Welcome to part II of my series on Detoxing! If you haven’t yet, check out the first post in the series, 7 Day Detox: Why Detox?, and get inspired to start your own reboot experiment.
The Secret To A Successful Detox
Today, I want to give you the secret to detoxing successfully. Are you ready? You have to plan your meals, your snacks, your beverages, everything! Down to the last detail. If you skip this part or just gloss over it with generalities, you will set yourself up for failure! Knowing exactly what and about how much you are supposed to be eating ahead of time will help you avoid the pitfall of off-the-cuff decisions–which often lead to poor choices. Get a notebook, grab a pen, and let’s get started.
Start Your Day Hydrated & Refreshed
Many detox plans you come across will have you starting your day with a hot drink–particularly a mixture of hot water and freshly squeezed lemon juice. This is a great way to start your mornings during a detox. The lemon and hot water will wake up your digestive system and refresh your liver for a new day of filtering toxins from your body. Just boil about 8 oz. of water and add the juice of half a lemon. Warning: This is not an especially pleasant drink, but extremely beneficial for your gut. Drink first thing when you get up. If you just can’t seem to stomach straight lemon juice and water, try starting with some sort of lemon herbal tea.
Have A Hearty Breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast on your detox should be something you look forward to and not too difficult to prepare. You may also choose to have your normal cup of coffee (black, or with a splash of skim milk) now that you’ve gotten your cleansing lemon water or herbal tea out of the way. Some ideas for breakfast include:
- Scrambled eggs
- Quinoa with skim milk & cinnamon
- Fruit (apple, banana, berries, grapefruit, orange, etc.)
- Fruit & yogurt smoothie
- Yogurt with raw nuts & berries
- Omelet with peppers & onions
You can choose to eat something similar each day with a few variations to make it easy or plan a different breakfast each day. Whatever you choose, make sure you keep an eye out for added sugar. Buy plain low fat yogurt, keep away from individually packaged oatmeal, etc.
A typical breakfast for me during my detox looked like this: A cup of black tea or coffee, plain low fat yogurt with raw almonds and strawberries (or raspberries, blueberries–whatever I was feeling that morning!) and a gala apple.
Stay Fueled With Snacks
When detoxing from added sugar, you will feel hungry. Your diet will be missing your sugar crutch, so you will be needing a snack between breakfast and lunch and another snack mid-afternoon. Some snack ideas:
- Fruit (cherries, berries, apple, banana, orange, whatever you like best!)
- Raw nuts & seeds
- Baby carrots & hummus
- Yogurt (if you didn’t already have it for breakfast!)
Also, remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day!
Keep Lunch Simple
Lunch should always include a big bowl of spinach or other hearty green leaf–NOT iceberg lettuce, which is mostly water with very few nutrients. I enjoyed making big salads with different toppings. Below is a picture of a taco salad of sorts with black beans, corn, green pepper, cottage cheese, and (shhh) a little bit of chipotle dressing. (It was the last day of the detox; I deserved a little splurge!) I also included a sliced apple.
Make sure to include some protein in your lunch. This doesn’t have to be a meat necessarily–quinoa and brown rice are packed with protein, too! Some lunch ideas:
- A big salad with varied toppings
- Baked potato with cottage cheese
- Canned tuna or salmon
- Quinoa or brown rice with roasted or steamed veggies (broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, green beans, etc.)
- Black beans & quinoa taco bowl
- Baked chicken or fish
Whatever you choose, make sure to include your greens, whether they are the main dish or on the side with a touch of balsamic. Add a helping of fruit on the side, too, if you like!
Pack A Punch At Dinnertime
Just like lunch, dinner should always include a big salad. Besides your salad, your dinner should be absolutely packed with vegetable goodness. The easiest way to make them is to chop them up, throw them on a pan with some salt, pepper, and olive oil (and maybe a touch of garlic) and roast them! You could also sauté them. I enjoyed sautéed red and green peppers and made a really good pan of roasted broccoli from this recipe on FoodNetwork.com. You could easily apply a similar method to asparagus, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, or any number of vegetables!
Your dinner should also include your main protein source for the day: salmon, tilapia, cod, chicken breast, lean ground beef, flank steak, etc. You will probably find it easiest to stick to either baking your protein source or pan frying it in a little olive oil. Feel free to use any spice combos to make it burst with flavor! I loved putting a combination of cumin and cinnamon on my fish and a Jamaican jerk blend on my chicken.
Lastly, include some sort of whole grain or starch to make sure your meal is filling! Don’t be afraid to add some flavor like I did with this Herbed Quinoa Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.
Don’t Forget Dessert
If you’re going to detox, you have to give yourself a little bit of a reward at the end of a successful day! Note: dessert still should not include added sugar! Most nights I enjoyed blending together a banana, a cup full of berries (strawberries or raspberries were my favorite), and a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and freezing it for a couple of hours. The result: a fruit and cocoa sorbet! Enjoy!
A Sample Menu
First Thing: 8 oz. hot lemon water
Breakfast: Quinoa with skim milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and sliced bananas, a sliced gala apple, and black coffee
Morning Snack: A cup of blueberries and raw almonds, water
Lunch: A big romaine salad with sliced strawberries, raw pecans, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar and a bowl of lemon and herb quinoa, herbal tea
Afternoon Snack: Plain low fat yogurt with toasted oats and blackberries, water
Dinner: Another big salad drizzled with balsamic and olive oil, pan fried chicken breast with Jamaican jerk spice, roasted asparagus, baked sweet potato with cinnamon, water
Dessert: Blended and frozen banana and raspberries with a pinch of unsweetened cocoa powder
Stay tuned for another detox installment!