Did you stuff your face to the point of bursting this Christmas? Yes, of course you did. But it's okay; it's not too late to turn things around in time to fit into a slinky dress for New Year's Eve. What's the answer? Juice fasting. Not only will your reduced calorie intake help you shed a few quick pounds, but the detoxification effects of the fast will help rid you of the intense sugar and white flour cravings brought on by holiday binge eating. As an added bonus, juice fasting gives your overtaxed digestive system a much-needed break. You'll notice your energy level surging when none of it is being drained by the digestive process.
Start the diet on December 26th, and you're guaranteed to feel better, reduce or eliminate holiday bloat, and drop a couple of pounds by December 31st. And all the while you'll be getting a ton of easily assimilated nutrients, straight from the earth.
It's best if you have a juicer at home, but if you don't, Miami's got plenty of juice bars to fuel your fast. In a pinch, you can also nurse a little coconut water to get by (choose only 100% coconut water varieties).
Disclaimer: You should only do a juice fast if your doctor says you're healthy enough to do so.
Day 1: Eat only organic fruits and vegetables.
You can have as much of the stuff as you want, but stick to fresh produce only. Skip salt and dressing, and avoid cooking if possible. Just keep it simple and eat plenty of greens. The fiber will start to get your backed up post-holiday pipes moving. Meanwhile the produce itself will deposit a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients into your system, to help make up for the fatty, sugary, salty, and nutritionally-poor splurges Christmas always brings. Green and other herbal teas should be part of your diet on day one, as should plenty of filtered water. Since the main point here is to shed holiday bloat and not to kick caffeine dependency, it's up to you whether you want to give up coffee or not, but if you drink it, remember, no milk, sugar, or artificial sweeteners! And sorry, definitely no alcohol allowed.
Day 2: Drink organic juices and water only, primarily from vegetables.
If you have a home juicer, perfect. Bring home bags of organic celery, bok choy, kale, lemon, collard greens, cucumber, beets, apples, oranges, and fresh ginger root. Then, go to town. I recommend juicing primarily green vegetables, and using fruits only as a garnish. That will help you avoid the blood sugar spikes of drinking too much sweet fruit juice, while still giving your juice a pleasant fruit-laced flavor. Aim for about four or five juices (about 12 ounces each) per day. As a general guide, drink a juice as soon as you start to feel your energy waning. And again, use beets, carrots, apples, and other sugary produce only sparingly.
Go for a run or fast-paced walk to enhance the effects of the fast and to keep your metabolism up.
Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5: Continue juicing.
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Vary your juices, experimenting with different combinations of green vegetables and fruits. Try throwing in some turmeric root, cucumber, parsley, red, green, and yellow bell peppers, jalapenos, cabbage, tomatoes, and peaches. The more variety the better, because you'll be getting a broader spectrum of nutrients, and you'll be more likely to look forward to your next juice when it's different each time. Walk, run, or practice yoga each day if possible.
Day 6: Break the fast -- slowly.
There's your simple plan for flushing out evil holiday food residue and slimming down a bit in time for New Year's Eve. And if you like the effects by day five, there's no reason you can't extend your juice fast right into the New Year and beyond - in fact, I recommend it. For more on juice fasting, check out this movie or check out this website.