The holiday merrymaking was a blast while it lasted, but now weâ€™re ready to hit the reset button. Enlist a friend to join you in our fifth annual Action Plan, a 21-day, whole-body detox designed to supercharge you for the New Year.
1. Go Step By Step
We built this plan around a simple base diet of lentils, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds; these (plus oils and seasonings) are the only ingredients allowed for the first week. The subsequent weeks introduce variety, including fish and gluten-free grains in Week 2 and eggs in Week 3.
2. Devise a Strategy
We realize that making all of the planâ€™s recipes is no easy feat. So weâ€™ve streamlined things this year with weekly meal-by-meal plans. To ease prep, some recipes have a make-ahead component, and most recipes make big batches, so youâ€™ll always have a selection of leftovers in the fridge.
3. Make It Your Own
While there are 45 recipes in the cleanse, you can certainly improvise meals; simply follow the ingredient guidelines for each week. You can also carry over your favorite dishes as you enter a new week. Do keep in mind that while you should keep portions modest, counting calories is not part of the program. â€śThis is not a calorie-restricted diet,â€ť Blum says. â€śThis is about food choices.â€ť
No, weâ€™re not talking about anything as extreme as fasting, but in these first days youâ€™ll purify with a spare diet designed to heal your digestive system so it can focus on cleansing. â€śYour liver is burdened every day,â€ť Blum says. â€śWeâ€™re removing all the stressors so it can start clearing out the muck.â€ť
Keep In Mind: By midweek, youâ€™ll likely notice some unpleasant symptomsâ€”fatigue, aches and pains, headache, bloatâ€”as the body purges toxins. This is normal, so donâ€™t lose heart. You should start to feel better by weekâ€™s end.
BASE DIET FOR THE PLAN
â€˘ Fruits and vegetables
â€˘ Nuts and seeds
â€˘ Oils and seasonings
Not exactly the kind of bland stuff that springs to mind when you think â€śdetox cuisine,â€ť is it? Thank
Sarah Britton, the Copenhagen, Denmarkâ€“based holistic nutritionist behind the blog My New Roots (mynewroots.blogspot.com), whom we tapped for the second year in a row to create her always-fabulous food. Breakfasts are juices and smoothies, which are easy on digestion. For lunches and dinners, youâ€™ll see lots of liver-boosting cruciferous vegetables and lentils (â€śTheyâ€™re the legume thatâ€™s most easily digested,â€ť Blum says of the latter). To ensure success this week, plan your meals and then prep whatever you can ahead of time (cook lentils, roast beets).