Every week, we speak to people who have finished the Be Well cleanse, and they feel fantastic: They’ve lost weight, they’re waking up refreshed, their skin is clear, and digestion is improved. They say things like “I haven’t felt this good since high school!”
So what happens once the cleanse is over? Here’s how to keep the feel-good momentum rolling into a new, healthier way of living.
WHAT DO I EAT NOW?
The Be Well cleanse diet is an elimination diet, which means that we remove all the foods that cause allergies, sensitivities and inflammation.
After the cleanse we recommend transitioning over to the nutrition plan outlined in the Be Well Guide to Healthy Living.
You will see that this diet is more flexible – you’re adding back certain foods like tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, fermented soy (like tempeh and miso), high-quality dairy, and best of all – dark chocolate!
You’ll also notice that this diet still avoids the certain foods – specifically, gluten and sugar. By steering away from them, you should be able to continue feeling as great as you did on the cleanse. We have lots of Daily Living recipes on the website too.
HOW TO RE-INTRODUCE FOODS
When re-introducing foods after the cleanse, don’t do all foods, all at once. Instead, re-introduce foods into your meals one at a time, every 2 days. This will allow you to observe your reaction to each food. The first time you re-introduce a food, have a substantial serving of it for breakfast and lunch, and monitor your reactions. If possible, take notes in a food journal.
This process takes some patience, but it’s important if you’re trying to identify foods that you are sensitive to or that may have been causing you digestive problems. Most food reactions will occur within a few hours of eating what you add back, although it can occasionally take up to two to three days for reactive symptoms to appear. The beauty of this test is that if you are reactive to a specific food, you are usually extra sensitive to it after you have initially cleared it from your system – so it should be easier for you to notice how different foods affect your system.
WATCH OUT FOR THESE FOODS:
We’ve supported hundreds of people transitioning to post-cleanse life. During that time, we’ve noticed a few foods tend to trigger certain symptoms in people when reintroduced post-cleanse.
Trigger 1: Wheat
Gluten by far has the biggest impact of any of the foods we eliminate on the detox. People have more energy, fewer digestive problems, fewer food cravings, and an absence of certain skin conditions. Avoiding gluten for 2 weeks can be truly eye-opening! Gluten affects all of us differently, but many times, re-introducing it to the diet can cause some pretty noticeable discomfort.
Trigger 2: Sugar
Sugar is another big one. People often figure out that by eliminating sugar for just a few days, something amazing happens – sugar cravings go away! They’re able to see the addictive nature of sugar, especially how a little bit can cause cravings to return in full force.
Trigger 3: Dairy
If you have digestive problems, skin issues, congestion, sinus problems or allergies, avoiding dairy may be key. We notice that some are able to tolerate good quality goat cheese, sheep’s feta or buffalo mozzarella. Others are able to have unsweetened yogurt or kefir, or some grass-fed butter and ghee. You can experiment and see what works best for you. In general, we recommend avoiding cow’s milk as a regular part of your diet.
Trigger 4: Nightshades
Avoiding nightshade veggies (tomato, potato, eggplant, pepper) is often recommended for those with stiff, achy joints or arthritis. Nightshades can even trigger to some digestive symptoms, especially if the gut is in a compromised state. If any of these foods cause a reaction upon reintroduction, continue avoiding them for at least 2 weeks.
Trigger 5: Grains and Beans
Although thought of as health foods, gluten-free grains, along with beans, lentils and legumes, can sometimes be problematic. They affect the body’s blood sugar, which can prevent weight loss, lead to unbalanced energy levels, and feed the bad bugs in our gut. Additionally, these foods (along with some other plant foods) contain lectins, a type of protein that is referred to as an “anti-nutrient” because they are resistant to human digestion and it’s believed that they interfere with the proper absorption of vitamins, minerals and some key proteins. They are also linked to digestive discomfort such as bloating and gas. If you do decide to reintroduce grains and beans, we recommend soaking and/or sprouting them, or using a pressure cooker, and enjoying them in limited amounts. To learn more about lectins, check our post on Living With Lectins.
LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
When people tell me they feel great after the cleanse, we always ask, “What do you think made the biggest difference?”
If you had to pick only one change from the cleanse that made you feel better, what would that be? Perhaps it was removing gluten or dairy; or maybe it was cutting out alcohol or eliminating your daily 5-cup coffee habit. The cleanse experience is different for everyone, and no one understands your body better than you. You are the number-one expert on how your body works and what makes it feel good!
DON’T FORGET YOUR DAILY DOSE!
Support your post-cleanse health and wellness with the supplements Dr. Lipman recommends people take every day, like a multivitamin, fish oil, probiotic and vitamin D3. Be Well makes it simple with the Daily Dose, which provides the four most important supplements for overall health and vitality in convenient, single-serving packets. These professional level supplements ensure that your most important nutritional needs are always being met.
Congratulations on finishing your cleanse! You’ve taken such a big step for your health, and you should be proud. May you continue to feel energized and vibrant going forward.