Detoxing regularly is crucial for maintaining optimal health, but it is often mistaken as a diet. Where diets fail is that they are short term solutions to life long problems.
What happens after your cleanse is just as important, and maybe more so, as your cleanse itself. Adding foods back into your diet, one at a time, helps you figure out which ones you are sensitive to. But after that, when real life sets in, it’s the choices you make that keep you on track for healthy eating. Use your new knowledge to make good decisions about which foods make you feel fulfilled, or which foods just fill you.
- Eat Organic whenever possible: Buy organic at the supermarket, choose organic restaurants, and support local Farmer’s Markets. You do not need extra hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics in your food. The Food News website lists the produce with the least to most pesticides.
- Read ingredient labels; not just the front of the package. You’ll see buzzwords like “healthy” and “all natural” and “made from organic ingredients”. Read the “small print” on the back of the package. For example, I wanted to make guacamole, but the avocados weren’t ripe so I opted for the pre made guacamole. They are not all the same! One of the brands had cane juice as the second ingredient. Just because it is green, and just because it is in the health food store, doesn’t mean that it is the best choice. For the record, I chose the one with the least amount of ingredients with words I know are actual foods.
- Inquire about the ingredients of your favorite restaurant item. Recently, I was saddened to learn that my favorite salad dressing at a restaurant I frequent is made with ingredients that I am trying to avoid. The chef may accommodate you by removing the item (like croutons on a salad), or at least tell you the ingredients in the item you’re choosing on their menu. It never hurts to ask for what you want. Try not to make your request when the restaurant is busy; items changes are difficult for a kitchen in the middle of their lunch or dinner rush. Call ahead of time, or go during slower times of the day,
- Be prepared. If you are going to a party or a dinner out, make sure there are foods there to support your healthy eating habits. There is no reason to break your food plan, this isn’t a “diet”, this is a lifestyle change. If the restaurant or party doesn’t have anything you can eat (believe me, sometimes your choices can be slim) then chose another restaurant, eat before you go out, or bring your own food. Sometimes, you will just have to change your restaurant plans, and bring your own food to parties. If it’s a formal gathering and you don’t want to bring food, then contact the host and inquire about the menu. There might not be ANYTHING you can eat if you have a Gluten and Dairy restriction. I tend to eat before I go out, or afterwards. In the past, I’ve left parties early just so I can get something else to eat. True, it may be inconvenient, but it is worth it if you don’t feel awful because you are able to avoid something to which you are sensitive.
- Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who are aware of your dietary needs. When your friends know that you have decided to keep your diet clean and you mean it, they will be more than happy to help support you. They may even ask you what kind of cleanse you are doing. Now that you feel good, lost weight, and talk about the next cleanse you want to do, your friends will be curious. Share your success stories with them. Also share that it is not an easy process, but takes discipline and support, and you would be a very good friend to them when they decide a detox is right for them too.
- Be kind to yourself. There are days when you just to eat whatever is in front of you because you are in a bad mood, or you didn’t plan your day’s meals thoroughly. That is okay. Sometimes you just have to eat to keep yourself from having a blood sugar crash. If you have a known allergy or food sensitivity, you will probably have a mild to severe reaction. This adds to confirm that avoidance of that particular food is beneficial. But, don’t think that you “cheated” or “relapsed”. Sometimes you have to eat so you don’t starve. Be gentle to yourself and learn that lesson. Then start with the good stuff again the next day.
The following recipes are alternative to every day foods, changed to fit a cleanse. What’s great about them, is that they are tasty enough to make all year round. On and off the detox, these will keep your bellies full and happy.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip with White Beans (Serves 6)
Makes a great appetizer, snack, or lunch.
- Head of spinach, cleaned
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 15 oz. can white beans (navy, butter, cannellini), rinsed
- 2 TBSP fresh or dried basil
- 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped white part only (optional)
- 1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped
In a medium or large sauce pan, steam spinach for 3 minutes, until just wilted. Drain spinach thoroughly and add to food processor with beans, garlic, basil, scallions, and lemon juice. Mix until spinach is well blended.
Add the chopped artichokes and mix by hand. Serve with carrots, apples, celery, etc.
Bacon and Sauteed Cabbage (Serves 6)
My husband’s recipe, we take it along camping too.
- 5 slices turkey bacon (antibiotic and hormone free), diced
- 2 TBSP coconut or extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp fresh or dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp fresh or dried oregano
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Medium to small head of green cabbage, shredded
In a large iron skillet or dutch oven on medium heat, cook bacon in 1 TBSP oil for 5-6 minutes, stirring so the bacon doesn’t burn. Remove bacon from the skillet and set aside.
Add the onion and 2nd TBSP of oil and saute for 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add garlic and herbs, and saute for another 2 minutes.
Add bacon and cabbage and distribute all the ingredients in the pot evenly. Cover and steam, stirring occasionally. Cook until all the cabbage is soft, about 10-15 minutes. Serve warm as a side dish for chicken or fish.
Coconut and Pistachio Granola (Serves 6, or as a snack)
- 1/2 cup millet, uncooked
- 2 cups gluten free rolled oats, uncooked
- 3/4 cup pistachios, shelled
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup honey, raw if you have it
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries or blueberries
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk for cereal (optional)
In a glass or ceramic bowl, soften millet by pouring in 1/2 cup boiling water. Cover with a plate and let sit overnight, or at least 4 hours. Drain excess water.
Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl combine the millet, oats, pistachios, and coconut flakes and mix.
In a small saucepan, heat the oil and honey on low until melted. Pour over nut mixture and toss until well blended. Line a rimmed baking sheet (or casserole dish 9 x 14) and spread out the mixture. Bake 20 minutes, tossing about 1/2 way through. Add the dried fruit and serve with unsweetened almond or coconut milk for an alternative to cereal, or eat as a snack.
You can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.