We detox so we can retox. There’s a lot of people that would be mad at us for saying it; but let’s face it, our ‘good weeks’ or – let’s face it again – our ‘good days’ (aka good-four-hours) are for the purpose of the live-to-eat mentality we usually have on the weekends. We hit up our favorite nutritionist – Mikaela Reuben – for a doable detox for spring that may just get you bikini ready in a super-balanced way. Maybe it will also allow for a nice retox that includes truffle fries at the end? We’ll get back to you…
Summer is coming, and with summer time brings pre-summer cleanses and goals of weight loss. Although there is some truth to the fact that if you eat more calories than you burn you are potentially going to gain weight, what isn’t considered is that not all calories are created equal, nor do they act the same in the body. Some whole foods actually cause the body to burn twice as many calories compared with processed foods. Essential nutrients are required to keep the metabolism functioning optimally, so it is wise to focus not on how many calories you are giving your body, but more on the quality of the foods and the nutrients they offer.
(Example: A handful of nuts offer more calories than a diet soda. The nuts also offer useable nutrients that build tissues, provide essential fats and minerals, and allow you to function optimally, where the diet soda has no benefit for the body and is actually full of harmful chemicals.)
When cleansing, it is important to select ingredients that do not cause extra stress and damage to the body. Staying healthy is a combination of good digestion, proper nutrition, and choosing foods that help control blood sugar levels. When the blood sugar drops, the body stores calories as fat, so the goal is to eat foods that are highly nourishing, full of nutrients and fiber, and create a feeling of satiety. The key to staying healthy, shedding a few pounds and actually maintaining this weight is to implement new healthy habits and eating styles – and then to keep them. The body does not respond well to reduced-calorie yoyo dieting, and this rapid weight loss actually causes the body to store fat.
This summer cleanse uses a whole food approach and the suggested habits and recommendations can be integrated into real life allowing for sustainable change. Try following the guidelines for at least 3-5 days. The longer the better!
Eating simple whole foods in their whole form is best. Processed foods are depleted of valuable nutrients and packed full of chemicals and sugars. Retrain your taste buds to enjoy a fresh carrot or simple slices of cucumber with lemon juice and sea salt.
Staying hydrated stops you from overeating. Very often when we feel hungry, it is often a sign of dehydration. It is best to drink lots of water before and after meals but not during. Water helps the body detoxify which keeps the digestive system healthy. Sip on teas and water throughout the day; try to consume 1 cup of water, tea, or other liquid every 30 minutes, except 30 minutes before or after meals. A small glass of warm water with lemon, or a tea, is acceptable during meals if you need something. My favorite summer drink is cold mint tea with chlorophyll and lemon.
Eating high fiber foods helps the body stay full. Fiber increases the calories spent breaking down the actual food and helps create a sense of satiety. Fiber helps the body eliminate toxins and keeps the digestive system healthy so that the nutrients can be properly absorbed into the body. Good examples are lentils, beans, collard greens, grapefruit, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Exercising, sleeping, and not stressing are all unbelievably and equally important and can all help lower levels of cortisol, a hormone responsible for fat formation in the body. Cortisol levels increase when we are stressed or tired. Exercise reduces cortisol levels and is necessary for detoxification and overall health of the cardiovascular system. It also helps facilitate the movement of toxins out of the body. Every day, complete 30-45 minutes of exercise, followed by deep breathing and stretching.
Detoxification can be aided by dry brushing, saunas and steams, detox baths, and cold showers. They are an excellent way to help release toxins. They are also all great for increasing the health and appearance of the skin before summer and for encouraging stress reduction. It’s important to dry brush your skin and end with 1 minute of cold water when you shower. This helps to move toxins in the skin.
Eating healthy proteins has been shown to increase levels of satiation. When cleansing and trying to lose weight a diet high in protein and vegetables has shown to be ideal. Vegetarian options include lentils, sprouted legumes, quinoa, chick peas, nuts, hemp hearts, spirulina, raw sunflower seeds, chia, almonds, kale, eggs, sprouts, broccoli, and organic edamame. Animal-based options include sardines, mackerel, herring, canned wild salmon or wild salmon, and trout. I tend to choose protein sources high in Omega-3’s. If you choose to eat poultry, make sure it is hormone-free.
Breakfast and lunch should be focused on protein. When we start off with a blood sugar blast (from refined carbohydrates and sugar), we crash and get hungry again. Eating protein, high-fiber vegetables, and healthy fats will help us feel satiated for longer.
Dinners should focus on vegetables with lots of leafy greens. The meals here are designed to control blood sugar, with lower glycemic index foods and limited protein, as this is harder on the system at night and should be restricted to the day. The goal is to avoid raising blood sugar levels before bed, and by not eating too much, also allowing the body to focus on rest and recovery while giving the digestive system a break. Eating at night can also cause excess weight gain, as these calories are not utilized as efficiently as in the day. For your last meal of the day, choose something from the dinner examples (below) and try to finish eating at least four hours before you plan on going to sleep. If you are hungry before bed, drink warm tea.
When Snacking sip on green soup or have a handful of celery and carrots, or almonds. Have a small vegetable dense snack if you are hungry later in the afternoon.
Variety should factor into our meals. During summer we have access to lots of fresh produce. In order to receive proper nutrients, it is ideal to eat a variety of foods. Doing this helps us access an array of nutrients (Try rotating greens and choosing new fruits). How we prepare them can also affect this; ideally eat a mixture of raw and cooked.
