As winter turns to spring, our instinct is to clean—both our homes and our bodies. Liquid-based cleanses are the most common choice—there are endless detox diets based on green vegetable juices, teas, and even lemon water or apple cider vinegar. But it’s important to remember you don’t have to avoid solid foods to reboot your system. You can spring detox simply by being more mindful of what you’re eating—and what you choose not to eat.
“I believe an annual or biannual detox is a really good way to give your body a recharge,” says Cara Jaffee, C.N.T.P., a Colorado-based holistic nutritionist and author of Down to Earth: Find the answers you need to transform your health with real food (2018), a 30-day real-food detox.
Jaffee’s approach centers on eating only organic, all-natural, whole foods free from additives, dyes and preservatives. Her 30-day plan avoids all preprocessed, prepackaged foods, as well as sugar, soy, alcohol, grains, starchy vegetables, dairy and gluten.
What’s on the menu? Lots of leafy green vegetables, organic proteins (think grass-fed beef or wild-caught fish or seafood), healthy fats (such as nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados), plenty of water, and a pantry stocked with nourishing spices and herbs, like garlic, turmeric, rosemary and thyme.
Jaffee has used her detox diet successfully with focus groups, many of whom found it helped with acid reflux and other digestive issues and led to increased energy, weight loss and better sleep, she says.
“It’s meant to be a gentle detox,” she says. “We’re eliminating food groups, but in an approach that’s very sustainable.”
The book offers recipes for dishes like turkey burgers with zucchini noodles or pesto scrambled eggs alongside tips for introducing mindfulness and relaxation techniques—from journaling to yoga—into the 30-day plan, highlighting a holistic mind-body focus.
And while there’s no wrong time to detox, there’s no better time than now.
“Spring is a season of change and growth. We respond to that and feel the call to want to grow and feel better ourselves,” Jaffee says.
Be Prepared. According to Jaffee, most people will go through some type of withdrawal and may experience food cravings the first three days of a detox. But after 30 days, you will have a better sense of what sustainable health looks and feels like. And you’ll be familiar with a new repertoire of whole-food recipes that you can prepare anytime.
3 Spring Detox Tips
Jaffee recommends doing the following each week during a 30-day spring detox:
- Make the best use of your time, money and energy by going to the grocery store with a shopping list for a week’s worth of detox-plan recipe ingredients.
- Once you stock up on ingredients, batch-cook some recipes to save time during each week.
- Always carry snacks with you. If you work in an office, pack a small cooler of detox-approved foods to have with you throughout the day.