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21-Day Total Reset for the Body, Mind, and Soul

Lynn lives in Upstate New York with her two fluffy dogs and tyrannical cat. With her writing, she hopes to make the world a better place.

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Introduction to The 21-Day Lifestyle Cleanse

This “cleanse” will only work as far as you allow it. Everyone’s lifestyle is different and I did my best to offer alternatives but, at the end of the day, you have to do what fits into your lifestyle. It’s also important to stress that this is something that must be done alone.

You cannot hold other people in your life accountable for your choices. If you’re trying to quit a habit and someone in your life keeps trying to introduce it back to you in a way that seems unhealthy, kindly tell them you’re doing a three week reset for yourself. The second you enforce your new healthy habits on someone who isn’t ready for the journey in their lives– That’s when toxic relationships start to form and you may blame them for not helping you. We can only help ourselves. We are the pillars in our mind. We are this vessel that carries us through life.

To start this journey off right, you need to educate yourself. Throughout the course of this article I put various research articles and case studies for you to brush up on. It’s up to you whether you click on them or not. But I can promise you that reading them is worth your time, even if you come back to the article to finish reading it at a later point in time. It’s going to be an overwhelming amount of information and I was only fortunate to be hospitalized for a week recently, with nothing but time and nurses and doctors at my disposal to call on to educate me.

Everyone has ample resources at their disposal– Whether they’re aware of them or not. Even if you don’t have your own cell phone or computer, there’s free ones at your local library that are accessible if you sign up for a free library card. Even if you don’t have money to purchase magazine subscriptions or digital news sources, there’s opportunities to read them for free on other platforms.

For example, here’s a detailed article about how to get free articles on NYTimes.com: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/how-to-continue-reading-the-new-york-times-online-for-free.html

While it’s great to support a company who is delivering bias-free news, not everyone has access to the funds to subscribe. It’s just as important to share your paid resources with your friends and family, especially when you’re able to. It all starts with education and it ends with a better life for, not only yourself, but everyone around you. Your circle of impact is greater than you can even imagine.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s break down the 21-Day Reset and how you can make it work for you. Remember to start off with whatever change is hardest for you and the rest will follow suit as the weeks go on. This is not meant to be easy or impossible… It is simply the next challenge in your life to accomplish.

21-Day Reset: Week One

For week one, the focus is to purge your kitchen. Take a scrutinizing look at the fridge, freezer, and pantry. What’s expired or nearly expired? What’s stuff you told yourself you’d get around to cooking five times but never have? What about your spices– Do you have too many that you’ll never use and have actually gone bad? Rid your freezer of everything with freezer burn. Take out any meat or leftovers you may have stored, and research how long that stuff should only be stored for.

You cannot be putting food in your body that isn’t serving your overall gut health. Frozen meat that has been in your freezer longer than a year should be thrown out… And if you can’t even remember when you stored it? Yikes.

I’m not trying to shame you into throwing out all the food in your kitchen and buying everything from scratch. That isn’t the purpose of this reset. It’s to make you more aware of the things you’re putting in your body. The thing that helped me the most is an app called Yuka that my friend introduced me to. It allows you to scan products and see their rating based on the ingredient list. You’d be surprised at how much food in your kitchen has carcinogens, additives to increase shelf life, and just plain chemicals that have no purpose other than poisoning your health.

The next thing you’ll need to do is switch to decaffeinated beverages. That means cutting out coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and anything else you ingest that has caffeine added. Keep in mind that this is only for three weeks and then you can slowly introduce caffeine back into your life… Just don’t be surprised to discover you won’t need it as much as you once thought.

The last goal to accomplish week one is to begin replacing the unnatural sugar in foods for natural sugar. The means completely eliminating aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and any of those ‘sugar-free’ or ‘low sugar’ alternatives like Stevia or Erythritol. Try to begin replacing it with natural, organic sugar or even just honey and real maple syrup! The closer you can get back to a diet similar to paleo and eating from the Earth, the better your overall health will become.

It’s simply science that our gut health directly correlates to our mental health.

For more information on why sugars like Stevia and aspartame are bad for you, I’ve linked an article based off a case study as well as another case study published under The National Library of Medicine so that you can do your own research!

