We’ve teamed up with Barbara Schiltz, RN, MS, CN, a nutrition educator and consultant, and Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD, a nutritionist and cookbook author to create an easy 5 day meal plan to get you through a cleanse to a healthier you.
A good cleanse can aid you in forming new eating habits, help you to feel more energetic, and improve your immune system. Cleansing will give your body a rest from the more processed foods that most people eat on a daily basis while at the time you will be fueling your body with fiber- and phytonutrient-rich foods that are anti-inflammatory, support detoxification and help to improve your digestion.
A good cleanse may even give your liver and kidneys a chance to work more efficiently which is most beneficial! But how do you cleanse your body? There are many cleanses on the internet. Each may be slightly different but most of them perform similarly.
Our cleanse routine suggests eating whole foods, while avoiding most sweeteners and the most potentially allergenic foods such as alcohol, coffee, dairy, eggs, and especially gluten. Herbal teas may be helpful; green tea is included even though it does contain small amounts of caffeine.
Some caffeine might be helpful for those who may get a caffeine withdrawal headache. Switch to only herbal or green tea during these 5 days.
TIP: If a caffeine withdrawal headache is a concern, it might be a good idea to wean down on caffeine by drinking ½ decaf and ½ regular coffee for 2 days, then ¾ decaf for 2 days, then all decaf before stopping all coffee when you start the cleanse.
- Set aside a 5 day period where you do not have social events that could lead to non-compliance. Days 2 and 3 might be best if they occur over a weekend because those are the days when you may feel fatigued and experience body aches as your body ‘withdraws’ from the toxic foods eaten daily.
Do not worry if you feel like you are coming down with the flu. This is actually a sign the cleanse is ‘working’! You may also feel yourself craving sweets, alcohol, and other frequently eaten foods. Just lay low, hold strong and watch a good movie.
- It is not critical to follow the exact recipes or menu. Feel free to make substitutions for the suggested menu item, as long as the substitution is for a similar food. For example, any fruit or vegetable may be eaten and substituted for another. All nuts, except for peanuts may be substituted for each other.
- Avoid prepared and processed foods during these 5 days.
- All foods should be organic as much as possible, especially those listed on the “Dirty Dozen” list. The “Clean Fifteen” also lists the top 15 foods that contain the least pesticide residue.
Check the Environmental Working Group and download their app for your phone to help in this process at www.ewg.org.
- If consuming fish, be sure it is wild caught and not farm raised unless the EWG.org site says it is ok. We are lucky to have such access to wild fish in the Pacific Northwest but other areas of the country are not so lucky. There are also good sources of canned wild fish if fresh fish is not an option.
- Try to keep canned foods to a minimum due to the toxin, BPA, found in most cans.
- Added sweeteners should be limited to very small amounts of monk fruit (Lo Han Guo) or Stevia with very occasional raw honey or pure maple syrup. Be wary of any food with added sweeteners. Read labels carefully.
- All oils should always be cold-pressed and olive oil should also be extra virgin.
- If you wish to have a morning smoothie with additional protein, look for a protein powder that is non-GMO, dairy-free, and unsweetened, except for some monk fruit or Stevia.
Some choices for protein powders might include hemp, rice, or pea protein. You will want to add 7-14 grams of protein powder to a smoothie recipe which is helpful in staving off mid-morning hunger.
- Shelled edamame make a great snack. Buy them frozen (organic) and defrost or pack frozen in the morning so they will be defrosted before eating as an afternoon snack.
- Main dish recipes contain multiple servings so that you can have the leftovers the following day or two.
- Drink more water! Hydration is key to any lifestyle. Drinking enough water provides a myriad of benefits, yet it is undoubtedly one of the simplest and most overlooked changes towards a healthier lifestyle that many of us can easily make.
Drinking 6-8, 8oz. glasses of water a day helps with improved energy levels, more efficient digestion and just about every other bodily process. Drinking a glass of water in place of a sweetened drink like juice or soda, can easily help you cut down calories and also reduce cravings for the corn syrups and sugar additives in many drink products.
Even without changing your diet much, simply replacing sugary beverages (this includes fruit juice) with water can yield some impressive weight loss and make you feel better as well.
5-Day Cleanse Menu
1 handful is approximately 1/4 cup
Lunch: Wilted Kale Salad with 3-4 oz. canned wild salmon
Dinner: Slow-cooked Lentil Quinoa Stew and green salad (veggies added) tossed with balsamic vinaigrette
: pumpkin seeds, 1
PM: Raspberry Chia Pudding (1 serving)
Lunch: Basil Avocado soup and 3-4 oz. canned skipjack tuna mixed with hummus
Dinner: leftover Wilted Kale Salad with canned mackerel or salmon
walnuts, 1 handful
PM: hummus, ¼ cup and unlimited raw veggies
Lunch: leftover Lentil Quinoa Stew, a fresh orange or apple
Dinner: Fish Taco Salad with Strawberry Avocado Salsa
: leftover Raspberry
Chia Pudding (1 serving)
PM: hummus, ¼ cup and unlimited raw veggies
Lunch: leftover Basil Avocado Soup and tossed green salad with ½ cup black or pinto beans or 3 oz. sardines, and lots of raw veggies
Dinner: Roast Chicken and Vegetables
: mixed nuts, 1
handful (NO peanuts)
PM: Very Cocoa Smoothie
Lunch: large tossed salad with balsamic vinaigrette, use a good variety of veggies, either raw or leftover cooked, and add ½ cup beans for protein; 2 small fresh tangerines
Dinner: Leftover Fish Taco Salad with Strawberry Avocado Salsa or leftover Roast Chicken and Vegetables
: 1 Baked Apple
PM: Berry Parfait
Add a good quality protein powder if you wish. Most important is getting is a serving or two of high phytonutrient greens and berries to start your day. Any greens may be substituted for each other: use kale or Swiss chard, or spinach, or collards or arugula. The same for berries!
Many of the recipes have been taken or adapted with permission from two cookbooks that are my “bible”: Anti-Inflammatory Eating for a Happy, Healthy Brain, and Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy. Both are authored by a colleague, Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD, a nutritionist who practices in West Seattle.
More information is available on Michelle’s website at www.eatplaybe.com. Most bookstores carry her books, and they can also be purchased from her website.
About the Author of the 5 Day Cleanse Guide
Barbara Schiltz, RN, MS, CN is a nutrition educator and consultant with over 45 years’ experience in the clinical arena. She gained her experience as a research investigator at The Functional Medicine Research Center (FMRC) in Gig Harbor, Washington, where she monitored patients undergoing clinical trials for insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, and food allergies. Barb was instrumental in developing the low glycemic index, Modified Mediterranean dietary program for FirstLine Therapy. She has co-authored a book with Scott Rigden, MD, The Ultimate Metabolism Diet, Eat Right for Your Metabolic Type, and many articles, including one with Deanna Minich, PhD, “A science- based, clinically tested dietary approach for the metabolic syndrome”, published in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders.