Clean eating is about whole or minimally processed foods—ones that are as close to their natural form as possible. Ultra-processed foods have been linked to a number of health problems, like infertility and cancer, and have also been deprived of the nutrients needed to support overall health. Switching to a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables can curb or prevent conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure—plus, it can also help you lose weight and make your skin and hair look healthier.
Use this clean eating plan to jump-start your health goals in just seven days. Created in partnership with Dr. Megan Schlick, ND of the AdventHealth Center for Whole Health Institute, the cleanse eliminates potential food intolerances to help you feel more in control of cravings, increase mental clarity and even lose some excess weight. And since a busy lifestyle can often get in the way of clean eating, we’ve included a meal plan, recipes and grocery shopping list to make things as easy as possible.
Download a printable version of this guide:
The cleanse will last for a full seven days, starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. You’ll be eliminating a few potential food intolerances and increasing your intake of veggies, fruits and water. Lean proteins such as eggs, chicken, turkey and fish are allowed. For best results, carefully adhere to the program. By the end, most people will feel more in control of cravings, significantly clearer in the head and often a few pounds lighter.
Many people begin to feel better within a few days of the program. However, you may initially feel worse. Symptoms such as mild headaches, joint aches or changes in bowel habits can occur. These are usually minor and temporary. Those who rely on daily caffeine or sugar will be more likely to experience these initial minor symptoms. But by the end of the seven days, many people report feeling more energized with fewer cravings for sugar, and most will notice weight loss.
The following foods are not permitted during the seven-day cleanse:
- All refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, desserts (this includes most chewing gum and mints)
- All dairy, including butter, milk, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream, yogurt, half and half/coffee creamer
- Anything with gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. This includes pasta, bread, crackers and cereal made from these grains
Organic food is preferred but not mandatory. Focus on whole and seasonal foods. Shop the outer aisles of your grocery store or visit your local farmer’s market. Avoid processed or packaged foods whenever possible. You’re free to enjoy the following foods during the cleanse:
- Any veggie
- Any fruit
- Any nut, seed, legume/bean
- Lean meat such as chicken or fish
- You must plan ahead—having everything on hand and ready to go will help you stick to the program.
- Adequate sleep and stress reduction are important for the success of your program. Pick a start date where you won’t be traveling or have any major social events.
- Drink plenty of water. Set a goal of half your weight in ounces (A 150-pound individual would have a goal of 75 ounces of water daily).
- Find an accountability partner to follow the program with.
Herbal and nutritional therapies can boost the cleansing process. But because it is not safe for everyone to take certain herbs and nutrients, those who feel they need a more in-depth cleanse/detox should consult a provider regarding the best program for them.
Improving your personal environment can also support your ability to detox. For a more in-depth cleanse, pick any three of the following modifications:
- Avoid ALL scented products (“fragrance” as an ingredient)—including personal-care products, air fresheners, potpourri, all perfumes and colognes.
- Avoid ALL fabric softeners, dryer sheets, bleach and scented detergents.
- Avoid ALL pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers. Pesticides are neuro-toxins and can affect you as well as bugs. Find safer, non-toxic approaches to bug and weed control.
- Use only nontoxic cleaning products and personal-care products.
- Drink only filtered water and avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles.
- Eat organic as often as possible.
- As much as possible, avoid plastic food storage containers.
Instead, store your leftovers in glass jars.
- Open your windows as often as possible. Even in the most polluted cities, the outdoor air has been found to be less toxic than the indoor air.
- Take your shoes off EVERY time you enter your home, and make it a rule that children and guests also take off shoes before walking around your home.
The weekend before the start of your cleanse:
- Plan your menu for the week (or use our sample schedule)
- Grocery shop for the entire week
- Wash and cut up veggies for the week
Always start the day with a big glass of water. Pick one of the following options for each meal and snack. The goal is to not skip meals and have a small snack between each meal.
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack options
Hummus with sliced veggies of your choice
Apple with almond/cashew or sunflower seed butter
Raw or roasted almonds
Waldorf chicken salad on a bed of spinach greens
Salad with chicken and/or fruit
Leftovers from the night before
Water (can add a squeeze of lemon for flavor)
The following items are everything you’ll need to create the week of recipes outlined in this cleanse. Get a printable copy of this list here.
- One dozen eggs
- Almond milk
- Vegan mayonnaise
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- Non-dairy yogurt (at least 1⁄4 c)
- Bananas (5, frozen)
- Blueberries (large package)
- Seedless grapes
- 1 Bosc pear
- Apples (5–6 for snacks, chicken salad)
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Spinach (enough for salads)
- 2 onions
- 2–3 bell peppers (any colors)
- Small jalapeño
- 1 lime
- Fresh parsley
- Baby carrots
- Sweet potato
- 32 oz. package rolled oats
- 8 oz. package chia seeds
- Organic coconut sugar
- Almonds (shaved, whole, or both)
- Flaxseed meal
- Chopped walnuts (1⁄4 c)
- Chicken breasts (for dinners/lunches)
- Salmon (optional, can sub chicken)
- 1 lb. ground chicken (or sub extra lean ground beef + low sodium beef broth)
- Almond butter
- Chicken broth
- 15 oz. can diced tomato
- Canned artichoke hearts
Make sure you have:
- Vanilla extract
- Dried oregano
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil, coconut oil, ghee or avocado oil for cooking
Continuing Your Nutritional Education
AdventHealth offers additional resources and support to assist you in achieving your nutritional health goals. We offer ongoing classes and events focusing on nutrition, with topics that educate you on how to improve your overall health through nutrition.
Additionally, the AdventHealth Center for Whole Health Institute offers treatment and lifestyle coaching for conditions such as:
- Digestive disorders (IBS, IBD, chronic constipation)
- Skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Cancer (complementing treatment)
And specialty testing for the following:
- Food intolerance
- Hormone levels
- Nutrient levels
- Neurotransmitter levels
- Comprehensive digestive analysis