Published on November 19, 2013 | by Holly Gilbert


Detox on the Cheap


A selection of fruit

Opt for healthier choices like fresh fruit and vegetables to keep your body in balance [Mary Clarke]

As first term draws to a close, you may feel the effects of a student lifestyle are starting to take its toll on your liver, prompting you to consider a much needed detox. But where do you begin?

There are countless options to choose from, some are very basic and others downright extreme. If you are looking for a simple and fairly cheap way to detox safely, you might consider the newest celebrity favourite, the ‘5:2 diet’.

The ‘5:2’ is fairly self-explanatory; as part of your healthy lifestyle, on two days out of seven you consume only 600 calories or less. This fasting technique is used to boost metabolism and critical enzymes that can become compromised and damaged through over-eating, as well as allowing your digestive tract a well earned rest from processing what you eat.

River Cottage chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has hailed this lifestyle change a positive and revolutionary way to look at food. This is also a budget-friendly way to introduce a fairly mild fast into your life, by replacing your two-day pizza habit with a low-calorie alternative. You may well find you feel a lot healthier.

The juicing option however is not so cost effective. Needing a combination of fresh and extraordinarily healthy ingredients, which requires a rather expensive trip to Holland and Barratt for some interesting-sounding powders and mixtures that are meant to help your new healthy lifestyle.

It is never recommended to adopt a liquid-only diet for more than a few days, and extra care needs to be taken when transitioning back to solid food including a lot of steamed vegetables and plain rice.

Fruit Juices

Liquid-only diet should be limited to a few days at a time [Mary Clarke]

It is all very ‘Whole Foods Market’ admittedly, but the benefits from a short fruit and veg smoothie detox can boost your energy levels, flush toxins from the body and leave you feeling (when done properly and in theory) refreshed and revitalised.

Juicing doesn’t have to sit at the extreme end of the spectrum either; you could simply replace one meal a day with a juice to get one of your five-a-day into your system and treat your body to some important vitamins and nutrients.

If juicing sounds like a bit of a pain, the ‘3-Day Fruit Flush’ is a quick and relatively cost-effective way of treating the body to a healthy kick without the demands of a longer detox programme. Due to the lack of fat in this diet, three days is the optimum time to commit, allowing your body to effectively digest and absorb essential nutrients from non-processed foods; something your body will thank you for.

On day one, drink only protein shakes; powder mixes can be bought from most supermarkets as well as shops including Holland and Barratt, but be cautious of the sugar content in some of the more elaborate flavours.

On day two and three you should eat fresh fruit every two hours. Enjoy a variety of fruits of your choice, just make sure they are fresh rather than tinned, frozen or dried.

For dinner, have a plate of non-starchy vegetables and a very small portion of lean protein (turkey breast can be fairly cheap as is a single portion of fresh fish). It is recommended you refrain from exercise during the time you are on the fruit flush, as your calorie and fat intake will not support strenuous activity.

The cheapest way to detox is to commit to drinking two litres of water a day. It feels a lot but walking around dehydrated can have a profound effect on mood, concentration, fatigue and brain function. Doctors recommend that we drink before getting thirsty, as this is an indicator that we are becoming dehydrated. More often than not, what we identify as hunger pangs are actually signs of thirst; meaning we over-eat and under-hydrate.

Some of the more extreme body cleanses like the ‘Lemonaid’ cleanse sound decidedly unappealing. This particular detox demands you to give up all solid food (no matter how healthily you may be eating) and drink a cocktail of water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for up to ten days.

Bramley Apples

Borough Market is a great place to get quality fresh product [Mary Clarke]

In some versions of the diet you are expected to drink a glass of salt water in the morning as well as a laxative at night. Popular among many celebrities including Beyoncé, this dangerous and pointless fad is said to cleanse the body’s digestive system and rid it of toxins to obliterate cravings for junk food.

But the thought of only drinking for five days is enough to turn anyone into a wholefoods fanatic and certainly not for the faint hearted. Whether you want to pack your body full of goodness or test your reserve on a very extreme fasting cleanse, research is paramount. It must be remembered that the celebrities undertaking detox diets are often under the supervision of a professional.

The most important thing is to have respect for your body. Although students sometimes feel young and invincible, the damage they subject their bodies to can have fairly major effects. Be kind to your liver, drink water, eat less sugar and more vegetables. These are all simple and cheap ways to ensure that you keep your body healthy without feeling you have to succumb to a fad.



Here are a few recipes that we have tried and tested using ingredients that don’t cost the earth:


3 apples
2 carrots
2 celery stalks

This juice is really tasty, sweet and inexpensive to make. The carrots are packed full of vitamin A and the apples aid digestion which helps rid the body of toxins. To boost your iron intake, replace the celery with 12 spinach leaves.


Half a grapefruit
15 grapes
120g blueberries

This juice is sweet, delicious and packed full of antioxidants from the blueberries and the grapefruit. If you add low-fat natural yoghurt to the mix, it also makes a very tasty smoothie.


Half a beetroot
Half a cucumber
5 carrots

Beetroot regenerates red blood cells and is a great way to flush toxins from the body, but generally should be used with other fruits or vegetables. This juice is refreshing and you can feel the goodness coursing through your body after you have drunk it.


8 carrots
2 oranges
1 lemon

This is an easy way to incorporate more vitamin C and carrots into your diet. Carrots are rich in vitamin A which helps to ward off heart disease and improve your vision. Add ginger for spice.




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