On This Cleanse, You Have Options
You'll lose weight and look great because you're eliminating processed foods, excess sugar, and bad-for-you fats from your diet—and replacing them with the most nutritious fuel for your body. You can interchange the plated meals with convenient smoothies and soups. They're easy to take with you to work—just pop them out of the fridge, stir, and sip.
Most cleanses aren't so much diets as they are detention. A week subsisting on nothing but swamp juice, with daily calories so low they'd make your cat hangry? Thank you, no. "But done right, they can jump-start weight loss as well as a cleaner, healthier way of eating," says Dr. Oz. "The average diet is full of excess sugar, flour, and saturated fat—a cleanse eliminates the foods that make you feel lousy and pack on the pounds, and even reregulates your appetite."
For expert guidance, we went to Rachel Beller, R.D., author of Eat to Lose, Eat to Win and the nutritionist who has helped transform countless contestants on The Biggest Loser. Every January, she says, clients come to her begging for a cleanse. "But so many juice cleanses are way too low in fiber, protein, and other nutrients your body needs. And once you're finished with those cleanses, it's very difficult to transition to real-life meals without gaining weight. It's like going to rehab and leaving without any support."
The cleanse that Beller developed fills in the nutritional blanks. It's got loads of veggies, plus filling protein and a bit of healthy fat. You're not starving your body of the nutrients and calories it needs, so the pounds won't creep back on the second you're done with the plan.
The best part? You have the option to eat or drink your meals, or do a little of both. "Some of my clients love the ease of smoothies—on busy workdays, they can grab one from the fridge, and just stir and sip," says Beller. "Others need to chew their meals to feel satisfied." The meals have minimal nutritional differences, so either way, losing 10-plus pounds by the end of the month is totally possible.
Week 1 Basics
For the first seven days on the Oz Cleanse, you'll eat three meals and one snack each day. There are three days' worth of meals here; repeat and remix. (As for staying hydrated all day, water and unsweetened tea are your best bet .) Then use the after week one eating guidelines, below, to keep moving toward a slimmer, healthier you.
Breakfast Option 1: Citrus Starter
Breakfast Option 2: Blueberry Boost
Breakfast Option 3: Apple Delight
Lunch Option 1: Super Spinach
Lunch Option 2: Kicked-Up Kale
Lunch Option 3: Broccoli Goodness
Dinner Option 1: Spiced-Up Lentils
Dinner Option 2: Curried Carrots
Dinner Option 3: Protein Power
Pick Your Daily Snack
To keep hunger in check between lunch and dinner, nosh on one of these:
Citrus & Nuts: Peel 2 clementines and have them with 25 pistachios.
Celery Almond Butter Boats: Spread 1 ½ Tbsp almond butter on 1 long celery stalk; cut into pieces.
Homemade Kale Chips: Wash and dry 3 packed cups kale. Place on a baking sheet; toss with 2 tsp olive oil plus a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper. Roast at 400°F for 10–15 min, flipping once midway through.
Nuts, Berries & Chocolate: Sprinkle 1 tsp cacao nibs over 1 cup fresh raspberries. Have 10 almonds on the side.
No time to sit and eat a snack? Sip and run.
Raspberry "Milkshake": Put ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 2 drops or ½ packet Stevia in a blender; puree until smooth.
Mint Cooler: Place 5 mint leaves, 1 cup peeled, seeded cucumber, 1 cup honeydew melon, 1 cup fresh spinach, ½ green apple, and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk in a blender; puree until smooth.
Melonsmoothie: Place ¾ cup cantaloupe, ¼ of a peeled, seeded cucumber, 4 halved strawberries, 2 tsp chia seeds, and ¼ cup ice in a blender; puree until smooth.
Sweet & Spicy Smoothie: Put 1 cup frozen pineapple, ⅓ cup fresh OJ, ¼ of a small seeded jalapeño, ¼-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, juice of ½ lime, and ¼ cup of ice in a blender; puree until smooth.
What Kind of Protein Powder Should You Buy?
Nutritionists love organic whey or hemp protein powder. Tip: The fewer ingredients, the better.
Exactly How To Eat After Week 1
You'll still have three meals and one snack every day—but now you don't need to follow a specific meal plan like you did during the first seven days. That said, excess sugar, fat, and processed foods (even baked chips) are still off the menu. Reach for whole, healthy foods and use these rules to keep shrinking.
Stay within a 300–350 calorie range, and make sure you're getting at least 10 grams of fiber.
Stay within a 300–400 calorie range, and:
• Put at least 1 ½ to 2 cups of produce on your plate.
• Eat 4 oz of lean protein—preferably fish, eggs, beans, or tofu, although organic chicken, turkey or grass-fed beef is OK. (If you're having eggs, combine 3 whites and 1 whole egg.)
• Add healthy fat—like ¼ of an avocado, 2 tsp good-quality oil (olive, walnut), or 1 Tbsp nuts.
• Follow the lunch rules.
• If you want, add a serving of whole-grain carbs. Good options: ½ cup whole-wheat pasta, couscous, or brown rice, or half a whole-grain pita.
Stay within a 100–150 calorie range.
After the first week, you get to add in a daily 150-calorie (or less) treat. That means a glass of wine with dinner or, say, a chunk of good dark chocolate.
This story originally appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.