A week prior to your detox, observe your dietary habits. You may want to write down what you eat. Then choose three things—caffeine, sugar, and chocolate, for example—that you want to avoid or limit during the days leading up to the detox. It's important, too, to replace the "bad" stuff with more healthful choices; simply removing foods from your diet can leave you feeling deprived.
For the three days of the detox, you could eat just whole foods, grains, fruits, and vegetables, and ingest no stimulants in order to give your body a break, relax the liver, detox the kidneys and adrenals, and enhance digestion. If you eat meat, you might want to try a vegetarian or vegan diet for a few days. If you already eat mostly whole foods and have a balanced diet, perhaps you want to move in the direction of eating fewer grains and beans and instead dine on vegetables, fruits, and juices only.
On this page is a suggested menu plan that anyone can follow. Make several servings of some of the soups and grains, so you can have meals at the ready. Recipes for some of the dishes mentioned can be found here.
As you do the cleanse, watch your blood sugar. Eating or drinking something every 90 minutes or so will help you to maintain balance and energy. Water with lemon, herbal tea, fresh coconut water, and wheat grass juice are all good options.
Many people find a more restrictive diet easy to follow for three days. Some even maintain it for days or weeks. Then, suddenly, something happens and there's a craving for fats and sweets. If you notice cravings creeping in, check in with yourself to see if the cravings are legitimate (your body needing more fats) or are simply habitual. Ask yourself: What have I learned during this detox? What foods do I want to incorporate into my daily life? How can I satisfy these cravings healthfully?
Breakfast: Water with lemon, cooked quinoa, flax oil, nuts or seeds (for protein), and unsweetened dried fruit.
Lunch: Herbal tea, kitchari, steamed collards with lemon miso tahini dressing.
Dinner: Half a melon or a bowl of mixed fruit, broccoli, kale, onions, chickpeas sauteed in olive oil, baked sweet potato.
Breakfast: Water with lemon, fruit smoothie or a large bowl of fresh fruit with yogurt, flax or hemp seeds, and spirulina.
Lunch: Salad of mixed greens with grated or boiled beets and lemon miso tahini dressing or flax oil and balsamic vinegar; leftover quinoa tossed with any chopped raw vegetables and flax oil and balsamic vinegar; black bean stew.
Dinner: Carrot-ginger soup, steamed spring greens with flax oil, brown rice, herbal tea.
Breakfast: Water with lemon, leftover kitchari, sauerkraut.
Lunch: Kombucha; leftover baked sweet potato, mashed; mixed salad with grated carrots, sprouts, and lemon miso tahini dressing or flax oil and balsamic vinegar; leftover black bean stew or carrot-ginger soup.
Dinner: Ocean veggie stir-fry, leftover brown rice, herbal tea.
Snacks? Of course! Enjoy them between meals or as needed to stabilize blood sugars: Almond milk, fresh fruit, homemade fruit smoothie, baked beets, vegetable juices, oatmeal, raw carrots, celery, cucumbers, radishes, steamed broccoli or other greens with flax oil, salads with lemon miso tahini dressing.
Darshana Weill is founder of fruitionhealth.com. Shen specializes in helping women cultivate a healthier relationship to food and their bodies.