This is one of the many reasons I love my job — I get emails like this all the time: “Do you have a de-bloating 1-weeker? I have to look good topless…”
And, yes, I do have some ideas on how to rock a short-term detox. I'm not sure about the topless part, but I can help with bloat!
A successful short-term detox — for example, 3-7 days — has the same requirements as a longer detox: advance planning.
Most people tend to wing it when it comes to a clean living bender: they shop for produce and other healthy stuff on Sunday night, or buy a six-pack of juices on Monday — and then hope for the best.
As you can imagine, this isn't really setting yourself up for success. This approach doesn't take other important factors into consideration, such as:
- When will you prepare your healthy meals?
- What will you do when you have to work late or go to a social function?
- When will you work out?
- What happens at night, when you can't stop thinking about the chocolate or caramels in your stash drawer?
- And what about all that wine just sitting there, staring you in the face, ready to be enjoyed?
There's an art and a science to a successful DIY detox, and it can definitely be pulled off with some mindfulness, focus, and advance planning.
Here are my top tips for getting organized for a DIY detox:
1. Put Your Kitchen on a Cleanse
A successful detox is nearly impossible to achieve when you’re surrounded by the “bad” stuff. Success is less about will power, and more about avoidance. So clear that stuff out and give your kitchen a clean slate. This means removing/donating your refined carbs (crackers, chips, etc.), refined sugar (soda, candy, etc.), diet soda, and other processed foods from your pantry so they won’t become a temptation whenever your personal “witching hour” happens to be — for example, after the kids go to bed.
You might be saying — what? You want me to give away my chocolate? Donate my Cheezits? If you’re feeling panicky or anxious about this, that’s totally natural. It’s a big change for most people. Just know that the discomfort will ease up once you start finding healthier foods and habits to love.
2. Calendar Your Cleanse
Many of the world's most successful people live according to this powerful principle: if it's not on the calendar, it's not happening.
So put that detox or cleanse on your calendar, and block out the times when you'll shop and prep your ingredients.
You'll also want to plan (and calendar) what you'll be eating for each meal, especially what you'll be be having for lunch and dinner. Figure out which recipes you'll be preparing for smoothies, salads, soups and other meals, and put these on the calendar.
Why is this so important? Most people can get their act together and blend up a smoothie in the morning, but then the day gets away from them and they skip lunch… and then, starving, they resort to unhealthy take-out for dinner.
I recommend planning your meals on the Friday before the next week. That way, you can shop over the weekend, and have some confidence and clarity around following through with your plan.
3. Prep Like a Pro
Produce that isn't prepped over the weekend — washed, chopped, stored in tidy containers — is often overlooked during busy weeknights when you're too tired to cook a healthy meal. If I'm not good about prepping, that beautiful produce ends up in the compost heap at the end of the week.
It may sound trivial, but on a busy weeknight, I'm generally unwilling to take the extra effort of spinning salad greens, or de-seeding and chopping red bell peppers — sometimes, I'm too lazy to even peel garlic. So, I take care of all that stuff on Sunday. That way, if I want to put together a quick stir-fry, everything's just waiting for me to throw it into the pan with a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil (see Tip #5).
4. Don't Cook Every Night
We’re all busy, and I find that most people don’t have time to cook from-scratch every night. That’s why I batch-cook 2-3 times a week and “coast” — enjoy or modify leftovers — on the days in-between. This saves time and the stress of deciding what to make every day.
Here’s how it works:
- Friday/Saturday — Write down the meals for the week and go shopping for the ingredients.
- Sunday — Prep the vegetables (i.e. chop veggies and store in air-tight glass containers), make a salad dressing and a dip, and make a soup to enjoy Monday and Tuesday.
- During the week, enjoy leftovers, or assemble simple meals using prepped ingredients.
- Midweek — I might cook again on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on social or family commitments. Or, I might enjoy a simple “raw” meal — a salad with veggies, a handful of nuts, and a delicious dressing.
- Friday night — Get some healthy take-out or enjoy a restaurant meal with lots of veggies. This is the part where I feel very lucky to live in Portland, OR — plenty of delicious plant-based cuisine to choose from.
5. Master the Super Simple Meal
Healthy living can get super overwhelming if you feel like you need to cook up a masterpiece every night.
For me, dinner is often a smaller meal than lunch, which is usually a huge salad. For dinner, we typicall have leftover soup and a salad. Or if I'm super-detoxing, I'll have a green smoothie for dinner.
But if I want a larger meal, I rely heavily on the super simple stir fry. Here's how it works:
Chop whatever vegetables you have on hand. Drain some organic tofu and cut into cubes (or use leftover chicken if you eat animal products).
Drizzle some olive oil into the pan and add the vegetables (optional: add some chopped onion or minced garlic). Sauté until crisp tender, then add your protein. Stir gently and sauté until tofu is warmed through.
Season with salt, pepper, gluten free tamari, gomasio (Japanese seasoning with sesame seeds, sea salt and seaweed), salad dressing/sauce, etc.
See how easy that is? If your veggies are already prepped (see Tip #3), this meal takes 15 minutes, 20 minutes tops.
Want more tips? Download my 3-Day Detox Guide
I hope these tips help you navigate your own clean living bender.
If you're looking for additional guidance and some delicious detox recipes, download my free 3-Day Detox Guide.
This free, 40-page eBook (PDF) includes:
- Game Plan: Tips and guidance on how to prepare for your detox
- Recipes: 18 delicious and nutrient-packed recipes for smoothies, soups, salads, and snacks
- Meal Plan: Recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
To download your free PDF, simply click on the box below.