How to do a detox without starving yourself


Here’s one of my biggest philosophies, and one that I will repeat time and time again is this: eating the way that I do is about abundance, not deprivation. You should love the fuel you put into your body, and even more than that, you should love the way it makes your body feel.


A detox can be healthy and rejuvenate you if you do it the right way.


What’s the right way, you ask? Eating if you’re hungry, not restricting your body of nutrients, and making sure your diet aligns with the lifestyle you want to live.


Here’s the other thing: the detox is a reset. It shouldn’t be so terrible that it makes you long for your previous habits. It should be an empowering reminder of how great your body feels when you’re treating it with care and consideration.


If done well, a detox can be the jumping off point to create new food habits and associations that are aspirational to you. It can be something you do for a few days if you feel like you’ve been drinking too much (happens to the best of us!) or had a bad streak of eating poorly.


I’m vegan, and intensely passionate about my lifestyle since it’s contributed so much to my well-being. Regardless of whether you consume animal products or not, a cleanse can be helpful if you have been exposed to different toxins in the form of: processed/junk foods, alcohol, household chemicals, heavy metals, and/or pollution. Especially as our generation grapples with the effect that climate change has on our ecosystem, we are especially more mindful of how our bodies are impacted by our surroundings and vice versa. Whoever you are, however you’re eating, a detox can be a great way to tune into our relationship with food.


A detox can lead to a whole assortment of benefits, including increased energy, weight loss, improved mood, clear skin, and a stronger immune system.


That being said, there are SO many detoxes out there that sound TERRIBLE. Drinking five gallons of water a day, sprinkled with lemon and cayenne? Eating foods in a system designed by color? A better word for a detox like that may be ‘fad diet’. Those aren’t sustainable, and either way, they probably don’t make you feel better whether you complete them or not.


There’s lots of info about detoxes that range from ineffective to dangerous, to simply not fun. For the record, a detox not being fun is enough of a reason…not to do it. If you’re starving, you’ll binge or succumb, and then you feel shitty about yourself for somehow ‘failing’.

You’re not failing. Your body is sending off alarm signals!


If you do complete one of these fad diet detoxes, it won’t make a long-term sustained impact on your food habits. If you don’t complete them — likely because your body craves the nutrients that it needs and your mind is consumed by thoughts of the diet you’ve committed to rather than anything meaningful in your life — you’ll beat yourself up about it.


HERE’S MY (SUSTAINABLE) VERSION


Three days. Food you love and would eat normally. The feeling of being full. I’m including one example of each meal recommendation — for the rest of the recipes, you can check out my eBook that tackles this exact subject.


For breakfast: start your day the right way with a detox smoothie that will cleanse your body and give you energy.


CITRUS SUNSHINE SMOOTHIE

  • 1.5 cups frozen banana

  • 3 oranges

  • 3 cups spinach

  • 1 cup cucumber

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 inch ginger

  • 1 cup water


For lunch: another smoothie, this one focused on giving you protein (a huge priority.)

Protein will also keep you full and satisfied throughout the day.


KEY LIME CREAM SMOOTHIE

  • 1.5 frozen banana

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 1 cup cucumber

  • 1 lime

  • 2 scoops plant-based protein

  • 1.5 cups coconut milk


For dinner: end the day on a healthy note with a light meal of 70% greens and veggies and 30% plant-based protein.


I have a full list of suggestions for veggie/plant protein combinations in my eBook but I’ll start you out with an easy one: kale, avocado, and edamame.


A FEW NOTES


Being stuck in a rut doesn't make you unhealthy, but it is admirable to want to get out of it. Start with that feeling, and channel your why. What is it about your relationship with food that you want to change? How do you want to use healthy eating to make your life better?


For me, it’s about feeling good and waking up every day full of energy. Fun fact: I actually never drink coffee because I have so much natural energy from the food I eat. Although I’m not perfect, and my frequent late night binges on barbeque chips definitely catch up to me after a while. That’s where this detox helps. It resets me without being judgemental. It’s close to my eating habits. For you, it may be close to your ideal eating habits and you just haven’t given yourself the space and openness to love it yet.


A detox should be fun, and empowering, and something you don’t think twice about it. If you’re dwelling on your diet all day, it’s not doing its job. Food is the fuel we use to be our best selves, so we are able to devote our time and energy to other aspects of our lives.

On that note, if you find yourself overly fixated on your eating in regards to appearance or a feeling of control, there is always help if you feel like your patterns are disordered. There is no shame in chatting with someone to determine whether you could adjust your mental relationship with food — even if you feel like it’s a good and sustainable one! The link between food and mental health is so real, and I’ve chatted about it in several blog posts.


Resonated with you? Leave me a comment below — or hop on over to my Instagram to chat with me about it.


Photo by Jan Sedivy on Unsplash