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Full Body Cleanse: Diet
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Jan 07, 2010
During an intense, full body cleanse, the goal with your diet is simple: it's to minimize the workload on your digestive organs while supplying your body with enough energy to carry out its everyday activities. Cleansing is performed primarily by your body's self-regulated cleansing mechanisms, not by the nutrients in the foods that you eat.
Vegetables, fruits, and their juices are excellent food choices for an intense, full body cleanse for the following reasons:
For most people, vegetables and fruits are extremely easy to digest.
Vegetables and fruits are naturally rich in water; staying hydrated is an essential requirement for an intense, full body cleanse.
For the vast majority of people, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and all cooked animal foods are harder to digest than vegetables and fruits. So for an intense period of cleansing, it's best to avoid everything but vegetables, fruits, their juices, and water.
How to Prepare for an Intense, Full Body Cleanse
Before beginning, it's ideal to take a week or at least a few days to taper your intake of the following:
- Sugar and other sweeteners
- All animal foods, including dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, chicken, beef, pork, and all other flesh meats
These foods put significant strain on your digestive organs, and avoiding them "cold turkey" can sometimes create withdrawal symptoms that are too powerful for some people to tolerate.
It's fine to eat grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds right up until the day before you begin your intense period of detox - these foods are rich in fiber, and their remains should move through your digestive tract without too much difficulty during your intense cleanse.
If you don't wish to spend up to a week to taper your intake of the foods listed above, it's fine to begin right away; just be aware that you may experience highly uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal, like strong headaches, lightheadedness, and nausea.
Other than tapering the foods-to-avoid during your cleanse, all that remains during the preparatory phase is to make sure that your kitchen is well stocked with vegetables and fruits that you enjoy.
Here is a list of vegetables and fruits that can be used for a highly effective cleanse:
- Dark green, leafy lettuce (romaine, red leaf, green leaf)
- Red beets (one or two will last a week)
- Bell peppers
- Yukon gold or new potatoes
- Sweet potatoes or yams
- Acorn or butternut squash
- Oranges and grapefruit
- Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, goji berries, and any other berries that you enjoy
- Any other fruits or vegetables that you enjoy raw or juiced
Clearly, it's best to choose fruits and vegetables that are in season. Organic varieties are best, but my experience has been that non-organic produce can also be used to experience an intense period of detox.
Regarding liquids: Have on hand plenty of water that you feel comfortable drinking. When weighed against all of the moment-to-moment dietary and lifestyle factors that affect your health, so long as your water isn't intentionally poisoned, even municipal tap water can be used to experience a highly effective cleanse.
It's fine to drink warm or hot water.
It's also fine to use sparkling mineral water as you desire, although you should mainly drink "still" water during your cleanse.
Regarding medications: Please do not taper or stop taking prescription medications without your physician's consent.
Regarding nutritional supplements: Avoid any supplements that contain synthetic nutrients, protein isolates, grains, nuts, seeds, or lecithin. It's fine to take whole food supplements that contain nothing but vegetables and/or fruits. It's also fine to take a probiotic as long as it doesn't have added protein, grains, nuts, seeds, or lecithin.
Regarding equipment: If you can chew your foods well, you don't need much by way of equipment. If you have access to a strong blender and a juicer, you can make smoothies and juices during your intense cleanse, but these aren't absolutely necessary.
The Full Body Cleanse Diet
Eat any raw, ripe fruits that you desire, along with any combination of lettuce, celery, and avocado, if desired.
If you have trouble staying full on just raw fruits and vegetables, be sure to have avocado with your fruit, as the healthy fatty acids found in avocado should help you stay satisfied until your next meal.
If you'd like, you can blend up your morning meal into a smoothie.
You can also have water, sparkling water, or a hot drink made with boiling water and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Eat a large vegetable salad with as many different vegetables as possible. If you would like a salad dressing, use extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, fresh lime juice or any combination of extra-virgin olive oil and citrus juice. Try to avoid vinegar, honey, salt, and spices.
