Here’s What You Need To Know About Food Cleanses

what is a food cleanse

Unsplash/Dose Juice

At some point or another, we all look at our diets and think, Wow, this is getting out of control. From food-centric holidays and chronic work stress to sharing a kitchen with roommates who will eat anything under the sun, it’s incredibly easy to veer from your healthy track without even realizing it. And when you’ve truly gone off the deep end, sometimes the only thing that feels right is attempting a total body reset.

But let us share a little secret with you: That doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself or avoid eating real food for days. In fact, we recommend the opposite. Ditch the juice cleanse trend once and for all, and try a food cleanse instead.

What is a food cleanse?

A food cleanse is simply a span of a few days where you trade any processed foods in your diet for nutrient-dense options (many of which are typically plant-based). By stocking your body with everything that it needs, skipping over all of the junk that it doesn’t and drinking plenty of water, you can tune into your body’s natural ability to flush out toxins even more efficiently. The result? You have energy to burn and you feel physically, mentally and emotionally ready to take on the world (and the rest of your wellness goals on your list).

what is a food cleanse

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How To Do It

First things first, set aside some time up front to meal prep. Since you’re skipping over all “convenience foods,” you want to start by mapping out which recipes you want to tackle (they can be super simple!) and stocking your refrigerator with all of the beautiful produce you can get your hands on. Make sure you have healthy protein and fat options within in reach, too. Those macronutrients are the keys to feeling full and energized while also “cleansing” with all of your favorite plants.

Don’t know where to start? You can never go wrong with chlorophyl-packed leafy greens like spinach and arugula, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts will give you satiating fiber alongside important anti-inflammatory properties. We reach for all the raw nuts — almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, you name it — to score both heart-healthy fats and sustaining protein in a plant-based way. And don’t forget fruit for that little sugar fix. Berries are your best bet for keeping your blood sugar levels in check, but an apple never hurt anyone.

what is a food cleanse

Unsplash/Eiliv Sonas Aceron

When To Try It

You don’t need a momentous occasion to set aside three days to treat yourself well. Dive into a food cleanse whenever your body is telling you, Hey, I don’t feel like my best self and would love a reboot, and those 72 hours will give you exactly what you need.

For your first attempt, we recommend whipping up a nut milk, berry and spinach smoothie for breakfast. Then try an arugula salad with pomegranate arils, roasted broccoli and sunflower seeds for lunch. Finally, opt for a quinoa bowl with black beans and sliced avocado for dinner. Oh, and snack on blueberries and almonds when your body requests additional energy. Feel free to use your own creativity with the ingredient lists there, but that basic structure will easily (and painlessly) get you through a food cleanse.

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