Vacations usually throw me off my healthy and fitness path. It is hard to stay focused and motivated when you are traveling and looking for new experiences, which often involve trying new activities and new foods, of course.
Couple weeks ago I went to NYC for spring break. And this time I promised myself to stay true to my workout and nutrition plan. I had an amazing week and genuinely enjoyed myself. I kept working out every day and followed my diet for the most part with several cheat meals here and there. It is hard to vacation without those, isn’t it?
Even though I did amazingly well following my healthy lifestyle, by the time I got home I felt tired, low on energy, bloated and not my usual happy self. My body was trying to tell me something, and it took me several days to figure it out. I finally realized that it was asking for a recharge. I figured, a week of detox might help me get back on track. So I went out to a grocery store and got this:
I decided to go raw and vegan for a week, juice daily and also try this Garden of Life 7-day Raw Cleanse. I planned my daily nutrition schedule the following way:
- Lemon and ginger shot in the morning
- Protein Shake with Garden of Life Raw Meal
- Kevita probiotic drink daily
- Veggie salads with flax seed and chia seeds
- Some raw sprouted almonds (2 handfuls a day)
- Herbal tea and at least a gallon of water throughout the day.
Some people recommend staying away from nuts and protein powders while detoxing. Considering that I wasn’t going to give up my intense daily workouts, I decided I needed proper nutrition and I wasn’t going to starve myself. Besides, Garden of Life protein powder I use for my shakes is raw, vegan and organic. And the nuts are also raw and sprouted, which makes them even more nutritious and lower in fat.
For the first time in my life I followed my detox schedule religiously and successfully completed my 7-day cleanse. On day 6 I did liquid and juice day only. And even though it wasn’t easy, I felt absolutely amazing after I finished it. On top of loosing 6 lbs of waste and being extremely proud of myself, I also felt a boost of energy to continue following my healthy lifestyle and even take it to the next level.
I have to make it clear that it is vital to prepare the body for a cleanse like that, eliminating processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and red meat at least several days before the cleanse. It is also critical to gradually incorporate cooked food in the diet after the cleanse by starting with light veggie soups, grilled vegetables, fish and lean chicken breast.
During the detox itself resting is critical, which includes getting substantial amount of sleep (7-9 hours a night), spending time outside and welcoming positive energy.
The idea of a cleanse is to help develop and generally follow healthier habits, such as eating more fruits, vegetables and greens, as well as decreasing sugar and processed food intake. Many view detox and cleanse programs as a jumpstart for a healthier lifestyle.
However, simply following a 7-day or a two-week detox, and then going back to our comfort zones of following the “good old” harmful habits won’t change our lives. Gradually incorporating healthier foods and eliminating unhealthy ones, on the other hand, overtime will lead to healthier and happier life.
What are the benefits of detoxing after all?
Yes, our bodies are naturally designed in a way to detoxify themselves through liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. Though I personally think that sometimes our bodies just need rest, our guts in particular. And that’s exactly why I did this cleanse, to give my body much needed rest.
My goal was not to loose weight. Detoxes and cleanses, juicing in particular, are not designed to loose weight, but on the other hand, if executed correctly, help nourish the body with necessary minerals and nutrients, normalize gut functioning, strengthen immune system, boost energy and promote overall healthy changes in the body.
This 7-day detox is something that I designed for myself personally, making sure I feel entirely comfortable with it. And I think that was the reason why I was able to succeed at completing it.
We have to find what we love and enjoy in life in order for it to work. There is no “one-size-fit-all” in the world of health and wellness. Only through experience of trying various foods and activities, we can find and choose the ones we love and move away from those that burden us or make us unhappy.
Being healthy does involves continuous effort, but not in any way it should be a torture. And if this 7-day cleanse sounds like one to you, there is absolutely no reason to do it.