A Kindler, Gentler New Year’s Cleanse

End-of-year festivities and family visits can be overwhelming, just at the time of year when what might be best for our bodies and spirits is quiet time with no pressure, stress, or obligations. And just when we think we’re emerging from the overwhelm, the imminent arrival of New Year’s can evoke another set of societal pressures. Take stock of your 2012 successes and failures! Write down those 2013 resolutions! Drink less! Get a better job! It’s enough to make you want to drown yourself in a comforting bottle of Buena Vista Brandy or a couple of gallons of Glacier ice cream.

Fear not, fellow foodies! It is possible to ease gently into the new year. Kindly and gently. For many, getting back into balance means eating and drinking more healthily and moving our bodies more. Seems like a reasonable approach. Until we’re inundated with gym deals, cleanse ads, and other crap reminding us of our holiday excesses. Spend even more money to be an acceptable human being?

This year, Just Say No to guilt and suffering as your primary motivator to get your body and spirit back in balance. Just Say No to those awful ‘cleanses’. Lemon juice, cayenne, and honey for 10 days? Aaaaaack! Lifeless veggie soup that leaves you headachy and irritable? Faggedaboutit. So you indulged a bit over the holidays….self-flaggelation is not the road to redemption. Perchance a kinder, gentler approach?

If you feel you must cut calories for a spell, here’s a surefire, kind, gentle, and blood-sugar-balanced menu to get you feeling clear-headed, lighter, and back to normal. Note: Men and those doing intensive exercise may want to add a few more calories.

Breakfast: First…drink a whole lotta cold water (add lemon if you like) to combat overnight dehydration. Then, tea or coffee with milk, two pieces of fruit. When you get hungry again, make a smoothie with soy or almond milk, fruit, flax meal, protein powder, spinach, and ice if you like it cold and thick. The fiber, protein powder and carbs should keep you until lunch. Exercise before or after lunch. More cold, refreshing water.

Lunch: Rice crackers and hummus, a big bowl of raw or cooked greens, hard-boiled eggs (2), and tuna (or other lean protein). Dessert: Dark chocolate. Afternoon snack: your favorite toasted bread with olive oil and sea salt.

Dinner: Make your fave veggies the center of your meal, and don’t worry about calories. Avocado, sweet potato, quinoa, kale salad, top it off with 2 TB of nutritional yeast (8 gr of protein). With salads, make your own vinaigrette with olive oil, garlic, good quality balsamic, and your fave spices. Closure: Dark chocolate and some tea, chai, or coffee.

Repeat for three days or longer, gradually adding in more of your normal foods. And if a yummy comfort food sneaks in there because you have a craving or are at a party, go for it and enjoy it fully! Life’s too short to beat ourselves up over food…aren’t we already hard enough on ourselves as it is? Opt this year to remember the joy you experienced while eating or drinking those creative, delicious, artisanal, homemade, and seasonal foods and drinks. Many of them were made with love, just for you.

2 thoughts on “A Kindler, Gentler New Year’s Cleanse

  1. If all “cleanses” were like this, then they actually might work. Cheers to eating what is good, and what makes us feel good in 2013.

  2. Wise words for sure. I like the idea of lunch desserts and being easier on yourself. One thing I might add: if you are not already, try sharing a meal with a friend, lover, cousin, stranger…heck, even a pet. Talk about it, savor it, be grateful.

    Thanks for this great reminder, EP!

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