I’ve just returned from a mini getaway to Austin, Texas where I’m fairly certain I ate my weight in chips, guacamole, and barbecue. The margaritas and Lonestar beer didn’t exactly help either. This, coupled with the beginning of Spring, has me ready for a detoxifying and energizing cleanse. If you’re looking to do the same – and the idea of starving yourself or subsiding on liquids is as scary to you as it is to me – here are some key factors to take into consideration. They’re certain to get out the gunk, in the healthiest of ways. No maple syrup or cayenne pepper needed.
The lowdown: Most commercial cleanses tout an unhealthy formula of calorie restriction combined with a lack of nutrients. Not to say they don’t show any results, many people will drop a few pounds quick on these. However, much of what you’re losing on this kind of extreme diet is water weight, which lasts only until you refill again on fluids. And generally, any permanent weight you do lose is muscle, not fat. Without adequate protein in the diet (which liquid diets don’t offer much of), your body will take it from its most available source: your muscle tissue. This slows the metabolism way down as a way of preserving the muscle. Alas, when you go back to eating normally, you gain weight faster and from fewer calories. That’s not to say every cleanse is bad. Done in a healthy way, a cleanse can boost energy, improve mood, rid the body of toxins and inflammation, strengthen the immune and digestive system, and leave you with an overall sense of wellbeing.
The keys to success: (whether you try it for a week or a month)
- Drink the proper amount of water to flush toxins out of your kidneys and liver – your weight x ½ = ounces water. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, you need 100 ounces of water per day.
- Eliminate refined sugar, saturated fats, caffeine and alcohol. This will give your digestive system a much needed break.
- Eliminate the foods that often cause sensitivities or reactions, like gluten and dairy.
- Eliminate processed foods, which are known to trigger inflammation.
- Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, this will assist with detoxifying any harmful substances from your body.
- Eat a diet rich in fiber. Fiber-rich foods help eliminate toxic build up and cleanse the intestines.
- Add in foods to your diet that cleanse the body’s detoxification organs like the liver, intestines, kidneys, and skin. These foods include: Apples, Avocados, Beets, Blueberries, Cabbage, Celery, Cranberries, Flaxseed, Garlic, Grapefruit, Kale, Legumes, Lemons, Seaweed, and Watercress.
* Spa’s, saunas, relaxation, and sleep work wonders with all of the above.