Another holiday weekend passes into pleasant memory leaving behind a few extra pounds and a recurring bout of acid reflux. Excerpted from my book, The Complete Idiot's Guide To Detoxing Your Body, I offer you a weekend body detox that will help to counter any excess you were forced to partake of over a recent vacation. If this is your first detox experience you may want to begin more slowly and take a few weeks to work up to a weekend of fasting. This way you won't have to experience any withdrawal symptoms that may happen when eliminating certain foods to quickly.
PREPAIRING FOR THE DETOXIFICATION: A DAY-TO-DAY GUIDE
Your weekend detox will begin on a Friday evening, so start your preparations on the Monday before. Be prepared to remove one food a day from your regular diet by having a whole-foods alternative ready to replace what you removed. This is what it can look like:
Monday: Eliminate all dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt. Substitute nondairy nut and rice milks, rice cheese, and soy yogurt.
Tuesday: Eliminate all wheat and flour products, such as bread, baked goods, soy sauce, and pasta. Substitute whole non-gluten grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat.
Wednesday: Eliminate all refined sugar products and artificial sweeteners, including cookies, cakes, candy, soda pop, diet soda, and ice cream. Eliminate foods containing the excitotoxins: MSG and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Substitute with raw honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, and stevia in small amounts.
Thursday: Eliminate wine, beer, and all forms of alcohol, as well as regular and decaffeinated coffee and teas. Substitute fresh vegetable juices, herbal tea, pure water, homemade nut and seed milks, fresh lemon juice and water, herbal teas, grain coffee, and unsweetened cranberry juice.
Friday: Eliminate pasteurized fruit juice. Substitute fresh organic fruit and vegetable juice. Try having one 8-ounce glass a day.
THE DETOXIFICATION WEEKEND
During your detox weekend, keep your mind clear of clutter and negative thinking by taking 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to sit in silence and quiet your mind. It is helpful to avoid watching television or films of a violent nature. Stay away from negative people who will only disrupt the peaceful mood you are trying to create. Be selfish with your space and activities in order to get the best results from your efforts. Your attention should be on preparing your mind and body for the weekend. Take your time getting out of bed, stand and slowly stretch your body. Do some yoga or light exercise and take a few deep breaths to help clear your lungs.
Upon waking have a cup of lemon water, and a light breakfast of soft brown rice, cooked greens, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Prepare the greens the day before and put half a cup of short grain brown rice, 3 cups of pure water and a pinch of sea salt, to cook overnight in a small crock-pot. The combination of soft grains, greens and seeds will steady your blood sugar and ease you into the morning without a sugar crash later.
For lunch prepare a raw vegetable salad made with lemon, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil dressing. Mid-afternoon juice some fresh vegetables: carrot, cucumber and celery, for a refreshing, nutritious snack. For your Friday night dinner steam a combination of three vegetables. Cook until lightly tender, then toss with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and raw garlic. When putting together your combinations consider the time of year and the available organic produce grown by local farmers.
Relax after dinner with a body scrub or facial mask. Have a cup of warm herbal tea and sip it slowly. Put on some soothing music, light candles, put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your wrist and neck points to support relaxation. Take a long leisurely bath, and relax completely. Have a glass of room temperature water if you feel overheated. When you are done, dry off and refrain from using any moisturizer on your skin. Let the open pores breathe without covering them with any creams or oils. While your body is still warm and relaxed from the bath get into bed, turn out the light, and surrender to sleep.
Pamper yourself and stay in bed an extra hour. Take your time getting up, then begin the morning with the juice of half a lemon in 8 ounces of warm or room-temperature water. The simplest fast to do is the Master Cleanse. It requires no special equipment; you make up a pitcher of lemonade to have ready when you need it. Drinking fresh vegetable juice is a good choice as well, just be sure to dilute the juice half and half with distilled water before drinking.
Fasting is intentionally going without solid food for one or more days. Fasting is not a starvation diet. It is one of the most overlooked and yet most beneficial health practices you can experience. It is effective, safe, humbling, enlightening, frustrating, and remarkable. You are literally giving your body a rest from having to digest food 24 hours a day. The Master Cleanse helps to dissolve and eliminate congestion, in the form of mucus, from your kidneys, digestive system, and liver. Staples of the diet are lemon and lime, a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and pure organic maple syrup, containing essential nutrients and enough sugar to sustain your energy during the fast. The cayenne pepper is used to break up mucus and provide some warmth to the digestive system.
Throughout the day relax as much as possible. Sip your lemonade, read a book, do some gentle yoga, and take time to sit quietly in meditation. This may not be as easy as it sounds. You need to get out of the way and give your body time to recuperate from your modern lifestyle. It may be that by dinnertime you are feeling light-headed and need something more than lemonade or vegetable juice. If that is the case, lightly steam some vegetables or have a salad of raw vegetables with lemon juice. Make sure you chew each bite to liquid. This way, you're taking care of most of the digestive work with your teeth.
Sunday morning follows the same schedule as you had on Saturday, drinking fresh lemon or vegetable juice and taking it easy. Sometime in the afternoon you can break the fast with a piece of raw organic fruit in season. Take your time chewing each bite and savoring the taste. After fasting, the experience of eating again is a pleasure to be experienced.
Continue to drink your lemonade or have some fresh vegetable juice in between the fruit and dinner. For dinner have a fresh vegetable salad or steamed vegetables with a dressing of lemon, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil dressing. Breaking the fast on Sunday prepares you to return to work on Monday without feeling depleted and fatigued. Before going to bed, set up some grains to cook overnight in the crock-pot. This ensures you have a warm breakfast waiting for you in the morning.
Try to hold on to the calm, peaceful mood you have created by fasting. Go easy; have your lemon juice in water; take an invigorating shower; and have a small bowl of cooked grains. The world will wait for you to catch up, so savor the moment.
You can return to eating lightly at lunch with salad, cooked vegetables, and a vegetarian protein. Plan on bringing food with you to work or eat at a restaurant that serves organic soups, salads and/or fresh vegetables juice. For a mid-afternoon snack, grate an organic carrot very fine and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice. Top with some toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds. Sweet and delicious! Serve with a cup of herbal tea, such as dandelion, burdock, or nettle. For dinner roast some vegetables and serve with a piece of grilled fish and a side salad. Before climbing into bed have a cup of lemon juice in warm water.
Congratulations, you made it through the weekend and back into the work week. Let the good things you did for your mind, body, and spirit inspire you to continue eating the highest quality foods. You can see how taking a few days to pamper yourself can leave you feeling invigorated and energized.
Prepare fresh each day.
8 cups pure waterJuice of 4 fresh lemons or limes3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine ingredients in a large glass jar or pitcher. Drink 6-12 cups per day at room temperature.
Delia Quigley is a holistic health practitioner, author of seven health books and an experienced yoga instructor. She also teaches the exquisite science of preparing whole, organic foods to support and strengthen the mind, body and spirit.