The detox of all detoxes

Along with the time between bikini wax appointments my carbohydrate intake this winter has been steadily increasing. Now, where there are good carbs and big knickers, neither present a particularly big problem. Unless that is, you’re gearing up for a winter sun holiday. Where there is a need to prepare for the beach there is a usually a detox waiting in the wings. I present, the detox of all detoxes.

Some of the ingredients of the detox of all detoxes


Next to ‘superfood’, ‘antioxidant’ and ‘anti-ageing’, the word ‘detox’ grinds me down a bit. Wherever you see it written you can usually guarantee it’s accompanied by a million empty promises and a serious commitment of £$€.

Detoxes can often be faddy, hard to follow and a downright pain in the backside for all involved – especially the long suffering families and partners of the miserable detoxee all too often found rocking in a corner, working their way through an entire iceberg.

But when it comes to the detox of all detoxes, I think I’ve cracked it. Before I go on I must hold my hands up and confess this isn’t a brainchild of mine. I first did this under the watchful instruction of former personal trainer and now good friend (funny how we get on so much better these days, now we spend very little time in the gym together…) StreTch Rayner.

In October 2010 I followed this for a week. I dropped 15lbs, a dress size and most importantly, I kept it off.

Enter “Fish & Greens”: the detox of all detoxes

Fish & Greens is a 7-10 day protocol that comprises of:

o Fish (any variety providing it’s not battered, crumbed or coated)
o Greens (especially the leafy cruciferous ones – you’ll get bonus points for those)
o Good fats (grass fed butter, ghee, olive oil, olives, avocado, coconut oil etc)
o Good fats also include eggs & nuts (both advised in moderation)
o Some green fruit (apples, pears, kiwis)
o A daily portion of berries with ground flaxseed
o Green tea (loads)
o Water (equally as much)
o No coffee*, black tea or alcohol

It’s that simple. Nothing more. Nothing less. It doesn’t need to be expensive, or boring, or leave you hungry. It won’t compromise your health.

o Fish is a superb source of low fat protein (amongst so many other things)
o Our bodies as good as bow down to us the more green we pile into them
o Good fats won’t make us fat but instead fuel us along in the absence of any significant carbohydrates
o The berries and recommended fruits that are relatively low in sugar provide additional fibre to keep us nice and ‘regular’ and do yet more of the detoxifying work for us

Some of the meals I’ve eaten on ‘Fish & Greens’ this week

Fish and greens meals

This is the third time I’ve embraced “Fish & Greens” and it never fails to do the job. It leaves me feel refreshed, alert and full of bags of confidence to hit the beach.

The first time definitely wasn’t easy so here are my top tips for nailing this detox of all detoxes:

1. Get organised: plan your meals, clear your cupboards, restock with only the good, allowed stuff and crack on. No packed lunch for work and cod three nights on the trot is going to drive you to destruction
2. Ignore your colleagues: no one will comprehend quite what you’re doing. They may even call you a freak. Plough on, chow down merrily on your spinach and smoked mackerel lunch, safe in the knowledge you’ll have more luck at the Christmas party than they do this year – especially when it comes to zipping up your party gear with ease
3. It’s not a diet, it’s a reset: I kept those 15 lbs off because I didn’t hoover down a yard of Jaffa Cakes once the 7 days was up. I’d never been so grateful for a bit of roast chicken breast and a sautéed new potato! You’ll genuinely appreciate whole, clean foods so much more after a week of fish and greens. Don’t think of it as a mere 7 day quick fix, look at it as a bit of a reset or the start of something awesome. It’ll really help kick cravings into touch – but I can’t promise you’ll not start to yearn for a crunchy bowl of cruciferous stuff from time to time.

Have you ever done a detox in the past? Think you’d be up to giving this one a go?

*potentially easier said than done if you’re a bit of a coffee fiend (guilty as charged). This time round I must confess I didn’t drop the coffee. Blinding headaches and mood swings are as good as inevitable and I honestly didn’t think my husband deserved that.

17 thoughts on “The detox of all detoxes

  1. Yes! This is exactly what I needed to read! I’m becoming increasingly stressed about shifting a few lbs before the Christmas and new year parties arrive, and this seems the ideal way to go about it. Thank you!!

    • Hey Lucy, thanks for stopping by. Good luck on giving fish & greens a go. It may seem tough in the beginning but you’ll certainly reap the rewards. Be sure to check back in and let me know how you get on. If you need any more of a helping hand, just ask.

      • Thanks Ruth! I do have a few questions before I get started tomorrow:
        – How literally do you mean ‘greens’? Is the idea to only eat fruit and veg which is green? No mushrooms, carrots, etc?
        – Can grapes or other green fruits not mentioned be included?
        – Can berries be any type? Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries? How much do you count as a portion, and the same question for flaxseed?
        Sorry if these seem obvious/too detailed – but I just want to make sure I’m going to get it right! 🙂
        – Would you advise against including beans and pulses?

      • Hey Lucy, apologies for the delay. I’m on hols at the moment.

