I am about to start my 5 Day Clean Eating Cleanse and am so excited at how many of you have committed to do it with me! I typically do this plan before I start a new training schedule for a race as it is perfect to do when my running intensity is down so I can prepare my body for what is to come. I also like to do this cleanse after I have been traveling a lot, or feel I have had a little lapse in my diet. Whatever your reason, it is the perfect way to ‘re-start’ your body and mind to get on track of a fit and healthy lifestyle!
I am listing out some questions and answers below as well as your grocery list for the first couple days of the cleanse. I will be posting meal plans the night before each day of the cleanse so keep checking back! My goal is to take all of the work and planning out of this week so all you have to focus on is eating the clean foods I am outlining and treating your body well. Good luck!
Why is it important to cleanse your body?
Okay, ready? I have a disgusting fact that I feel very un-lady like even saying… the average American is walking around with 20 pounds of fecal matter jammed up against the lining of their intestines! Told you, disgusting!!! Now, this is the average person so I highly doubt any of you are in that extreme of condition but, I guarantee everyone has at least a couple pounds their body needs to rid of. There are three main things in our societies way of eating that causes this extra ‘stuff’ to pack on: processed foods, artificial sweeteners and saturated/trans fat. We all know these things are in our diets, but do you ever stop to think how much harm it is doing to your body? Stomachs and intestines are meant for helping us digest and process our foods – not store the excess fecal matter from unnatural chemicals!
With this all being said, it is important that every 4-6 months (time frame can vary for the individual) you allow your body an opportunity to naturally cleanse and rid itself of some of this excess stored junk. Naturally cleansing your body will make you healthier, increase your energy level (yay!), help rid you of bad habits, rid harmful toxins in your body, promote weight loss and speed up your metabolism. All in all, it is a clean start for you as you begin taking on the habits of a clean eating diet full time!
What makes this 5 Day Eating Cleanse different then all the other cleanses out there?
We live in a society where people are looking for ‘quick fixes.’ With that, there are hundreds of fasting cleanses out there that promote quick weight loss. The problem with this is you are mostly loosing just water weight which will come right back when you start eating again. Additionaly, when your not eating your body goes into starvation mode and it will start eating at your fat – yes this might sound good, but it is ultimately unhealthy to have happen all the time. With this diet, since we are cutting down the calories the body will naturally feed of its fat stores if needed. The difference is that it won’t live off of them.
Also, on some of the juice diets/cleanses out there, they force your body to dehydrate itself and deprive you from significant nutrients. Many times they claim to give you what your body needs from the vegetable and fruit juice, but your body needs protein and carbs for energy! In my experience, by the end of a couple days on one of these cleanses, you tend to be low on energy, tired and weak. If you don’t have energy, you can’t get through a good workout which contributes to even less weight loss during the cleanse. With the Clean Eating Cleanse, you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to get through workouts and keep your calorie burn up throughout the day; this will allow your body to loose more then just water weight and keep you headed toward your long term goals.
The main difference with this plan is that it is not designed to make you starve or to make you stuck in the bathroom for days on end. Instead, it is a chance to allow your body to rid itself of toxic dietary offenders and focus on whole, natural and clean nutrients found in food. The types of foods you eat during these 5 days, such as greens, lemon and vinegar, are naturally cleansing and full of fiber so your body will be able to process everything smoothly.
How do I know how many calories to consume?
The plan is written to consume approx. 1200 calories daily. This number does vary slightly for everyone depending the calorie allotment you are currently on as well as your fitness level. If you require more calories, you can simply alter the portion sizes. However, you do not want to skip any of the meals or snacks. Getting your body on a schedule of eating every few hours (if it isn’t already) is necessary to get your metabolism going.
