The Holiday Cleanse

Today we chatted with nutritionist and health consultant Mikaela Reuben about some ways to stay balanced during the holidays. While we’re terrible at cleanses, every once in while it’s nice to give your body a break for a day while still eating and drinking things that are delicious and satisfying – especially before, during, and after the holidays. Whether you are or aren’t into cleansing, there’s something here for you…

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CLEANSE

The holidays are usually a protein heavy, sugar heavy, cheese heavy, kind of time, and this cleanse is designed to give your body a break from the indulgences. The focus of the cleanse is going to be on eating clean unprocessed foods, no sugar, a diet high in healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients. By eliminating alcohol and coffee, there will be a light detoxing of the liver too. Eat 80% of what you would normally eat in terms of consumption, as this will leave more energy for digestion. 1-2 days a week of clean eating is absolutely beneficial [if you don’t want to do this everyday]. If you can follow this three days a week it would be great; if you can follow once a week, that would be amazing too. If you don’t want to do the cleanse,  just eating more greens and drinking more water will have positive results!

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TIPS

Apple Cider Vinegar Everyday! When? In the morning or after your first meal. Why? It helps alkalinize your body especially after nights out drinking. It’s rich in acetic acid, which can help to lower the rise in glucose that occurs after eating which helps moderate our blood sugar and energy levels. Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to suppress fat storage in the body and aids in digestion by promoting the production of digestive enzymes!

Eat a handful of greens before each meal. Committing to a small plate of greens before each meal helps to add fiber and more raw enzymes into your diet – and will control how much you eat next because you begin to feel full more quickly! Eating fiber also helps to control blood glucose levels, so it does not yoyo if you are eating lots of simple carbohydrates and sugars. Top the greens with a squeeze of lemon, a little olive oil, sea salt, and some hemp hearts. Hemp hearts have healthy fats and fiber (both soluble and insoluble – we need both) too!

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Eat cultured vegetables with meals. They help with digestion, especially when eating rich foods and heavy proteins. Add some chopped raw sauerkraut or kimchi to small green salads through out the day. These fermented foods help keep the flora of the gut healthy.

Pack your smoothies with lots of nutrients! If you opt for a smoothie make one that is loaded with greens and has no added sugars. When picking fruit, go for dark berries like blueberries. Adding avocado or coconut oil slows the release of energy and helps to moderate blood sugar levels, along with the added fiber from the flax or chia. Try different green leaves such as kale, dandelion, and collard greens. Add fruits that are high in antioxidants and add peeled and whole lemons, grapefruits, and limes for liver detox.

Lemon juice aids in digestions, helps create enzymes, and helps control blood sugar levels. When eaten on greens, it helps our bodies absorb iron from these green vegetables, and ensures that we avoid processed salad dressings full of chemicals and sugars.

Snack on nuts, seeds, and healthy fats instead of sugary treats throughout the day to offset some of the indulgence in sweet desserts later. You can also snack on sugar-free vegetable based snacks high in fiber, protein, and rich with antioxidants.

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Drink water all day. Drinking water is especially important with all the holiday coffees and social drinking. It is easy to get dehydrated. Sipping on warm non-caffeinated tea all day or warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar is always good. Once you are out in the evening try to make a 1:1 rule by drinking a big glass of water in between drinks. Your server may not like you but your body will.

Schedule festive lunches or plan for earlier dinners if you can. Eating late at night is hard on the body. If you have to go out for late big dinners choose to eat the meal that is more veggie dense and salad based rather than the giant meat option. Try to be a vegetarian if you are eating after 7.

Chew well. This will help everything! If you slow down to eat the food you will eat less and digest better.

Exercise. Wake up and spend ten minutes stretching, followed by five minutes of deep breathing. Complete 30 minutes of exercise, either in the morning or whenever this fits into your schedule.

Get rid of the toxins. In the shower use five minutes of hot water, and then 1 minute of cold, ending on the cold. This helps to move toxins in the skin.

Eat the majority of the calories in the beginning and middle of the day.

Focus on high protein and fat for the morning. Avoiding cereals and instant oatmeal will help the body control blood sugar more efficiently for the rest of the day. When we start off with a blood sugar blast, we crash and get hungry again.

MORE

Apple cider vinegar, ginger, cayenne, leafy green vegetables, fermented foods (sauerkraut and kimchi) are all good for digestion.

Leafy green vegetables, cilantro, dark berries, beets, turmeric, hot peppers and lemon are good for the detoxing and repairing the liver.

Avocado, almonds and other nuts, nut butters, seeds, coconut oil, and cold pressed olive oil, are healthy fats that stabilize blood sugar levels and are essential building blocks for human functioning.

Raw, steamed, roasted vegetables, soups, fresh fruits, lentils, quinoa, and black beans provide antioxidants and fiber. Fiber is essential for the health of the digestive tract and keeps you feeling satiated longer.

LESS

Sugar, alcohol, coffee, dairy, processed foods, gluten, stress

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MENU

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SMOOTHIES

Super Nut Smoothie: Almond butter, dandelion greens or kale, unsweetened or homemade almond milk, cinnamon, ginger, 1/2 frozen banana, coconut oil, apple, lemon, and ground flax.

Savory Vegetable Smoothie: Spinach, carrot, garlic, avocado, tomato, garlic, lime, and cayenne (stimulates digestion).

Berry Kale Smoothie: Blueberries, coconut oil, spinach, chia, vanilla powder, lemon, and spirulina.

Chia Apple Coconut Almond Parfait: Blended apple (skin on), coconut milk, coconut oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, banana, chia, and pink grapefruit.

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DAYTIME

Quinoa Bowl with Kimchi and Seaweed

Kale, Arugula, and Pine Nut Salad

Scrambled Eggs with Guacamole and Sauerkraut on Spinach

Spiced Lentils on Steamed Swiss Chard with Cilantro (Cilantro helps detoxify the body)

Roasted Chickpea and Vegetable Salad on a Bed of Greens

Steamed Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts with Turmeric Sauce and Black Beans

Spaghetti Squash with Edamame

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FISH

Sautéed Greens with Wild Cold Water Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel)

Smashed Avocado with Sardines On Sprouted Gluten-Free Grain Bread

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SNACKS

Cucumber and Celery Salad Tossed with Herbs, Olive Oil, and Lemon

Avocados with Kale Pesto

Homemade Almond Milk with Ginger and Spirulina

Black Bean Dip with Raw Vegetables

Smoothies

Organic Vegetable Broth

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EVENING

Butternut Coconut Squash Soup (Recipe Here)

Borscht Soup (usually includes spinach, tomato, and beets) with Greens

Sautéed Greens with Toasted Almonds

Asparagus Soup

Miso Soup with Vegetables

Steamed Greens with Ginger Tamari Sauce, Fresh Spouts and Sunflower Seeds

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Squash

Raw Kale Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing and Seaweed

Savory Vegetable Smoothie

Kale Berry Smoothie

Organic Vegetable Broth

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BEVERAGES

Tea with Coconut Oil

Apple Cider Vinegar with Warm Water

Herbal Teas

Ginger Lemon Turmeric Tea

Water

Organic Vegetable Broth

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*Mikaela Reuben, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann. Cleanse photographs by Alli Shepherd.