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Spring Clean Your Diet
By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD/CD

Healthy Heart
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From an all-fruit flush to a celebrity's detox diet to another celebrity's weekend cleanse, there are a variety of special diets claiming to cleanse your body of toxins, send energy levels soaring, drop pounds quickly or flush out unwanted fat. But do they live up to the hype? And are they safe?

These extreme approaches can be potentially dangerous and usually leave people feeling frustrated. Most people return to old eating habits before completing the diet program. Our bodies can benefit from eliminating processed foods, sugar, white flour, and by taking a break from alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners, but a more practical dieting approach works better for achieving long-lasting results. Instead of trying to adapt to a temporary, yet drastic approach, give your body a spring cleaning that will last and leave you feeling energized. Focus on adding more whole foods like fruits and vegetables, which makes it easier to cut out other foods, and eliminate processed and packaged foods. Try the following for one to two weeks to give your body a chance to get the maximum benefits.
  • Cut out sweetened and artificially sweetened/diet beverages, caffeine, and alcohol; replace with water and herbal teas
  • Replace cereal, bread, crackers, and other processed grains with plain oats, brown rice, and/or quinoa
  • Eat 2-3 servings of fruit (1 small piece or ½ cup) and 5-6 servings of veggies per day (1/2 cup cook or 1 cup raw)
  • Have small amounts of healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil
  • Focus protein such as chicken, fish, eggs, and organic meat and take a break from lunchmeat, bacon, sausage, and hamburger
  • Swap milk for almond or soy milk and cut out butter, cheese, and ice cream
  • Add fresh herbs, garlic, vinegars, and spices for flavor
Even if you only do a few of the above recommendations for a few weeks, you'll be getting more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from whole foods and your body will appreciate it!

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