What is a cleanse? How will a cleanse benefit me? As an RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) and a yoga teacher(10K+ teaching hours), I will describe a cleanse that benefits your mind/body. No powders, potions or pills are necessary for a cleanse.
Why are we even talking about cleansing? It’s SPRING and first of all, we live in a toxic food environment…candy, energy drinks, chips, and various other crapola are readily available to us. When we’re hungry, our brain wants the quickest form of glucose there is and that’s processed food! Unfortunately, processed food is rarely filling or nutritious and we end up grazing around for more…the end result can be rotten teeth, irritable bowel syndrome(constipation/diarrhea) or a fat belly. We ain’t got time for that…
Nutritionally speaking, a typical cleanse removes all processed food…that means no gummy bears, sour patch kids, chips or soda to name the obvious and also NO sugar-free products, gluten, and even some fruit and veggies might have to go temporarily depending on the individual’s bowel schedule.
Don’t get nervous, there is plenty of real food left to eat and enjoy.
The first and worst sugar to definitely remove is high fructose corn syrup and then there are medium and low sugar offenders. Natural or un-natural sugars(acesulfame-K, and the yellow, pink and blue fake sugar packets) ferment in the belly and can cause distress. Not just our usual farts but smelly gas that hurts like hell until it’s out…not to mention, it really hurts the people around you…pee-you! Some foods have natural sugar like fresh fruit and dairy and those foods can stay in the diet depending on your fart/poop schedule.
Passing gas is normal if it doesn’t hurt you (or me); ‘better to let it out and bear the shame than hold it in and bear the pain’.
Learn to look for ‘added sugars’ in packaged foods like flavored yogurt. Plain yogurt has 12 grams of natural sugar(lactose) but some yogurts have 25 grams of sugar; only the first 12 grams are natural! A rule of thumb for added sugars is 6 tsp/day for women and 9 tsp/day for men. YES you can re-educate the mind and the tastebuds for a successful cleanse by planning ahead:
Try gluten free whole grains like oats, quinoa, rice and wild rice for a week and see how your belly feels.
Starchy veggies like peas, winter squash, and potato(sweet, red, white and purple).
Non-starchy veggies, like leafy greens, asparagus, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, onions, zucchini and many more!
To make your new foods taste good, add California EVOO, avocado, nuts and olives.
As for animal proteins and dairy, they can be included in very small amounts without added sugars. Look at your meals and snacks and make sure 3/4 of the plate is plant based and only 1/4 meat, fish, chicken or dairy. Farm raised animal proteins are best and more expensive but you may be able to afford them by eating less.
Before, during and after the cleanse, use yoga for mindfulness when planning, preparing and eating. Any exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes will support you mentally, physically and emotionally throughout the cleanse. Silently repeat a positive mantra to yourself stating the purpose of why you decided to change, i.e. My bones and teeth are strong, my mind and muscles are supple and flexible, and/or my blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and blood sugar are normal.
Look within… cleansing for you may be changing other behaviors.