The Best Liquid Cleanse

From nutritionist and chef Mikaela Reuben.

Humans are incredibly persistent organisms that endure much abuse over the course of a lifetime, yet we are continuously working to repair and recover. On a molecular level, our cells are constantly evolving, regenerating and recovering from damage, whether it be self-inflicted or otherwise. Even if we live a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle, we are involuntarily being exposed to external stressors that may inflict harm upon our systems.

In general, most of us need to slow down, rest and simply show love to our ever-giving bodies. This should be done four times a year, ideally with the change of the seasons. Specific cleanses can be completed to benefit different areas or organs of the body. This particular cleanse is created to rest the digestive system, allowing for flourishing health and well-being. Along with easing the digestive system, you may notice other benefits such as weight loss and increased energy.

Many people fulfil this need for detoxification in the form of over-the-top diets and cleanses that restrict calories and consequently, essential nutrients. The purpose of a reset or a cleanse is to nourish your body while it cleanses itself and expels unwanted build-up. We must focus on supporting our bodies more than ever by consuming abundant nutrients. It is important to let our bodies rest from the indulgences while still providing them with the care they require to complete the process effectively.

I have curated a three-day program that does just that. It will focus on giving your body a rejuvenating break while filling it to the brim with the macro and micro minerals that it requires to perform a proper reset. This program will be carried out in the form of liquid food – not to be confused with a juice cleanse, although some juices will be included as a snack or supplement to the already standing meals.

The best feature of this cleanse is that although it is liquid-based, most of the dietary fibre that will help to move waste through the intestines for excretion is still in tact. The fiber also helps to maintain blood sugar levels. Some solid foods, such as bee pollen or hemp, can be incorporated as garnishes for added nutrients and enhanced flavour.

The simple act of a 3-day cleanse has innumerable benefits for your body and can help a wide range of people suffering from an even wider range of ailments.

This cleanse can help with the following:

The foundation of our overall health lies in the well-being of our gut. This is why proper nutrition is so critical in health. What we eat has a direct affect on the digestive process. Consuming a high-fiber liquid diet for three days can help to improve elimination of food particles and toxins that have been lodged within the digestive tract. Liquid foods are more easily digested by the body as they are already broken down from solid form. This makes less work for the body.

This cleanse, being only three days, is realistic and doable. It is most easily completed with a friend so you can encourage each other along the way. It also contains enough fiber and density that it does not leave you feeling hungry or malnourished. A cleanse like this can also be effective in breaking bad eating habits. By sticking to clean foods in moderate amounts, it teaches us to only consume what our body really requires.

As always, hydration is very important. Water intake should be 2.5-3 litres per day. The best way to do this is to have a liter water bottle and track how much water you consume. Water is a critical aspect of many important functions in the body, including healthy digestion.

As for physical activity, tread carefully. Your body is likely consuming less calories than usual. This may cause you to tire more easily or to feel nauseated during rigorous exercise. Naturally because of the smaller food intake, your blood sugar levels may be low. Avoid high intensity workouts while opting for more relaxed forms of exercise such as yoga or walking.

CLEANSE PREPARATION

To ensure successful completion of the cleanse, preparation is key. It is wise to clean up your eating habits for a week before. Cutting down on common allergens and irritants will help to start the process.

Refrain from consuming the following:

  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Refined Sugar

It is also wise to prepare your food as much as possible beforehand. Food prep is a good thing to do so that you are not tempted to stray from the allowed foods when you are hungry or on-the-go. It should take no longer than 2-3 hours and can be completed one or two days prior. If you are okay with eating the same food for three days in a row, it is very easy to prepare one batch of soup, one batch of gazpacho and smoothie bags. You can even make your own nut milk to avoid the harmful chemicals that come with store bought vegan milk products. I will include a few nourishing and balanced recipes for each category and you can pick and choose what you would like to eat depending on your preferences. Kombucha is easiest to drink store bought, unless you or someone you know makes your own.

This cleanse includes:

  • Smoothies
  • Juices
  • Soups
  • Gazpachos
  • Herbal teas
  • Nut milks
  • Kombucha

HERBAL TEAS

Herbal teas are a great addition to the liquid cleanse. Specific teas and blends are used in herbal medicine to soothe the digestive system by relaxing the walls of the gastrointestinal tract.

Chamomile, turmeric, licorice, dandelion and rooibos are all great options.

SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are a quick, easy meal that, when balanced, fit all of our nutrient needs. They are best to start the day. Smoothies should always contain all 3 macro minerals (carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats). This balance will set you up for sustained energy throughout the day. The proteins and fats also help to leave you satiated.

Avocados are a great addition to smoothies. They make for a creamy consistency without modifying the flavour too much. They have a high B vitamin content and are good for energy levels. They are also a great skin health food because of their monounsaturated fatty acid content and antioxidants.

Adding in healthy oils are a good way to incorporate healthy fats in your smoothie. Examples include hemp oil, udos oil and coconut oil.

It is also important to get protein into your diet. This can be done by adding in ingredients such as spirulina, chlorella, hemp seeds, chia seeds or even a clean sourced vegan protein powder (make sure to look that the contents have been “sprouted”).

JUICES

Due to lack of fiber, juices should not be consumed as a meal but are a great addition to any diet. They provide a quick influx of micro minerals for the body. It is important to consume juices that are predominantly, if not, wholly comprised of vegetables. Fruit juices have a high sugar content and this sugar floods directly into bloodstream, causing damaging effects. Green juice is a great source of extra vitamins and minerals for the body.

KOMBUCHA

Kombucha is a probiotic health drink made from fermented black or green tea. The health benefits come from the healthy bacteria that forms in the tea by feeding off of the sugar content. Kombucha is also a rich source of beneficial enzymes. The gut healing properties are thought to help with improved digestion as well as mental clarity and emotional stability.

Because kombucha is fermented it is considered to be a predigested food. The bacteria have already begun to break down the nutrients in the tea, making it easier for you to complete the rest of the process.

NUT MILK

Nut milk is a great substitute for dairy milk. Many people are allergic or sensitive to dairy and it can cause systemic inflammation and other ailments in the body. Nut milk on the other hand, contains no cholesterol or saturated fats, making it a heart healthy option. It is also a good source of healthy proteins and fats. Nut milk can be easily added to smoothies, soups or simply enjoyed on its own.

GAZPACHO

Cold soup, essentially. A great option for hot summer days. It also holds all of the fiber of the produce used.

SOUP

Soup is easy to digest and gentle on the system. It contains all of the dietary fiber of the foods. It is fun to get creative with recipes and use as many vegetables as possible. It is also good to garnish soups with some healthy oil to add flavour and healthy fat.

PROGRAM TEMPLATE: 

DAY 1: (See recipes below this template. Recipes provided are interchangeable)

Upon Waking: Warm Water with Lemon

Breakfast: Green Smoothie

Mid-Morning: Glass of Almond Milk

Lunch: Tomato and Red Pepper Gazpacho

Afternoon: Kombucha or Vegetable Juice

Dinner: Curried Cauliflower Soup

Before Sleep: Chamomile Tea

DAY 2: 

Upon waking: Warm Water with Lemon

Breakfast: Nutty Smoothie

Mid-Morning: Glass of Hemp Milk

Lunch: Green Gazpacho with Avocado

Afternoon: Vegetable Juice

Dinner: Smoky Broccoli Soup

Before Sleep: Turmeric & Ginger Tea

DAY 3:

Upon waking: Warm Water with Lemon

Breakfast: Berry Smoothie

Mid-Morning: Glass of Homemade Nut Milk

Lunch: Tomato and Red Pepper Gazpacho

Afternoon: Kombucha

Dinner: Smoky Broccoli Soup

Before Sleep: Chamomile Tea

*Switch up the recipes where you like but follow this general guideline. Each meal should contain a balance of macro minerals.

If you feel hungry throughout the day, feel free to consume more – as long as it is liquid – i.e. have a vegetable juice post breakfast, or a second bowl of gazpacho in the late afternoon. If this still does not cut it and you MUST eat something solid, opt for predigested foods (tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup etc).**

RECIPES 

SMOOTHIES: 

GREEN SMOOTHIE

-½ cup frozen strawberries

-½ granny smith apple

-¼ cup chopped parsley

-½ cup kale

-¼ cup frozen mango chunks

– juice of ½ lemon

-1 tbsp chia seeds in 4 tbsps water

– 1 tbsp hemp oil

-1 cup hemp milk – See below for recipe

BERRY SMOOTHIE

-1 ½ cups mixed berry

– 1 cup nut milk of choice (almond, hemp, cashew)

