When beauty expert and holistic nutritionist Alexis Wolfer founded the wildly popular TheBeautyBean.com in 2009, little did she realize how many (so many!) reader questions would come from brides-to-be. To meet the continuing demand, Wolfer penned a new book, Radiant Bride: The Beauty, Diet, Fitness and Fashion Plan for Your Big Day (Running Press, 2016). A key chapter centers on Wolfer’s signature beauty detox — a 21-day cleanse and subsequent healthy-eating plan. Here, Bridal Guide gets some of the inside intel.
￼Q: Detox plans have really taken hold in the wellness world — what inspired you to include one in your book?
A: I wanted to provide the bride-to-be with the tools to be her own personal nutritionist, so she can find the foods that give her the most energy, that are the most mood-boosting and least bloat-inducing. The plan isn’t a diet — although most people will lose weight.
Q: How does it work?
A: For 21 days, you eliminate foods that your body responds to negatively, which could be responsible for poor digestion, fatigue, moodiness, inflammation, breakouts and dull skin or hair — all the while paying attention to how you feel.
Q: The food no-nos are?
A: Gluten, dairy, sugar, most meats, alcohol, caffeine, eggs, citrus fruits and soy, for the most part. But this is only for 21 days in order for you to see what foods you react to. I promise it’s not forever! The vast majority of women will only continue to avoid a few foods after the 21 days are over.
Q: And you’re left with?
A: Lots! Avocado, fish, veggies, berries, nuts; coconut and nut milk; gluten-free grains like quinoa; olive, sesame and coconut oil; green and herbal teas — and more. Bonus: You may eat as much of these foods as you’d like.
Q: Why 21 days?
A: It takes three weeks to see and feel a change — and to form healthy new habits. Plus, it’s a manageable amount of time to commit to.
Q: What happens after 21 days?
A: You reintroduce the foods you eliminated, one category at a time, over a few days, evaluating at day 4 to see if you’ve had any negative reactions like bloating or fatigue. Assess, and repeat the process with the next food group. This step-by-step reintroduction method lets you see which foods are “triggers” (to be permanently removed from your diet) and which foods can go back into rotation. You end up with a truly personalized healthy-eating plan going forward. You may decide to keep your diet super clean. Or you may end up reintroducing dairy, gluten and coffee, for example, and continuing to steer clear of most sweeteners, processed meats and carbonated drinks.
Q: How far in advance should you start?
A: In my book I advise starting at least 5 months before the wedding. You need a minimum of 21 days for the initial detox phase, but the more time you can spend assessing, adjust- ing and ultimately getting on a healthy new track, the better. Q: Have you any tips for people who might find it really hard to quit sugar or caffeine cold turkey? A: If you need to ease your way into the 21-day detox, add on some extra transition days beforehand. Gradually cutting back on sugar and caffeine for a week can help if you’re feeling nervous or overwhelmed. Just be sure to devote a full 21 days to the detox itself.
Q: You say to jettison the scale — why?
A: I don’t believe in scales. Scales do nothing but measure your gravitational pull. Who cares what that number is if your skin is clear and glowing, your stomach is bloat-free and you have the energy you always dreamed of?
Curb Common Cravings:
- Chocolate: You could be low in magnesium. Look for it in legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Pasta or other starchy carbs: You need more protein or you may be feeling blue. Self-care with a relaxing mani-pedi or massage; reach for some almonds.
- Something fried or fatty: You’re in need of calcium and (healthy) fat. Try adding calcium-rich sunflower seeds, kale or broccoli as well as a healthy fat like avocado.
- Coffee: You could be dehydrated. Drink water, water and more water.