Four Tasty Cleansing Programs To Keep Your Fitness Goals Within Reach

Written by | Food

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Photo by Kelly Neil

Keep your New Year’s resolutions on track with one of four tasty cleansing programs that deliver a fresh lease on life.

Once again, the majority of Americans have resolved to ring  in the New Year by adopting a healthier lifestyle. However, studies show that by February, 80 percent of those New Year’s resolutions will have already failed. While taking temporary breaks from caffeine, sugar, alcohol or snacking is always a good practice, these no-budge restrictions can leave people feeling deprived and grumpy. When the flood walls holding back our cravings finally give way, we often end up worse off than when we started.

So what’s the solution? Chances are it’s somewhere between imposing a hard rule that you can never indulge in a scoop of ice cream again and that moment you realize you’ve just given up and eaten an entire pint. After all, life is about balance — and finding that sweet spot is half the battle.

That’s why kicking off 2019 with a cleanse is one way to set yourself up for success. Cleansing provides the perfect opportunity to reset your digestive system and generate healthier habits moving forward, while also taking comfort in knowing that there is a light at the end of your gluten-free tunnel.

However, not all cleanses are created equal, and you need to consider which one will be right one for you — one that feels like an area worth exploring and a manageable challenge but will still leave you feeling satisfied. So here are a four of our favorite cleanse options to get you started, including what each involves, what’s to love about them, and potential pitfalls you may encounter along the way.

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The CLEAN Program

What is it?

Touted by celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow, this 28-day cleanse combines a generous elimination diet with liquid meals to promote PH balance in the body and enable participants to uncover which personal “trigger foods” may be causing them discomfort or undiagnosed ailments. The Clean program works for a wide variety of people, including those with chronic issues (such as IBS or skin disorders) in addition to those more generally hoping to experience better sleep or look and feel younger. Developed by LA-based cardiologist and internal medicine specialist, Dr. Alejandro Junger, the four-week Clean program can be followed with the help of his book (which shares the cleanse’s name) or through purchasing a pre-set smoothie plan from the official website. Plenty of filtered water, sleep and fasting at least 12 hours between breakfast and dinner solidify this month-long plan.

What’s to love?

For the first seven days, cleansers are allowed to eat three solid meals a day, plus snacks from the proposed elimination diet. This diet still allows participants to enjoy “comfort foods” like brown rice pasta, certain gluten-free breads and even ghee (clarified butter).

Potential Obstacles

Two liquid meals a day can leave cleansers feeling isolated and hungry for a social life, especially if they tend to eat out often. Thankfully, it’s okay to swap your liquid dinner for lunch every once in a while for special occasions (as long as the food you’re eating is clean, unprocessed and free of certain foods it identifies as allergy-forming). Eliminating caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and sugar also proves daunting for some, but the majority of cleanses will denounce these kinds of substances.

Where I can I learn more?

cleanprogram.com
 
 
squash

Whole30

What is it?

Whole30 works because it requires a commitment to clean, whole foods for an entire month. Saying goodbye to processed foods is the first step in building and maintaining healthy habits. Plus, you’ll learn how to get a lot more creative in the kitchen while embracing real food that loves you back.

What’s to love?

You don’t have to give up solid meals to get solid results with this cleanse. What’s more – because Whole30 is based on eating clean, unrefined foods – you can easily adopt this diet as a permanent lifestyle change after you’ve completed the monthlong process (though, to stick with it long-term, you might need to give yourself a little leniency now and then).

Potential Obstacles

Eating out can be difficult (if not impossible) while following Whole30 because the sauces, condiments, preservatives and additives found in restaurant-prepared foods generally conflict with the guidelines of Whole30. For those who don’t have time to cook at home or meal prep on the weekends, Whole30 can pose challenges. Alcohol, sugar, dairy and even “approved” foods are still off limits, because as the website states, “A pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.”

Where I can I learn more?

whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/
 
 

soup

Soup Cleanse

What is it?

Haven’t you heard? Souping is the new juicing. Digestion is taxing on the body, and using stores of energy to break down meals is painfully counterproductive. The liquid content of soup makes the absorption process more manageable while delivering a wide variety of nutrient-dense options straight to your immune system. It’s the answer to cold and flu season!

What’s to love?

Blended soups preserve that precious fiber that leaves you feeling full, and sometimes a steaming bowl of soup just sounds way more inviting than a fresh-squeezed juice — especially during the frigid winter months. There are a number of 100 percent organic soup cleanses available. You can be purchase many online and have them delivered fresh to your door. Or you can invest in a food processor or immersion blender and make your own delicious concoctions at home.

Potential Obstacles

Those who lead active lifestyles may find it difficult to get enough protein in their diets depending on soup alone. Integrating bone broths, lentils and leafy greens can help boost this kind of content in every bowl. Don’t forget to include healthy fats too like olive oil, coconut milk and seed pastes like tahini.

Where I can I learn more?

While there are several examples online, we like this celebrity go-to: The Elissa Goodman S.O.U.P. Cleanse ($350/week, order at elissagoodman.com/soup-cleanse).

 
 

green smoothie

Green Smoothie Detox

What is it?

This 10-day detox plan delivers raw, concentrated nutrition and plenty of fiber in the forms of blended fruit and vegetable smoothies. Leafy greens and herbs such as spinach, kale, parsley and mint give these potent drinks an extra punch, while lending an exciting dose of variety as you lap up your lunch and slurp down your supper.

What’s to love?

While we highly recommend avoiding mixing in dairy, there are plenty of other protein rich substitutes like Ripple Foods brand pea-protein yogurt, almond butter and cashew milks which can add bulk to your meals. An all-smoothie diet may sound monotonous, but the variety of smoothies to explore will surprise you. Add a handful of mint-leaves to a banana and cacao powder shake for a chilly twist. Or mix cilantro, avocado, cucumber and carrot juice for sippable soup. Unlike juices, smoothies retain fiber which means you won’t feel starved on this diet. In fact, you just might be surprised by the energy that this short-term cleanse awakens.

Potential Obstacles

You might miss chewing now and then. Also, those who live in cooler climes may choose to reserve this detox for warmer months when smoothies make a refreshing treat. You’ll also need to find creative ways to pack protein into you meals. Try making your own nut butters or investing in a plant-based vegan protein powder.

Where I can I learn more?

Several versions of this detox exist online, but we recommend JJ Smith’s 10-day Smoothie Cleanse guidelines to get you started: chewfo.com/diets/10-day-green-smoothie-cleanse-by-jj-smith-2014-what-to-eat-and-foods-to-avoid-food-list.

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Last modified: February 7, 2019

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