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Your lifestyle, your quirk
I’ll admit it: I’m a total junk food addict. I recently realized my diet consists of almost nothing with any nutritional value (unless fruit filling or orange soda counts as actual fruit), which may have seemed okay in my college days, but definitely isn’t the way to go now that my “late twenties” are looming around the corner. It’s always been a major challenge for me to swap cookies and ice cream for fruits and veggies, and it seemed like a no-brainer that after a long day at work, grabbing a chicken sandwich from Burger King was better than cooking an actual meal, but I realize it’s time to get serious about eating healthier.
Here are a few facts about me you should know:
1) I enjoy eating wayyy too much to do one of those diets where you eat a few 100-calorie bars all day and then go wild with a salad for dinner. No thanks.
2) Cooking isn’t my thing. Yes, I know there are a lot of great, healthy recipes out there if you want to take the time, but I’m just not capable of making anything that requires more than 10 minutes or three ingredients (maybe that will be the next goal I tackle). Sorry.
3) I know we learned it in elementary school, but I couldn’t tell you what’s on the food pyramid to save my life.
That being said, I wanted to create a super-simple, healthy meal plan that didn’t involve eating cardboard (or foods comparable in taste to cardboard). I decided to start with a seven-day detox to get on the right track. This is all about eating carbohydrates, high protein, minimal fats, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals spread out during the week, and will not only help lose some weight, but will also optimize the way the body functions.
I found my7daydiet.com to be a helpful starting point. This diet includes high quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are excellent sources of fiber and still pretty tasty. Most fruits and vegetables are low in fat and high in fiber and are also packed with antioxidants, which help protect against heart disease.
Before you start, get in a habit of drinking 8-10 glasses of water every day for at least a few days to prime the body, and say goodbye to alcohol and caffeine for now. While you’re on the detox diet you should avoid strenuous exercise – try a long walk instead of a high-cardio workout at the gym this week.
Day 1: Fruit, fruit, and (you guessed it), more fruit. All fruits are allowed except bananas (we’ll get to them later), so try to eat a wide variety. Fruits are ideal because they are fat free and are low in calories compared to other foods. Fruits also flush out the system, enhancing the detox process.
Day 2: So far, so good; fruits really not that bad. Now it’s all about veggies. Start the day with one baked or boiled potato to make up for loss of energy from day one (I didn’t do this…but I cheated and had a salad with grilled chicken on day one. Shhh, don’t tell). Eat as many vegetables as you can today – stir-fry or salads are tasty ways to combine a lot of vegetables.
Day 3: Go wild: have Fruits AND vegetables. Day 3 combines days one and two. Your body chemistry is changing because you are not getting any refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, excessive sodium and artificial flavor enhancers and additives. Your body is getting completely natural nutrition.
Day 4: Bananas and milk. You can eat up to eight bananas and three glasses of skim milk to restore potassium levels. I don’t like bananas, so I’m going to repeat day three (fruit and veggie combo) but I’m glad to have milk again. On my day four, I also made an egg white omelet packed with fresh veggies.
Day 5: Protein and tomatoes. You can have a piece of meat/fish either grilled or baked for lunch and dinner with tomatoes to make up for all the protein in your system (okay, I’ve been eating a little grilled chicken all along, but it’s still a lot healthier than I was eating before). The meat will give you protein, and if you consume fish, you will get omega-3 fatty acids, which do wonders for health. The tomatoes are for fiber and minerals – especially lycopene, which is a super-food for the human body. If you don’t eat meat, substitute in tofu.
Day 6: Protein and vegetables. Same as day five, except add more vegetables either in salad or stir-fry form.
Day 7: Fruits, vegetables, and juices. Consume an assortment of fruits, vegetables, and vegetable juices. Brown rice is optional, but not recommended if you want to see weight loss.
Now that you’ve gotten through the week, it’s time to make a healthy and balanced meal plan going forward (the detox diet can be repeated up to once a month, as needed). Here are some tips:
1. Continue to drink eight glasses of water a day
2. Reduce caffeine intake to one cup of tea/coffee in the morning and evening (or not at all)
3. Incorporate more fruits and veggies in your meals.
4. Drink more milk and add more dairy products to your regular diet
5. Eat fish and chicken instead of pork and beef
7. Two nights a week have only light soup and salad for dinner
8. Use cooking methods like steaming and grilling instead of frying
9. Reduce sodium and sugar intake
I haven’t followed the detox diet exactly, but I am getting way more fruits and veggies this week and have cut out caffeine and junk food, so I still feel like I’m on the right track to creating a more well-balanced lifestyle! Baby steps, right?
Have you tried a detox diet? Tell us about your results!