as herbal teas. Then, more simple food was introduced over the remaining seven days, so I never really felt I was punishing myself. The detox also drove home the importance of eating my greens. I discovered the French - famous lovers of full-fat foods, and wine - have a pretty low incidence of heart disease. And that's attributed to them eating a whopping 17 times more vegetables than us.
The one thing I did miss was salt. It's amazing how we rely on it for flavour and, as a result, how much we can overdo it. I've since made a real attempt to lower my family's salt intake and, personally, have noticed a reduction in fluid retention - and the way my clothes fit.
Although it's good to keep busy during a detox, I would advise you not to try anything too vigorous, as you won't have the energy. My husband, Hal, is always running and lifting weights and he missed 'proper' exercise too much when he tried the programme. But if you think it's for you, autumn is a great time to detox. You'll build immunity to help ward off winter wheezes and it can help you shed a few pounds ready for Christmas. Do write (c/o Healthy) and let me know how you get on.
Looking back, my trip to Thailand was a very positive time for me. However, I've not tried colonic irrigation since. I prefer to do things the other way round - look after my digestion by making sure what I put in my mouth isn't rubbish.
Wilde World: My best healthy breakfast
What: a bowl of organic muesli with live, organic yoghurt and prunes
Why: Live yoghurt replenishes friendly bacteria which are vital for proper digestion and important for natural immunity. Prunes add healthy sweetness and are rich in anti-ageing antioxidants as well as fibre. All in all, it provides a variety of complex carbs that keep me going till lunch.