The start of summer is always a double-edged sword. On one hand, the weather is warmer, summer Fridays abound, and everyone generally seems to be in a much better mood (temperatures above freezing tend to do that). On the other hand—swimsuit season. No one’s favorite phrase (except for maybe the VS Angels), and yet, it’s an inevitable reality. If you’ve been in major hibernation mode for the past few months and the thought of baring anything above your ankles fills you with dread, we feel you. But instead of frantically signing up for every Yogalates class your Class Pass will allow, might we suggest easing your body into a healthy eating and fitness regimen with a simple meal detox instead?
We spoke with Meryl Pritchard, nutritionist and founder of organic meal-delivery service Kore Kitchen, and asked her to put together an easy three-day meal plan to help our bodies reset, de-bloat, and get ready for bikini season in the not too distant future. And lest you think this is one of those stomach-churning, starvation mode-enabling cleanses, we’ll tell you this—it’s not. Easy enough for even cleanse newbies, this plan will leave you feeling lighter, slimmer, and, more importantly, healthier at the end of these three days. Now, who wants to go to the beach?
First things first—even a beginner’s detox requires you to cut some things out of your diet. In this case, it’s dairy, sugar, meat, caffeine, gluten, processed foods, and alcohol. “These items tend to be stressful on your digestive system, cause acidity in the body, and prevent detoxification,” Pritchard says. “A great and easy way to reset is eating light to heavy for improved digestion and clearing of the digestive tract, and focusing on whole foods.”
Each morning of your detox, Pritchard suggests starting off with a glass of warm water with lemon to help alkalize your system and kickstart your digestive system. “Normally, when you wake up and eat a heavy breakfast, your digestive juices aren’t flowing because your body has been resting for eight hours,” she explains. “Dumping a bunch of food in there is going to make you tired since your body has to work so hard to get it digested.” Lemon water will help your digestive juices start flowing before your first meal, helping your body operate more efficiently. Plus, Pritchard reminds us that lemon is high in vitamin C and is great for boosting your immune system, which is always necessary when attempting any sort of cleanse.
For breakfast, a superfood smoothie with a protein source (Pritchard suggests raw nuts or hemp, which is a very soft protein powder), a fat (so you can absorb the fat-soluble vitamins), and fresh fruit and veggies is the way to go.
“I like starting each day with a smoothie because it's easier on the digestive system than eating a heavy meal,” she says. “I notice a difference when I eat light to heavy throughout the day. It's also an easy way to get a load of vitamins into your system first thing in the morning.” Here’s a recipe for Kore Kitchen’s Berry Mint Kiss Smoothie, which is full of free radical-fighting antioxidants (it’s a Byrdie editor favorite!).
Kore Kitchen Berry Mint Kiss Smoothie
1 cup of coconut water
1 cup of almond milk
1 cup of frozen pineapple
1 cup of frozen blueberries
½ cut of fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tbsp of acai (optional for an extra antioxidant boost)
2 soft Medjool dates (if dried, just soak them in warm water beforehand)
1 handful of dark, leafy greens (optional)
For lunch, it’s all about loading up on raw, crunchy veggies and dark leafy greens to help get things moving and alkalize your body, Pritchard says. A salad is the easiest way to do this—she sprinkles nuts and seeds on top for a boost of extra protein and healthy fats. If your stomach’s rumbling around 3 p.m., indulge in a mid-afternoon snack: mixed berries, kombucha, baby carrots, and hummus are snack good options. Or, try Pritchard’s favorite sweet treat—GoodBites Raw Superfood Truffles, which she says are packed with the most potent superfoods on the planet, yet taste like gourmet chocolate truffles. “I use them as my daily multivitamin—it’s much more delicious than swallowing a pill!” she says.
Nothing is more comforting at the end of the day than a piping hot meal. But since you’re detoxing your body, you’ll have to forget the steaming plate of pasta for now—but you can still pick something hot and satisfying. “I always like to have something warm for dinner,” Pritchard says. “To me, the evening is a time to power down, relax, and nourish yourself.” She suggests having a fiber-rich soup for dinner, which is a filling, satisfying, and easy to make ahead of time and warm-up throughout the week (if you need ideas, The Healthy Soup Cookbook features 33 simple soup recipes for you to choose from). “Squash soups tend to be velvety and creamy, which makes you feel like you’re eating dairy if you’re having a hard time letting go,” she says. Another option: any soup with spice (think curry soup or a spicy tomato basil), many of which have healing properties and may help your body’s cleansing process.
Before bed, end the day on a soothing note with a calming tea, like chamomile, peppermint, or rose—all of these have wonderful healing, cleansing, and medicinal properties, Pritchard says.
Then, just complete this meal plan for the next two days, and feel free to incorporate apples, fennel, dandelion, spirulina, ginger, lemon, grapefruit, and dark, leafy greens throughout, all of which will help you cleanse and de-bloat.
Cleveland Clinic. 7 reasons to start your day with lemon water. Updated January 17, 2020.
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Jiang TA. Health benefits of culinary herbs and spices. J AOAC Int. 2019;102(2):395-411. doi:10.5740/jaoacint.18-0418