Have you been feeling sluggish, tired, slower, or just weighed down by winter? First of all, don’t worry! It’s not just you! These feelings are pretty common this time of year. Maybe you live somewhere snowy and gray and just want to hide under the covers and comfort food.

I felt the same way and made a conscious decision to clean up my act in the new year. So I did a 7-day cleanse. I got rid of the following from my diet:

  • gluten
  • dairy
  • processed foods
  • excess sugar
  • processed meats
  • coffee
  • alcohol

As a result, I felt more energized, I felt lighter, and even happier! And this wasn’t the point, but I lost weight, too.

A cleanse works because it removes toxins from your body so you can properly digest real food and get the nutrients you need, use the proper amount of energy to digest food, and even save energy normally used to break down yucky, processed food so you have more to spend on other things.

Simply by eliminating the above-mentioned foods, you’re removing many common allergens from your diet. Although not everyone has a sensitivity to all of those things, you won’t know until you’ve removed it for a little while!

And even if you’re not sensitive to something like gluten, if you avoid it, you’ll probably eat less bread and less packaged food. Avoiding dairy will cut out the tremendous amount of cheese most people eat. You’ll start filling your day with veggies and fruits that provide actual nutrition and don’t fill your body with empty calories.

While you’ll almost certainly lose weight, this isn’t about starving yourself by any means. There’s still plenty of food you can eat that will fill you up and be SO much better than the usual Standard American Diet fare.

Here are some great meal options:

  • Lentils with hot sauce or cayenne
  • Salads with veggies, chick peas, and hummus
  • Homemade dressings with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Apples with almond butter
  • Smoothies with frozen fruit, banana, almond milk, plant protein powder, and spinach
  • Quinoa stir fry with greens, veggies, and beans
  • Fresh veggie and fruit juices like kale, apple, cucumber, carrot, and ginger

If you want to fully do the detox version of this diet, simply make your breakfast and dinner a liquid meal (smoothie, juice, or liquid soup). This gives your body a break for the 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. By removing the fiber from your meals, your digestive system gets to take a little break, and the nutrients from the liquid meal are delivered straight to your system.

Your body can then use the extra energy to remove those nasty toxins which have built up over time. If you do this for at least one week, you’ll get rid of tons of toxins and start to be able to better absorb the nutrients from your healthy diet.

You’ll lose weight, have more energy, and generally feel lighter, healthier, and happier! Here’s a great recipe from a super-clean restaurant, Cabbage Patch, in LA:

French green lentils cooked with toasted cumin, fresh cilantro, and lime juice, served cold with a bunch of mixed greens, half a sliced Hass avocado, soy marinated tofu, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar and olive oil).