With Independence Day around the corner my friends are already plotting our next gluttonous extravaganza. To minimize the repercussions that come from a few days of bad diet behavior, I developed a cheat day preparation plan.
I do this to prevent any weight gain, gastritis, gastrointestinal inflammation, or irritable bowel syndrome. The goal is to fill my diet with tons of nutrient dense foods and healthy fiber.
These tips can be implemented prior to a cheat day, weekend, or vacation. I also follow the same regimen in reverse following the cheat day(s) to get my diet back on track.
Cheat Day Preparation Tips
- Five days prior to your cheat day(s) eliminate ALL processed foods and added sugar. This will decrease any existing inflammation. During this elimination period, your body will naturally correct any imbalances.
- Incorporate a daily smoothie or juice that includes more veggies and less fruit (shoot for a 2:1 ratio). Eating raw fruits and vegetables will flood your body with nutrients.
- Incorporate a cup of green tea and lemon every morning on an empty stomach. Green tea and lemon will boost your energy level and help detox your system.
- Stay hydrated. I don’t have to tell you the benefits of drinking water. You’re a smart person.
- Two days before the cheat day go low carb and eat fat. This doesn’t mean become a carnivore. Continue to eat plenty of vegetables, but stay away from the starch.
- A few hours before you begin to indulge, eat a meal with a low glycemic index (GI) that contains high amounts of fiber. You can find a list of GI foods here. See food examples below.
- Oatmeal, Barley
- Sprouted Grain Bread (such as Ezekiel Bread)
- Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower
- Quinoa, Brown Rice
Dr. John M Berardi, PhD, CSCS, discusses some benefits of consuming a low GI meal before a cheat meal in his article, “Damage Control: To Cheat Or Not To Cheat” found on www.bodybuilding.com. In a nut shell, he says that you can decrease the side effects of a glutenous meal if you eat properly before hand. (1)
“Studies since the early ’80s have demonstrated what’s known as a “second meal effect.” Basically, if you eat a meal that’s low in fat and contains a high percentage of low-glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates, resistant starch (RS), and dietary fiber (DF), your responses to your next meal are improved. Specifically, you’ll remain satiated longer between meals and during your next meal, you’ll have decreased glucose and insulin responses as well as reduced serum triglyceride (TG) levels. (2,3,4)
In fact, this is the case whether your next meal has a high GI or a low GI. Although the studies cited here refer to the effects of a low GI/high DF carbohydrate breakfast followed by a high or low GI lunch, your glucose tolerance will also be improved during a high GI breakfast if you eat a low GI/high DF carbohydrate meal the night before.
So, my recommendation would be to consume a low GI/high fiber carbohydrate meal a few hours before your big feast. This will help control the glucose and insulin responses to your gluttonous meal as well as keeping high triglyceride levels at bay. It might also prevent you from eating yourself into a bloated stupor.“
Ginger beet juice is a wonderful drink to incorporate while preparing and recuperating from an indulgence. Beets are a natural detoxifier and liver cleanser. Try this recipe, you’ll love the flavor.
Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle.
- 2 Beets
- 2 Pears
- 4 Carrots
- 1 tbs Ginger (one inch)
- Add to juicer
- Berardi, J. (2013, November 5). Damage Control: To Cheat Or Not To Cheat! – Bodybuilding.com. Retrieved July 2, 2015, from http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/berardi14.htm
- Liljeberg HG, et al. Effect of the glycemic index and content of indigestible carbohydrates of cereal-based breakfast meals on glucose tolerance at lunch in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 1999 Apr;69(4):647-55.
- Liljeberg H and Bjorck I. Effects of a low-glycaemic index spaghetti meal on glucose tolerance and lipaemia at a subsequent meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 2000 Jan;54(1):24-8.
- Holt SH, et al. The effects of high-carbohydrate vs high-fat breakfasts on feelings of fullness and alertness, and subsequent food intake. Int J Food Sci Nutr 1999 Jan;50(1):13-28.