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The Ultimate Pre-Holiday Cleanse Guide

With the summer holiday season on the horizon, many of us want to feel and look our best. Whether your goal is to tone up, improve your digestion or boost your energy levels, here are six simple and sustainable tips to elevate your eating habits and give your body a gentle reset without needing to buy anything special. 

Read on for our top recommendations, backed by Plenish Nutritionist Katie Morley, to help you feel tip-top year-round.

Six pre-holiday principles to help you feel your best

1. Focus on eating local, seasonal and nutrient-dense foods, including a variety of fresh and colourful produce daily. Aim for at least five portions (handfuls) of fruits and vegetables per day as these foods are linked to a lower risk of chronic health conditions, better blood sugar balance and fewer digestive issues. Non-starchy vegetables and fruits, like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables, can keep you full thanks to their fibre content bypreventing blood sugar spikes that increase hunger. Eating a diverse range of fruits and vegetables ensures your body gets the vital nutrients it needs as well as a range of beneficial plant chemicals, such as polyphenols. Polyphenols may reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body while potentially supporting a healthy microbiome by promoting good bacteria and reducing harmful bacteria, which can lead to improved digestion, immunity, and cognitive function.

2. Encourage effective digestion by chewing thoroughly and eating until you are about eighty percent full, as it takes your stomach about twenty minutes to signal fullness. Avoid snacking when possible and focus on consuming three balanced meals daily, ensuring at least half your plate consists of vegetables and fibre-rich foods. To improve digestion, incorporate bitter foods like rocket, chicory, dandelion leaf, and watercress, as these can stimulate digestive secretions, helping you better absorb nutrients. Optimise dietary fibre by consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, which contain polyphenols that can feed beneficial bacteria and promote microbial diversity. Stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the head to the colon, may significantly improve digestion and can be achieved through diaphragmatic breathing, gargling, humming, singing, or laughing.

3. Intermittent fasting, also known as time-restricted eating, is a popular topic in health and wellness. In essence, it involves not eating for a specific time period, allowing insulin levels to decrease and fat cells to release stored sugar for energy, followed by an eating window. The key to incorporating intermittent fasting in a sustainable way is finding an approach that fits your lifestyle. Popular methods include the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating between noon and 8 PM) and the 5:2 diet (eating normally for five days and consuming 500-600 calories on two fasting days). There is a growing body of research suggesting various health benefits of intermittent fasting, such as protection against cardiovascular disease, improved mental acuity and weight loss, although further research is needed to substantiate these claims. To experience the potential benefits of intermittent fasting, try our 5:2 Programme. It offers the perfect reset for your mind and body, particularly for busy lifestyles and a summer filled with indulgences.

4. Incorporating daily movement is essential for improving energy levels, enhancing mood, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Incorporating short bursts of exercise throughout the day can stimulate the production of mitochondria, which generate energy from glucose and oxygen, potentially increasing overall energy levels and improving oxygen circulation. Additionally, exercise can enhance mood by increasing the brain’s sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine, hormones associated with feelings of happiness, by boosting endorphin production, promoting positivity and reducing feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise varies for everyone and may include brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, with the main goal being to keep the body moving and avoid prolonged sitting. For those with desk jobs, integrating standing and sitting with a standing desk routine or setting reminders to move periodically can be beneficial.

5. Focusing on the health of your microbiome is crucial as it plays a central role in overall health. The microbiome refers to the diverse community of bacteria and microorganisms residing within our bodies, including the gut, skin, and vaginal microbiomes. At first, our DNA and how we are born (vaginal versus caesarean) can influence the composition of our gut microbiome, however, overtime, our microbiome is largely shaped by diet and environment. A varied diet with a plethora of fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, probiotic supplements such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp., and prebiotic foods like chicory, leeks, onions, and Jerusalem artichokes, which nourish beneficial bacteria, may be essential for maintaining a healthy microbiome. A balanced gut microbiome can bring a range of health benefits such as better digestion, strengthened immunity (as approximately 70% of it resides in the gut), improved blood sugar balance and enhanced cognitive function.

6. Smart supplementation is key, especially as summer approaches, to make sure your immunity remains strong, energy levels stay high and your body gets all the essential nutrients it needs to function optimally, especially with the added demands of travelling, attending parties, weddings and various social events. When it comes to boosting immunity, focus on the following: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, and probiotics. For increased energy, prioritise B-vitamins, Vitamin C, iron, zinc, magnesium and Coenzyme Q10. Top tip: supplementation is not a replacement for a healthful diet rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole-grains, nuts, seeds and healthy fats, alongside daily movement. Focus on building a healthy foundation through diet and exercise, and add supplementation to enhance positive results.


Author: Plenish Nutritionist, Katie Morley


Email: [email protected]