If you have trouble feeling full, again, try to include an avocado with your salad.
If you don't think you can make it to dinner on a raw vegetable salad with avocado, have a steamed Yukon gold potato, new potato, or sweet potato after your salad.
Feel free to have water, sparkling water, or peppermint or chamomile tea after your lunch meal. Also feel free to have any fresh, ripe fruits that you desire after your vegetable salad.
Eat any combination of raw vegetables and fruits that you desire, but aim to have at least as many vegetables as fruits.
If you're still hungry after eating raw vegetables and fruits, have any steamed vegetables that you enjoy, such as steamed broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, corn, and asparagus.
If you're still hungry after eating steamed vegetables, feel free to have steamed root vegetables, such as steamed potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Have as much water, sparkling water, or peppermint or chamomile tea that you desire.
Any raw fruits, vegetables, their juices, and smoothies made with raw fruits and vegetables are fine snack choices. For a dip to eat with raw vegetables, have guacamole made with avocado, red onion, and lemon or lime juice.
Full Body Cleanse Sample Menu
Big bowl of watermelon with a large handful of romaine lettuce leaves and 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado.
A large vegetable salad made with leafy lettuce, cucumber slices, tomato slices, shredded carrots, shredded red beets, sliced red onions, shredded zucchini, 1/2 to 1 whole avocado, 1/2 a sweet bell pepper, and raw corn kernels.
Optional: Dressing made by mixing one part extra-virgin olive oil and one part orange juice.
Small bowl of romaine lettuce, celery sticks, mango, and blueberries.
Steamed cabbage, broccoli, and 1/2 to 1 whole raw avocado.
Smoothie made with banana, blueberries, mango, and water.
Full Body Cleanse Schedule
A nice feature of this full body cleanse is that you can follow it for however many days you desire and/or your schedule allows.
Initially, you may want to try it over the weekend, beginning on Friday evening, and ending on Monday afternoon.
Many people find that seven full days is quite manageable, and produces noticeable changes in energy level and sense of well-being. The first while can be tough for some people who experience severe symptoms of withdrawal, but for the majority of people who experience such symptoms, things start to look up after a few days.
If you like how this program of eating makes you feel, it's fine to continue with it for as long as you feel strong and healthy.
When you're ready to add other foods back into your diet, it's best to proceed slowly. On the first day of "breaking" your cleanse, you should follow the same diet, but add one additional food to your afternoon or evening meal, like hummus made with chickpeas.
On day 2, you can have two servings of protein-dense foods, say a serving of eggs with lunch and a serving of fish for dinner.
As you break into a long-term pattern of eating, the goal should be to keep the full body cleanse diet as the foundation of your diet, and to add small servings of healthy, protein-dense foods (grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and animal foods) to your meals as your appetite dictates.
How to Use Fresh Juices During Your Full Body Cleanse
After a day or two of getting right into the full body cleanse diet, it's fine to try a day or two of having nothing but fresh juices.
Because juices are mostly devoid of fiber, they put even less burden on your digestive organs than the whole foods that they come from. Less digestive burden translates to more energy being available for your self-regulated cleansing mechanisms.
Here are some guidelines for juicing days:
Have as many freshly pressed juices as you desire.
Stick mainly with green juices that are made with a foundation of dark green, leafy lettuce and celery. Use only small amounts of sweet root vegetables like carrots and red beets.
If you want to have some freshly pressed fruit juice, mix it 50/50 with a non-sweet vegetable juice.
Here's an example of what a juicing day might look like:
6 leaves romaine lettuce
2 ribs celery
6 leaves green leafy lettuce
6 leaves romaine lettuce juice
2 leaves green cabbage
Big handful of kale or Swiss chard
2 ribs celery
3 ribs celery
Squeeze of lemon juice
After your juicing day(s), go back to the full body cleanse diet described above for at least a day before adding protein-dense foods to your diet.
An alternative to doing full juicing days is to substitute one of your regular meals with a freshly pressed vegetable juice.
To continue with this series, click the third section below.
Full Body Cleanse Series:
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