You know the key to detox success is to keep your diet clean and green. But as anyone who’s ever tried a cleanse will admit, it can be all too easy to get into a rigid mealtime routine. If you’re reaching for the same exact foods every day (I’m lookin’ at you, brown rice and kale), odds are you’ll get pretty darn bored—and that’s a surefire way to sabotage your success. So, if you’re stuck in a detox menu rut, here are some ways to mix things up. Remember: Variety will not only help you feel more satisfied, it will also ensure you get all of the nutrients you need.
• Bring on the weird veggies You know about romaine and spinach, but what about more adventurous delights, such as tatsoi, fennel and rapini? What keeps me motivated when I’m cleansing is my willingness to experiment with an array of plant-based foods—the more out-of-the-ordinary, the better.
• Experiment with new spices and ingredients Do you always sauté your greens in a little olive oil and garlic? Try steaming those dark leafies and add a pinch of Spanish paprika or curry powder. Or, throw in some oil-cured olives, sun-dried tomatoes or hemp seeds to your go-to dishes to give them a tasty (and healthy!) twist.
• Make some cooking mistakes My grandma was a daring chef who taught me to be flexible and free in the kitchen. Too often, we’re terrified to make cooking mistakes and stray too far from recipes. But in my experience, those so-called “errors” can be vehicles for culinary (and detox) magic. So go ahead—stray from those recipes. Ditch whatever ingredients don’t wow you and swap ’em for ones that do. (Applesauce for oil and avocado for butter are a couple of my faves.)
This emotional life
A good cleanse means revamping more than just your diet: It’s important to look at your emotional well-being, too. When I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, I desperately wanted to amputate my fear. But it didn’t take me long to realize that fear serves an invaluable purpose: In the past, it made us run when lions were chasing us; these days, it pushes us to visit the doctor when we feel a lump. While fear can be a very good thing, it’s smart to learn how to handle it before it becomes toxic. I’ve navigated my fear-laden hot spots by asking myself, “Is this a fact or a feeling?” For example, if I’m having an “off” day and start focusing on the fact that I may always live with cancer, I’ll stop my downward spiral by asking myself, “Am I going to die today?” The answer helps me keep my fear in check—and I’ve learned that teasing out whether an emotion is fact or just a feeling can help put all kinds of feelings in perspective.
Quick tip! Just dance
Our lymph system is our waste removal system, but there’s a catch: It doesn’t have its own pump! We’ve got to move our bodies to dump the junk. A great way to sneak in some calorie-torching exercise—minus a trip to the gym? Crank up the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Florence and the Machine or whatever helps you get your groove on and start shakin’ that cute booty of yours.