i would say i get asked maybe 2-3 times per week what my thoughts are on cleanses. i’m no professional, just merely have an opinion (on most things, actually) and when it comes to health and nutrition i want to be informed. let me clarify up front: any “cleanse” that has you consuming random concoctions of lemon water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup or reducing calorie intake below 1200 is no bueno. in a way, the fad of “cleanses” have essentially become a socially acceptable form of starving yourself. to that point, cleanses (and some of them rightfully so) have gotten a bad rap for starving your body of calories, nutrients, and protein. and let me be clear: you WILL lose weight on a cleanse – even the unhealthy ones. but essentially starving your body can ALSO slow your metabolism. this means that when you DO return to normal eating habits, your bod will grab onto any calories you’re (finally!) feeding it and store it as fat. and yep, probably gain back any weight you lost.
so, you might be thinking, why cleanse then? there are a ton of health benefits for doing a healthy cleanse. and by healthy, i mean a juice cleanse. fresh-pressed, organic juice cleanses that pack in a ton of nutrients have major health benefits. you can read more about them here, but i’ll share my thoughts on benefits from my perspective. even if you’re a fairly healthy eater, food today contains toxins, additives, additives, hormones, plus sugars (that is in my sweet goldenspoon). over time, your body needs a reset – and your mind too!
here are the benefits for me personally that i found going through a 3-day cleanse:
- definitely more energy with improved mental clarity and focus (this coming from a self-diagnosed ADD)
- started craving fruits and veggies – and craved juice like CRAZY after!
- stopped craving sugars (still wanted that coffee though!)
- you get super hydrated…since you need to drink a lot of water to not get hungry
- reignited my commitment to eating clean – you don’t want to put junk in your body once you feel so great!
- super convenient – didn’t have to plan/prep and meals…just grabbed my bag o’juices and head to work
ok, so i have to disclose the downside:
- you might be cold! (warm up with green tea)
- no coffee…no alcohol…no sugar (c’mon you can do anything for 3 days!)
- you’ll miss chewing – no kidding!
so why am i cleansing? honestly, i feel so good when i do, but moreso i wanted to share my approach to cleansing because 1) i get asked all the time and 2) i have a hybrid approach that (IMO) is much more do-able and not as intimidating as thinking you’re not going to eat for 3 days! oh, and i think my approach is healthier. so without further ado, this is how i rock my cleanse…
STEP 1: ORDER THY CLEANSE
i’ve tried quite a few and personally, my fave is ritual cleanse, which is why i hit them up for a promo code so you fitbookers can try it with me! my approach is to order it to start on a monday or tuesday because honestly, it’s super convenient to not have to prep or plan my food on the 3 busiest days of the week at work. plus, make sure you don’t have any big social functions the weekend before or after – you will sabotage all success if you load up on junk and alcohol post-cleanse! so…if you didn’t already, order either the seasonal or reset cleanse, your choice. enter promo code “fitbook” and you’ll save 20%. i personally don’t do the pre-post shred (2 extra juices) – i use the method below to use real food to fuel my body for workouts that i’ll explain. not ready for a 3-day cleanse? just select the “daily juice” to dip your toe in the water.
STEP 2: PREP THE BOD
you’ll get a detailed email on how to prep for the cleanse, but essentially, don’t load up on processed junk foods, sugar, alcohol and the works the few days before, silly! you add in more fruits and veggies, cut out processed foods, and the day before you don’t eat any meat. i’ll leave it to ritual cleanse to explain all the details…i just follow the rules.
STEP 3: ARM YOURSELF
in addition to getting your juices, load up on the following:
- a couple lemons
- green tea bags
- 6 1-liter bottles of smartwater and 1 smaller one with the sport cap
- 1 dozen organic, omega-3, farm-raised (happy-chicken) eggs
- 1 organic avocado (BIG or 2 small)
- himalayan pink salt
- 3 organic cucubmers
- 1 can organic no-salt-added black beans
alrighty, so after complete steps 1-3, let me explain a few things:
anybody that knows me is going to roll their eyes when they see ME (of all people) lecturing on the importance of hydration. the girls in my office tease me incessantly because i SO don’t practice what i preach when it comes to water. hey, i’m not perfect! but i shall continue to preach. that said, i’m not a big purchaser of bottled water – i’m a brita girl and i grew up on well water in the country, so i figure my little system is primed for just about anything. but during the cleanse i do smartwater for 2 reasons: 1) it tastes good and 2) i love their 1-liter bottles. TIP that i learned from my girl kim lyons: buy the smaller size with the sport top and put it on the 1-liter bottle and you can down your water SO much easier. been doing this for years! each day just switch the sport top to your new bottle! [please recyle]
my biggest concern with cleanses is the lack of protein. yes, you get protein in the nutmilk and if you add the pre-workout juice (beet juice) and post-workout shred (nut milk) you’ll get 2 nut milks total all day, but my body just craves more protein than that. especially if you’re working out! (which we all are, right?) so i skip the shred juices and add protein at breakfast and lunch!
you’ll suprisingly have a lot of energy for workouts. once you get all the crazy stuff out of your body, it will run like a fine-oiled machine! so don’t use this (please don’t call it a diet) cleanse as a reason to sit on your bum. my tip is this: if you workout first thing in the morning i would get your first juice in pre-workout and post-workout will be the breakfast recipe below. if you workout at night then you’re going to time your juices so you have #5 before your workout and #6 after.
don’t fear green juices…i promise you they are yummy! and surprisingly, you will crave them! but if you knew what you have to look forward to in juice #6…the white, creamy, heavenly cashew milk with a dash of cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg, oh…you have no idea. sheer joy! the best part is that it’s a bit crunchy so it’s like you’re (kinda, sorta) getting to munch on something. time your last juice to be no later than 8pm.
so here’s a little daily plan to follow:
RISE + SHINE: juice #1 + green tea with lemon right upon waking up to kickstart your metabolism
[early risers workout here]
BREAKFAST BY 8: 1 egg + 2 egg white + 1/4 avocado sprinkled with pink salt
10 O’CLOCK AM: juice #2
LUNCH TIME: 1 sliced cucumber + 1/4c black beans sprinkled with pink salt
**WATER CHECK** you should have 1 liter down by now
1 O’CLOCK PM: juice #3
3 O’CLOCK PM: juice #4
5 O’CLOCK PM: juice #5
[night owls workout here]
DINNER TIME: juice #6 (no later than 8!) + decaf green tea
**WATER CHECK** finish off that liter #2 (at least!) before you hit the hay
SLEEPY TIME: your bod needs the rest and you’ll be hungry if you stay up!
even if you get off on timing a bit, it really doesn’t matter…all that matters is that you’re properly feeding your body throughout the day and staying hydrated in between. so that’s the plan! you will get pumped full-o-nutrients with a juice cleanse and with my little hybrid method you still get in protein and won’t be starving. questions? FIRST read every FAQ you could imagine here…while i could blog on and on (and on) as you know i’m capable, i’m gonna leave it to the experts at ritual cleanse to explain the ins & outs of juicing.
NOTE: if you can’t cleanse right now, it’s ok! the promo code “fitbook” is good through 08/31/12.
DISCLAIMER: i don’t get paid to blog this stuff people, i just love to type (and type) and type…just so you know this info is legit. but how sweet that ritual cleanse is offering you a discount?
any other fine print i need to cover?
PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY WORKOUT OR NUTRITION PROGRAM.
(there, that covers it)
check back monday, tuesday, and wednesday as i blog my way through the 3-day cleanse, hopefully with YOU!