Photo: Ruven Afanador
On talk shows and in magazines, I often hear celebrities championing cleanses. But when they say "cleanse" and I say "cleanse," we're usually talking about two very different things. Celebrities use the word to refer to so-called detox diets that promise to help you shed 20 pounds in two weeks. These rapid weight loss regimens can deprive you of crucial nutrients and calories, forcing your body into starvation mode. You do lose weight, but as your metabolism slows, the pounds eventually creep back.
When I say "cleanse," I mean it in the sense of true cleaning—a strategy that helps your body rid itself of toxins. We're exposed to harmful substances all the time; they're in our diet (pesticides, microbes, and mercury, to name a few) and the very air we breathe (think disinfectants, deodorizers, and the gasses released by fresh paint). Fortunately, we have an excellent system in place to handle those toxins: Enzymes throughout the body are continuously breaking them down and helping to flush them out. My 48-hour detox works by optimizing that system. It involves eating whole foods that are packed with nutrients believed to boost the activity of the enzymes and nourish the body's most important detoxifying organs—the liver, the lungs, the kidneys, and the colon—so they can do their jobs better and more efficiently.
The first time I did this cleanse, I noticed that its effects aren't just physical. I believe there is a spiritual aspect as well. Afterward I felt a sense of peace that I didn't have before. If you'd like to see for yourself, eat according to my meal plan for two days. (If you're on regular medication, check with your doctor first.) I recommend repeating the cleanse three or four times a year, or whenever you're feeling bloated or sluggish. I promise it will rejuvenate you—from the inside out.
Breakfast: Quinoa with PrunesStart the day with a bowl of this healthy whole grain. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. (Not many cleanses incorporate protein, which can be problematic; if you're not consuming enough amino acids, your body will begin mining them from your muscle tissue. Muscle loss is, unfortunately, one way that detox dieters lose weight.) Quinoa also provides fiber to bulk up stool, and phosphorus to help stimulate bowel movements. The prunes deliver even more fiber, plus sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with a laxative effect.
Lunch: Revitalizing Fruit SmoothieHere's proof that a cleanse can taste fantastic. Blueberries provide antioxidants to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and contain quercetin, a pigment that may increase the number of enzymes in the liver. The banana's vitamin B6 helps recharge detoxifying enzymes throughout the body, and ground flaxseed or chia seeds supply additional fiber for healthy elimination (as well as brain-nourishing omega-3s).
Next: The snack you can have as often as you'd like
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