The whirlwind that has been my life over the past two months has not been kind to my body; I’ve been taking advantage of my free shift meals at work (which generally involve an abundance of meat and cheese, with hardly a vegetable in sight,) hardly finding time to exercise and sleeping restlessly. I need to get back on track, and the best way to do so is to give my body a break from the insanity I’ve been putting it through. This means avoiding everything that takes hard work to process: wheat, dairy, soy, meat, caffeine, alcohol, and preservatives and other chemicals. What does that leave, you ask? Fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts, eggs and quinoa. You’d be surprised how much variety you can squeeze out of this list!

Make no mistake: the Beyonce lemonade-and-cayenne-pepper “cleanse” is not my style. This regimen has gained a lot of popularity lately, much to my dismay. Supposedly, drinking nothing but water with lemon, maple syrup and cayenne can flush out toxins; I know people who have done it for a week or longer and swear by it. I can’t get beyond the scientific fact that when you don’t consume enough calories, your body goes into emergency mode to conserve its resources. How is telling your body that you’re dying a cleanse?? No, no, I can’t get behind that at all; it looks far too much like anorexia to me. My cleanse is about achieving satiety from the highest-quality, easiest-to-digest foods. Consuming organic, locally-produced food is always best, of course.

This week I’ll be sharing my notes as I collect ideas for cleansing recipes and meal ideas. Next week, I’ll create a week-long meal plan and shopping list that you can follow if you want to do your own cleanse. I’d love to hear all your thoughts and questions about cleansing!