  1. Could Stevia Be Bad For Your Gut Health?
  2. Sugar Substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits

After reading, you may be asking yourself… Have “health foods” been sabotaging my goals this entire time? The answer, quite bluntly, is yes. I have fallen victim to the ‘all-natural’ and ‘organic’ sugar free alternatives my entire life, so have my friends and family, and even if those products were backed by the Food and Drug Administration that doesn’t mean it’s good to put in our bodies.

And weight loss pills? Don't even get me started on that scam. Anything marketed towards being the 'cure-all' pill for your weight should be taken off the shelves and rebranded to emphasize what they actually do. You're better off taking the more natural route and swapping things into your diet like cleansing teas and vitamins that will actually help you keep the weight off.

There's one company I like buying vitamins and branded 'weight loss pills' from because they go into the science about why their products work and list all of their ingredients. While this is not an ad or a sponsored statement, I recommend checking them out, I subscribed to Hum's monthly box and saved so much money on my vitamins! On the flip side, I got behind in taking them and eventually had to cancel since I had too many bottles stacking up on my shelf. But you can do more research on their website: https://www.humnutrition.com/products

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Since we're on the topic of weight loss (even though that is not the purpose of this article) I want to offer a piece of advice– Make working out a part of your daily lifestyle. Walk your dogs. Play with your children. Take a dancing class and learn a new skill. Have fun with an active lifestyle and, in turn, you will see results.

Now onto water. The most important aspect of your well-being. It helps your mind and body connect in powerful, life-altering ways and most benefits of water have yet to be discovered. It’s sad to say that, in most of the world, truly clean water is hard to come by.

You may be thinking– How?

Natural Springs all across the United States are currently contaminated and pH levels, directly at the source, are not where they were even five years ago and they’re getting worse. While we can’t clean our water sources overnight, there are plenty of organizations looking to do so that you can give your time and focus towards.

For more research done on the topic of clean water, here’s an article that’s a worthwhile read: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/safe-drinking-water-in-america-not-everyone-has-it-75518

And here are water bottle brands making a difference (if you must get bottled water): https://www.greenerchoices.org/best-bottled-water/

But the cheapest and most ecological way to have clean water is to purchase a Pur Ultimate 30-Cup Dispenser (I've also linked it down below on Amazon). It can sit on your counter top or in your fridge! They’re commonly on sale on Amazon or at Target, and the replacement filters are sold as a 3-pack and it’s very easy to use. The Pur Ultimate or Pur Plus have lead removal, as well as more than twenty contaminants commonly found in drinking water. It has an ionization process to bring well-water or city water to a balanced pH for you to safely drink.

Please remember that, while consistency is key in this process, don’t feel like you have to restart if you slip up! Humans are not ‘perfect’ beings because that word is a fallacy meant to give society a baseline level to achieve. We are not characters in a video game. We cannot not ‘power up’ beyond our natural abilities. We can only take the necessary steps to better our health and overall mental clarity.

PUR Large Filtered Water Dispenser- 30 Cups

Meal Schedule (as long as it fits in your lifestyle):

8AM: BREAKFAST

12PM: LUNCH

2PM: SNACK

5PM: DINNER

8PM: SNACK


Day One:

Breakfast: Oatmeal or Cereal w/ Fruit

Snack: Cultured Yogurt or Kefir Drink

Lunch: Spring Mix Salad w/ veggies and nuts or Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ veggies

Dinner: Any Lean Meat w/ Whole Grain and a cup of veggies

Snack: REAL Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate Chips OR Smart Sweets Snack


Day Two:

Breakfast: Two Eggs (any style), 2 slices of turkey bacon w/ whole grain bread

Snack: Cultured Yogurt or Kefir Drink

Lunch: Spring Mix Salad w/ veggies and nuts or Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ veggies

Dinner: Normal meal that you love! (just check all ingredients)

Snack: REAL Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate Chips OR Smart Sweets Snack


Day Three:

Breakfast: Oatmeal or Cereal w/ Fruit

Snack: Cultured Yogurt or Kefir Drink

Lunch: Spring Mix Salad w/ veggies and nuts or Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ veggies

