Water: the perfect beverage. Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day. The benefits are proven: drinking water increases metabolism, reduces hunger, burns fat, and flushes toxins from your body.
You should always drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. It jump-starts your metabolism and begins flushing toxins. Room-temperature water is best — add a little lemon or cranberry or pomegranate juice to liven it up. Lemon juice reduces bloat and helps detox, cranberry juice flushes toxins, and pomegranate is full of antioxidants and energizers. I continue to drink water throughout the day, with or without the added lemon, cranberry, or pomegranate juice.
The Waker-Upper: I find that the best waker-upper is water with lemon zest and lemon juice. Lemon zest improves liver detox and speeds fat metabolism, and this beverage is really refreshing. Combine the juice of half a lemon with 1 teaspoon of freshly grated zest and add to 12 ounces of room temperature water.
Green tea: I love green tea! It boosts metabolism to burn calories and has tons of antioxidants. I drink iced green tea with stevia throughout the day. Yerba maté tea is great, too. I start my day with a cup or two, sweetened with stevia, every morning. Other super teas include dandelion root and milk thistle teas, which detox and flush the liver.
Smoothies: here are a few of my favorites: Blend 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1?2 cup pomegranate juice, 2 cups apple juice, 6 oz. soft tofu, and 1/2 frozen banana. Delicious. Also tasty: Combine 1 cup frozen berries, 1 banana, 1 cup non-fat, no-sugar yogurt, 1/2 cup orange juice, and low-fat milk or soy milk. Blend until creamy. And, last but not least, a truly decadent one: Combine half of a banana, a cup of chocolate Silk soy milk, 4 ice cubes, and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. Blend together and swoon.
Learning about the importance of the liver was life-changing for me. The liver is the engine that keeps the body running on max by controlling detoxification, energy, and weight, and is responsible for processing alcohol, sugar, and fat. An overstressed liver can’t burn fat and convert food into energy efficiently. Cleansing the liver of toxins revs metabolism by 23 percent, allowing the liver to eliminate toxins, fluids, and fats. Your liver affects every aspect of your appearance — your hair, nails, skin, weight, everything.
I knew the liver was important for overall health and well-being, but it wasn’t until I did a three-day spa detox that I became a disciple of the liver detox program. Last summer, after a grueling schedule shooting my fourth cardio ballroom DVD in three day’s time (among many other things), I was drained, physically and emotionally, and I needed to detox and decompress, so my friend Jana and I booked a weekend spa retreat in Palm Springs. For three days, we consumed fourteen different juices a day, accompanied by yoga, massage, meditation, and colonics. While some people love the results but hate the process (the colonics) of these types of retreats, I loved everything about it. I lost three pounds in three days. I had two colonics and two fabulous massages and a lemon salt body scrub, and it made me feel like a new woman. For me, it’s a great way to drop weight quickly and to recharge and rejuvenate. I absolutely adored it!
The liquid diet at the spa consisted of a range of drinks with spirulina, wheatgrass, barley, acidophilus, freshly squeezed vegetable juice, lemon water, enzymes, liver and kidney-purifying teas, and blood-purifying tea. They were amazing. While you might not be able to get to a top-notch spa anytime soon, here are some cleansing drinks you can make at home:
Cleansing lemonade: combine 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup, a dash of cayenne pepper, and 8 ounces of water. Drink before breakfast and lunch. This is an amazing anti-inflammatory that reduces bloating and puffiness.
Super energy drink: combine 1 cup soy milk, a banana, 2 to 3 teaspoons of spirulina, 1 cup of berries, half a cup of yogurt, and a cup of pomegranate juice. Blend, drink, and feel instantly energized.
Vegetable or chicken broth: drink a cup of this before meals to curb your appetite and add to your water intake.
Liquid salad: no time to eat, never mind cook? Drink an 8-ounce glass of vegetable juice mixed with 2 tablespoons of green super food powder sold in health food stores. The powder contains chlorophyll, which neutralizes toxins, flushes out excess water, and speeds fat metabolism.