Cleanses are promoted by many health professionals these days, but not all cleanses are created equal. There is no real definition of a “cleanse” – the term is interpreted in many different ways by different people. While I’m definitely a fan of a good “cleanse” or “reset” days, as I think it’s important to free your body of harmful toxins and chemicals, three days of drinking lemon juice with cayenne pepper is not my idea of the Smart Life way to do it.
My idea of a “cleanse” might be a little different than what most people would think of: I am a true believer in cleansing with real food. Not only is it safer and more delicious, but real, clean foods will offer a whole mix of nutrients that will work together in the body to keep you nourished. True cleansing foods are full of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that will help to free your body of impurities and maintain liver health (your liver is the main detoxifying organ, so it pays to keep it healthy). They also tend to be lower in calories and free of added sugar, added sodium, alcohol, processed foods, gluten and animal dairy.
A real food cleanse is a great way to jumpstart weight loss, establish healthy eating habits, and curb unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. On my Smart Life Soup Cleanse program, you will achieve these goals by eating clean and easily digestible foods consistently throughout the day, and by learning to apply that foundation to your post-cleanse diet.
Here are some of my favorite cleansing foods. Incorporating these into your diet will will leave your body feeling fresh, healthy, and pure. The “side effects” of eating of these foods include increased energy, diminished bloating and a few pounds of weight loss. They all feature prominently in my Smart Life Soup Cleanse and 14-Day Reset Meal Plan.
Smart Life Best Cleansing Foods:
Artichokes are my go-to cleansing food. They contain plant compounds known as caffeoylquinic acids, which increase flow of bile, a fluid that helps digest fats. In addition, they’re full of fiber and take a long time to eat, so they help to reinforce the practice of slow, mindful eating.
Avocados are a great source of glutathione, a compound that blocks the absorption of certain fats in the intestines that can cause oxidative damage. Glutathione is also essential for liver cleansing. Plus, avocados are packed with fiber to help keep you regular.
Broccoli supports detoxification enzymes in the liver (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale do as well). This unique group of vegetables (called crucifers) have glucosinolates, which are plant compounds that contain sulfur. Sulforaphane is one type of glucosinolate in broccoli that plays a role in cancer prevention – it helps specific detoxification enzymes that rid the body of chemical carcinogens and free radicals.
Celery is a vegetable that is mostly comprised of water and therefore will help keep your body hydrated and your hunger levels at bay. Additionally, celery contains antioxidants that will help eliminate free radicals roaming around the inside of your body and causing damage.
Ceylon Cinnamon is chock-full of antioxidant properties. It is believed to control blood sugar in people with diabetes, prevent ulcers, destroy fungal infections, soothe indigestion, ward off urinary tract infections, and fight tooth decay and gum disease. Furthermore, the scent of cinnamon is linked to curbing fatigue, easing frustration and increasing alertness. Try to sprinkle cinnamon on your matcha latte, sliced apples or pears, and morning oats or chia pudding.
Green tea is richer in antioxidants than any other tea. That’s because green tea leaves are prepared differently: they aren’t fermented before they’re dried which keeps them containing rich antioxidants called catechins. Catechins may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn more calories and by decreasing body fat.
Lemon helps the liver detoxify. Lemon juice can also aid in digestion. Both the smell and flavor can increase saliva production, which is essential to the digestion process. Lemon juice also directly affects the GI tract. Just 100 microliters of lemon juice (that’s REALLY tiny) has been shown to be a very potent stimulant of pancreatic juices, also essential for proper digestion.
Oregano is the most antioxidant-dense spice on the market. In fact, on a per-gram basis, it has four times more antioxidant activity than blueberries do. One of the antioxidants in oregano includes beta-caryophyllene, a substance that reduces inflammation.
Although you should aim to include these cleansing foods in your diet on a regular basis, the Smart Life Soup Cleanse is beneficial as a kickstart. Keep in mind that cleanses – even whole food cleanses, like the Smart Life Soup Cleanse – are meant to be a short-term bridge to a healthful diet, and are not recommended for the long term. Give it a try to put you back on your Smart Life track, and follow-up with my 14-Day Reset Meal Plan or private coaching.