Ditch the detox, and have a Gentle January

Dec 31, 2020 | Nutrition, Physical Wellbeing

In this article Kirsten Chick, founder of Connect with Nutrition, tells us its time to reconsider your new year detox and have a ‘Gentle January’ instead.

‘Tis the season to try that juice fast, switch to salads, and have fruit smoothies for breakfast… or is it? Perhaps it’s time to consider Gentle January instead.

OK, so you may have over-indulged over the festive season, or even over most of 2020. And you may be inspired by the fresh motivation that the new year brings. But if, like me, you’re still in the frostier, darker months of the year, then your detox probably needs to be a little less cold and harsh.

By all means look at changing some patterns and habits, and creating a lifestyle that supports your health and happiness. You can do that in a much more nurturing way, however, and one that is better matched to the season you’re in. Here’s how and why.

Gentle January – the whys

  1. Salads, juices, smoothies and fruit are all cold and raw. That’s great in the warmer months, when we want more cooling foods and our digestive fire is strong. But in January Brrrrrr
  2. In fact, for many, the combination of a cold, damp environment and cold, raw foods is a recipe for digestive disaster.
  3. Suddenly cutting something out – refined sugar, for example – is the only way psychologically for some people. Unless you put extra nutritional support in, however, this may just pave the way for crashes, slumps, irritability and irresistible sugar cravings.
  4. There is no single perfect diet. Most approaches have pros and cons, and work better for some individuals than for others. What’s important is that the approach you choose is nutrient and fibre-rich, includes a variety of vegetables, protein sources and cold-pressed oils, feels good and is enjoyable to follow.
  5. When you make changes gradually and mindfully, they are much more likely to be sustainable. Especially when you are really paying attention to what suits your body best right now, rather than what the latest fad is telling you to do.

Gentle January – the hows

  1. Increase your vegetable intake with a variety of steamed, roasted and casseroled vegetables, and drink warm water regularly through the day.
  2. Lighten up mealtimes with less rich and highly refined food, but keep them warming, with soups, bakes and mild spices, such as cinnamon and ginger.
  3. Gradually reduce refined sugars, pastry, cakes, biscuits, white bread etc. and replace with smaller amounts of whole grain options – plus try adding more protein to breakfast to help keep blood sugar more stable.
  4. If you’ve been eating more cheese or meat over the festive season, then bring that to small to moderate levels. Replace quantity with quality, opting for pasture-fed and organic. If you are or decide to go vegetarian or vegan, focus on beans, lentils nuts and seeds rather than ultra-processed meat and cheese substitutes.
  5. Listen to your body: see if you can differentiate between cravings/habits and genuine needs.


So have a think about doing Gentle January this year, and maybe revisit the juice fast in the summer.


More about Kirsten Chick

Kirsten Chick, founder of Connect with Nutrition, is a nutritional therapist and author of Nutrition Brought to Life.
She runs a variety of workshops and courses online, including New Year Nutrition, a 1-hour workshop all about easing yourself gently into 2021 on January 19th at 7pm.



Enjoyed this article? Why not read our review of Nutrition Brought to Life.


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