You may have heard of a friend or family member doing a “cleanse.” Or maybe you’ve tried one yourself. Cleansing is thought of as a way of clearing unhealthy waste products out of the body–especially out of the intestinal tract. But cleansing is also used in a more motivational way––as a “jumping off point” for people who are trying to change their eating habits.
The idea is that by following a very strict and limited diet for a period of time you remove yourself enough from your old habits to start fresh.
DASH nutritionists and dietitians have developed a Three–day DASH Cleanse to help you turn that page. This program focuses on healthy foods that in these specific combinations will create a gentle cleansing effect. Foods we focus on during the cleanse phase are:
This is a whole foods diet using more fresh vegetables and fruits, and decreasing meats, dairy, and processed, or artificial foods.Certain foods that are an important part of the normal DASH diet aren’t included here. So this cleanse diet is not as well–balanced as the DASH diet and is not recommended as a long–term eating plan. But the idea of a cleanse is to do something very different as a transition – a way of marking the end of one way of eating and the beginning of another. The idea is to follow the “cleanse” recommendations for three days and then commit to following the DASH eating plan more closely thereafter.
The Three–day DASH Cleanse
Instead of coffee, tea or soda, drink water (including hot water, sparkling water is OK too) throughout the day. You can add fresh lemon or lime to the water. If you get a caffeine headache, switch to green tea initially then move on to peppermint or chamomile teas.
What you eat
- Unlimited fruits and vegetables
- A small amount of nuts (up to 1/3 cup per day)
- A small amount of 100% fruit juice (up to 6 oz. per day)
- A small amount of legumes (up to 1/2 cup per day)
- Optional: A small amount of fish (up to 3 oz. per day)
- Oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, mixed grain cereal – up to 2 cups per day
- Vegetable soups
- Salads with full fat oil–based dressing
The Three–day DASH Cleanse: What a day might look like
Breakfast suggestions (one of the following):
- Unlimited fruit (limit bananas to one per day)
- Fruit smoothies – DASH favorites: raspberry, banana, peanuts and almond milk; blueberries, avocado, almond milk.
- Steel cut oatmeal with stewed dried fruit (apricots, cherries, raisins)
- Hot oatmeal or quinoa with fruit
Lunch and Dinner suggestions (one of the following):
- Brown rice with black beans and chopped or stewed tomatoes
- Quinoa with fresh basil and chopped or stewed tomatoes
- Large main dish salad (large variety of mixed vegetables, nuts, seeds, full–fat salad dressing)
- Vegetables soups
- Stir–fry or roasted veggies
- Curried vegetables
Snack suggestions (one of the following):
- Fresh cut vegetables with hummus
- Roasted vegetables
- Fresh fruit salads
- A small amount of nuts
- Frozen grapes
For three days, it is not unhealthy to depart from the usual DASH diet and follow this plan. The foods you will eat are packed with nutrients, give you enough calories and fluid to remain healthy, and will cause a gentle laxative effect consistent with the “cleansing” notion.
We recommend that you not do any really rigorous exercise during the three days, but calisthenics, stretching, yoga, and walking are fine. Use the time for reflecting on the habits you want to adopt after this turning point. And if you have any medical problems or take medications, it would be best to check with your doctor before starting this cleanse.
Excerpts from Article source: BU Dash for Health
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