Spring cleaning: Whether it's emptying out our sweater-filled closets, engaging in some serious Swiffer-ing (yes, that's a verb), or embarking on a new clean-eating plan, we all attempt to do it in some capacity. But, let's face it, the motivation to full-on cleanse doesn't necessarily come naturally. That's why we're sharing our tips to how clean up all areas of your life in our new, ongoing Spring Cleanse Series. First up? Your diet!
(PS: Watch the space for a revamped BusyHappyHealthy cleanse comin' atcha soon...)
Spent the winter hunkered in, fortified by cheese and wine? It's time to back away from the brie and Bordeaux and use the new season as an opportunity to shift habits.
Below is a plan of attack, which focuses consuming quality, whole foods, eliminating toxins and addictive substances, and staying super hydrated. While doing all of these things at once might seem overwhelming, they really are best instituted in tandem. With that noted, any progress is great progress, so feel free to slowly integrate each change until you're in full Spring Cleanse mode. Godspeed.
DRINK MORE WATER
Begin by upping your daily water intake, which is a supremely easy -- and effective -- way to stay healthy and detox. We recommend you drink about half of your weight in ounces daily; increase that amount if you happen to be very active. If you're feeling bored with plain old H20, add a bit of alkalizing fresh lemon juice to your water.
DITCH REFINED CARBS
Refined carbs -- you know, the fun stuff like cookies, white bread and rice -- are certified diet killers. They'll spike your blood sugar, throw your hormones out of whack, and keep you from functioning like a lean and mean fighting machine. But this doesn't mean you need to go entirely carb-free. Opt for quality, complex carbohydrates that won't send your blood sugar skyrocketing. Think: Ancient grains like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, or gluten-free rolled oats.
WEAN YOURSELF OFF OF PACKAGED FOODS
Your beloved "healthy" granola bar might seem like a cleanse-friendly selection, but it is likely filled with processed ingredients and loaded with sugar. This isn't to say that there aren't great bars (or packaged foods) out there, it's just to underscore that many of them aren't so great. Use this cleanse to eliminate them entirely; if that's too difficult, allow yourself 1-2 packaged items per week.
EAT 50% PLANT-BASED AT EVERY MEAL
Eating a diet heavy in plants -- from leafy greens to colorful veggies -- is a cornerstone of a clean, healthy eating plan. Doing so ensures you're getting all of the essential vitamins, antioxidants and minerals you need, helps keeps calories in check and maintains a healthy blood sugar level.
CHOW ON LEAN MEATS + HEALTHY FATS
Yes, we want you to eat plenty of plants while cleansing. But that doesn't mean that meat needs to be the enemy. In fact, lean and organic meats are wonderful natural sources of protein (which keeps you fuller longer), along with other vitamins and nutrients. Along those lines, healthy fat is awesome, too. Eat regular servings during your cleanse to further nourish your body and keep you satiated. Need a benchmark serving size? Go for one-fourth of an avocado or a tablespoon of olive oil per meal.
NO SUGAR OR LOW SUGAR, PLEASE
New research continues to show that refined sugar is basically like poison to our bodies. Okay, that might sound sort of extreme, but here's the deal: Eating too much sugar causes a cluster of symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome. These include weight gain, abdominal obesity, increased blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure. This is why it's more important than ever that we regulate our sugar intake, particularly refined sugar -- you know, the kind that goes straight into your bloodstream. If you are using sugar while cleansing, use only natural sweeteners like agave, honey, and dates... and use sparingly.
ELIMINATE COFFEE AND ALCOHOL
We saved the worst news for last. Sorry. While we won't entirely demonize coffee and alcohol, they are highly addictive substances and can contribute to a slew of health problems -- from adrenal fatigue to weight gain. If if you really want to Spring Cleanse, these two have got to go in order to have our body function optimally and for you to see the cleanse magic actually happen. Cheers!