Many of you may feel naughty after your summer vacation chilling on a beach sipping Piña colada, making lots of love, and doing nothing.
Your regular gym routine? Forget about it. You’re too busy playing in the sun. Now that summer vacation is almost over, you’re feeling…. a bit out of shape.
So you wonder, “Should I jump on a juice cleanse and fast to lose that stubborn weight after indulging this holiday?” Summer detox, anyone?
However, just the thought of drinking bitter green juice with kale, spinach and cucumber may not sound too appetising, let alone drinking green juice straight for 3 days or longer.
So what’s the best way to “detox” without starving yourself?
*Disclaimer: I’m not against juice cleanses. I think juice cleanses have their place. However, the purpose of this article is to talk about ways to cleanse without going on a juice cleanse. While a juice cleanse/fast may help you get back on track temporarily, I’d argue that the more pertinent issue is to learn to eat the right foods and incorporate healthy habits daily, for the long term. Many people are back to square one after a cleanse because they were not able to change their habits and turn to a healthier way of eating.
Here are 10 manageable and easy steps to improve your health and improve your digestive system (yes, detox):
#1. Eat More Raw Fruits and Vegetables
You may not be vegan, or even vegetarian. However, you can still incorporate more whole, raw fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Summer is the best time to eat more raw fruits and veggies given the hot weather. You’re likely to be sweating a lot so fruits and veggies can also quench your thirst given their high water content.
Try to include whole fruits and greens in your diet. When you juice the vegetables, you take away the fiber, which is crucial for digestion. If you really want to drink your greens and fruit, you can blend them. This way, you preserve the fiber and other nutrients in the fruit.
Breakfast is probably the best time to incorporate more fruit in your diet, since many of us may prefer sweeter and juicier foods in the morning. It can be as simple as cutting the fruit and eating it in the morning. You can have watermelon, apples, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, bananas…whatever floats your boat.
Yes, if you don’t have time to chew, you can make your own morning smoothie.
Eat a huge salad for lunch/dinner! Make a salad with lots of raw greens such as kale, spinach or even fruits like tomatoes and cucumber, and make your own dressing.
The easiest would be to use balsamic vinaigrette (I prefer grape must), a drizzle of olive oil (don’t go too heavy on it), and a few drops of lemon juice. You can also try raw apple cider vinegar, though this tends to be a bit sour so I like to add a bit of coconut sugar or even date paste to sweeten the vinegar.
Instead of using a store-bought creamy dressing like Caesar Dressing, I suggest using an avocado to replace the condiment. Avocado makes the salad creamier and gives the salad a healthy dose of fat. One avocado will do the trick.
Since avocado is an oily fruit, you can skip the olive oil and just add your favorite herbs/spices on the salad. I love adding nutritional yeast for an extra cheesy flavor (so you can skip the cheese), as well as a pinch of Himalayan salt and onion powder.
Check out these 3 kale recipes to kick start your “detox” plan.
Since my conversation with Dr. James Costello, I’ve started incorporating more raw foods into my life. My digestion has improved and I’m eliminating better. I also feel lighter (hey you don’t want drag to weigh you down).
You tend to sweat more during the summer so drink up. I’m not talking about sodas or processed and refined sugar-laden juices. I’m talking about filtered water (H2o).
Of course if you eat enough fruits you may not need too much water. However, it is unlikely you’re fruitarian so you’re likely going to need more water to flush out your toxins.
If water sounds too boring to you, add a piece of fruit like orange to sweeten the water.
Yes, and start your day with warm water and lemon to boost your digestive system.
#3: Cook at Home
There can be quite a lot of refined sugars, oils and processed ingredients when you’re eating out, even at some “healthy” restaurants, especially if you have not inspected the ingredients and don’t know where the foods are coming from.
So the best bet is to eat at home and cook your own meal.
If you’ve indulged for a week, stay at home and make yourself a salad. Limit your oil intake and fill up with fruits and vegetables!
And if you really need to go out, choose a trustworthy, organic and healthy restaurant.
#4: Break a Sweat and Breathe
When you’re exercising at a relatively high intensity level, you are working your respiratory system which promotes detoxification. You’re also going to be sweating, stimulating the colon and flushing the toxins through the skin and lymphatic system.
