It’s no secret that Thanksgiving and overindulgence are synonymous. Diets seem to take a mandatory pause around the holidays, and while I scoop up my second helping of mashed potatoes, I have no regrets. But don’t ask me how I’m feeling on Black Friday, because it’ll be a different story (sluggish and bloated). Luckily for all of us, shedding the sugar and carb hangover doesn’t mean starving until Christmas. Here, a full-menu cleanse (inspired by Dr. Oz) to bring you out of your Thanksgiving coma. Ideally, the cleanse lasts for 48 to 72 hours, but even one of these meals will leave you feeling lighter and rejuvenated.
Breakfast: Quinoa with Blueberries
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooked in 1½ cup water and ½ cup almond milk
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
¼ cup blueberries
1 teaspoon agave
Quinoa is a protein-dense seed that fills you up and keeps you full throughout the morning. Almond milk and flaxseeds contain Omega-3s, which are essential fatty acids that aid cleansing functions throughout the body. Blueberries are natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. (If you’ve got a swollen tummy, there’s probably some inflammation occurring in the intestines.) The agave is just there to sweeten the deal.
Lunch: Cabbage Salad
1 head cabbage, thinly chopped
4 leaves kale, thinly chopped
1 bulb fennel, roughly chopped
5 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 ounces lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
Cabbage is the liver’s best friend. It contains compounds that help the liver break down excess hormones and detoxify the body. Fennel is high in fiber and helps remove toxins from the colon. Lemons contain glutathione, a substance that helps supports the liver’s detoxing processes. Cranberries help protect the liver and cardiovascular system from harmful bacteria.
Afternoon Snack: Pineapple-Kale Smoothie
½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
½ cup almond milk
2 stalks kale
4 sprigs parsley
Pineapple juice and bananas both contain potassium, a mineral that helps keep nerves and muscles working properly and aids kidney function. Kale's fiber promotes healthy digestion. Plus, kale and parsley contain antioxidant-rich flavonoids which help protect cells against disease.
Afternoon Snack: Greek Yogurt with Apple Slices
1 cup Greek yogurt
agave to taste
1 large apple, sliced
Greek yogurt is full of probiotics that help maintain healthy bacteria in the gut, and apples contain pectin. Often used as a treatment for digestive disorders, pectin reduces inflammation in the intestines.
Dinner: Cabbage Soup
1 head cabbage
5 whole garlic cloves
1 brown onion
4 carrots, roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs parsley
4 tablespoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Onions can act as powerful antibiotics, helping to kill microbial bacteria that can lead to food-borne illnesses. Cooked carrots have carotenoids which help protect cells against disease. Garlic boosts the production of infection-fighting white blood cells.
Dessert: Cinnamon Applesauce
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon
Like apples, applesauce is rich in pectin. Research has shown that pectin works with the good bacteria of the gut to soothe irritated intestinal walls.
Bonus tip: Sip on a cup dandelion tea, or hot water with lemon throughout the day. Dandelion root and lemons act as natural diuretics, helping to speed up the process of flushing toxins from the body.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock