The New Year is here: are you feeling as healthy and vibrant as you can be? If your holiday celebrations have left you vowing to turn over a new leaf once and for all, a food-based cleanse may be the perfect solution.
Weight loss, increased energy, improved sleep, and reduced cravings are all results of detoxing. If you thought that starvation, strange liquid concoctions, and bulking up on a bevy of pills and supplements were all requirements for cleansing, forget everything you have heard! Cleansing with food is safe, and perhaps more effective, than drastic, harsh techniques.
Ready to get clean? Bulk up on leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, clean water, and high-quality protein sources. Focus on eliminating common food irritants such as: processed foods, wheat, dairy, soy, caffeine, and sugar. Read on for more tricks-of-the trade to set you up for cleansing success.
1- Scheduling Smarts: Planning a detox is like planning a vacation; you need to look at your calendar and see when you can take ‘time off’ from food and alcohol indulgences. Chances are you will never have a few weeks free of social commitments and mealtime obligations but be strategic and choose when temptation will be at a minimum.
2- Pre-Detoxing: Sugar and caffeine are the two culprits that cause the most withdrawal symptoms. If you are particularly sugar or caffeine dependent, try to wean off the stimulants fully before starting to cleanse. A sugar and caffeine-free diet help to keep cravings in check, energy levels up, and will make the removal of other ‘favorite’ foods much easier and less tempting.
3- Kitchen Cleanout: To make your cleansing plan easier to stick to, give your refrigerator and pantry a makeover. Get rid of the foods that tempt you. Do you like to mindlessly munch on candy after dinner? If it’s not in the house, your habit becomes much easier to break. Once cleaned out, take a trip to the market and stock up on leafy greens, citrus, berries, and cleanse friendly snacks so you can stay on track.
4- Exit Strategy: How you end your cleanse is just as important as how you begin. Give yourself a few days or a week to gradually re-introduce the foods you have omitted. You have just diligently worked to clean out your body, so it would be foolish to start throwing all sorts of toxins back in. People sometimes find that they have previously unnoticed sensitivities to wheat or dairy, and they feel so much better by continuing to leave them out of their diets. Others are shocked that their once overwhelming cravings for coffee, sweets, cheese, and/or bread have vanished.
Amanda Skrip (www.amandaskrip.com) provides culinary and wellness services to inspire healthy living. She specializes in food-based cleanses, weight-loss, and eating for energy. Amanda teaches cooking classes and wellness workshops around the city including Detox 101 and a Natural Foods Boot Camp. You can check her schedule here (http://www.amandaskrip.com/?page_id=138)