Feeling a bit fuzzy round the edges today? Well, help is at hand. As promised, the Alphabet Diet returns, but with a detox edge to it. Each day you can eat only one food beginning with a single letter, and you move through the list until you reach Z, at which point you can rejoin the real world. Of course it’s going to be mighty dull restricting yourself to one foodstuff per day, but it’s the price you have to pay for being gullible.
Avocado. This is the cause celebre du jour. Everybody is touting its health giving properties, so it must be good for you, mustn’t it? Packed full of antioxidants, though that may not be all good news as I’ve pointed out before.
Beetroot. Personally I hate the stuff, but it’s a must-have whizzed up in your NutriBullet. Bloody hell, the thought of drinking beetroot is enough to make me gag, and puking is a pretty good detox method as you’ll know if you’ve ever overdone the sherry or eggnog.
Celery. Allegedly it takes more energy to eat and digest it than the calories you’ll extract. High in micronutrients, allegedly. That would make them macronutrients, surely? And if they’re micronutrients, you don’t need a lot of them anyway, by definition.
Dandelion greens. The real health nuts swear by these, picked in the early spring. I have two reservations. They grow close to the ground and hence can be sprayed by any passing animal. And on that topic, in France it’s known as ‘pis en lit,’ which means piss the bed, because of the diuretic properties, so may not be suitable for a late night snack.
Endive/escarole. I think endive growers are the prime mover behind the extravagant health benefits claimed for this insipid vegetable. It’s one of those things that make you think it must be good for you if it tastes so grim.
Flax seeds. Another one you may wish to be wary of. My Nana was from Herefordshire, and flax seeds were in her family’s informal pharmacopoeia as a remedy for constipation. Just saying, be cautious.
Goji berries. These are still in the ascendant as a universal cure for what ails you. Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan, which tells you quite a lot about the credibility of claims for this innocuous berry. Some controversy over where they originally came from, but most of the world’s crop is currently grown in China, which may give you pause.
Hemp. I can think of ways of consuming hemp that don’t really fit in a detox diet. The seeds are said to provide lots of good fatty acids to help your system keep itself in tiptop form.
Ice water. This is one of the daffier ideas, and this is going to be an extremely tedious 24 hours for you. Drinking ice water makes your body work harder to maintain its temperature (yes, really) and this means your metabolism ramps up and enables you to burn calories and get rid of toxins. If you believe that you’ll believe anything, I reckon.
Jalapenos. Another source of dew fresh goodness. Allegedly the capsaicin speeds up your metabolism, and you burn fat quicker. Does that sound familiar?
Kale. Everybody’s banging on about this stuff and how great it is for keeping them at the peak of condition. I’ll simply point out that until relatively recently the only things that ate kale were cattle, for which it was grown as a forage crop. When you try it you’ll realise why.
Leeks. Some people swear that leeks are simply amazing at mopping up free radicals, so detoxing at a cellular level. I’m not convinced, but they do at least taste nice. Unlike kale.
Mung beans. If you believe all the hype about these modest legumes, you would eat only mung beans and live to be about 130 years old. I rather doubt it. They’re used a lot in India, where life expectancy, like that in Bolivia, is less than 67 years. Maybe they’re not so good for you after all, eh?