I don’t know about you, but I am definitely feeling like I indulged a little too much over the holidays. My pants are fitting a bit tighter, and my over-celebrating has transformed me into a bloated, sluggish mess. It’s time to finally get my diet back on track, and I love to jumpstart a healthy eating lifestyle with a 3-4 day detox.
I was always intrigued by the idea of detoxing or cleansing, but I have zero interest in starving myself or drinking some weird concoction of water, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper until I am so weak that I faint. This just never sounded healthy to me for some odd reason. Besides, when done this way, any weight you lose is sure to come right back once you begin to eat normal again.
So, I developed my own detox based on common practices of healthy eating. It focuses on eliminating toxic foods and overloading on tons of nourishing fruits and vegetables. Plus, this detox can easily be transformed into a healthy lifestyle simply by adding some lean proteins and good-for-you carbohydrates into the mix.
The first time I did this detox, I lost 7 pounds in 3 days! Granted, I know that was mostly water weight, and I retain water better than a camel in the middle of the Sahara. But that initial loss definitely helped to inspire long term changes. And that is really the primary goal of my detox. **I encourage you to try it for 3 or 4 days, and let me know how it goes for you.
Start the day right.
Begin your morning with a glass of warm water and fresh squeezed lemon. In fact, this is a good habit to keep after the detox is over. The benefits are well documented, and I’ve listed just a few here. Rich in Vitamin C, lemon water helps boost your immune system while flushing your body of toxins. The perfect combination for a detox. It also aids in digestion and acts as a natural diuretic. For an extra boost, add in a dash of cayenne pepper or some fresh grated ginger.
Relax, and stay away from vigorous exercise for a few days.
While detoxing, there is no need to stress your body. This should be a time of mindfulness and relaxation. If you’d like to get a little exercise, focus on basic yoga stretches or simply go for a walk.
Eliminate toxic foods.
For the duration of your detox, eliminate foods that are toxic and foods that people are commonly allergic or sensitive to. These are foods you would also be wise to seriously limit following your detox.
- Processed foods
- Added sugar
Drink plenty of water.
This is possibly the most important ingredient in flushing your body of toxins. Your body is nearly three-quarters water. The majority of your blood and every cell in your body is made of water. We need water for our bodies to function properly. The amount is different for every person, but the best measure of whether you are getting enough water is the color of your urine. If your pee is mostly clear, you’re well hydrated.
8 oz. coffee (w/ almond milk optional)
Smoothie – try your own healthy recipe based on my formula or one of the following suggestions.
- Berry Banana Smoothie – 1c. frozen berries, ½ banana, 2 cups spinach, 10oz. almond milk, 3T. hemp protein powder
- Healthy “Chocolate Milkshake” Smoothie
Choice of one of the smoothies from above -or-
Pureed veggie soup (as big a bowl as you’d like)
8 oz. matcha green tea – If you’re not up on all the amazing benefits of this powerful, antioxidant rich drink, you should be.
Choice of one of the pureed veggie soups (as big a bowl as you’d like)
One serving nuts
Unlimited non-starchy vegetables for snacking.
A 12-hour fast.
Remember to leave 12 hours between the last thing you eat at night and the first thing you eat in the morning. Intermittent fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, as well as giving your body a chance to reset before tackling the next day.
Post Detox Plan
Now that you’ve completed your 3-4 day detox, what’s next? Start by simply adding a complete dinner to your diet – a lean protein like chicken or fish with a side of quinoa or a sweet potato and a good portion of some green veggies. Do that for a few days, then add a couple healthy snacks into the mix – maybe an apple with almond butter, half an avocado, or veggies with a couple tablespoons of hummus.
Try to keep the basic tenets of the plan, but replace two of the meals with real food. In order to truly make it a lifestyle change, you have to come up with guidelines you can follow that are also realistic. If you are looking for ideas, check out the guidelines my family and I follow.
Increase your exercise. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You have to find something you love that challenges you to make regular exercise something you love instead of something you dread.
Have you gotten off track again? Simply come right back here, and start over. No need to beat yourself up. Just detox, reset, and get back on track. In fact, this detox is so easy, you could do it once a month as part of your regular plan.
**I am not a licensed nutritionist. This is simply my advice based on years of practice, research, and experience. You should always contact a licensed professional before making any major changes to your diet.