– 1 cup packed spinach

– 1 tbsp chia soaked in 4 tbsps water

– 1 tbsp vanilla extract

– 1 tbsp psyllium husks

– 1 tbsp udo’s oil

NUTTY SMOOTHIE

– 1 frozen banana

– 3 tbsp sprouted nut butter

– 1 tbsp hemp seeds

– 1 tbsp raw cacao

– 1 cup almond milk

– 1 tsp maple syrup

– ¼ tsp cinnamon

SOUPS: 

CURRIED CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Melt coconut oil in large soup pot
  2. Add onion and garlic. Once onion becomes translucent, add in diced carrots and floreted cauliflower. Saute for 10 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add in cumin, curry powder, turmeric, cardamom and red pepper flakes. Saute for ten minutes or until the spices become aromatic.
  4. Add in vegetable broth, coconut milk and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Stir until combined. Salt, pepper and season to taste.
  6. Garnish with coconut flakes, liquid coconut oil and cilantro.

SMOKY BROCCOLI SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onions – 2 large sweet onions
  • 1 tbsp pressed garlic – 6 small garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp + ¾ cup water
  • ½ + ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 3 cups cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups spinach – 5 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 can organic coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp micrograted lemon – zest of 1 full lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Sauté onions for 4 minutes on medium heat, until translucent. About 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, pepper, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 2 tbsp water. Stir well, and continue heating for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, ghee, and apple cider vinegar and stir well so that everything is coated. Leave for at least 2 minutes so that the flavors mix.
  4. Add ¾ cup of water, another teaspoon of sea salt, and lemon zest. Continue cooking over low to medium heat for another 6-7 minutes.
  5. Once cauliflower is cooked through, reduce heat add coconut milk, lemon juice, and stir well. Heat entire mixture enough to warm the coconut milk.
  6. Turn off heat and use a handheld blender or high-speed blender (much smoother
  7. with high-speed blender). Add a little more water if you want it thinner! Taste and adjust.

GAZPACHOS: 

GREEN GAZPACHO WITH AVOCADO CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 1 peeled english cucumber
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 cups chopped red pepper (approx. 1 ½ red pepper)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley (loosely packed)
  • 1 teaspoon pressed garlic (approx. 2 cloves)
  • ⅛ cup minced red onion
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeno (deseeded)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons apple vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Avocado Cream

  • 1 cup of avocado (approx. 1 avocado)
  • 1 juice of half of a lime
  • ½ teaspoon presses garlic (approx. 1 clove
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Peel cucumber with a vegetable peeler and cut in half lengthwise. If the cucumber has quite a few large seeds, scrape this fleshy part out with a spoon.
  2. Cut tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds.
  3. Add tomato, cucumber, jalapeno, garlic, onion, spinach, parsley, red pepper, salt, and pepper to blender, blend until smooth for at least 2 minutes.
  4. Add olive oil and apple cider vinegar and blend for another 30 seconds.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Chill in the fridge.

Avocado cream

  1. Put avocado, garlic, lime, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt in the food processor for 30 seconds.
  2. Add oil and process for another 30 seconds until a smooth sour cream-like consistency is achieved.
  3. Put chilled gazpacho into a bowl and top with a dollop of avocado cream, a sprinkle of parsley, and an artistic drizzle of olive oil.

TOMATO & RED PEPPER GAZPACHO

(*recipe adapted from PaleoGrubs)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ripe, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 small bulb of fennel, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Place tomato, cucumber, peppers, fennel and garlic into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add in lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  5. Garnish with finely chopped cucumber and tomato and the greens from the fennel bulb.

VEGAN MILKS: 

NUT MILK

Makes about 1 liter

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping cup raw almonds or brazil nuts, soaked
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or whole vanilla bean, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • Optional – thumb or more of ginger or turmeric, or both!!

Directions

  1. Place nuts in a bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak the nuts overnight (about 8 to 10 hours).
  2. Place drained almonds into a blender along with the filtered water, vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt, and ginger or turmeric if using.
  3. Blend on the highest speed for 1 minute.
  4. Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to release the milk until the pulp is dry.
  5. Pour into a large glass jar and secure lid. Store in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.

MAPLE HEMP MILK

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Optional for sweetness: ½ tsp maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth.
  2. Keep refrigerated for minimum 3 hours to enjoy when chilled. Shake before drinking!
  3. Double or triple the recipe for more!

For more from Mikaela, see her guide on how to control sugar cravings, and also post on how to lose weight quickly