Food Health Wellness

Holiday detox

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC by 2.0

The holidays are over, and we’ve rung in the New Year. Now it’s time to get back to work – and to our healthy diets. I’m sure we all indulged in a treat or two over the holidays and now our clothes are fitting tighter, or we’re experiencing digestive issues like bloating, gas, reflux, or constipation. Not to worry – I’m going to share some tips to help you detox the holiday goodies out of your system so you can get back to great health.

Holiday Detox

Let’s run through a typical day scenario of what a holiday detox should look like.

First thing in the morning when you wake up, before you do anything, drink a big glass of water. This will help your body to eliminate the metabolic waste from the day before, and will help you to start your day feeling hydrated. Some patients get concerned that a big glass of water will mean many trips to the bathroom, but this is important to help your body clear out waste and toxins. If you want to take this a step further, you can follow the glass of water with a glass of warm lemon water. The bitter taste of the lemon stimulates the digestive system and will encourage a bowel movement. For this to be effective, you should not eat anything or drink anything other than water, because it is the bitter taste that has the effect. If you haven’t tried this before then start with only a couple of drops from a fresh lemon, and squeeze it into a warm glass of water. You can work your way up to half a lemon by squeezing a bit more each day.

Now that we’ve hydrated, it’s time to think about our meals for the day. If you’re packing a lunch make sure that it is low in carbohydrates, high in healthy fat, with some moderate protein. Ideally, your meal should have lots of veggies.   You can even combine some of your holiday leftovers into a healthy lunch by making something like a turkey stew. To enhance the healthy fat in the meal, you can add coconut oil, olive oil, or grass-fed organic butter – it must only be grass-fed butter. Research has shown that when cows are pasture raised as nature intended, their milk contains higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids. This means the butter will as well. Omega 3’s have many functions in the body – one of the main functions is that it is a natural anti-inflammatory. This meal guideline should be the same for your dinner as well. If you had a lot of carbs over the holidays, then it may be tough to cut them out cold turkey, so I suggest reducing them down each meal so you are eventually eating a very small amount of carbs, such as a spoon size serving of something like quinoa. If you can go straight to reduced carbs, then you’ll notice the health benefits right away – bloating and gas will be greatly reduced in a day or two.

Our lunch is packed so now it’s time to think about breakfast. I’ll tell you about two of my favourite options. The first is called bulletproof coffee – this is brewed coffee that is blended with butter (only grass-fed!) or coconut oil. It may sound strange, but it’s actually quite energizing and filling. I make mine with coconut oil, and after I enjoyed it, I’m full and energized until lunchtime. Not everyone drinks coffee, so instead of coffee you can always blend coconut oil or butter with green tea. If you’re looking for another option, my favourite recommendation for people on the go is a protein shake. Protein is important for breakfast because it helps us focus and think clearly, without an energy crash. Our thoughts – which are neurotransmitters – are made from the building blocks of protein, called amino acids.   So having a breakfast with a moderate amount of protein is important. To help you stay full and energized until lunchtime, I recommend adding some healthy fat to the protein shake. You can do this by adding avocado oil, an avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, or grass-fed organic butter. To keep the shake low in carbs I recommend only using berries as they are lower in sugar than other types of fruit.

Last, but not least, our body cannot repair itself without a good night’s sleep. To help induce a restful night’s sleep you need to make melatonin – and it will only be made in the body when the room is completely dark. The test for this is to stick your hand up in front of your face when you’re in bed. If you can see your hand, your room isn’t dark enough. Sleep is important for many reasons, and we all know how we feel when we don’t get enough sleep. But melatonin production has another important function, aside from helping us fall asleep. It helps to heal our gut. This is especially needed after a month or two of eating inflammatory foods.

Happy holiday detoxing!

About the author

Dr. Joseph Steyr N.D.

I am a Naturopathic Doctor with a focus on biochemistry and endocrinology (hormones). My interest in research relating to long-term stress and the development of chronic disease led me to become a corporate health and wellness speaker. I see myself not only as a doctor, but also as an educator. My knowledge of conventional medical sciences and traditional health philosophies allows me to see a person’s health from multiple points of view so that I can educate my patients on which treatment options are best for their optimal health. You can reach me by email at or visit my website

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