An Introduction to the Body Cleanse

Cultures worldwide eliminate certain foods for a period of time in the spring to allow the body to detox the heavy foods of winter. Lee and I have practiced occasional detox diets and short fasts in the spring but have found them too depleting after wading through tough winter months (and their accompanying colds). This year, however, we have devised a gradual spring cleanse to eliminate excess, alkalinize the body, and particularly heal the gut, the part of the body that suffers first from rich winter foods.

Our general plan is as follows:

Phase 1 - vegetables only, lots of soups and ferments (natural pickles, sauerkraut, miso, umeboshi vinegar, shoyu); no dairy, meat, processed foods, sweeteners grains,  beans, nuts or fruit

Phase 2 - vegetables and whole grains, still lots of soups and ferments; no dairy, meat, processed foods, sweeteners,  beans, nuts or fruit

Phase 3 - vegetables, grains, beans, soups, ferments (add to the ferments listed in week one tempeh and natto, two fermented bean products); no dairy, meat, processed foods, sweeteners, nuts or fruit

Phase 4 and beyond- add back in fruits, particularly cooked fruit dishes, fish, bread and cracked grain dishes, nuts, dried fruit, and grain-based sweeteners; consume dairy, meat, refined sweeteners, and processed foods no more than twice monthly apiece to support a healthy plant-based diet. 

I will list our daily menu in upcoming posts, beginning with cleanse day 1, and let you know what works and what doesn't. Leave questions and comments below! I'd love to hear about your cleanse experiences.

Image source: Cruciferous Vegetables

Spring Cleanse - Day 1

Our first cleanse day didn't start with breakfast. We actually started the evening before with the following dinner. I like to double dinner portions so that I don't have to prepare a separate lunch. With three kids, meal planning becomes a survival skill.

Butternut Squash Soup
Blanched Kale with Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice and Salt and Pepper
Sauerkraut (Bubbie's brand is available in the refrigerated section in Austin and is a live ferment)

Spring Cleanse - Day 2

This Mexican Lime Soup is one of my favorite recipes. It's light and brothy and rich and hearty at the same time and is basically the Mexican version of Minestrone. Pressed salad can accompany most dishes and can be tweaked to give it Italian, Asian, Mexican, or American flair. I love that it keeps for 2-3 days, remaining crunchy and refreshing. 

Spring Cleanse - Day 3

If you have decided (like I have) to enter Phase 2 and add grains back into your diet, brown rice is a gentle whole grain way to do it. But if you'd prefer to stick to vegetables for a few more days, the menu below will satisfy even without the grain.