Oh no, another ploy to market a new weight-loss diet! I promise you, it's not. There's no subscription fee, no fancy words and nobody telling you that you must do a HIIT workout every day for 4 weeks.
When you think of weight-loss, the first thing that pops into your head is restriction. "I have to restrict myself from carbohydrates and chocolate", again. Most diets require you to restrict certain food groups or cut them out completely. But this has scientifically shown to be a complete waste of time as it's not a long-term solution to weight-loss or weight maintenance.
Most of us are currently undertaking a near-vegan diet for lent and this 'diet' isn't so different from a traditional lenten fast. This year, I tried a different approach to lent and this is what happened: I actually lost weight! I haven't been able to lose weight in over a year since my diagnoses with a gut condition.
Generally, when we follow lent we omit red and white meats, all dairy and cheese products and fish. Some people even omit foods like prawns, calamari, olive oil and wine.
This leaves you with an all-plant based diet, which can be low in protein but high in fats and essential vitamins. You start to include legumes, grains, vegetables, fruits and things like tofu for protein. When you're on a plant-based diet, it's important NOT to stay completely vegan for more than 2-4 weeks at a time because your body can start to lose essential vitamins like Vitamin B-12 which is found in red meat. Many plant-based enthusiasts will not agree with me on this one, but I firmly believe a completely vegan diet should only be used as a full-body cleanse, not a long-term eating plan.
I call this 'diet' the 'Pescatarian-Mediterranean Cleanse'. It's basically a good old-fashioned Mediterranean diet, except with some additions like tofu, tuna and intermittent fasting. It omits all kinds of meats, eggs and cheese and is a great diet for when you feel like you need a good cleanse or need to drop some water weight in preparation for a special event.
The first 2 days are like this:
WAKE UP: Hot water and half a lemon squeezed
1 tsp Morlife Alkalising Greens in Water
Freshly juiced celery, kale, spinach, cucumber, ginger, turmeric, carrot and half an apple if needed
Decaffeinated coffee with almond milk
Fasting up till lunch (or however long you can fast till)
LUNCH (MEAL 1):
Spinach, mixed frozen berries, pomegranate seeds, frozen green banana, 1tbsp organic peanut butter, 1 tbsp chia seeds and 1 cup hemp milk. Blend with 1 tsp of Morlife Alkalising Greens and drink slowly.
DINNER: (MEAL 2)
Spinach, butter leaves, beetroot, carrot, orange, chives, pumpkin seeds and almond salad. Add 10-20 almonds for protein and be sure to lather in lots of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and salt. You can also add tomato and cucumber if you wish.
SNACK: If you need to snack!
10 walnuts, 10 macadamia nuts, 25-30g of dark chocolate and fresh strawberries.
After the first day, you may start to feel weak and light-headed. This is normal, especially if you are transitioning from a heavy diet with lots of red meat. The second day will also be a challenge, but by the end of the second day, you'll start to feel lighter. Don't exercise the first 2 days as your body will be adjusting. Light walking is a great way to get the blood moving.
After you've completed the 2-day vegan cleanse, now it's time to add some fish!
WAKEUP AND BREAKFAST: same as above
SUSHI OR SUSHI SALAD BOWL. Salmon, avocado, seaweed, cucumber, barramundi and tuna rolls are great choices. Try to stay away from the mayonnaise if you can.
1/2 to 1 Leatherjacket fish (depends on size) fried in olive oil, coated with GF Flour, salt, pepper and oregano. (Leatherjacket is wild-caught and has a delicious buttery taste). 1/2 TO 3/4 cup of steamed basmati rice with 1 1/2steamed broccoli, sugar snap peas OR chicory, spinach dandelion leaves or any wild green leaves in your garden (our famous Greek 'Horta' or 'Vlita'). Dressed with a generous dressing of olive oil, salt and lemon. Greens are high in
iron, and the vitamin C in the lemon juice actually helps in absorbing the iron. Talk about superfoods!
Same as above. Aim for 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables per day. Oranges, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, kiwi fruit and rockmelon are my favourites.
Lastly, but not least, you must be drinking 2L of water a day. This helps to flush out toxins in the body and very important when you are cleaning out the liver, gut and adrenals. Try and buy high-Alkaline water like this one.
Cutting out caffeine can be very difficult, but it can make all the difference. Try to stick with this 'cleanse diet' for at least 2 weeks, and if you can, try to do the whole lenten period. You will feel like a new person!
Note: I am not a dietician or qualified nutritionist, this is just what worked for me and I believe it can help in ridding the body of toxins, excess water weight and overall lead to a healthier and vibrant body.
This article is not intended to provide specialty medical advice, and the points in this article may not apply to everyone.
Always seek professional medical advice when in doubt.
Despina Karpathiou is an accredited makeup artist, beautician and lifestyle writer based in Sydney, Australia. She is currently studying Skin Health and Nutrition and is passionate about makeovers and healing skin (and health) conditions from the inside out. Follow her here for all things skin and beauty.