Coming out of a cleanse can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you may be ready to include some foods back into your diet. On the other, you may find that the foods that you used to eat regularly are now too difficult on your system. You may also find that if you introduce all of the foods at once that it is impossible to tell which ones are causing upset stomach, skin irritation or allergies. For lack of a better word, I call the reintroduction phase the re-tox since we have spent the past three weeks going through a detox. Here is a suggested plan for coming off the cleanse with grace and ease.
Take it Slow
Over the first few days, I suggest a slow reintroduction of each food. Please take at least five days to come out of the cleanse, adding one food component at a time.
If you choose to not reintroduce any of the foods, that is absolutely fine as well. There is no need to bring back any of the foods we eliminated from the cleanse, because, as we have seen for the past three weeks, there is no need to include any of them.
Day 1: Introduce Caffeine
I suggest a gentle form of caffeine such as green tea. Additionally, I advise against artificial caffeine such as those found in many energy drinks and sodas at any time on or off the cleanse. After you drink the tea, sit quietly and assess your body for 15 – 30 minutes. In the following hours, continue to observe your heart rate, mental alertness, and breathing rate. Set an alarm to check in on these markers every 30 minutes to 1 hour for the next 8 hours. Set 15 minutes aside in the morning to write in your journal and consider how your sleep is the same or different than it was before.
Day 2: Introduce Gluten
No one is denying that gluten is exceptionally tasty, but it can wreak havoc on your gut and immune system. Pay attention to any underlying gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune disorders for flare ups. The morning after eating gluten, be sure to observe the quality and consistency of your stool. Be sure to chew your food thoroughly, as the gluten will be denser than most of the foods that we have been eating in the past few weeks.
Day 3: Introduce Sugar
Or don’t. Like for real. You really don’t need sugar in your diet. However, I acknowledge that sweet treats can be so delicious on occasion. For this one, I really want you to pay attention to how your mind feels after you eat, and pay attention to the food cravings that may arise in the hours after. Sugar has the potential to increase the desire for more sugar, so pay close attention.
Day 4: Introduce Alcohol
Take it easy here! Your tolerance has likely changed a lot since the beginning of the cleanse. Grab a glass of champagne or a spritzer before heading straight back to liquor. You may find that the morning after drinking hits you like a ton of bricks. Perhaps introduce alcohol on a day when you know that you are able to sleep in or have a quiet morning at home. After you drink one drink, observe how you feel. How does your skin feel? Your heart rate? Your stomach? Pay attention to food cravings that may arise. Alcohol and the mixers that accompany them are generally packed full of sugar and can lead to blood sugar fluctuations. The next morning, be sure to assess your energy, sleep, and bowel movements. . . and even a potential headache.
Day 5: Introduce Animal Products
For me, the biggest changes in my body come whenever animal products are introduced. After I have been on a cleanse, the first bite of cheese inevitably instantly causes mucous to form in my sinuses. Meat consistently slows down bowel movements in most people.
I encourage you to bring forward a consciousness about meat into your everyday life. How was the animal raised? How was it slaughtered? What was it fed? This last point is critical because we are no longer bound by “You are what you eat.” In the words of Michael Pollan, “You are what you eat eats.” If you are consuming chicken that has eaten nothing but genetically modified corn intended to make the animal get fat fast, guess what may happen to you? I know for most people that eating meat is almost a habit, and I encourage you to be aware of your actions as you eat.
On each day of your re-tox answer the following questions:
1. How does the food or beverage taste on your palate?
2. How does your body feels in the 30 minutes after drinking/eating caffeine/eating gluten/sugar/alcohol/animal product?
3. What changes do you notice in your body change in the hours after consumption of caffeine/gluten/sugar/alcohol/animal product?
The next morning, assess:
1. How is your energy level?
2. How was your sleep last night?
3. What was your poop like this morning?
Whether you choose to add back in the foods above or you are done with them for good, I know you have learned to listen to your body and be more mindful about the way these foods make you feel. Go slowly and you should have no issues reintroducing some of the foods we have eliminated for the past several weeks.
Let us know how we can help through this transition. Share with the Clean Slate Cleanse community how you feel as you add foods back in, or join the discussion about whether or not you plan to do so. We can’t wait to hear from you!