After the holidays, I always feel the need to detox! All of the overeating and indulging finally seems to catch up with me in January - my pants no longer fit and I find myself pulling my sweaters a little lower over my newly forming 'muffin top' - that's when I say, enough is enough.
I always get back to the same detox program. It is one that was introduced to me by my wonderfully brilliant Naturopath. When I tell most people that I am doing a detox, they often assume that I'm going on a juice only or no carbs, no fat type of 'diet'. Oh, they could not be more wrong. I often get criticized because many people simply don't believe in detoxes and quite frankly, I don't blame them. There are some seriously crazy detox programs out there. When I talk about a detox, I'm talking about a clean eating blitz - I'm not robbing myself of food or only letting myself eat liquids or smoothies. This is real food, real eating, no starving or crazy supplements.
IT'S NOT A DIET...
IT'S NOT A PHASE...
IT'S A PERMANENT LIFESTYLE CHANGE
Here are the basics that I follow:
Foods that I avoid or limit:
1. red meat or pork: I simply don't digest these foods very well
2. cow's milk dairy products: I am dairy intolerant, but removing this is something that everyone should try!! Don't get me started on why everyone should cut out cow's milk!
3. wheat/gluten: I also gluten intolerant, but here is another item which I think everyone should take a break from - permanently if they can handle it!
4. alcohol: now, I don't drink as it is, so this one is easy for me.
5. sugar/sweeteners: now this one I find the most challenging because I do often have a sweet tooth. I do allow myself organic honey, organic maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Allowing these seem to get me through
6. coffee: I remove it all together, but you could reduce yourself to one cup a day, but remember - no sugar and no milk added!
7. artificially processed foods: pretty much most things that come from a box or can. If it doesn't have natural ingredients, I stay away from it. Fresh is key!
So, you might be saying... 'what is left to eat?!?!'. Trust me, there is a lot left to enjoy!
Foods that I indulge in:
1. Fruit: strawberries, apples, raspberries, blueberries... these are just some of my favorites. Eat as many as you'd like!
2. Dark leafy greens and other vegetables: this time of year, enjoy beets, sweet potatoes, squash. I love cucumbers, kale, radicchio, peppers, carrots. The list goes on! Cook them up or eat them raw - I prefer mine cooked as much as possible as they are easier to digest
3. Lean proteins: chicken, turkey, fish or eggs.
4. Gluten-free whole grains: millet, amaranth, quinoa, brown rice.
5. Beans, lentils and legumes
6. Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds
7. Healthy fats: avocados, coconut oil, olive oil
I do this cleanse probably 2-3 times a year. What I love about it is that it has really taught me a lot about food, why I crave certain foods and just how amazing I can feel when I'm eating right. While I am not 'detoxing', to be honest, I usually follow the same rules. I cheat from time to time only because I can, but for the large majority of the time, I eat clean. From the first time I tried this cleanse, it has completely turned my life around - it has changed how I see food, how I eat and how I manage my feelings around food. I don't eat 'emotionally' like I used to.
If 3 weeks sounds like an eternity to you, then just start with 1 week, or even just a few days if you can do it. Start there and work your way up. Change doesn't take place overnight - do what you can in your own time. It has taken me a few years to finally figure out what my body needs to feel its best. This cleanse allows your body:
- to reduce inflammation
- to heal the digestive tract
- to reduce bloating
- to promote a healthy body weight
- to develop a healthier relationship with your food!
Well, my detox starts tomorrow! I will try to post some updates throughout the cleanse as well as share some of my favorite recipes. My body is so excited for this healthy change!