Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Favorite Cleanse

Strawberry Mango Smoothie // Blueberry Detox Smoothie // Green Smoothie
I love a good cleanse. It is incredibly challenging, but oh so worth it. I’m about to start one this week, so I thought - let’s talk about cleanses, shall we?

Just a little disclaimer - I’m not an expert. This is what I’ve gathered from going through it several times, and lots of reading and researching. But I definitely encourage you to do your homework as well to make sure you are detoxing safely.

Why I Love It
A lot of people are scared to do a cleanse, and I get it. Even though I do one every year, its still daunting every time. I have to mentally gear up before hand, because I know I’ll be tempted to give up more than once, especially in the first few days. In case you need motivation, here are the biggest benefits that I’ve experienced:
  1. Reset Good Habits: Or kick bad ones. I’ve been traveling a ton recently, and all that indulging really takes a toll. Plus, I’m a recovering cheese + sugar addict, and sometimes the only way for me to reset habits is to do something a little extreme. The amazing thing is that when you get sugar, dairy, wheat, and processed foods out of your system, you stop craving them. I believe positive motivation is the strongest motivation, and once you’ve finished the cleanse, you’ll feel great and not want to add all those things back in.
  2. More Energy: Over the last few years, I’ve often wondered why I have so little energy. It just didn’t seem right to be tired all the time in my 20s. Being fed up with it was actually my primary motivator for my first ever cleanse, which promised more energy and better sleep. I’ve found it to be really true. Without all the processed food and caffeine, I was waking up before my alarm (honestly, that's miraculous) and felt more energized than I had in years - like the energy I thought I left behind when I graduated high school.
  3. Improved Health: A good cleanse supports your digestive system, boosts your immune system and gets rid of toxins stored in your body. Our bodies work really hard for us every day, and we put them through a lot - sitting all day at a desk, drinking too much caffeine, taking full advantage of the craft beer scene in San Diego (just me?). Giving it a break from all that allows it to go to work repairing damaged cells, breaking down fat cells, and resting from its usual hyperactivity.
  4. Mind-Body Awareness: Food is psychological - we eat when we’re bored, tired, emotional, anxious, lonely - so naturally a cleanse is also an opportunity for personal reflection and self awareness. I love that detoxing forces me to observe what habits I’ve built up unknowingly and confront why. There is also something refreshing about removing the negative associations of guilt, shame and insecurity we sometimes feel, and reconnecting with food positively as a source of nourishment.
  5. Discipline & Confidence: The fact that this is really hard makes it so rewarding. I love accomplishing something that initially seems impossible. Our minds are stronger than we think they are, and it’s liberating to observe our cravings, watch them pass, and feel like a badass for not giving in. 
  6. Lose a few lbs: I try not to let this be my primary motivation, because I believe in sustained habits over quick fixes for losing or maintaining weight. But I don’t hate it as a side effect. Hello, beach season.
My Go-To Cleanse
The cleanse I love doing is this one by Swanson Health Center.  I’m a big fan, because its developed by nutritionists and you actually get to eat on it. A girl’s gotta work and still be able to function, right? 

When I get sick of the smoothies, I change up the recipe or go for a fruit salad or veggie salad. I add in green tea and kombucha. If I'm really hungry, I double the smoothie recipe or snack on fruits, veggies and nuts. We aren’t here to starve ourselves, and it should be hard but not horrible. As long as you stay with whole, unprocessed foods, you should be okay.

I’ll sometimes add in a 1 to 3 day juice cleanse in the middle (like Blueprint or Pressed Juicery). At that point, I’ve adjusted and built up some serious discipline, so it is surprisingly doable.

On this cleanse, you are giving up:
  • Processed foods
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Grains
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Refined Sugar
Tips for Detoxing
Preparation is key to sticking with a cleanse. In addition to gearing up mentally, here are some tips:
  • Do your homework if you are doing a different cleanse, especially a juice only cleanse. These can release toxins too quickly from your fat cells, and your liver needs adequate nutrients to do its job.
  • Think about starting it on a Monday, and cutting out caffeine on the Saturday or Sunday before. Caffeine withdrawals are real, y’all, and they aren’t fun. Staggering the coffee headaches with the start of the detox makes it a little easier.
  • Try to eat as clean as possible a few days before and after to ease in and out of the cleanse slowly. If you are feeling really run down, having digestive problems, or think you may have food allergies, consider keeping a food journal and adding foods back in one at a time to see how it affects you. Like week 1, add back in gluten, week 2, add back dairy, week 3, add sugar… Or don’t add them back in at all. 
  • Find friends to do it with you. Its easier and adds much needed accountability when you are surrounding by others experiencing the same thing. 
  • Write down your intentions for doing the cleanse somewhere, so you can revisit them when it gets hard. Focus on the positive to stay motivated. 
  • Be strategic about timing. I didn’t realize once when I started the cleanse that it would be during the Superbowl. Its not fun to be that person, especially during the Superbowl.
  • Hang in there. Don’t sell yourself short. Finish it out so you can see all that hard work pay off.

That was a long one. I’d love for you to join in the dialogue, friends! What cleanses do you like? What were the biggest benefits? What are your tips and tricks for getting through it?

1 comment:

  1. Tiff, this is incredible insight and advice. I've been cutting out processed foods, sugar, and grains (to the best of my ability) for the last month and while it does take much more intentionality, I am so thankful I did. It's amazing to see clearly how certain foods affect me as I reintroduce them, and how well our body functions when we're giving them the fuel (fruits, veggies, protein) they were designed to consume. I experienced a day-long terrible headache but you're absolutely right - the longer you stick with it, the less you crave the processed foods. I'd love to try the juice cleanse you mention. Great work, Tiff!