You’ve been drinking juice for an entire day or maybe 3, you’ve dealt with cravings, waves of hunger, and maybe felt a little low in energy. Also, you’ve already been thinking about what you’re going to eat and looking forward to that big meal. Think again! Just as there are important steps to take before you embark on the “cleanse” there are also steps to take to ease yourself back into normal foods.
Think of the juicing time period as allowing your digestion to be in “rest”, it’s not digesting solid foods nor breaking down fiber, etc. The food you incorporate back into your diet should be easy on your digestion, nutrient dense to make up for those calories not taken in, but also satisfying.
Here are my top tips to incorporate into your diet and lifestyle ideally the day after and can be continued on after the “cleanse”:
- Drink plenty of water, daily! Try warm liquids like hot tea or lemon water to help sooth digestion.
- Nix the caffeine and coffee.
- You may have given up your daily cup of coffee or caffeine leading up to and during the “cleanse”, if coffee is something you want to incorporate back in your diet, do so gradually. Start at ¼ cup increments black coffee only depending on your sensitivity to caffeine.
- Eat your veggies!
- Aim to eat at minimum 5 servings of raw or lightly steamed vegetables/day. This will help your body get enough fiber needed to keep your digestion moving along and also will provide your body with loads of nutrients.
- Preferably, you can lightly steam or roast vegetables to make them easier on digestion. Pureeing into soups also is great and very soothing.
- Eat your fruits!
- Aim to eat at least 2 servings of fruit/day. Fruit is rich in nutrients, water, and fiber- all great things to incorporate to make your digestion as efficient as possible.
- Healthy fats and proteins.
- Consume quality protein sources if you’re eating animal proteins.
- Also incorporate healthy fats such as plant-based sources from avocados, olive oils, nut or seed butters.
- Eat whole foods only.
- This can be a tricky one for most of us, but it’s a must have post-“cleanse” as well as pre-“cleanse”.
- Eating whole foods is a life-long lifestyle versus a temporary diet
- Limit cocktail hour.
- Skip cocktails for up to a week after the “cleanse”, this will help your liver and body continue to “detoxify” what it’s been working on the past week or so during your “cleanse”
- Our livers are one of the most powerful detoxifying organs in our body, therefore keeping it strong, healthy, and efficient will not only allow your body to get the maximum benefits from the “cleanse” but will also give your liver a much needed break from working in overdrive trying to clear out alcohol or other toxic substances.
- Skip the sugar.
- Consume only natural sugars such as those found in fruits or the occasional maple syrup, honey, or stevia of course. This will not only help give your body and liver a break from processing refined sugars, but will also teach you how to beat the cravings before going into the “cleanse”.
- Gently move such as yoga, walking, stretching or swimming. You may not have as much energy as you did pre-“cleanse” to engage in heavy exercise. I would recommend taking it slow and making sure you’re eating enough food and calories before going and expending them all in a workout session. Be gentle with your body!
- Visit a sauna, steam room, or hot bath to help our bodies sweat. Our skin is an extremely large detoxification organ in/on our bodies, utilize sweating as a way for the body to clear other toxins from the body/skin.
- Manage stress, take time daily to de-stress however you choose. Positive mind and spirit will keep you focused and motivated to stick through these lifestyle changes.
Menu example day after the “cleanse”:
- Start your morning with warm water with lemon or herbal tea of your choice
- Breakfast can be a green or fruit smoothie (think of majority of greens and fruits, less of the dairy products such as yogurt, etc.)
- Lunch can be a warming bowl of soup (try some of my recipes here)
- Dinner can be lightly steamed vegetables with soup, salad, quinoa/millet/oats/wild rice/etc. with avocado
Day 2 you may start incorporating more protein and healthy fat rich foods, gradually increasing foods in volume and fiber.
Hope you all have a beautiful week!
McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN