Mar 06, 2013 No Comments
The Success secrets
Change is hard, but these strategies for completing your cleanse – straight from our panel of bona fide detox deities – will make it a whole lot easier.
- Clean house No, we’re not talking about scrubbing down your cupboards or counters, but getting rid of the wrong foods (at least temporarily) and stocking up on the right ones. Go ahead and leave your condiments in the refrigerator, but dump – or at least lock up – all the stuff you might be unable to resist in a moment of weakness. In place of the junk, load your fridge and pantry with organic vegetables, low-sugar fruits, gluten-free grains or whatever’s on the menu for the detox you’ve chosen. If you’re doing a program that involves lots of juices or other liquid concoctions, you’ll also want to invest in or borrow a quality juicer or macerating blender.
- Get a detox buddy Pairing up with a pal (or several) might just be your single best insurance policy for completing a cleanse. “Support from others keeps people motivated and emotionally connected”. Choose someone who’s as excited to detox as you are (and who won’t agree when you propose trading the cauliflower and kale for a night of cocktails). Cleansing with family members and co-workers can be a good call because you spend so much time together, but you don’t have to limit yourself to people in your immediate area. Invite a friend from across the country to detox with you (commit to checking in with each other daily by phone, text or email), or cleanse with a larger group on a social media site. Plenty of programs – Also have communities you can join for extra motivation and support. You might even blog about your experience like our detox newbie did.
- Ease into it Taking baby steps toward your start date is crucial when doing a detox. “It’s best to have a wean week during which you have no more than 6 to 8 ounces of meat, and two or three servings each of diary and gluten over the course of seven days”. Even when not weaning, she recommends no more than three servings a week of meat, dairy and gluten. Coffee is the real kicker here, because caffeine withdrawal can be crazy-making – so try mixing in decaffeinated with regular coffee over the course of a few days : Use 75 percent regular and 25 percent decaffeinated the first day, 50/50 the second day, then 75 percent decaf and 25 percent regular on the third. By day four, you should be drinking 100 percent decaf. Also, suggests using Swiss Water process decaf, as the standard method involves chemical extraction of the caffeine. While you’re weaning yourself off forbidden foods, start ramping up the good stuff, too – including plenty of filtered water (steer clear of bottles water, which can contain toxins) and lots of organic vegetables.
- Conquer the caffeine If you’re still missing your cup of joe during the detox, recommends green or white tea, yerba mate or cacao, all of which contain only trace amounts of caffeine. Other options include Teeccino, made from grains (note: it has a bit of gluten in it), chicory or a tall glass of the juicy green stuff (veggies and herbs). “The more green juice you drink, the fewer outside stimulants you’ll need, because it’s loaded with a hefty blast of sustainable energy”. Another tip for the sluggish : “Substitute 10 to 30 minutes of exercise for your morning cup(s) of coffee.”If you’re getting caffeine withdrawal headaches, recommends either aspirin, Advil or white willow bark (a total of two capsules three times daily) or 60 to 120 milligrams of salacin (the active ingredient in white willow bark), along with vitamin C powder crystals with calcium, magnesium and potassium ascorbates – alkaline minerals that counter cravings. The good news, is that true caffeine withdrawal only lasts about 48 hours, so you should be well out of the headache stage by the end of the wean weak. “Most people need only a dose or two of a pain reliever to get through”.
- Prep what you can. Although most cleanses don’t require a ton of cooking, having certain staples at the ready is still important. If grains or legumes (the soaking-required variety) are on the menu, cook up your favorites in advance so you can quickly reheat them at mealtime (use the stove, though – no nucking!). For salads, smoothies or juices and veggies snacks, wash and cut them all ahead of time. If you’re doing a program involving more time-consuming recipes, make at least a few – and up to five days’ worth – in advance as well.
- Manage your moods Detoxing can bring up all kinds of emotions, which can’t turn to the usual suspects to numb them away. “Sometimes people who are really hooked on caffeine; sugar, chocolate, alcohol, cheese or other substances have a bit of a withdrawal during the first several days, often manifesting as lower mood, lack of energy or irritability”. “But as they come out of that phase, they are glad to have broken free.” Simple as it sounds, staying hydrated with filtered water, herbal teas and green juices – particularly first thing in the morning, when the body needs to rehydrate, and in the late afternoon – is one of the best things you can do to combat emotional instability.Eating enough is also a challenge – and an often-overlooked cause of mood issues – when detoxing. “You should never feel hungry while cleansing”. “If you do, eat something. You have plenty of delicious, nutritious options!” Make sure you exercise, too. Cardio activities like running are good for releasing feel-good endorphins when you’re down, while more meditative practices like yoga can help soothe stress. Getting plenty of sleep, journaling and many of the other lifestyle strategies outlined in plan.
- Conquer your cravings When your usual pick-me-up snack time rolls around and a caramel latte starts calling your name, turn to a healthy substitute such as a square or organic dark chocolate. (Some detoxes do allow a taste!) You can also try herbal tea or lemon water sweetened with stevia to help squelch sugar cravings. Arming yourself with healthy snacks – and eating them before hunger really takes hold – is also important. Recommends having dried, unsweetened fruits like mangoes, 1-ounces packets of nuts and mini brown rice cakes at the ready wherever you go.For more steely souls, “simple breath work may suffice”, also suggests inhaling therapeutic-grade essential oil such as grapefruit to stimulate focus and relaxation, promoting mindful eating. Don’t underestimate the power of a good distraction, either: Play with your dog, phone a friend, read a book or magazine. Cravings tend to subside around day three – so you may not even need all of these strategies for the duration.
- Outsmart your social calendar Although a detox doesn’t have to take over your life, schedule it for a time when you don’t have a lot of special occasions in your datebook. Starting on the weekend is often easier, so you have fewer distractions and plenty of time to focus on food prep. If you’re travelling, pack lots of portable foods (recommends a bag of nuts, Granny Smith apples or pears, vegan energy bars, herbal teas, vegan protein and green drink powder) and carry a water bottle that you can fill at a foundation or cafe after-making it through airport security. Many places, including gas stations and Starbucks, sell fresh bottled vegetable juices, unadorned salads and low-sugar fruits like apples and berries (all excellent, cleanse-friendly road foods).If you simply can’t get out of a social function, just do your best with what’s available. “Ask for a salad with oil and vinegar dressing and steer clear of diary”. To avoid awkwardness with party hosts, make sure to let them know you’re doing a cleanse. But also realize that having a morsel or two of forbidden food does not have to equal detox destruction. “Just resume the routine as soon as possible, without guilt”. Gorging on cake at your cousin’s wedding doesn’t exactly fit this exception – but having a small bite or a few sips or red wine is acceptable. Focus on the big picture, and chances are your detox successes will be many.