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Wouldn’t it be nice if your body had a reboot button? After a big race, a busy week at work or a hectic block of travel, it’s easy to feel out of whack. That’s why we consulted with health coach and certified personal trainer Brittany Mullins to uncover ideas to make the most out of a one-day recharge.
“Detoxing often has a negative connotation,” says Mullins, who lives in Richmond, Va. “They usually require participants to consume some sort of detox drink, supplements or even a liquid-only diet for several days. This type of detoxing isn’t what I consider healthy and it’s certainly not sustainable.”
With runners’ wellness and needs in mind, Mullins developed a day dedicated to you. Here are her 10 tips for a healthy detox…
1 Choose a day relatively free of responsibilities. Make sure your alarm clock is off before you go to bed, so you get as much sleep as your body needs. Don’t worry about finding someone to join you in your mission. “Tune into yourself,” Mullins says.
2 Start the day with a warm cup of lemon water to stimulate digestion. Plan to have a green smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch and soup for dinner—make it easy and follow Mullins’ recipes (below).
3 In the morning, do a little meditation to clear your mind. Try the app Insight Timer (free, insighttimer.com) for help meditating. You can do as little as one minute—or as long as you want.
4 Drink lots of water. Aim for half your body weight in ounces. (A woman who weighs 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces.) If you need some flavor, go for an herbal tea, such as chamomile or lavender.
5 Consider taking a day off from running, and go for a walk or do some gentle yoga. Especially if your detox day is after a race, take an Epsom salt bath, schedule a massage or foam roll in your living room. For sore muscles, use essential oils: Mix 10 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil like coconut or almond—“kind of like a natural icy hot,” Mullins says.
6 Feed your soul with a nourishing activity: Read a book, go to the farmer’s market, watch your favorite movie, listen to music or call a friend just to say hello.
7 If you’re tired during the day, take a nap!
8 Unplug from technology, and connect with nature by going on a hike or gardening. Wait until tomorrow to share how good you feel.
9 Journal your thoughts and emotions. Take time to write down how you’re really feeling (remember, you are connecting with you), as well as three things you’re thankful for.
10 Make a toast to your day with a cup of peppermint tea before bed, and go to sleep earlier than normal. Don’t look at your phone beforehand (the light can interfere with the quality of your sleep) and avoid setting an alarm if possible to wake up feeling completely refreshed.
Here are a few reasons to schedule a detox day:
- You just finished a race. Your body went through a lot of training and stressors to perform on the big day.
- You’re about to start a new training plan. Spend some of the day visualizing your dreams for the new training block and any goals for upcoming races.
- The seasons are changing. Four times a year, you could plan for a day to tune into nature and her rhythms.
- You feel unbalanced. Perhaps this is the result of an indulgent weekend or a stressful period.
With this meal plan from trainer Brittany Mullins, you’ll give your body a break from processed foods. As you prepare your meals, savor the idea of getting a variety of nutrients from fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy carbs and fats. Take a break from coffee and alcohol, red meat, gluten and dairy. If you are hungry, reach for as many clean foods between meals as you desire: Unsalted nuts, fruit, vegetables and hummus are good options.
Green Detox Smoothie
1 cup filtered water
1 full romaine heart
1 big handful baby spinach
1 frozen banana (chopped)
1/2 lemon, peel removed
4–5 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp. chia seeds
Place water, romaine and spinach into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Add banana, apple, lemon, mint and chia seeds. Blend on high until banana has been completely puréed and mixture is smooth. Pour into a glass.
Shrimp & Veggie Salad
2 cups spring mix
7 large cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup blanched or raw broccoli, cut into bitesize pieces
6 spears roasted asparagus
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Olive oil (optional)
Sea salt and ground pepper
Place spring mix on a large plate and top with shrimp, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, tomato, avocado and quinoa. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, if using. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Butternut Squash & Lentil Soup
1 tsp. coconut or olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red lentils (washed and picked through for stones)
1 1/2 cups chopped butternut squash
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Sea salt, to taste
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add onion, carrots and garlic, and sauté for 5–7 minutes, or until onions are tender. Add lentils, squash, 4 cups broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups broth, heat for 5 more minutes and serve.
Mullins offers more healthy recipes at eatingbirdfood.com.