It’s almost time to Spring ahead with our clocks, but is your body in major need of a spring cleaning, too?
Think about this. As an adult, your small intestine alone is about 23 feet stretched out! There’s a lot of room for food and waste to get trapped. Think about what happens when a drain gets clogged. It makes it very hard for anything to pass and the same goes for your body. Often times, people then suffer from ‘leaky gut syndrome’, constipation and other associated digestive problems where your body can no longer absorb good nutrients anymore or eliminate efficiently. The system is proverbially backed up.
That’s a great cue for a cleanse. By definition, a cleanse is a clean sweep, a way to remove toxins and pollutants. Now, if only the way to do a cleanse was clear. If you search for ‘cleanse’ online, you’ll find 1,000 different variations, like fasting, drinking only juices, abstaining from sugar and alcohol and other riffs on the theme. For me in my coaching work, the cleanses that I’ve found to be the most successful not only restrict certain foods but also provide you with support to give your ‘filtration’ organs a detox. Imagine all of the stress your body goes through every time you eat and drink, especially if you’ve been generous with the heavy meats, dairy and fried foods – not to mention, alcohol?
Our goal is to oil the machine, food in, waste out and the faster the ‘elimination,’ (aka bowel movements) the better. The organs that primarily support you in waste elimination include the intestines, liver, kidneys, heart and skin. By eliminating certain foods and beverages, and bulking up on others, you can help to increase your body’s ability to get rid of waste and benefitting from a more efficient system. Eating a diet high in fiber, lots of non-starchy vegetables, plant-based fat and lean proteins with adequate water and warm liquids to help with digestion can make a big difference in your quest to lose weight, too. I’m not a big fan of cleanses that have you eliminating the act of chewing. This can all but devastate your metabolism, because the trigger to digesting many foods is in your mouth with the excretion of saliva. If you focus on drinking juices, you may be sabotaging your body’s natural ability to burn fat. Unless a juice-only fast is something that your doctor has specifically advised you to do, I’m not a fan.
Selecting a cleansing supplement can also be very effective as a way to produce more bulk, provide essential nutrients, aid in elimination and helps the supporting organs detoxify. Milk thistle, enzymes, probiotics, minerals, fiber and essential amino acids are all wonderful ways to help the body:
- Flush itself out
- Allow for faster digestion
- Enhance better nutrient absorption
- Create an efficient waste removal system
With our eye on the prize, here’s what I recommend when thinking about doing an 8-day cleanse, which is an optimal amount of time to ‘prime the pump’ so to speak:
1) Let up on the gas: In order to help get your system back on track, some things will have to leave your pantry and fridge. Eliminate:
- All caloric sugar (including maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, etc.)
- All breads and bread products (tortillas, bagels, pastries, muffins, etc)
- Cow dairy products
- Processed foods (packaged snack foods, bars, etc)
- Soda and fruit juice
- Anything with artificial sweeteners, colors or additives (these should probably leave your premises forever, and don’t let the door hit it in the booty)
2) Fill up with clean fuel: Fiber is your friend, protein is a must, good fat is not a foe – and hydration is king. Also, this is a wonderful opportunity to bulk up on the foods that help you crave bitter, sour and umami flavors because they help your tastebuds reset, too. I go into detail in my book, Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive.
- Focus on fiber:including single ingredient gluten-free super grains like amaranth, millet, quinoa and wild rice
- Enjoy the rainbow:including all non-starchy veggies like bell peppers, artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower, radish, cucumber, etc.
- Get up on greens:where you’ll get the biggest nutrient bang for your calorie buck and make the biggest impact on your tastebuds, too. Veggies are full of natural hydration, too.
- Probiotic up:fermented foods are amazing for gut health, and you can get them from pickled foods (I have a great recipe for ‘quickles’ in the book), fermented soy products like miso and tempeh, and raw apple cider vinegar, which is featured in my Real Vitality Tonic, which also includes cinnamon, ginger and lemon juice.
- Fill up on fats:focusing on high quality, plant-based fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut will help you feel fuller longer and help with feeding your brain and organs
- Get your essential aminos: powering your engine efficiently means getting your essential amino acids from protein in every day, which can come from combining plants like beans and rice, quinoa, nuts and animal protein like wild caught seafood, grass fed beef and bison, and free-range chicken and eggs.
- Drink up:just as important as food is the quantity and type of liquids you’re leaning on. Enjoy my warm Real Vitality Tonic and Low Sodium Umami Bone Broth in my book Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive with foods to help with digestion and lean on cold water in between meals to keep things flowing and boost your body’s natural metabolism. Shoot for half your body weight in ounces of liquid daily.
3) Turbo charge your cleanse with supplements: Once you’ve eliminated the stuff that doesn’t serve you and added in the foods and beverages that support you, taking the right supplements will help you really get the results you want. My favorite picks are:
- The Microbiome Master by Nupeutics Health
- The Colon Master by Nupeutics Health
- Liver Detox by Nupeutics Health
For more inspiration, and an opportunity to hit the reset button on your health, check out our Eat to Thrive program for just $29.99.