I do create the calorie deficit during this 5 day period in which I eat between 500-1000 calories LESS a day then I typically would. Now, my calorie intake on a day to day varies with the amount of activity I am planning to do – on days I am running a 20 mile run, I would consume closer to 2,500 calories. Where as on days I only run 5 miles, I am closer to 1800. (This is where the snacks and portion sizes come into play). This number is different for everyone so just because my total calorie intake during this period is closer to 1200 for me, it may vary for you however, you should not go any lower then 1200. It is important to know where you typically are in your day to day calorie range, and plan to adjust the intake of calories on the cleanse to meet what is a 500-1000 calorie or so deficit for you. A great way to do this is to utilize the Meal Planner; this will add up all of your calories for you. (Note, if you are used to eating a lot of high fat and carb foods, your calorie deficit may be more as you are likely consuming way more calories then you need to be).
What Can I Not Eat?
For this 5 Day period, it is important to eat extremely clean so your body can fully absorb the nutrients it needs and rid itself of what it does not. With that, it is important to cut out the following:
- Artificial sugar
- Excess Salt
- Processed food
- Caffeinated beverages (except for unsweetened green tea)
- Alcohol – all of it
- Vitamins – unless your vitamins are part of a prescribed plan from your doctor, it is recommended to not take additional supplements during the cleanse. Please, please don’t actually stop taking anything you need – you be the judge for your own bodies.
**Just as a side note, it was actually the first time I did this cleanse and cut out wheat that made me decide to eat gluten free. I had started realizing I had a sensitivity to gluten prior to doing the cleanse, but it was when I actually cut it out of my diet for an extended period of time (my first length of time without it was a 2 week period) that I realized I felt better without it and many of my health problems (migraines, low energy, ect.) went away!
Can I work out?
YES! During the 5 Days, you should work as as much as you normally do. I choose to do this cleanse when I am gearing up for a new training period so my running mileage schedule is naturally lowered. But, I still run 4-5 days a week and strength train as normal. Since you are eating, and eating amazing food, you should get even more energy toward the end of these 5 days to work out even more.
As mentioned above, you want to be working out to allow your body to burn calories and fat and take any weight loss past the point of just water weight. It is when your body burn exceeds your calorie intake that you can actually loose weight. When your calories are being lowered during this time, it takes less burn then a normal diet day to create that deficit. Just don’t kill yourself in the gym – listen to your body and if you are getting low on energy, take a break and drink some water or a small glass of unsweetened orange juice.
What Beverages Can I Drink?
- Water, water & more water!! Since your body is naturally cleansing, water helps push out the toxins and keep you hydrated. You should plan to drink even more water then you otherwise might.
- Unsweetened green tea. I like to drink it hot with a little ginger grated in and some fresh lemon juice. You can also make a big pot and leave it in the fridge to drink on ice throughout the day. Green tea is a natural appetite suppressant as well so if you feel a little hungry between meals, sip some green tea.
- Natural, unsweetened orange juice. This beverage is only to be drunk before or during a workout, if needed as the natural sugars can give your body a little boost. You should not exceed more then 1 full glass a day since this beverage is somewhat high in sugar.
What does the meal plan look like?
**I will post recipes and details for each day the night before (Monday’s plan will be posted tonight, ect.). Printable grocery list for the first few days is below though so you can do your shopping early. A second grocery list will be posted later in the week.
Breakfast: Smoothie with Almond Milk greek yogurt for protein, leafy greens, and apple.
**If you are going to do an intense workout in the morning, you have two options. 1) you can drink a small glass of fresh squeezed orange juice before your workout for a little boost and then have your smoothie after or 2) make your smoothie in the morning and have half before you workout and half after. Personally, if I am only going to lift in the morning, I prefer to have my whole smoothie after and do the O.J. before. But, if I was going to run in the a.m., I would split it so your not doing intense activity on a completely empty stomach.
Snack: Raw veggies + 1 cup organic green tea (with ginger or lemon if desired)
Lunch: Raw or steamed veggies with 4 oz. lean protein
Snack: Raw or cooked veggies + 1/2 cup whole grains + 1 cup organic green tea (with ginger or lemon if desired) OR small breakfast smoothie
Dinner: Raw or steamed greens with 4 oz. lean protein