Dinner: Any Lean Meat w/ Whole Grain and a cup of veggies

Snack: REAL Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate Chips OR Smart Sweets Snack


Day Four:

Breakfast: Two Eggs (any style), 2 slices of turkey bacon w/ whole grain bread

Snack: Cultured Yogurt or Kefir Drink

Lunch: Spring Mix Salad w/ veggies and nuts or Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ veggies

Dinner: Normal meal that you love! (just check all ingredients)

Snack: REAL Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate Chips OR Smart Sweets Snack


Day Five:

Breakfast: Oatmeal or Cereal w/ Fruit

Snack: Cultured Yogurt or Kefir Drink

Lunch: Spring Mix Salad w/ veggies and nuts or Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ veggies

Dinner: Any Lean Meat w/ Whole Grain and a cup of veggies

Snack: REAL Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate Chips OR Smart Sweets Snack


Day Six:

Breakfast: Two Eggs (any style), 2 slices of turkey bacon w/ whole grain bread

Snack: Cultured Yogurt or Kefir Drink

Lunch: Spring Mix Salad w/ veggies and nuts or Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ veggies

Dinner: Normal meal that you love! (just check all ingredients)

Snack: REAL Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate Chips OR Smart Sweets Snack


Day Seven:

Breakfast: Oatmeal or Cereal w/ Fruit

Snack: Cultured Yogurt or Kefir Drink

Lunch: Spring Mix Salad w/ veggies and nuts or Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ veggies

Dinner: Any Lean Meat w/ Whole Grain and a cup of veggies

Snack: REAL Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate Chips OR Smart Sweets Snack



Good Food Recommendations:

Best Fruit: Bananas, Watermelon, Blueberries, Apples, Pineapple, Oranges, Berries

Best Veggies: Fermented vegetables, broccoli, carrots, iceberg/arugula/cabbage

Cultured Dairy: Kefir, Fat Free Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Cream Cheese

Meat: sirloin steak, chicken breast & thighs, lean pork chops (from clean source), ocean caught or canned fish (not from fish farms, frozen fresh is fine)

Whole Grains: Ezekiel, flaxseed, oat nut

Oatmeal & Cereal: When shopping for cereals, scan them with the Yuka App or check out this article on healthy cereals.

21-Day Reset: Week Two

Now that you have the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle– Onto Phase Two! This is the more mental-focused half of the reset and it will not be easy. You may have already experienced sugar and caffeine withdrawal headaches… Now get ready to force your brain to think so much that you will get migraines. But don’t worry too much, it’s natural for the brain to act as your defense mechanism.

It’s important to remember not to rely too heavily on any medications during this time. If you absolutely need to take Tylenol or something to help with your headaches, try only taking one and see how you feel after an hour. We are commonly quick to mask symptoms with drugs and that will only bog your body and mind down more.

The first step now is adjusting your sleeping routine. Adjust the bedtime settings on your phone to be from 11PM to 6:30 AM. This is seven and a half hours of sleep and your body needs this– Sometimes more and sometimes less. Listen to your body this week. If you feel tired around 10PM, get into bed and put your phone away. Set it on Do Not Disturb and even put on a meditation app that has binaural beats or find a video of it on YouTube to lull you into a deeper sleep.

Not only can binaural beats help you sleep… They can help you focus, reduce anxiety, get more motivated, and increase overall brain function. Now that we’re focusing on sleep and recovering your body and mind this week, it’s time to say goodbye to caffeine. Side effects from consuming too much caffeine include: Restlessness, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, fast heart rate, dehydration, anxiety, and dependency.

Don’t hate me! Caffeine is another one of those ‘crutches’ we use to trick ourselves into thinking everything is fine. I used to be guilty of overworking myself and having a large cold brew to combat how exhausted I truly was. We are quick to say we’re fine when, in reality, our bodies are telling us to slow down. That’s why we’re going to focus on getting an adequate amount of sleep minus the caffeine to lean on. You can have some in moderation but try not to exceed 16oz of coffee in one day.

How much is ‘too much’ caffeine? Check out what WebMD has to say: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-979/caffeine

Another brief article by Medline Plus offers the advice that it is within safe amounts if you consume less than 400mg of caffeine each day for most people. But for those with pre-existing heart conditions or a family history of them, it’s safe to say you should be drinking decaffeinated beverages from here on out. (That includes soda!)

