Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to do a healthy cleanse

I believe that the best way to lose weight is by following a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and low in processed foods, combined with a sensible and consistent work out routine. 

However, there are times when we go overboard and indulge a bit too much and need something a little stricter to pull us back on track. 

Snack on raw veg when you feel peckish. 
This weekend was one of those times for me. I spent the weekend with some friends in a gorgeous beach town and enjoyed myself so much so, that upon returning to Istanbul, I knew I needed to cleanse my system. 

Now I don't believe in hardcore fasts like the maple-syrup/cayenne pepper/lemon juice one, or the cabbage soup diet (eew), but I do believe there are sensible ways to de-gunk your system. Here is what I do. 

1. No alcohol
Now this one really goes without saying. Alcohol can be wonderful, but if you are looking to purify your body, alcohol has got to go. Not only is it dehydrating and full of sugar, but it also can mess with your complexion and lower your resolve when it comes to healthy eating. The best part about cutting out alcohol for a while is that once you have a drink, after a few days of not drinking, you will get a buzz much easier. Hidden perks! 

2. No animal products (or by-products)
Now let me reiterate that this is what works for me. I think everyone should try to eat more fruits and vegetables and if you are eating lots of meat and cheese and other high calorie, low fiber and nutrient foods, there is no way you are going to be able to eat enough fruit and veg to make a difference. Animal products aren't all bad, per se, but most of us just eat too much of them. Think about it, if you normally have eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch and meat for dinner, what percentage of your daily diet can possibly be fruit and vegetables? A very small percentage. Now, take out the animal products and replace them with spinach for breakfast, let's say, lentils for lunch and tofu or plain veg for dinner- it's easy to see how much healthier your diet becomes. And easier on your system, as well. Meat is really hard for your system to digest, and once you make the switch to a high-veg diet, trust me, everything will start working better. 

Side note: For those that aren't familiar, animal products include meat, fish, pork, chicken and most animal flesh. Animal by products include cheese, eggs, dairy, yogurt and anything that is produced by animals but isn't their actual flesh, per se. Those that don't eat animal products but consume their by-products are called vegetarians and those that abstain from all animal products and by-products are called vegans. 

3. No white stuff
Now I've mentioned this before, but anything white is generally bad. And when I mean white, I mean white flour, white sugar, 'white pasta' (aka not whole wheat) and the like. Most recently, a professor at UCSF named Robert Lustig, released a video on YouTube where he speaks about just how toxic and dangerous sugar really is. It has over 1 million YouTube views and you can see it here. There are great sugar alternatives that are kinder on your blood sugar like agave nectar and Stevia, but you might as well stay away from all sugar (except fruit) during your cleanse. If you truly are a sugar addict, you might be encouraged to know that after only 2 weeks without it, your body actually stops craving it altogether. 

She looks healthier already, no? 

4. Drink at least 2 liters of water a da
Most of the time when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty. And if it so happens that you don't drink a lot of water, it would be easy for you to confuse your thirst for hunger. So an important step in cleansing is to drink a lot of water. I have found that at least 2 liters a day is both feasible and helps me feel bright and refreshed. If you don't like the taste of water much, you can try adding lemon slices, cucumber slices of even sliced fresh fruit to make it more palatable. 

This is the cleanse that I follow after I've been indulging a bit too much and I've found that it's not that hard to follow and definitely makes me feel a lot better after a few days. I would also say that this sort of cleanse is much healthier than other ones you will read about that promise quick results. The aim of this cleanse is to make you FEEL better, not necessarily look better (which you will of course). But the point I'm trying to make is that, when you feed your body well, hydrate and of course work out a bit as well, good things will happen on the inside that will reflect onto your outside as well. And I think that is what matters most. 


  1. Hi there, i loved this entry and i wanted to ask if coffee or tea also counts as water because i drink like half a liter of coffee everyday. Should i just cut that out or is it ok to drink coffee or tea?

  2. Hi there!
    Unfortunately, coffee is incredibly dehydrating and acidic (disrupts the body's natural pH balance), so it is not ideal during a detox. I still have one cup in the mornings (black, no sugar or milk), and try to abstain the rest of the day. Tea is fine. However, if you really don't think you can give up your coffee habit try this: every time you have a cup of coffee, have a glass of water after. That way, at least you will be restoring moisture and fluids to your body.
    Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!


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