4 Day Cleanse

cleanse

Happy Monday friends! I hope you’re ready to kick Monday in the rear and keep that positive momentum going throughout the week. Buds are budding, flowers blooming, and warm weather on the horizon. Spring is the perfect time to cleanse your body, mind, and spirit. So to honor myself and rid it of the toxins I’ve likely accumulated from the long winter, I’m doing a 4-day kick-start cleanse.

I’ve done this cleanse before, and will tell you exactly how to do it and where to find more information so you can always have this effective method of healthy eating at your fingertips. It’s gentle, and fantastic for beginners or those who have never tried a cleanse before. Disclaimer: you WILL be hungry. But if you space out the allotted foods throughout the day and drink a massive amount of water, you’ll do great and 4 days will go by in a flash.

Credit: I found this cleanse in a book by Dr. Ian Smith (you may remember him from the TV show Celebrity Fit Club) called The 4 Day Diet. He calls it the “Induction Phase” in his book, which you can find on Amazon or at your local bookstore. The first time I tried this cleanse, I lost 8 pounds in 4 days and felt brand new. It really works if you follow it precisely. This time, I will be making some slight modifications, and will let you know the result of those adjustments and whether it’s as effective.
4daydiet

DAY 1
-2 cups of coffee. Limit sugar to 1 packet and cream or milk to 1 tsp per cup
-2 cups of raw or cooked green leafy vegetables (i.e. spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard)
-1 cup of freshly squeezed lemonade with no more than 1 tbsp sugar
-1 tbsp psyllium husk powder*
-4 servings of fruit (1 apple, 1 banana, ½ cup berries all count as 1 serving)
-One 6-oz low-fat or fat-free yogurt
-1 medium-size green salad (about 2 cups – veggies only) with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of cooked beans (chickpeas, lentils, etc.)
-1 ½ cup of cooked brown rice (measured after cooking)
Unlimited water or seltzer. Be sure to drink 1 cup before each meal
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio (can break up if needed with a 20 min session in am and 20 min session in pm)

DAY 2
-2 cups coffee
-2 scrambled eggs or egg whites (can add ¼ cup veggies if you want)
-1 cup of freshly squeezed juice (I substitute Naked juice I got at the grocery store since I don’t have a fancy juicer…sad face)
-3 servings of fruit
-1 large-size (3 cups) green garden salad with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-2 cups of green leafy vegetables
-1 cup of vegetable juice from the cooked vegetables
-1 cup of cooked brown rice
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio

DAY 3
-2 cups of coffee
-One 6-oz low-fat or fat-free yogurt
-3 servings of fruit
-2 cups of green leafy vegetables
-1 cup of freshly squeezed lemonade
-1 tbsp psyllium powder
-1 medium-size green garden salad with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of cooked beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc
-1 cup cabbage soup**
-Unlimited water or seltzer. Drink one cup before each meal.
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio

DAY 4
Unlimited fruit of any kind
-1 cup of green tea or regular tea
-1 large-size (3 cups) green garden salad; add garlic, and 3 oz. of walnuts, cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds; also 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of freshly squeezed carrot juice (can substitute pear, apple, or orange juice)
-1 tbsp psyllium husk powder
-2 cups of cooked brown rice
-1 cup of cabbage soup**
-2 servings of cooked or raw vegetables
Unlimited water or seltzer.
Exercise – Rest Day

*Psyllium husk powder can be found at Vitamin Shoppe. It can be mixed with water or lemonade. I recommend trying to get psyllium-enriched cereal instead. I believe Whole Foods carries it. I personally hate the powder version, it can kind of be difficult to get down just because of the texture. But it definitely works and is known to mop up and remove toxins in the body.
**Cabbage Soup:
1 tbsp oil 3 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium onions, diced 1 ham hock (can omit if vegetarian)
1 medium green cabbage, shredded 3 tbsp wine vinegar
1 ¼ quart chicken broth ½ tsp sage
3 small potatoes, cubed ½ tsp thyme
In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the onions until softened. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, carrots, ham hock, vinegar, sage, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper as desired.

So there you have it. The 4-Day Cleanse. I will let you know how it goes…wish me luck!!

Perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe

There’s something undeniably satisfying about soup, particularly in the cold-weather months (which we have many of here in CT). Soup warms the soul. This pumpkin soup is so uplifting, even the vibrant orange color makes me happy. I love soup because it fills the belly at a low calorie cost.

The health benefits of this soup are innumerable. Pumpkin is a fantastic source of fiber and Vitamin C. It also has loads of Potassium (more than bananas, surprisingly) and contains the cancer-preventing antioxidant beta-carotene. Carotenoids are free-radical neutralizers which may prevent wrinkles, so for that reason alone, I’m sold on pumpkin.

Curry powder has its own special health benefits as well. This soup does not have an overwhelming curry scent or taste, if you’re not fond of it. So try it! Curry helps control blood sugar, has cancer-preventive benefits, may help lower cholesterol, and has detoxifying effects.

So without further ado:

Perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
-1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (white button work great, baby bella as well)
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
-3 cups vegetable broth (I’ve made this with chicken broth as well and that works too)
-1 15-oz can solid-pack pumpkin
-1 12-oz can evaporated milk
-2 tablespoons honey
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and curry powder and blend well. Cook for a couple minutes to get rid of that raw flour taste. Slowly add in all the broth. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add in the pumpkin, milk, honey, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Heat through. Makes 7 servings. You can garnish this with sour cream and chives if you feel so inclined, I usually skip the garnish because it’s fabulous on its own!

If you’re wondering, the honey does not make it sweet, it just has this perfect balance of flavors. Even my brothers (meat-and-potato kind of eaters) love this soup. It’s a crowd pleaser, is great to entertain with, and makes excellent leftovers.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

xo Steph