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The tasty 7-day cleanse

Aimee Fortney is “Not the Perfect Cook.” Retiring at age 31 as a bilingual political consultant, Aimee is now a cookbook author, blogger, recipe developer and inspirational food lover, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband a...

It's good to give up the bad!

Send out a warning. It's time to cleanse and rid your body of unhealthy toxins... caffeine included!
Woman drinking water with lemon

Before you stomp your feet in frustration that "all the good stuff" is off the list, remind yourself how good your body will feel (from head to toe) after you complete this seven-day cleanse.

Here are some delicious ways to get started

A cleanse, which can be a three-day, five-day, seven-day or even a month-long cleanse, is a healthy way to get your body back on track. It is exactly what you might think... a way to "cleanse" your body and get rid of the nasty toxins in your system. While some people opt to do a cleanse to lose weight, others do it just to feel better and help get their body and mind on the same page, so to speak, and de-stress while they cleanse.

Starting a cleanse means giving up some favorites for the duration of your cleanse. You might even issue a warning to your family and co-workers that for the first few days, they might want to beware. For example, if you are normally a coffee or soda drinker, giving up caffeine takes a few days to get used to, and those around you might feel like they are sticking their head inside a hungry lion's cage! Then there is that glass of wine you enjoy at night, which is also off the list for the duration of your cleanse. The cheese and chocolate you enjoy WITH your wine? Also not allowed on a cleanse, as no sweets and no dairy are allowed. Also, no soy milk and no packaged foods or sodas.

Beverages that will work

Heat freshly squeezed lemon juice in warm water and drink it each morning. The benefits of warm lemon water are not just for the common cold! In fact, lemons have been proven to be a natural solution to weight loss and for digestion issues, cleansing your body from your skin to your liver! If you have a daily habit of drinking coffee, the warm lemon water will help trick your brain, while adding health benefits in the process!

You can enjoy herbal or green teas as long as they are caffeine free. When it comes to milks, keep in mind that dairy is a no-no for your seven-day cleanse. Almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk and coconut milk are acceptable, just not canned coconut milk. Be sure you drink lots of water during your cleanse, and it is perfectly fine to add slices of oranges, limes and lemon to your water. You can even freeze chunks of watermelon or other fruits to "flavor" your water.

Load up on your favorite fruits

Fresh or frozen fruits are allowed on a cleanse, and if you have a juicer, you might just find how much you enjoy the natural juice that you can make! Throw an apple, pear, peach and a couple of carrots into your juicer and sit back and sip the goodness. Eat lots of blueberries and raspberries to get the fiber and natural vitamins you need.

Enjoy your favorite vegetables

Spinach is one of the best items you can eat, period. The benefits from spinach just do not stop! Spinach is one of the healthiest foods available to us that helps fight cancer and other diseases. Make a salad of fresh spinach and cubed watermelon or strawberries. The watermelon acts as a dressing, and, if you use strawberries, just squeeze some lime juice over the top. Add almonds, cashews, walnuts or sesame, sunflower or pumpkin seeds and fresh broccoli. Eat broccoli throughout your cleanse week and load up on beets and dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens and more spinach!

almondsStash nuts for protein

Almonds, cashews and walnuts are very good for snacking, and they are excellent sources of protein. Remember to pack small sandwich bags of these nuts to snack on during the day. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds are also great foods to keep on hand for snacks, salad toppers and for nibbling.

Best nuts for your health >>

oatmealGrains that make the cut

Brown or wild rice is OK, just be sure you do not add any butter to the cooking process. Oatmeal is also allowed. Add fresh fruit as a sweetener not cream and sugar. Or add a local honey.

Beans, beans, beans

Pinto beans, lentils and black-eyed peas are great options for your seven-day cleanse. Try to get the dried variety and cook them overnight in your slow cooker with an onion and garlic and water. If you buy canned beans, make sure you buy beans that were canned in water, not oil. It is always a good idea to rinse and drain beans, anyway, especially during your cleanse.

What about animal protein?

Animal protein is debatable to many who cleanse. If you do choose to eat animal protein, it is highly recommended that you only use organic, such as organic chicken, organic turkey, organic salmon, or fresh, organic fish. When in doubt, leave it out!

Going vegan — could your family do it? >>

yogurtYogurt

Another cleanse-debatable food is yogurt. As long as you are buying live yogurt, it is going to help aid your digestive tract during your cleanse and is an extremely healthy option. Cabot Greek, Greek-style lowfat yogurt contains 22 grams of protein in a 1 cup serving. Drizzle some local honey, add a handful of your favorite fruit, and this is a perfect meal and/or snack!

Giving up the alcohol and coffee is tough, but giving up the candy, soft drinks, salt, eggs, milk and processed meat products truly feels rewarding. Your mind might feel sharper, and your body will thank you for treating it so well!

More cleanse and detox information

When a detox diet is necessary
Juice cleanses and other diets
Foods and herbs that cleanse

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