I find many women view summer as the hardest time to detox or dive deeper with their healthy eating journey. I don’t know if this is because summer is associated with fun and eating healthy is not. Or if it is because it feels too late to get that “bikini bod.” Or if it is because winter in North America is tied to New Year’s resolutions.
Well, I don’t agree with any of those reasons. I have detoxed or eaten healthier at all different times of the year. In fact, I’ve done it for the entire year straight and I can tell you that summer is the EASIEST time to detox. I want to share with you why I believe this to be true as well as how to make detoxing in the summer feel like anything but a detox.
Enjoy the abundance of fresh foods during peak flavour
During the summer, there is fresh food available in variety and abundance to delight your taste buds. You can enjoy an endless supply of fresh fruits and vegetable-rich salads while cutting back on gluten, dairy, and meats as these are heating foods. Eating summer foods during summer means they are picked at the optimal ripening time, which means they are at the peak of their flavour profile. A.k.a everything tastes freaking delicious. A winter tomato ain’t got nothing on a summer tomato.
Local food becomes plentiful during the warmer months and when food travels fewer kilometers to reach your plate, both the nutrient and flavour levels are sky high. This keeps your cells and taste buds smiling. Loading your plate with local food provides a much greater detoxifying effect on your body than “detox kits” ever will.
Build salads, blend smoothies, create bowls with love, intention and as many colours as you can! Play around with different vegetables and fruits to keep things interesting and get a wide array of phytonutrients. And remember, there is NO need to count calories when filling up on real food. Our bodies are designed to download real food in a way that supports efficient digestion, clear skin and endless energy.
Keep it simple
Simplicity is one of my core values in life, business and food. When things get too complicated or heavy you end up feeling overwhelmed and burn out or give up before even starting. This is not conducive to successful, positive change.
I personally apply simplicity to my recipes and my definition of a detox. For example my 21-day online detox, Reset to Real Food, is defined simply by the removal of processed foods, gluten, dairy and refined sugars with a focus on including an abundance of fresh, seasonal foods. Removing inflammatory irritants and flooding the body with restorative vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is an effective way to detox.
When building a meal choose clean proteins such as sustainably raised animal proteins, legumes or protein-rich seeds hemp, chia or pumpkin and quality fats such as nuts, seeds, coconut, avocado and olives. Clean proteins and quality fats will support stable blood sugar levels, balanced hormones and efficient digestion so that you don’t go hangry or experience overpowering cravings and major energy slumps. Round out your meal with a variety of summer fresh fruits and vegetables to top up with necessary vitamins and minerals.
Watch your drinks
Alcohol is extremely dehydrating among other things. I know you know your body is not designed to gain health from alcohol and I’m not here to tell you to not drink the entire summer. I do believe there are responsible ways to drink to support health as best as possible with alcohol involved.
Because I never thought of alcohol as healthy, it took me a long time before I even considered applying my holistic eye to alcoholic beverages. Many of these drinks are full of artificial sweeteners, flavours, and colours, which are best avoided as they are not recognized by the body and are incredibly inflammatory.
Instead, mix liquor with real juice or Zevia pop or sparkling water. Read the ingredient list on your alcohol, just as you would the foods you eat, to look for gluten, dairy and excessive sugars. Drink water before drinking alcohol as well as one glass in between alcoholic beverages to ensure you stay hydrated.
Go with the flow of the seasons
With nature calling your name in summer, outdoor activities take up your time and attention rather than being cooped up with Netflix and comfort foods to avoid the freezing cold winds outside. Because you naturally move more in the warmth of summer, you need food that is lights as well as cool, hydrating, and refreshing.
Of course Momma Nature is on top of things and provides us with the exact foods to do that. You can shift to more fresh, raw foods (ideally organic) and you probably already instinctually do this. Bring on the cucumber and the watermelon, am I right? Just make sure to coconsciously chew this fibrous food.
In summer, you don’t have to fight the instinctual urge to fill up on the heavy, comfort foods you are designed to crave and eat during the colder months. Summer is a time when you naturally feel inclined to eat less and move more. While I am not suggesting you force yourself to eat less (I hope to redirect your goal from rockin’ bikini bod to vibrantly energetic health) I do suggest you go with the natural flow of lightness that comes with the warmer months of summer.
Bring your own dish to the BBQ
When you think of summer, it’s hard not to think of gatherings with family and friends that include food grilled on the BBQ. A lot of the food served here is teeming with the 3 foods you are likely attempting to avoid – gluten, dairy and refined sugars.
However these BBQ gatherings have a potluck vibe to them, which is great if you are on a detox. Bringing your own dish to the BBQ is a great way to “help out the host” and ensure that you can enjoy something nutrient dense without chemicals that falls in line with what you are currently avoiding and enjoying.
Consider bringing appetizers, desserts or enough that you will feel full from if all you can eat is the food that you bring. Bring what you love or try out new dishes. Often people are drawn to the fresh, real food that you bring and this turns the conversation around your detox in a positive direction rather than judgmental. Just make sure you bring enough food as people will end up loving what you’ve brought!