Step away from the juice. Eating real food is just as good for you as the green stuff.
These days, the word “cleanse” is basically synonymous with “juice fast.” But these programs aren’t for everyone. At this time of year I prefer something cooked rather than juices, which are raw and cold, and my special Detox Soup is the answer. It’s warm and comforting, exactly what my body wants. And as part of a whole-food cleanse, I find it’s healthier and more sustainable than a juice cleanse for many people.
I do a cleanse a few times a year—after I’ve been on the road, after finishing a show for Food Network, and after the holidays, when I’ve had one too many cups of eggnog. I also like to cleanse when I’m doing a magazine cover because it helps me de-puff and eliminate bloat. Dairy, sugar, and alcohol are strictly off-limits.
I find it’s easiest to do this kind of cleanse during the week, when I can control when and where I eat better than I can on the weekend. For the first couple of days, I limit myself to soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but if that’s too stringent for you, even replacing one or two meals each day with soup will have a cleansing effect on your system.
Once you start to reintroduce other foods, make lunch your biggest meal, and stick to whole foods without added sugars or dairy. I like to puree cauliflower with garlic, spinach, basil, and lemon for a creamy sauce that feels decadent and goes well with a simple protein or tossed with gluten-free pasta. Entertaining? No problem. For an entrée that’s as gorgeous as it is good for you, I bake snapper filets in parchment paper with some fennel, kale, and slices of orange for a bit of brightness. (I also love that this dish is a cinch to clean up!)
If I’m craving texture, I make myself a big salad. Arugula and romaine are some of my favorite greens, and kale is great too. Add some raw fennel for crunch, walnuts or avocado for a buttery taste (but go easy!), and fresh or dried fruit, for a bit of sweetness to combat any sugar cravings you may be having.
If you eat this way, by the weekend, your system should be purring like a Porsche, any holiday hangover banished, and you’ll be ready for an evening out with friends.