Detox in the city

SINGAPORE - A trained microbiologist who spent over 15 years in the healthcare industry, Pooja Vig has found her real calling in nutrition, which she saw as an effective means of healing the body. With an advanced diploma in nutritional therapy and currently completing her masters, she offers a more scientific approach to detox, rather than a quick fix.

While there’s a definite increase in the number of people wanting to detox, “they are quite misinformed about it,” she notes.

“People who undergo detox tend to fall into different categories. Some see it as a quick fix and try to find a weekend programme. Others have taken steps towards a healthier lifestyle and want to take things to the next level.

"I also see people with specific health concerns such as allergies and digestive problems who seek detoxification as a way of addressing such symptoms.”

Which is why she developed “Detox in the City”, which she aptly describes as “the science of nutrition and the art of nourishment”.

The 21-day programme consists of a personal consultation on one’s health issues.

The fun part is that the consultation takes place in her bright, airy clinic and you are served healthy snacks like savoury rice patties and millet crackers with avocado salsa, washed down with ice cold water mixed with slippery chia seeds – a super food that’s packed with fibre.

You also get an organic fruit and vegetable box to take home with you and just as important, an armload of supplements and snacks.

These are to support your diet for the next three weeks, which will comprise one main meal (lunch), and two meals comprising a smoothie made of rice protein powder and a supergreen mix – to be blended with fruit and vegetables and taken with probiotics and digestive enzymes.

An accompanying manual offers some recipes to help you along, and there’s a good selection of smoothie suggestions for inspiration.

Surprise, surprise

Surprisingly, the smoothies are quite easy to drink, with a vague milky, chocolate hint. Add blueberries (but no strawberries as they’re allergens) or any other fruit of your choice and it’s a sweet and satisfying drink.

With breakfast and dinner a no-brainer, lunch is where you get to exercise your jaws with actual food. The biggest sacrifice you’ll have to make is to give up wheat (no bread or pasta), dairy, and an assortment of grains and nuts.

Organic chicken, grass-fed beef, lamb and seafood are allowed, which will come as a relief to those expecting a diet of rabbit food.

The idea is not to deprive, but to nourish, and the manual gives you a full list of what you can have and what you can’t. It’s a pretty decent list, and if you’re creative, your lunches can be very enjoyable.

But if you need a boost in the kitchen department, Ms Vig will do exactly that. She’ll come to your home, go through your kitchen and tell you what to throw out and what to fill your pantry with. She’ll provide a cooking demonstration as well as tips on how to detox your cabinets of harmful chemicals in plastics and detergents.

On top of this, she’ll also clip off some of your hair to be sent for a test to determine the level of toxicity in your system. Results take two weeks and will bring to light any mineral deficiencies you have, which will help her prescribe relevant diet changes or supplements to help.

If you’re used to indulging your every craving, the diet may take some getting used to. The good thing is you won’t feel particularly hungry, although you won’t feel full either. There may be times when you will fall off the wagon but just get back on it because the payback is worth it: you will feel cleaner, less tired and generally more alert.

Yes, boredom will set in if you don’t have time to plan your daily lunch menus, so vegetables and meat or fish will get mighty depressing after a bit. Eating out is challenging too, and it’s hard to find a food delivery service that will cater to dietary restrictions at reasonable prices.

The only decent one we found was Preparazzi (www.pre which offers a regular meal delivery service run by Jeremy Nguee who uses as many healthy ingredients as he can, and will tweak his menus to your needs as much as he can.

With his help in making your lunch worth looking forward to, and ample support from Ms Vig, this is one sensible diet that’s worth making the effort for.

Detox in the City is offered by The Nutrition Clinic (#04-07 Camden Medical Centre, Tel: 6735-2350) at $1,800 for the entire programme, inclusive of food box and supplements, hair test, kitchen visit and personal consultations.

This article was first published in The Business Times.