Many of us experience post-holiday regrets when it comes to all the food we’ve consumed. And although guilt can motivate us to go on a strict new year diet, it’s important to keep in mind the idea of easing into it rather than charging ahead and downing gallons of beet juice and spirulina.
Alina Zhukovskaya, who is the Detox Specialist and Raw Food Guru at OnJuice (a new organic juice home-delivery service), says that although we may be impatient to detox our bodies, there’s no need to rush into it. If you take it slowly, you are most likely to avoid irritability, food cravings, and headaches, which often accompany radical cleanses.
“It’s all about balance. Have a good time and then get back on the healthy wagon and feel good again,” Zhukovskaya said.
She recommends a gradual approach based on the following three stages.
Start with Healthy Foods
This doesn’t have to be the healthiest food you can think of; rather, try to list healthy foods you actually enjoy, and make them the focus of the ease-in stage of your diet.
Start slow. That way, on day one [of holiday recovery], you’re not thinking ‘Oh my God, I have to go on a diet now,’ but instead you’re eating things you really like that happen to be healthy as well.
The “healthy” category of course includes fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. Try to modify your diet gradually day by day until you are consuming only plant-based foods.
Transition to Raw Foods
“Eat fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, and maybe cooked vegetables for dinner. Then slowly take that to just raw foods for breakfast lunch and dinner, adding raw vegetable and fruit juices as well to make sure you’re getting your nutrition in, and also to curb cravings for those unhealthy foods that you just stopped eating.”
Vegetable juices can be delicious, and they will help you “reset” your taste buds to avoid craving sugary and fatty foods.
The Juice Cleanse
“Have smoothies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if you want to take it a step further before moving into the all juice-cleanse, you do a juice for breakfast and then a smoothie for lunch and a smoothie for dinner,” says Zhukovskaya.
And finally, it’s important to remember that a brief and intense cleanse cannot be the answer to several weeks of indulgence. “People who only indulged one night, it’s not a big deal. One day of juicing will do the trick,” Zhukovskaya said. “But if you indulged from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, it’s going to take longer than 24 hours.”