And yes, when you incorporate simple breathing exercises daily, you can increase the flow of fresh blood and promote better lung health.
#5: Lay off Alcohol
Yes, cut down your drinking. Better yet, don’t drink.
Alcohol is dehydrating to your body. While some may argue that moderate alcohol use can potentially reduce risk of heart disease, alcohol consumption also dramatically increase risk of dying form other causes such as cancer, cirrhosis.
And if you’ve drank too much over the holidays, your liver needs to break down the alcohol consumed. You adding more alcohol to your system, while your liver is still processing alcohol consumed previously, will slow it down from doing its job.
#6: Cut down Meat and Dairy Consumption
“Wait, are you telling me to turn vegan? I need my meat!”
No, I’m not telling you to turn vegan, though I do advocate eating a mostly, if not completely, plant-based diet.
Since we are exposed to toxins from the environment etc daily, we need more alkaline substances to balance our pH, which is why I suggest eating more vegetables and fruit, which are alkalizing.
Meat and dairy by nature are acidic. It is more likely than not that your body is too acidic given your indulgence in dairy products and meat over the holidays.
Most meat you see these days is usually full of antibiotics and chemicals. While organic grass-fed meat maybe a better option, they are still acid-forming, and can take a lot of time to digest (well unless you eat your meat raw some argue).
Dairy foods are high in calories, fat and cholesterol, and can accumulate dangerous amounts of environmental chemicals. Dairy may also contain dangerous bacteria such as E.Coli, and can potentially lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
#7: Watch out for Packaged “Nutrition” or “Energy” Bars
You may think you’re healthy grabbing a “health” bar post-workout. Think again.
Many nutrition bars like Clif Bar and ThinkThin contain processed ingredients such as soy protein isolates and casein. If you’re looking to detox, I’d avoid these bars. For instance, soy protein isolates went through extensive heat processing, and can potentially lead to conditions such as diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, allergies, thyroid problems and brain damage. Casein is also linked to cancer promotion.
Check out these four ingredients to avoid in energy bars.
And…if you’re in a rush… you may want to opt for a pre-sprouted bar void of refined ingredients and contain nutrients that are good for you.
#8: Limit Fat
Fat has important functions, such as protecting your cell membranes from oxidative damage, and enhancing absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. However, excessive oil and fat consumption can really bog you down and slow down your digestive process.
So watch your oil intake and where you obtain your fat in your diet. You know our stance on animal fat from red and white meat so I’m not going to go there. However, if you do opt for animal fat, fish maybe the best option. And go for sustainable seafood.
Refined oil is not good for you. Avoid polyunsaturated oil such as canola, corn, soybean, grapeseed and sunflower oil. They are usually high in omega 6, and may interfere with the use of omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
Even healthy oils such as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil are isolated from their whole food source. For non-vegans, this includes butter.
It is best to get your oil, in limited amounts, from whole plant foods, which are full of fiber with nutrients intact. This is why I love using avocado as a natural salad dressing. However, fat is still “fat” and I think its best to monitor fat intake.
#9: Mind Your Desserts
Most desserts out there are full of refined sugar, milk, processed ingredients, oil, and fat.
You may want to opt for raw desserts if you crave something really sweet. Raw desserts are better because they’re usually made of unrefined sugars or lack thereof, and are uncooked. This way, you can get your fair share of fruits and greens. They are also usually void of animal ingredients such as milk so that is a plus.
With the above being said, raw desserts can still be heavy on nuts. Nuts have their place. However, some “raw” nuts in desserts may not be sprouted which contain inhibitors that slow your digestive system down (opposite of detoxing!).
So pick your desserts carefully.
The best bet is to replace your dessert cravings with sweet fruits (No fructose won’t kill you and I’ll talk more about this in upcoming months.)
#10: Take High-Quality Probiotics
Probiotics can help promote optimal digestion, absorption of nutrients such as vitamin B, and cleansing of acidic waste. These good bacteria can strengthen our immunity system, as well as contribute to increased energy.
This is why I love kimchi and probiotic coconut yogurt!
If you are on the go, it maybe worthwhile to purchase high-quality probiotic pills.
Tweet: Health Tip: Detox is a lifestyle, not a quick fix @nicole_olahuna