  • An 8-ounce cup of coffee: 95-200 mg
  • A 12-ounce can of cola: 35-45 mg
  • An 8-ounce energy drink: 70-100 mg
  • An 8-ounce cup of tea: 14-60 mg

Now that we’re on the topic of “crutches”, it’s time to ask yourself– What coping mechanisms do you run to on a daily or weekly basis? Whether it be caffeine to keep you awake, cigarettes to relieve stress, alcohol when you get home from work, parties on the weekend… And be honest with yourself, are all of them considered healthy? Sometimes it’s not how it makes you feel, it’s how these coping mechanisms affect your day to day life and well-being.

It’s important to recognize that even things considered safe alternatives: like sleep medications, THC/CBD, and even prescribed mood stabilizers, can actually be masking your symptoms and, in some cases, worsening them. It’s too difficult for the person on such medications to see how it changes them, and your friends and family may even be accustomed to this new “you”, but if you’re on medication for something and the side effects are making life harder it may be time to talk to your doctor or psychiatrist.

Please keep in mind that I am not your doctor and these are things to discuss with them, do not suddenly stop taking your prescription medication.

The last step of week two may be triggering for some and you need to take it step by step. For this part, you will need to look at old photos. Whether they’re prints from your childhood, memories stored on your phone, or if you go digging on Facebook for them. Try to go as far back as you can and assess each photo with an open mind.

As you look at each photo, these are the questions you should be asking:

  1. How old was I in this photo?
  2. What are the first feelings that come to mind when looking at this photo?
  3. What was happening in my life during this time?
  4. How does it make me feel now?

The reason I said this could be triggering for some was due to traumatic experiences. You may encounter people in these photos and dig up memories that your brain blacked out in order to defend itself. It’s a form of dissociation and protecting oneself. You are not consciously aware that your brain is doing this and you cannot fix it overnight. It will take weeks, maybe even months, to recover some lost memories.

Just know that you will be a better person for it. Especially since we can all stand to learn and grow from our past… If given the time. My suggestion is to take a stack of photos each week and look over them a few times. Pick out your favorites– The ones that make you the happiest. Pick out the ones you have questions about, especially if you’re old enough to recognize faces or surroundings but can’t seem to remember.

Here are two researched articles that may help you in this journey:

  1. How The Brain Hides Memories by Northwestern Medicine
  2. At What Age Do Childhood Memories Start? by Fatherly.com

Burn After Writing: How Honest Can You Be When No One Is Watching?

21-Day Reset: Week Three

Now for the hardest part of all– Putting it all together. You’ve balanced your diet, gotten on a healthier sleep schedule, said goodbye to all your coping mechanisms… Or have you?

It’s okay if you haven’t done it all just yet because this journey is not an easy one. It is meant to challenge you and, like I said at the beginning, it’s okay if slip-ups occur! "To err is human, to forgive divine" is a quote from Alexander Pope's poem An Essay on Criticism and it applies to this. Forgive yourself for making “mistakes” because that is the most human part of you. Another quaintly-human trait is to have hope.

You must hope that you can get over the hurdles that your mind, body, and soul have set in your path because it is within your power to. The trickiest part is making yourself aware of yourself. Letting your mind feed your soul, letting your body feed your mind… It’s all connected.

This journey is not about religion or spirituality, but I suggest that now is the opportune time to find something you believe in. Whether it be a higher power or yourself or the belief that there is no “greater beyond”. For this last week, you will need the strength to persevere in order to live at your fullest potential.

There is no more learning I can bestow, no more articles to share. You must now take it upon yourself to develop your mind. You must continue feeding your body and listening to what it craves. And, ultimately, your soul will prosper. This all sounds extremely “preachy” and you must accept my apologies for that. The rest of this journey is in your hands.

By the end of day 21, it is your choice to continue on this journey.

My last suggestion is to research alternative forms of therapy such as: animal therapy, music therapy, cognitive therapy, physical therapy, and other forms of holistic therapy. Maybe ‘Stranger Things’ was onto something by having Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush be the song that saved Max from the clutches of Vecna.

Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill - Official Music Video

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