Cleanses & Detox Diets: How to Do It

Last week, we talked about the WHY of cleanses. Giving the body a break from its 2015-standard-American-diet overload of toxicity, and reaping all these benefits:

  • Increased energy
  • Deep, restorative sleep
  • Better mental clarity & focus
  • Clearer, glowing skin
  • Bright white eyes
  • Shiny hair & stronger fingernails
  • Calmer emotions
  • Smoother digestion
  • Reduced or eliminated cravings
  • Detachment from the constant need to EAT EAT EAT


Right now, cleanses seem to dwell in the realm of Super Duper Health Freaks. Green juice and fasting and strange concoctions, yay! (Yuck.)


I think this is because most cleanses & detox diets (remember, they’re the same thing) are marketed as such – you just don’t see many cleanses touting three square meals a day, plus snacks.


This leads a lot of well-intentioned, otherwise highly motivated people to believe that they don’t have what it takes to do a cleanse, or that it would be such a major drag…so they don’t even try.


Well, I think that’s sad. And wrong. And misleading. The fact is, if you’ve been consuming gluten, corn, soy, dairy, and sugar for most of your adult life (and chances are, you have), and then you eliminate any one of those things, you will experience a cleanse even if you don’t change ANYTHING ELSE.


This means: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, yay! It means, no fasting or starving! It means lil’ old you can join the Super Duper Health Freaks and benefit from a cleanse – one that’s tailored to your lifestyle, your commitment level, your budget, whatever.


My favorite cleanses:


CLEAN, by Alejandro Junger. This cleanse is a game changer. It’s the first program that’s accessible to EVERYONE. It’s simple and easy to follow, and it’s incredibly gentle on the body, which not only minimizes withdrawal, but actually boosts the effectiveness of the cleanse. (A calm body is more conducive to cleansing than a freaking-out body).

Pros: You can do a self-guided version by just purchasing the book, and there are tons of free resources online, like a recipe book and discussion forums.

Cons: The recipes are not that great, overall. This might be a personal bias, but whenever I take a client through this cleanse, I modify and substitute a lot of dishes.


Hungry for Change three-day detox. This one edges into Health Freak territory, but it’s super short and simple, and because of that it’s a great intro to green juice. Also, because it’s short and easy, you can do it whenever you feel a little icky.

Pros: It’s only three days, and comes complete with a shopping list and easy recipes. You eat the same thing three days in a row, so it’s easy to follow. And there’s even dessert.

Cons: If you like a big breakfast, you’ll need to supplement your morning green juice. Especially if you exercise.


My group cleanses at AFF: Hey, if my own cleanses weren’t on this list, that’d be weird, right? My cleanses take a normally neglected element and make it the star: AWESOME-TASTING FOOD. I focus less on what you’re eliminating, and more on what you’re eating. And I provide everything you need to make a comprehensive meal plan, so you’ll always be prepared.

Pros: Satisfying meals that are easy to make, with non fru-fru ingredients, that taste really good. Also, I’m in your face the whole time with fun factoids and goofy humor. And you can email me whenever you want with questions.

Cons: More expensive than the other two, because of the high level of personalization.


A few other ways to cleanse:

Elimination Diets

What it is: A specific period of time (usually three weeks), during which you eliminate a food or group of foods you suspect are triggering health issues.

How it works: Three weeks without a food should clear up all the symptoms enough for you to feel pretty great. Then, you “test” the food by eating it again, and see if it triggers symptoms. If it does, you can work out how to avoid that food in the long term. If not, you try eliminating something else.

Juice fasting

What it is: Pretty much, what it sounds like – having juice all day instead of food. Not for the faint of heart, this cleanse is best for people who already eat pretty clean and have experience with more gentle cleanses.

How it works: You usually have five or six juices throughout the day. You can do it for as little as two days, or as long as ten.

Bottom line?

You can really make it work for YOU, and you should. My recommendation is to try a guided cleanse the first time, like my upcoming February Sugar Cleanse (that’s a good one, because you can eat as much as you want).

If you want to do a self-guided cleanse, I suggest committing to one week. At the end of that week, check in with yourself and see if you can’t tackle a second week. Then a third. Take it one step at a time, and chances are you’ll be able to do a lot more than you think!

Written by Damon

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