        * Greens, yip. Literally. Nothing more, nothing less. Why? Because cruciferous veggies more or less have the best health properties of the lot
        * No green fruits other than those listed. Why? Because they have a comparably higher sugar content – especially grapes (sorry!)
        * Berries – any type, sure. Portion to me = a handful, flaxseed I tend to have x 2 dessertspoons as a portion
        * Beans and pulses are a brill source of fibre. The only time I’d advise not including them is if you react badly to them – ie bloat up or have lots of wind shortly after eating them.

  2. I was really excited to see this post as well! I am looking forward to trying this detox as a way to reset some cravings and start with a clean slate before removing sugar, alcohol and refined carbs from my day-to-day diet. I had the same questions Lucy did and your answers are very helpful. To clarify though, regarding beans/legumes, even though they aren’t listed in your “no more, no less” list, it is OK to include them? Also, I assume no dairy or grains? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Breeha,

      Thanks for checking in. Really glad you’ve found the post useful. You must let me know how you get on. Lots of people tend to have an allergy to legumes without realising (hence their exclusion) but if you tolerate them well, go for it. They’re a brill source of fibre and protein in my opinion. And a big no-no to dairy and grains. Enjoy. I have every confidence it’ll leave you feeling fantastic!


    • There’s definitely something about the crunchy deliciousness of greens that leaves a girl feel incredible, right? Lovely to hear from you Ffion.

  3. I’ve been wanting to start eating healthier and cleaner for a while, and been looking on loads of different blogs/websites. Im so glad I’ve stumbled across your blog for many reasons! You seem to be one of the only blogs I have found that is from the UK and buys food I can actually get hold of (student, you see. big fan of lidl!) I’m going to start fish and greens tomorrow! Wish me luck!

    • Oh Charlotte, what a lovely comment. Thank you, it’s much appreciated. In exchange, here’s a little something to make you smile… I trotted off to Lidl today to stock up on veggies, bag for life in hand. I so foolishly got a trolley. Filled it up and needed to walk the thing back home with me then walk it all the way back to the store. The shame, the shame… Good luck with fish and greens. Enjoy!

  4. Oh I officially completely love you! It is so nice to have a clean eating blogger in the UK, I always hate going onto these lovely foreign blogs and being hideously saddened by the fact I cannot buy the produce they are going on about over here! Your blog is truly excellent, and browsing through cheered up my 12 night shift intensely!

    Have you got any recommendations for clean night shift eating? I always feel really bad whenever I read articles telling me eating at 3 in the morning is awful for me, because being on a mix of nights and day shifts I cant avoid it!

    Many thanks!

    • Oh Eloise! What a lovely, lovely thing to say. Welcome aboard! There is indeed a lot written about meal timings and when’s best for us to eat because the majority of us, late at night or early hours in the morning are asleep and not active or in a position to be burning off what we’re eating. That said, I CrossFit with a number of doctors and nurses that work night shifts and are in truly excellent shape – even when they’re eating dinner at 4am… Unfortunately nutrition advice is positioned as all too black and white – do this, do that, don’t do the other. But this doesn’t take into consideration that we’re all individuals quite often with lives that don’t allow us to do things as per the textbook guidance… My top tips for your shifts would be to make sure you’re really focussed on balancing your blood sugar. So think about a little bit of protein at every meal, avoiding too many stimulants (especially coffee), no refined sugars, and low GI carbs. Perhaps things like a bit of dark chocolate with some nuts and a few berries, an egg frittatta which is easy to cook in bulk and have across your shifts, I’m also a big fan of a bowl of oats any time of day 🙂 So, keep doing what you’re doing but be mindful of the choices you’re making. And, avoid the vending machine like the plague… 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I look forward to having you around. Ruth.

  5. I couldn’t have read this post at a better time! I am also in the middle of a cleanse right now, I decided to go with a Clean Eating one in the hopes that when I am done it will be an easy transition into eating clean from now on! Great Article!

    • Ah, great stuff. You’ve totally got this. A clean eating detox will give you a whole new lease of life. Hang in there, good luck.

  6. Hi Ruth, had a read of your blog today and I must say I’m hooked! (Your sister’s boyfriend recommended my husband and I give your blog a look). We’re just about to give fish and greens a go and I’d like to ask a few questions…
    – What is the delicious looking seeded item in the bottom left corner?
    – Which seeds would you recommend?
    – With the good fats such as nuts and avocado, what portion per day would you recommend?
    – What would you recommend for breakfast? I’m not able to eat eggs on their own and so unsure of a good breakfast choice.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hi Melissa,

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments. Welcome aboard!

      * The seeded dish are some homemade fish cakes. I recently passed the recipe on to Sarah and Will so am sure they could pass it on again 🙂

      * I love all seeds, especially for giving salads an extra crunch – poppy seeds and sesame seeds are my favourites for that but chia and flax are also fab and packed full of nutrients. Google will throw up lots of recipes for the latter.

      * I have one small handful of nuts and half an avocado daily as a general rule

      * Breakfast can be absolutely anything. We’re so unnecessary governed by what we’ve had marketed to us as suitable breakfast choices. Think outside the cereal box. One of the easiest, most nutritious breakfasts is a portion of dinner leftovers in fact.

      Thanks again for checking in. Be sure to keep me posted.

  7. Pingback: 6 weeks to go… | Neon Trainers

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