Thinking you’d like to detox and cleanse but not sure how to go about it? There are tons of juice cleanses and fasts you could try, but there are risks associated with fasting, says Sarah Maughan, a holistic nutritionist based in Toronto. “I don’t think we should remove food from people’s lives, but rather to make easier, healthy switches,” she says. “Even small simple swaps will move the body into detox mode—baby steps that are do-able, that keep people eating and yet your body will still be pushed into changing.”
Cleanse while eating sound heavenly? If so, here are three ways you can cleanse your diet.
(1) Examine what you eat every day, and swap it for something similar. “If you eat spinach every day, try kale. Quinoa all the time? Eat buckwheat instead. Oranges are your favourite fruit? Go with pineapple,” says Maughan. When you’re a creature of habit and have the same thing day after day, trying something similar (“so you can even do that same recipes, just swap it for a food in the same family,” she says) will offer your body a whole new nutritional benefit and push it into a different phase. But to be clear, this doesn’t mean simply swapping your vanilla cookies for chocolate cookies, laughs Maughan (who’s had clients mention similar food swaps).
(2) Eat more foods, in particular vegetables and seasonings, which support your liver. One of the liver’s functions is detoxification so a diet that supports it makes perfect sense. What to eat more of? Think garlic, ginger, onion, lemon, artichokes and brassica vegetables (cabbages, broccoli, etc). “These are all low in sugar, high in nutrients and will add flavour and detoxifying benefits to your meals,” says Maughan.
(3) Eliminate bloating foods from your diet. If dairy tends to bloat you, stay away from it for awhile. Same goes for refined sugars and flours. “And rather than switching to bakes goods made with quinoa or buckwheat flour, for example, aim to eat the actual grain,” she says.
Ideally, aim to change things up in your diet for a three-week time period—Maughan’s found that this to be the amount of time that most people can sustain—it’s not as daunting as an entire month, after all. “Plus, you may find that at the end of three weeks, you won’t crave that cookie anymore but instead will opt for dates and almond butter.”