I generally do a couple intense cleanses each year; one in the summer and one in the new year. They are usually month long cleanses that are meant to reboot my eating habits and get me on a healthy track again. For the most part I maintain a healthy diet, but at times I allow eating meals out to get out of control or I binge a bit too often on my favorite junk food; chips and salsa.
With the start of the new year this year, I thankfully haven’t feel too far off track from my healthy habits, and have only felt the need for a light cleanse to detox my body. I feel, even if one maintains a healthy lifestyle, its still important to do a cleanse every so often to flush the body of toxins created by food and environmental dangers. A cleanse is not only a great way to flush toxins and boost liver’s effectiveness, but its a great way to refresh yourself and build a path for a healthier lifestyle.
The actual cleanse I created is only two days long, and since its a short cleanse I suggest focusing on yourself for the entire weekend. Doing yoga or stretching to get your body moving and stimulating digestion, enjoying a sauna, and getting lots of rest. This is not a time for intense exercise, its a time to restore the body. I also suggest drinking a glass of warm water with squeezed lemon in it every morning and dry brushing your body to stimulate the lymphatic system and help remove toxins.
There are only two recipes involved with this cleanse, the first being a smoothie that you can enjoy throughout the day; breakfast, snacks and dinner. The second is a soup that can be eaten for lunch and dinner, or as you like. They are both simple to make and can be made in large batches so you only have to prep your food once each day.
Winter Green Detox Smoothie
Handful of frozen cranberries
1 knob of ginger
1/2 cup of kale
1/2 cup of spinach or collard greens
1/2 cup of cabbage
Handful of parsley
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Approx 1 cup of filtered water
Place all ingredients in a Vitamix (or high powered blender) and mix on high until smooth. Add more water as necessary.
This recipe is from my all time favorite cleanse, created by Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition. This is my go to smoothie whenever I feel under the weather, need a pick me up, or when I’m embarking on their amazing Elimination Diet.
Again, if you would like to double or triple the recipe, you can store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the day. However I always feel its best to make a new batch each time and enjoy immediately.
Green Detox Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 knob of ginger
2 cups of chopped broccoli
2 cups of spinach
1 chopped turnip
Handful of parsley
Approx 2 cups of water
Dash of Turmeric
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, add garlic, onion and ginger and cook for approx 5 minutes. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, then all other ingredients. Add water to cover vegetables and bring to a high simmer. Lower heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Place in Vitamix and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary and add more seasonings to taste.
Soup can be made in large batches and stored in the fridge for 2 days, can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Remember to only use organic ingredients for both recipes, you don’t want to be ingesting pesticides while your cleansing your body. Once the cleanse is complete do not return to eating processed foods, sugar, alcohol or drinking coffee (if you can abstain) for at least a month-or longer if you can do so. The whole idea is to detox the body and get your liver in tip top shape. So throughout the month, be kind to your liver and enjoy foods that enable it to perform at a high function. These foods include:
Flax & Hemp Seeds
These foods will not only help detox your liver, but will have you feeling energetic and and healthy. As an added bonus, these super foods boost your immune system as well, so they are great for fighting off the common winter flu and cold that usually occur this time of year.
Hope you all find the time to rejuvenate yourselves and make healthy foods and exercise a part of your year. Cheers to a new year!
If you would like a more in-depth cleanse, I posted one last year here and here.
Now that the holidays are over and my travels are on hold (for the time being) I figured its time to start focusing on my 2014 resolution. Making my health a priority was one of my major goals towards feeling like me again. In order to get started I knew I needed to get my diet in check and a cleanse was just what I needed to jump start things. In the past I would simply do a three day juice cleanse to detox, but since I’m still nursing I know there is no way to maintain the energy needed for breastfeeding while strictly juicing. Nor is it safe as toxins may leech into the breast milk.
Last year I discovered a cleanse in Whole Living magazine that I find simple to follow and less toxic for my breast milk. Its not a die hard cleanse like some of the others out there and doesn’t leave you wanting to eat your arm off from starvation. The website provides you with many great recipes, however I find it easiest to follow the ingredients allowed each week and make my own recipes based off meals I’ve eaten in the past.
I would like to note-I generally eat a very clean diet (minus my sugar habit I’ve inherited), however if your diet is rich in processed foods, your body will be much more toxic and I would suggest not doing any cleanse whatsoever until breastfeeding is complete.
If you would like to give this cleanse a try, I’ve provided some of my own recipes below as well as tips for surviving the cleanse. I will post new recipes each week based on the new foods allowed in the diet (the cleanse consists of three weeks total).
Week One of the cleanse consists of only eating fruits, vegetables, lentils, nuts and seeds. This means no processed foods, no gluten and no dairy.
To begin the cleanse I personally recommend drinking a glass of warm lemon water each morning. Simply warm a glass of purified water and squeeze half a lemon into the water. This will aid in flushing out all toxins and improve your digestion.
It is ideal to start your day with a smoothie or a juice. There are many great recipes provided on the website but I like to keep it simple and make smoothie recipes that I’m already familiar with. Below are two recipes to get you started.
Blueberry Spinach Smoothie
3/4 cup organic blueberries
3/4 cup organic spinach
1/2 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups Almond Milk
1 tablespoon Almond Butter
1/2 tablespoon raw organic honey
1 tablespoon ground blueberry flax seed (I find mine at Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup of ice
Add all ingredients to a high power blender (Vitamix works best) and blend until smooth.
Please note, this is a rough measurement, I never actually measure ingredients when making smoothies, I just throw it all in and adjust as needed.
If you would like your smoothies thicker, add less almond milk and more ice (or more banana). If you like it sweeter, add more fruit or honey.
I tend to go back and forth between using kale and spinach, both are great, and sometimes I use Stevia rather than honey.
1/2 cup organic broccoli
1/2 cup organic spinach
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup organic strawberries (I used frozen strawberries)
1 1/2 cups organic orange juice
I find it easier to stick to my morning routine (especially with a toddler hanging on me) if all my ingredients are pre-washed and cut and ready to go. You can simply do this in the beginning of the week by thoroughly washing & chopping all your fruits and veggies, then dividing them up into servings and storing them in an airtight sandwich bag. Then simply label each bag with the date and store in the freezer. Then each morning you just grab a bag and pour your liquid of choice into the blender. Cleanse or no cleanse, this is an easy method that I love for making smoothies.
To start the week I made a big batch of stew in the crockpot so I wasn’t stressed about preparing each meal. The lentil stew below is simple to make and quite filling.
Butternut Squash Lentil Stew
7 cups of organic veggie broth (homemade is best)
1 chopped red onion
2 cups organic red lentils (well rinsed)
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped carrots
3 cups of cubed butternut squash
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon giner
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and put on high for 5 hours.
Its also great topped with shredded kale or spinach.
Kale is always my go-to salad option, I absolutely love it (good thing for me its so darn healthy!). I bought a couple bunches of kale from the Farmers Market and pre-washed and stored in the fridge so I was ready to make a salad or stir-fry at any moment. This recipe below is one of my favs for making an easy side kale dish. Note, I also roasted a handful of beets in the beginning of the week to throw in my recipes.
Kale & Beet Stir-Fry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped garlic clove
1/2 chopped red onion
1 bunch of washed & torn organic kale
2 small organic beets pre-roasted
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon pepita seeds
Heat olive oil in medium skillet, add garlic and onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes
Add beets and kale and cook for 2-3 minutes, add seasonings
Top with pepitas
Sweet Potato Fries
1 washed organic sweet potato
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees (this high heat makes them extra crispy)
I personally prefer to keep the skins on for added fiber, but you can also peel them.
Cut the ends off and cut in half length wise. Then cut in half again, then cut into smaller wedges.
Toss the sweet potatoes in a large bowl with the olive oil, coating them well. Add seasonings, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for approx 25 minutes, flipping once. Be careful to watch them closely as they can burn quickly at this high temp.
Here are some other great options that will work during week one of the cleanse; Lentil Squash Stew (omit the tomato paste) & Acai Berry Bowl (omit the granola).
I feel the key to maintaining this cleanse is having all the food prepped ahead of time. Failure is likely if starvation hits and you don’t have a meal pre-prepped or made. I personally suggest chopping all your fruits and vegetables ahead of time and storing them in a sealed container in the fridge. I also suggest always having a snack on-hand (mainly when leaving the house). I have found carrying around some chopped veggies, an apple and some raw nuts helps.
Please let me know if you join in or are doing your own cleanse. I would love to have a buddy to get through it with! Best of luck!