WHAT TO EXPECT
Once a year I like to do a cleanse to remind myself to stay on course as far as my health and fitness goals and reset my body in preparation. I am very fond of the Wild Rose cleanse because it isn’t drastic and encourages healthy habits and clean eating. The general idea of the cleanse is as follows:
- a series of supplements are taken to help cleanse
- water intake is increased
- you can eat as much as you want from ONLY the foods listed
- 80% of your food needs to come from columns 2 and 3
- 20% of your food needs to come from column 1
- this ratio is important
- the major things that are cut out are sugars, wheat, and dairy
- if a food is not on the list, it cannot be eaten
Column 1 (20%)
Columns 2 and 3
As you can imagine, it is varied enough that you could eat all day long (which I do) and not go hungry, yet restricted enough that the first few days can be pretty challenging. There are a few key things that can help you get through this cleanse:
Before beginning, make a list of what foods you enjoy, keeping the ratio 80%/20% in mind. It is easier to think about your food in a day rather than meal by meal and make it accordingly. For those of us who count calories, the daily prep is easiest. You can then take the food you make and eat it throughout the day to ensure that you have met your calorie requirements. Have a grocery list ready when you head to the store so you can pick up your favourite items and maybe even a few extra things to try. Remember there is no dairy allowed so you may want to invest in a bit of almond or soy milk. Oddly (and thankfully) butter IS allowed.
Another trick in your planning is to set aside eating times. Plan on eating smaller portions (which the cleanse is designed to do) throughout the day, especially if you are maintaining an exercise regiment. Have water and green tea on hand at all times which will also help curb hunger, along with the smaller portion meals. I carry a travel mug of green tea and a litre of water with me and eat 6 mini meals throughout the day.
Meat is actually the easiest thing to prepare. When you are ready, throw it on the grill and you are done. The vegetables, however, take a bit more time. Cut, peel, and wash your vegetables in advance. This serves two purposes. The first is that they are ready to cook when you need them. The second is that when you are feeling snacky, you have options to get you over the hump.
Weighing is also important. Investing in a small scale is great because you can weigh the proteins and snacks such as seeds and nuts to calorie count. Eventually, you will become familiar with portion sizing. I do this each year as a reminder and it is a good habit to get into. You will be surprised just how much 1 portion size of something actually is. When I started, I realized that what I thought was a portion really wasn’t.
SPICE IT UP
If you are like me, you may enjoy snacking on raw veggies but after 12 days, this can become boring. Have a pantry of herbs and spices ready before the cleanse to cook things in different ways. Use butter but also olive oil which gives food a nice flavour. To make sauces, add a bit of water to your spice mixtures. I always have the following on hand but you can use whatever you enjoy:
- green onions
Weightloss will likely occur but it isn’t the point of the cleanse. Once the cleanse is complete, it is recommended that you add foods that were not allowed a bit at a time. I do this by incorporating tea and coffee first (coffee IS allowed but I don’t drink any while on the cleanse). Two days later I allow some milk back. Two days after that I incorporate cheese. Finally, 2 days after that I will eat meat and veggies that may not be on the list.
I try and stick to the portions and diet as much as possible afterwards with weekly exceptions because I feel good eating that way. One thing that I stay away from is sugar and breads. For me, once I start on those they become too easy to incorporate into my regular diet. I may treat myself to a plate of pasta (brown rice pasta) or a sandwich, or a slice or cake, or a scoop of ice-cream once a week.