“Detox” is a trendy buzzword among dieters, health nuts and recovering addicts but when most people think detox, they think of 14 days of drinking maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper – essentially, turning into a solid food-starved maniac. We’re into the second month of the new year and already those “eat right, feel great,” resolutions have started to wane. A detox is a great way to get back on track to a healthier 2012, battle the effects of that favorite college pastime, binge drinking, and curb, or even cure, your processed food addiction. So ditch the Master Cleanse- there are other ways to feel lighter, brighter, cleaner and meaner than following a plan that some dude made up in the 40s (when arsenic was used to treat syphilis).
This detox, created by Dr. Elizabeth Lipski (author of Digestive Wellness) is simple, but not necessarily easy. Here are five tips to help you get through the detox:
CUT THE CRAP:
For seven to 10 days, say good-bye to those oh-so-tempting late night pizza and beer runs, ignore the seductive whisperings of the vending machine and break up with anything effervescent (unless its sparkling water).
And more often. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as it’s veggies, fruit or rice. Err towards eating more vegetables than anything else- eating 14 cups of rice a day isn’t going to help you out much. Dr. Lipski recommends eating every two to three hours to ward off that inevitable slump and crankiness that comes with low blood sugar.
Amidst the crush of college life, it’s obviously easier to turn to pre-packaged and pre-prepared snacks and meals. So make like a Girl Scout and BE PREPARED. Though you might feel like an anal soccer mom, use the morning to plan out your meals and carry easy snacks like carrot sticks and apples for in between meals. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can be a little pricey (especially if you buy them fresh) so figure out what’s in season and on sale before you go to the grocery store. If you’re on a meal plan this can be trickier (but you can always be a diva and demand the caf serve vegan food if they don’t already).
LET THAT RIGHT BRAIN WORK:
Although there are all kinds of fruits and vegetables, you will have to flex your creative culinary muscles a little bit to make eating them more interesting. Olive oil, spices and herbs are fair game to season your dishes. You can make “detox” version of your favorites- put marinara on broccoli or spaghetti squash, julienne potatoes or sweet potatoes and bake them, and try out different combinations of fruits and veggies for smoothies.
The first few days will probably be hellacious (imagine being hungover and then hit by a truck). You will just want to hide in a dark room and avoid human contact. So, make sure you start your detox on a Friday or during a short break (or just use it as an excuse to play hooky). ”Why on earth would I inflict this torture on myself?” you ask yourself, puzzled. Because, after the fourth or fifth day you will be bouncing off the walls and have that healthy glow that girls weirdly always have in birth control commercials.
Keep in mind that before starting this, or any new diet or exercise regimen, ask your doctor if it’s right for you. If the seven day plan sounds too intense, try it out for just a day or have just one “detox” meal daily. If you do the full seven days, don’t end it by eating an entire beef and cheese burrito. Slowly incorporate healthy, whole foods back into your diet (stuff we all know is good for us but like to avoid, like oats, tofu, lentils, etc).
Don’t know where to begin? Try out this adaptation of a traditional Portuguese soup for a simple and filling meal that costs less to make than a large cheese pizza from Domino’s and case of beer.
1 pound kale
1 small onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 cans low-sodium veggie broth
2 cups water
salt/pepper to taste
- Lightly cover bottom of large pot with olive oil, heat and sauté onions and garlic until onions are tender.
- Add potatoes, broth and water and bring everything to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 mins (until potatoes are almost tender)
- Mash potatoes gently with a potato masher and add kale. Bring everything back to a boil and then simmer for about 2 minutes or until kale is tender.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.(For a less hearty soup you can put everything in a blender or food processor when its done but I prefer it with a little more substance. Recipe adapted from www.leitesculinaria.com)
- Blend all ingredients together until smooth (don’t let the green color turn you off). Experiment with your favorite fruits and juices.