Summer is about enjoying the simple things in life, like sitting around sipping on a big glass of rosé over ice, watching an ice cream melt in the afternoon sun, nibbling at a cheese platter on the beach during sunset… The only problem with this sequence is that after a few weeks of all this life enjoyment, I really start to feel it. I’m sluggish, puffy, bloated, and somehow, tired. In general, I don’t feel like my best self. So instead of continuing the cycle, I put together a super-affordable four-step mini mental and physical cleanse to get back on track, especially as the season winds down and we transition to fall.
Let's call it three days of wellness. In my three days, I returned to what I know makes me feel vibrant. I eased into eating healthier the Monday before to alert my body that a shift was coming. Then for just three days, I committed to myself.
1. Start morning pages to witness the shift.
When I start a cleanse, which is a bit of a scary word these days, the end goal is usually to clear my mind. Feeling and looking good is just as much about a healthy mental state as it is about a strong physical state. It’s so easy to forget this and solely focus on food and working out. But to truly glow and radiate, I know I need to have a calm mind and a positive, light attitude.
To do this, I set my alarm each day for 7 a.m. Waking up at the same time each day is important for getting restful sleep. After rinsing my face with cold water, I make a cup of green tea with almond milk and sit down with my journal. For the next 30 minutes, I fill the pages with a stream-of-consciousness, everything that’s on my mind. Personally, I write a lot about work stress (running your own business is no joke!), and my goals for the future (I’m a big believer in manifesting). Usually around page 3, my writing gets more spiritual and inspired. I write down everything I’m grateful for. If I'm lucky, a realization will come to mind; I’ll have a great idea or some other kind of breakthrough.
2. Meditate every morning.
Now that my mind is more calm, I set up a little meditation station either on the couch or in bed. I light some Palo Santo and bow my head. For the next 20 minutes, I repeat my mantra (if you don’t have a personal mantra, you can use "Om"). My mind wanders a lot, but I come back to my mantra, and by the end of the session, I’m in the zone. As I open my eyes, everything feels right. For the rest of the day, if I feel myself getting frazzled, I repeat "Be the light I want to see in the world," and this immediately brings me back.
3. Eat clean.
What does "eating clean" actually mean, though? It's different for everyone. For me, it means sticking to an anti-inflammatory plant-based diet. I also try to eliminate known inflammatory plant-based foods (strawberries, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, corn, potatoes, soy, and grains). With the abundance of farm-fresh vegetables in late summer, it’s far easier than you think to eat just plants for three days. My body always relishes the break from heavy protein—and I can never believe how happy my digestion becomes!
Here is an example of what I’d eat in a day during this time. You'll notice that there's a lot! It's not about deprivation but rather taking a few days to choose nutrient-dense plant-based foods.
9 a.m.: There’s nothing like starting the day with a veggie-based green juice, and the last few days of summer are a great opportunity to squeeze it in while it's still warm. I usually make one with some of the following ingredients at home: spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, carrot, lemon, ginger, and apple. Use the apple sparingly to keep the sugar content low.
10:30 a.m.: I love to look at Kelly Leveque’s smoothie recipes for my breakfast smoothie inspiration (especially because she reminds me to not overdo it on the sugar), but usually I just throw in what’s in the fridge, alternating between a vanilla-based smoothie and a chocolate-based smoothie full of greens, protein, and healthy fats.
- Vanilla smoothie: ¼ cup fruit (like raspberries or blueberries), 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, a handful of spinach, 1 to 2 scoops vanilla protein powder, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, and a big spoonful of coconut manna
- Chocolate smoothie: 1 date, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, handful of spinach, 1 to 2 scoops chocolate protein power, 1 tablespoon flaxseeds, and a big spoonful of raw cashew butter
1:30 p.m.: Yes, salads can be filling! It's important to make sure they're full of water, too, which really helps your skin glow. This is not your typical garden salad. I like to mix in a few surprises, though keep it plant-based with some of the following ingredients:
- Romaine lettuce or mixed greens
- Any cooked vegetable (cooked, especially as cooler temperatures approach!)
- Sweet potato, roasted squash, or roasted pumpkin (for those PSL vibes)
- Dried fruit for a touch of sweetness
- Top with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper
6 p.m.: I love going out to dinner, but staying in for a few nights and making a home-cooked meal is essential this week. This way, I know what I’m putting in my food. Each night I made a different bowl of veggie goodness so I don't get bored.
- Zucchini noodles with vegan pesto or peanut sauce
- Roasted vegetables with a big dollop of hummus and avocado
- Vegetable curry over cauliflower rice
Note: If you’re really craving something sweet, try Hail Merry treats. I’m partial to the Meyer lemon.
4. Work up a sweat.
Sweating on the regular is so important for many aspects of health. I made sure to get an hour of exercise in each day, and I swear I could feel the toxins leaving my body! I like to go for an hourlong walk and get a nice slow burn going. Just make sure to bring water!
Here are some other ideas for how to get your sweat on:
- Sign up for a sure-to-sweat class like hot yoga or SoulCycle, or a sweaty dance class like Zumba.
- Visit an infrared sauna.
- Take a hot bath (extra points if you do some dry brushing before jumping in).
With these tips, you'll help your body move on from summer's little indulgences, boost your immunity, and be mentally ready for the change and growth that comes with autumn.
If you want to take it a step further, try this three-day gut reset during or after your pre-fall cleanse.