Budget-friendly detox — that's what I called it on Facebook, Instagram, and other places when I decided to do a three-day cleanse of toxins in my body. The truth is, my friends wanted to do a cleanse and I kept putting it off. A big deterrent for me was my budget. It's been tight recently and we don't have an extra cushion for expensive juices, equipment, or a ton of specialised ingredients. But after coming off of weeks of being sick, screwing up my menstrual cycle, and generally feeling bloated and awful, I needed to make a significant change.
Experience tells me that whenever I take care of my gut, my whole body feels better. It's like my GI tract sets the tone for how I experience life. At this juncture, I decided it was time for a detox. Here's how it went down.
For my cleanse, I relied on the following staples:
- Water: half my weight in ounces (it's a lot!), hot lemon water in the morning, and one cup with cider vinegar added per day
- A big pot of vegetable beef soup: I made the choice to include meat because I know my body loves protein. My soup included some fast-friendly things like miso broth, turmeric, chia seeds, and a lot of hearty vegetables
- Overnight chia seed pudding: it's tastier than it looks
- Herbal tea and one cup of coffee with milk a day: you should avoid caffeine in your detox if possible
- Emergency snacks: anything high-protein, high-fibre, or high in healthy fats. I used Chia Squeeze packets, cashews, and flax tortillas. Other options could include avocados, quinoa, eggs, olives, kale, or any cruciferous veggies
- Optional probiotics
The budget-friendly detox is similar to a fast because it requires few ingredients, most of which are household items for many people. This is especially true those for who already have to cook for families with a wide variety of nutritional needs. For me, only a couple of specialised ingredients were needed.
The list is flexible and can be made to your specification with things you have at home. You can find good detox recipes online and sub ingredients to meet your requirements. I was able to do all of this using ingredients I already had at home.
Day 1: In the Beginning
The first day was relatively easy. I used MyFitnessPal to log my food as I wanted to have accountability for the foods I ate and also wanted to make sure I ate enough calories to sustain me. I ate shy of 800 calories and drank over 100 ounces of water. I drank herbal tea and a cup of probiotic juice. I mixed lemon and apple cider vinegar into cups of water.
By the end of day one, I was surprised that I didn't feel famished, my energy levels were high, and I felt comfortably full all day.
Day 2: My Cup Runneth Over
Day two started off with a cup of hot water and lemon. After that, I was working and forgot to drink water throughout the first two or three hours of my day. This seemed to set the tone for the whole day. Even though I caught up on my 100 ounces of water consumption, I couldn't really shake the hungry feeling that had developed by midmorning.
I consumed about 1,800 calories in detox-friendly foods in addition to my water and water mixtures. This included chia pudding, nuts, homemade detox-friendly soup, a high-fibre vegan burger patty, and more. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount and quality of food I was able to eat while detoxing my body.
Day 3: Reflections
My last day of budget-friendly detox was more similar to my second day than the first. I was hungry but I ate fewer calories, keeping the whole day around 1,400. I noted some things about my body during the fast on my final day:
- My energy levels had increased in a positive way
- Bathroom trips were frequent; detoxing means you have to eliminate toxins often
- The result was a fast jump-start to weight loss: three pounds in three days
- I felt less bloated and, being that it was that I was on my period, I had fewer PMS symptoms
Naysayers will say, "It's only water weight!" and that's true. But it's an excellent way to feel better while cleansing your body and kick-starting a weight-loss campaign that comes from a renewed interest in living a healthy lifestyle.
What Did I Learn?
As for my lifestyle going forward, there are definitely a few things I'm going to keep implementing.
- Remembering to drink enough water every day
This is an important one for me, as my busy work-at-home, coffee-and-wine lifestyle can make it easy to forget about self-care
- Apple cider and vinegar water makes your body feel great
I'll definitely incorporate this lesson into my daily drinking habits
- Probiotics are important
I included probiotic juice in my detox and immediately felt GI relief
- Bona fide member of the Period-Cleanse-Club
Budget-friendly detoxing in sync with my menstrual cycle offered surprising benefits to my period symptoms
Self-care is tough and money is tight. For too many women, this combination makes it feel like doing anything for yourself is a futile effort. But keeping your GI tract healthy is important for a lot of functions, not just feeling good. That's because what you put into your body and what you get out of it go hand in hand. Doing something as simple as a three-day cleanse can reset energy levels and mood, stimulate weight loss and mental focus, increase your activity level, and more.
I strongly encourage any woman who's looking for budget-friendly reset options to grab a jug of water and get started. Most likely, you already have everything you need to detox and feel great.