Overconsumption of food puts stress on the body and can affect the health of our digestive system, not to mention that it may cause us to gain weight. Try not to eat until you are stuffed. Use smaller plates and bowls and give yourself time once you have finished 80% of your food to sit and notice how you feel. This will leave more energy for digestion and you will end up eating less.
Every morning drink 1½ cups of warm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and take a probiotic.
If you have a bathtub add 1 cup of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes at the end of the day. Add lavender oil, or 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar if you have it.
SUGAR – The highs and lows from sugar cause the body to hold onto weight! Not to mention that sugar also depresses the immune system and reeks havoc on many other internal functions.
ALCOHOL – Alcohol offers unnecessary ingredients, so if the focus is to lose weight, alcohol should be avoided. Alcohol puts a lot of extra stress on the liver, which makes it harder to cleanse.
COFFEE – Avoid caffeine to give the liver a break. If you absolutely need it, have one cup a day max, and opt for black.
DAIRY & GLUTEN – Gluten and dairy are common triggers of inflammation and when cleansing it is best to take them out of the diet to give the body a chance to reset. If it feels good, keep them out.
PROCESSED FOODS – Always avoid these!
Apples, Blueberries, and Raspberries support elimination and supply phytonutrients to the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar has been shown to suppress fat storage in the body and aids in digestion by promoting the production of digestive enzymes. It has also been shown to reduce blood sugar spikes after eating and in turn curbs hunger.
Asparagus is rich in glutathione, which is helpful in the destruction of free radicals and detoxification.
Cayenne and Red Chili Peppers have been shown to increase metabolic rates and may act as a mild appetite suppressant. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Cruciferous Vegetables are some of the most important vegetables you can eat. A combination of protein, fiber, sulfur containing compounds and low energy density, make cruciferous vegetables the perfect foods to include in your meals. They are especially useful for weight loss and also extremely valuable for digestive health. A few to mention: Broccoli (also loaded with vitamin C, which boosts calcium absorption), Cauliflower, Cabbage, and Collard Greens, should all play a large part in the diet.
Chlorella and Spirulina are both blue green algae packed with protein, chlorophyll, and B vitamins. They contain detoxifying and cleansing properties.
Eggs are a good source of protein, iodine, and vitamin D.
Fermented and Cultured Foods (like sauerkraut and kimchi) are good for digestion. These fermented foods help keep the flora of the gut healthy.
Grapefruit helps control insulin levels, and studies have shown that eating grapefruit before meals can help control the way the blood sugar affects the body.
Lentils are a great source of protein, full of fiber, and provide antioxidant protection.
Lemons aid in digestions and and help control blood sugar levels.
Sardines and Other Fatty Fish are high in omega 3’s and an excellent protein source.
Grapefruit, apples, blueberries, strawberries, and apricots
Eggs on sautéed greens
Savory oat bowl with kale, green onions, mixed wild mushrooms
Poached eggs on a vegetable stir fry of zucchini, green beans, spinach, and tomato
Cucumber and avocado on toast with hemp hearts, spirulina, jalapenos, and hummus
Superfood Cereal – Coconut, buckwheat groats, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, oats, coconut butter, cinnamon, and almond milk
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Miso soup with vegetables and fish
Warmed curry lentils with braised greens and spirulina
Brown rice sautéed with spinach, garlic, and egg topped with sunflower seeds
Coconut chlorella chia pudding with berries
Chopped vegetables with edamame hummus
Sunflower seeds, almonds, and walnuts
Brazil nut milk with chlorella
Gazpacho – Green or red gazpacho, top with olive oil to serve
Green soup – sautéed greens blended with jalapeno, avocado and warm broth
Spirulina jalapeno mung bean dip with chopped broccolli
Cucumbers with lemon and sea salt
Lunch Examples: Have 1 handful (1 ½ cup) of salad before all lunches**
Watercress soup with hemp hearts, avocado, and artichoke toasts
Fish on chimichurri with grilled tomatoes
Watercress salad with garbanzo spouts and mung bean sprouts with avocado
Steamed broccoli and bok choy served over sprout salad with roasted cauliflower or a small piece of halibut
Grilled vegetable frittata
Herb pesto asparagus quinoa
Sautéed sardines with yam noodles, fresh greens, and spicy green beans,
Collard green wraps with wild salmon or smashed pinto beans and salsa, avocado, and cilantro
Dinner Examples: Have 2 handfuls (2 big cups) of salad before all dinners**
Portobello burger wrapped in collard green with guacamole
Mexican brown rice bowl with avocado, cilantro, chopped collard greens and salsa
Steamed green vegetable bowl with tahini dressing, fresh sprouts, and avocado
Roasted summer vegetables with creamy cashew dressing – Green beans, zucchini, beet greens, and asparagus (chop and roast, toss with cold pressed oil and fresh herbs or creamy cashew dressing)
Roasted cauliflower and sautéed asparagus with cremini mushrooms and shaved almonds
Salad rolls with avocado, sprouts, pea shoots, spinach, grated carrot, lime jalapeno dipping sauce
Sautéed kelp noodles with toasted sesame oil, green onions, summer squash, swiss chard
Cauliflower turmeric soup
Yam noodles sautéed with lots of broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, sesame oil, garlic, and tahini
Spaghetti squash with kale pesto
**For Salad – Chop up mixed greens, baby kale, spinach, watercress, kimchi or sauerkraut, and arugula, then top with pumpkin to sunflower seeds, oil, sea salt and lemon juice.
Beverage Examples: All Day
Chilled mint tea with a few drops of chlorophyll
Green vegetable juice – cucumber, kale, celery, lemon, ginger – avoid sugary fruit juices
Warm water with lemon
Chamomile with soaked goji berries
Dandelion root tea