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Try a Spring Cleanse to Shed the Winter Weight

SpringCleanseFlowersSpring is finally here!  After a long winter of heavy comfort foods, it seems like everyone is either talking about or doing a detox or cleanse. So what exactly is a cleanse and why should you try it?   

What is a cleanse?
Cleanses are typically done two to four times a year, usually at the start of every season. Inflammatory foods like sugar, alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy and processed foods are eliminated from your diet for anywhere from 3 to 21 days. The cleanse acts as a reset for your body by giving your digestive system a break and flushing out accumulated  toxin. These toxins include everything from the pesticides, additives and hormones in the foods you eat to the toxic chemicals in the health and beauty aids you put on your skin and the cleaning products you use around the the house. 

A cleanse is a great way to kick start a weight loss program. It can also help reduce bloating, increase energy, reduce cravings, improve digestive issues and most importantly, help transition you into a sustainable, more healthy way of eating. 

Most people associate a cleanse or detox with deprivation –  fasting, hunger pangs, all liquid diet, taking lots of supplements, feeling weak, sick and tired and being shackled to the bathroom. But it doesn’t have to be that way!  A whole food cleanse emphasizes eating fresh, organic foods with an emphasis on non-starchy vegetables and lean protein.  

Here are three simple steps you can follow to start detoxing today:    

Hydrate:  Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces per day. It sounds like a lot but it's easier than you think. Start your day by drinking a large glass of water immediately upon rising. Carry a large water bottle and commit to filling it up at least 3 times during the day. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, add a few slices of lemon, lime, orange or cucumber to your water for a light, refreshing flavor boost or try some caffeine-free herbal teas.

Eat your veggies:  Start your lunch and dinner with a large salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing.  Not only are salads detoxifying, full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, they also help fill you up and guarantee that you eat less of the other less healthy foods.  For tips on getting more fruits and veggies in your diet, read my guest blog post  called “Simple Tips o get your 9 servings of fruits and veggies each day” on Fitlife.TV

Kick processed foods to the curb!  No more meals in a bag or box with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Do some batch cooking and food prep on the weekend so you have quick and healthy options during the week. You don't need to be a gourmet cook. Keep is simple: A big pot of chili or soup will last several days in the fridge. Grill up a bunch of boneless chicken breast. Make a huge salad that can be enjoyed over several meals and days.

Start with these three changes, and you’ll begin feeling lighter and more energized. Remember: Small, incremental changes really do add up to big health gains.