Millennial Nutrition

Dietitian-Approved Cleanse Day

15 October, 2016

Dietitian-Approved Cleanse Day

When done right, cleansing—or intermittent fasting as it’s called in the science world—can support many aspects of wellness including heart and brain health as well as weight management. And according to a post in the New York Times, intermittent fasting is gaining acceptance as a tool to support overall health.

Unfortunately, many popular cleanse routines neglect the benefits of cleansing by recommending harmful diuretics or laxatives, sugary juice drinks, or multiple days of very low calorie intake. By following a few simple tips, you can reach your health goals by doing cleanse days the right way.

  1. Lower calorie intake (500 calories for women or 600 calories for men) on a cleanse day.

Normal eating patterns supply the body with an abundance of nutrients and energy to fuel continuous growth. By decreasing calorie intake, your body has a chance to reset and renew. Several mechanisms are activated by cleansing to trigger break down of cellular components to be recycled into new building blocks—a process called autophagy. Additionally, calorie restriction will activate the body to use stored energy or fat for fuel, supporting weight loss.

  1. Do no more then two cleanse days in a row.

There are many ways to do intermittent fasting—periodic multiday fasts or simply skipping a meal or two—but I find 24-48 hours of fasting to be most effective while still being attainable. On non-cleanse days, it’s important to get proper amounts of nutrients (protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals) to build muscle and provide energy, so cleansing for long periods of time can do more harm than good.

  1. Consume foods and beverages high in antioxidants.

In addition to drinking plenty of water on cleanse days, it’s also beneficial to include small portions of antioxidant-rich foods and beverages such as herbal teas, berries, and citrus fruits. Nutrients from these foods will help neutralize harmful oxidative stress and curb cravings on cleanse days.

  1. Follow a cleanse day schedule.

Doing a cleanse day (or two) can be a challenge. It takes mental commitment and dedication. To help you avoid any temptation, it’s imperative that you stick to a cleanse day schedule with small snacks and beverages planned for every 2 hours. If you go 3 or 4 hours without consuming anything, “hangry” (hungry + angry) will set in and you’re more likely to give up on your cleanse day.

Cleanse Day Schedule

8 am – large glass of ice water with lemon or cucumber

10 am – Herbal tea (hot or cold)

12 pm – Large glass of ice water with lemon + small portion of vegetables or fruit

2 pm – Herbal tea + 1 serving of almonds (about 23)

4 pm – Large glass of ice water with lemon or cucumber

6 pm – Large glass of ice water + vegetables or fruit

8 pm – Herbal tea

Still unsure about trying a cleanse day? Grab a friend or two and commit to doing it together. Having a partner in crime greatly increases the chances of your success. You can also check out the TV segment I did on “Cleansing the Healthy Way” for more tips.

Share your success by tagging me (@GilleanMSRD) in social media posts and using the hashtag #millennialnutrition. I can’t wait to hear about your success!