7 Ways to Cleanse Without Juicing
Everywhere I go lately I hear someone announcing that they're on a juice cleanse or detoxing and then explaining what they're not eating and how "hangry" (i.e hungry and angry) they are.
If being extreme isn't your thing, here are seven ways to detox your body without going "hangry" and messing with your blood sugar levels. Instead, you can feed your body real food and increase your energy, release water retention, break caffeine addictions, increase your quality of sleep, and reduce stress. You'll even discover foods that your body doesn't agree with.
This is your cleanse, so design it as you wish. Maybe your idea of a cleanse is simply abstaining from alcohol and sugar for a week. For someone else it may mean going vegan.
Choose from the seven steps below to create your own cleanse for at least one week:
1. Remove Processed Sugar
If you can do this one not-so-simple step, your body will benefit more than any of the others. A diet high in sugar ruins the body in so many ways. For example, eating too much refined sugar can zap your energy after sending your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. Sugar drains your body of minerals like magnesium. When cooked, sugar creates AGE's (Advanced Glycation Endproducts) which damage collagen fibers and lead to less elastic skin, causing wrinkles. And worse, when not burned by the body, sugar will be stored as body fat.
2. Lay Off the Booze
I'm not one to be a hypocrite. I drink alcohol, and I believe if you keep it in moderation there is room for alcohol in a healthy diet. Drinking alcohol can be a social activity that can lead to lower stress levels which is a healthy thing. But closet drinking and/or binge drinking are activities that definitely need to be addressed. Taking time off from drinking helps lower acidity in the body, curbs cravings and increases your energy, especially in the mornings which leads to a more productive day. It will also give your liver a chance to clean up other messes.
3. Avoid Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeine from excess coffee, soda and energy drinks can wear on our adrenal glands and set us up for adrenal exhaustion. If you are addicted to caffeine and can't go a day without it without experiencing fatigue or headaches, it might be time for a break. Stimulants place demand on the adrenals and cause the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Increase levels of cortisol lead to poor sleep quality and the accumulation of body fat. Drink more pure water instead.
4. Remove Dairy
Organic dairy can have a place in a healthy diet for those who produce lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar in milk products). For those people whose bodies don't produce lactase, dairy is never a good idea and the same goes for people with lactose intolerances and allergies. Dairy causes excess mucus in the body and for that reason should be avoided when someone is sick. Remove it from your diet for a week and see how your body responds.
5. Remove Wheat
Just like dairy, many people have intolerances to wheat. Not to mention the foods made from wheat are usually high on the glycemic index and should be reduced anyway, such as bread, pasta, pastries, boxed cereals, cookies, etc. Replace wheat with whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, faro or barley and eat in moderation.
6. Go Meat-Free
Even Beyonce and Jay-Z have tried a 22-day vegan challenge to reap the health benefits. A high-protein, low-carb diet may work for short-term weight loss, but it can increase overall acidity leading to a risk of kidney stones, decreased calcium and possible bone loss. If meat is a mainstay in your diet, challenge yourself to a week of plant-based meals.
7. Eat More Raw Foods
Raw foods are foods that have not been cooked over 118 degrees Fahrenheit. They contain live enzymes that help you digest food. Eat salads with fresh vegetables and some fruit every day to increase your intake of cancer-fighting antioxidants and fiber. Try adding a green juice or green smoothie to your daily routine. Foods like cucumber, kale, broccoli, and celery are great alkaline-forming foods to use as bases for smoothies and juices. Add cilantro to salads, smoothies and vegetable dishes as it helps support the liver. Raw nuts and seeds, coconut, and avocado are great for their healthy fats to help your body burn fat and support your joints.
Enjoy your cleanse, and let me know how it goes for you.
Readers - Have you ever tried a juice cleanse? What was your experience with it? Did you lose weight to only gain it back right after? Have you also tried removing sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and/or wheat from your diet? How did that go? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Jennifer Cassetta is a third degree black belt, clinical nutritionist and personal trainer. She loves kale, chocolate and wine. She loves to punch, kick, lift weights, meditate, and dress up in stilettos. She empowers people to be strong, safe and sexy through nutrition, fitness and self-defense, and you can read more at www.jennifercassetta.com.