Do you ever overindulge in sugar, alcohol or junk?
I know I’m not the only one – whether it’s the holidays or a weekend with friends – it happens, and I would argue those occasional indulgences are an important part of living a healthy, balanced life.
If you are focusing primarily on healthy, whole food eating, those occurrences won’t derail you from your goals.
They can leave you feeling a bit depleted though, and in those cases I personally spend a day including very specific foods to restore my fluids, increase the fiber in my gut to help move things along, and get my body and energy back on track.
I know I used the word “detox” in this post, and it’s really a misnomer. So many of us respond to this idea that we need to “do something” or “buy something” to rid our bodies of toxic substances.
The truth is, your body has its own mechanisms to eliminate and filter out toxins, and the smartest thing you can do to give yourself a health boost is to support those pathways with healthy, whole foods, clean air and clean water.
There are 3 major organs that support your body’s natural detoxification pathways, the liver, the kidneys and the colon.
Your kidneys filter your blood, removing digestive byproducts and producing urine which excretes them from your body. Your colon, or large intestine, takes what is left from nutrient absorption in your small intestine and gets rid of the leftovers. Your liver performs many functions (including fat metabolism) but one of its important jobs is filtering your blood to neutralize and help eliminate harmful chemicals. It does this for things you put on your skin, things you ingest and things you breathe.
So while these steps are not going to “detox” you or “cleanse” you (those are marketing jargon used to sell products generally) they are going to support your body’s natural detoxification pathways, and help restore you energetically if you’re feeling depleted.
Here is what we’re really doing….
Easy One-Day Energy Restore and Immune Support Plan
1: Ginger, Lemon, ACV Tea all Day
Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, an essential vitamin that supports our immune system. Fresh ginger has many proven health benefits, including being an effective antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, and anti-nausea compound. Not to mention it gives a nice, spicy kick to anything you add it to.
ACV – or Apple Cider Vinegar – can be supportive to your gut as it contains both malic acid and acetic acid, and the ACV from brands like Braggs which contain “the mother” (the sediment you see in the bottom of the bottle that’s formed from pectin and apple residue) are the ones I use.
- Boil a large pot of hot water. Pour into a thermos or fill a large mug.
- Cut up a lemon and remove the seeds.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into the hot water, and throw in the rinds (only if you have organic lemons – and be sure you’ve washed them).
- Remove the skin from a chunk of ginger root (about 1/2 inch to an inch depending on how much you’re making), or scrub it well. Grate or chop it into the hot water. With organic ginger I often leave the skin on, but it’s personal preference.
- Add 1-2 Tablespoons ACV.
- Put this into a thermos and drink it throughout the day.
Step 2: First meal of the day: Include Garlic and Greens
Focus your first meal of the day on 2 foods that are great for boosting your immune system and supporting your gut: greens and garlic.
- Dark leafy greens have an abundance of phytonutrients and their fiber speeds up digestion.
- Garlic contains a highly beneficial compound called allicin, which has potent antiviral, antibacterial and anti cancer properties.
- I like to lightly sauté some spinach, swiss chard, kale or dandelion greens and garlic with a little olive oil, and have it with my eggs.
Step 3: Green Smoothie
For restorative purposes, I specifically go super simple with what I put into the green smoothie, including organic fruits and veggies, and focusing on low glycemic fruits (berries and apples will generally be lower in fruit sugar than tropical fruits like banana and mango).
Restore Green Smoothie Recipe 1
2-3 cups baby spinach or other leafy green
1 cup water (more as needed)
1 chunk fresh ginger
Restore Green Smoothie Recipe 2
1 red grapefruit (peeled)
1 banana (peeled)
2-3 cups fresh greens
1 cup water (more as needed)
If you’re looking for more Green Smoothie recipes, visit this page.
Step 4: The rest of your meals
Focus the rest of your meals on simple, whole foods. Choose carbohydrates like quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, yams or sweet potatoes, and prepare them simply (broiled, steamed or baked). Check out my homemade buckwheat bread for a tasty wholesome bread made with one ingredient.
Choose lean protein like organic, free-range chicken or turkey breast, or wild-caught fish and whole, pasture-raised eggs.
Boost your immune system further with fresh herbs like basil and parsley, and consider adding turmeric, cinnamon and ginger. I love making a light pesto to add some naturally fresh and pungent garlic, lemon and basil to almost any meal of the day.
Step 5: Beverages
The best beverages to include on a restorative day where you’re looking to re-hydrate, and support your kidneys, liver and colon should be mostly water – and home made tea. Enjoy your coffee, espresso or cappuccino another day.
That’s it, simple and easy – don’t beat yourself up for enjoying special occasions – just get back to your daily plan and give your body a little extra support with these easy to follow steps.
Your Follow-Up Plan
Supporting yourself with a plan that allows for occasional indulgences and special treats plus includes variety, all the nutrients you need to be active and keep your body fat to a level you’re happy about is super important!
You can find many, many examples of meals I put together to create and maintain my physique and feel my absolute best on this blog – that have helped me and thousands of other readers, and I encourage you to browse through these pages to find some ideas.
If you want a more structured approach to putting this together with meal plans and daily menus, grocery lists and recipes to use, I suggest reading the Body Fuel System and using the 30 day meal plan it includes as a template to learning this stuff and making it a lifestyle.
The Body Fuel System uses my simple, proven Eating Types to make it easy to stay on track. It also gives you healthy, fat-burning recipes and foods you can eat to look and feel your BEST every day!
This is my signature eating system and it contains 6 weeks of done-for-you meal planning and recipe guides! You will not only learn the strategies that have given me long-term success, but also enjoy the time-saving benefits of having it all planned out for you!