You spring clean your home, but have you ever considered spring cleaning yourself? A three-day gut cleanse is the perfect way to reset your insides for spring. This cleanse can flush out harmful toxins and restore the gut-brain connection to improve fatigue and anxiety. You may even see your mood lift after a gut reset.
This gut cleanse actually starts the night before with a 12- to 16-hour fast to boost gut health. "If you give your gut bugs a break, you encourage the growth of other bacteria that help to clean out your gut lining," Rangan Chatterjee, McBChB, told Get the Gloss. If that sounds daunting, just remember that a 12-hour fast means you don't eat anything between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. (or any other 12-hour time period). This shouldn't be too hard given that you'll be asleep for a good portion of this time.
When you wake up, start your day with a glass of warm water, which aids digestion, per to a June 2015 paper published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research. A glass of warm water also comes with the added benefit of helping you shed a few pounds, as it raises the body's internal temperature, which increases the body's metabolic rate, according to the paper's authors. Try to finish a full glass of room-temperature water before you eat anything.
Avoiding sugar at breakfast is the next step of this gut cleanse. Sugar from fruits is fine, but make sure you balance it with fiber and healthy fats to avoid a blood sugar crash. Now is a great time to experiment with healthy, savory breakfast options, like our Quinoa Breakfast Bowl.
Brew a steaming mug of loose leaf chai tea for your midmorning snack, and don't forget to add cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. These gut-healing spices help detox the body and balance digestion. Nutmeg and cloves are also acceptable add-ins. Finish with a splash of non-dairy milk, like almond or coconut, if you'd like.
Lunch is a bone broth, a superfood for gut health. This amino acid-rich soup stimulates collagen production, which keeps skin looking soft, supple, and elastic. Bone broth also heals the GI tract, which aids in the gut's absorption of key nutrients. Adding fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut to your bone broth blasts the body with good gut bacteria. Probiotics are abundant in kombucha, non-dairy kefir, and kvass, making them great drink options to complement your bone broth.
When mid-afternoon snack cravings strike, don't give in to sugary temptations. Instead, make another glass of chai if you're feeling peckish.
It's finally dinner time — and that means fueling your body with prebiotics. What's the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? We're glad you asked. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber, while probiotics are live bacteria. (Think of prebiotics as the fertilizer for your good gut bacteria.) Apples, artichokes, asparagus, bananas, cocoa, flaxseed, garlic, greens, jicama, kiwi, leeks, oats, and onions are all good sources of prebiotics, so try and get at least one serving of some of these foods at dinner. We recommend our prebiotic soup recipe.
Stress is a sneaky cause and symptom of bad gut health, so it's key to minimize stress whenever possible. Journaling for stress management is one option, as is a short meditation practice. There's even anxiety-calming music that will instantly mellow you out. If trouble sleeping is stressing you out, we like to do some yoga poses in bed to ease any lingering physical pain and prepare our minds for sleep.
The last step of this three-day gut cleanse is to turn in early. Getting eight hours or more of sleep will do wonders for improving gut health and managing stress.
Repeat the above steps for days two and three, and you may notice a total transformation at the end of the cleanse. Even better, you may incorporate some of these healthy tips — like chugging a glass of water first thing in the morning, incorporating fermented foods in your diet, and getting plenty of sleep — into your normal routine. After all, cleanses are only short-term fixes to problems.