As we introduced in my previous post, anyone can start a green smoothie cleanse. The trick, I learned during my 10-day detox program, is staying on one.
Here are the three main “detox hacks” that I used to successfully complete my green smoothie cleanse, and safely lose 11 pounds in 10 days. (Which, let’s face it, is useless unless you’ve also got a plan to keep it off, and even continue to shed pounds, once the detox period is over. More on that in the next post.)
1. Prepare. Buying up all the produce you’ll need, and jamming the bags in your fridge or freezer, is not enough. You’ve got to think through the entire workflow of raw materials to finished product. How are you going to get the smoothie-making process down to 2-3 minutes during your hectic AM rush routine? (True, you can make it the night before, but you sacrifice peak freshness. Trust me, I’ve tried it, and it definitely loses something. So I can’t really recommend that route unless you absolutely have no other choice.) Pre-measure out all the ingredients for each smoothie recipe for the week, store and mark them in Ziploc bags, and keep everything else lined up beside the blender and ready to go.
If you’re going to be on the run all day without access to refrigeration, invest in a quality, large-capacity insulated thermos, and pre-chill it in the freezer overnight, so that when you pack your smoothie the next day it is guaranteed to stay cold for 8-10 hours, no matter where your day takes you. My brand of choice is Zojirushi Tuff Sports Bottle (32-oz) from Japan; they last forever, and nothing I’ve tried on the market keeps stuff ice cold (or piping hot) longer. (One time I ran out of the house and left it on the kitchen counter by mistake, and when I got back home 12+ hours later, it was still Arctic-chilled.)
2. Replace. Make sure you’ve got a plan to battle snacking with movement. If 10am at your desk is normally the time you start craving a “little something” to tide you over until lunch, scout a staircase in your office building and store a pair of dressy but comfortable flats in your cubicle drawer. While your coworkers use their break gabbing in the pantry or at the coffee machine, you’re off discretely in the stairwell, doing 10-15 minutes of stair climbing with a manilla folder of work papers clutched in one hand. Up and down, down and up, with light jogs until you fatigue out. When you return to your work area a little out of breath, they’ll just assume you rushed back from some meeting. (You know, because of the folder of work papers in your hand.)
Meanwhile, you’ll just smile because you jolted your metabolism and burned extra calories, instead of consuming empty ones. After that your lunch smoothie will seem more like a refreshing reward for all your exertion. Repeat this stair-climbing in the afternoon around 3pm, which is when most snacking demons again show up. A glass of ice water with a spritz of lime will revive and give you a little flavor boost to carry you to the end of your workday, where you have your dinner smoothie to look forward to. (And even where that fails, I’ve got an app for that. See #3.)
If you have any doubts about how effective these little mini-fitness breaks can be throughout the day, you ought to pick up a copy of the book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by NASA researcher and gravity expert Joan Vernikos. I’ll be doing a full review later, but just know that this book will turn every notion you have about “working out and staying fit” on its head. (Hitting the gym hard every day for up to an hour and then sitting on your arse for pretty much the rest of the day, it turns out, will not save you. I know. Bummer, right? You thought you had it covered. So did I.)
3. Hack. Find acceptable ways to “hack” the green smoothie cleanse so that you can stay on it. For me, this meant exploiting the allowable snacks system. The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse I was following, for example, had a few solid food loopholes built in to help people deal with and get past cravings. Namely, small amounts of raw fruits or vegetables, nuts/seeds and – if needed, or desired – a boiled egg.
Things were smooth sailing for me in the beginning. But as time wore on, somewhere around Day 4 or 5, random cravings would sometimes jump out of the bushes on me, and I had to be prepared. Rather than restrict myself to munching on carrot and celery sticks, I went for the most luscious option on the raw food spectrum:
When I realized that one of my favorite foods of all time – and its trusty sidekick salsa – met the “raw vegetable” criteria, I could have danced a jig. Instead, after work I drove as fast as I could to the nearest Chipotle restaurant, walked straight to the head of the line, and said: “One guacamole and one mild salsa, please.” Cashier: “Is that it?” Me: “Yep.” Cashier: “Any chips to go with that?” Me: “Nope.” Now, of course I could have made my own, but when you’re in the throes of a snack attack time is of the essence.
By the way, I’d like to tell you that I took my guac and salsa home, sat down at the dinner table and ate it like any respectable, civilized person would.
But I didn’t.
So I won’t.
(Yeah. Sat right there in the parking lot with my plastic fork, savoring its creamy goodness like a death row prisoner at his last meal.)
The point is, afterwards I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that little dab would do me until my last smoothie of the day. Which I could now look forward to and be satisfied with because, by contrast, it provided just the right amount of sweetness to top things off nicely.
By now you’re probably thinking this cleanse sounds like an obnoxious ordeal, and one you’d sooner avoid. Which is why you’ll be shocked to learn what I discovered at the end.
More about that in a future post. In the meantime, for those of you who’ve already taken the green smoothie cleanse plunge…hang in there! (It’s worth it.) For extra motivation, read my post 10 Daily Motivations: Dominate the Green Smoothie Cleanse!