“Cleansing” has become a popular fad over the years, especially during this time of the year. There are a vast range of cleanses varying from 3 days to 30 days and involving juicing, intermittent fasting, diets, or laxatives and/or herbal detoxification products.
The term “cleansing” alone helps a person envision themselves shedding pounds, eliminating toxins, having healthier skin, hair and nails and feeling great.
Although all these things can be true, I urge you to be very cautious before jumping into a regimen you are unfamiliar with. Releasing toxins causes stress to your body. You can easily over burden your liver and become very sick. I made the mistake of doing this once before my body was prepared and I got a bad case of conjunctivitis. When I went to see my doctor he advised that I was eliminating toxins too quickly and causing an unnecessary stress on myself prompting this illness. On the same vein, my mother at one time attempted an elimination diet (at my insistence). She eliminated a list of foods all at once. She did this hoping to lose weight and get healthy but the shock on her liver was so great it had the opposite effect on her. Aside from feeling awful, she actually gained some weight. This left her feeling devastated and discouraged. I understand we all want a jump start to our diets. We want to drop weight quickly to stay motivated. I, however, believe this can be achieved without overburdening your body. Small changes can have huge effects on your system.
Here are 5 suggestions to cleanse responsibly and successfully.
1. Look at your recent past.
What has your diet looked like in the last 6 months? Have you been eating high quantities of processed foods or sugary foods? Have you been drinking sodas or lots of coffee? Do you go to sleep on a full stomach? Do you suffer from constipation? These are considerations you have to make before you choose to engage in a full on cleanse. It is my opinion that if your answer to these questions are yes, you are not ready yet. I would definitely recommend you start cleansing your system, but in smaller steps.
If you have been eating clean for the last 6 months, and you want to take it another level, then maybe intermittent fasting or an extended juice fast is for you. Only you can truly make that decision. If you are not quite ready for a full fast, keep reading below and take these steps to get yourself ready.
2. Incorporate Whole Foods
Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, sprouted grains, nuts and seeds. These are the food groups you should be focusing on. If your diet consists of unhealthy foods and you begin incorporating these kinds of foods, you are essentially cleansing your system. Make it a goal to avoid eating fast foods, or drinking sodas, or eating high sugar foods. If you are a sugar addict like 98% of the people around you, it may be tough to significantly drop your sugar intake. One little trick I did at the very beginning was I bought 72% Ghirardelli chocolate packets and I kept them in my purse. I would allow myself 3 packets a day – spread out. When I was feeling really bad and I needed something I would eat one packet. 4 pieces contain 11 grams of sugar. I would allow myself 3 totaling approximately 8.75 grams of sugar but only 1 at a time so we’re talking 2.75 grams of sugar in one sitting. As my taste buds adjusted to my new diet, I moved up to 86% chocolate and then to 90%. My favorite now is 86%.
Just remember before you embark in a real “cleanse,” you need to establish a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits FIRST, so you have a reserve that your body can draw on to allow your liver to do its job properly.
2. Consult a doctor.
Anytime I read about an exercise regimen or diet or read the label of a medicine, there is always a standard disclaimer…please consult your physician before using this product. What I am telling you is NOT a disclaimer. I have found incredible benefits from annual blood checks. I want to know how my body is doing from the inside out first. My doctor checks my vitamin D levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, liver function, heart, and blood sugar just to name a few. Your blood can be very telling of any symptoms you may be having or foods that should be a priority in your diet or that you should avoid altogether. Should you be increasing your good fat intake, or do you need a magnesium supplement? I would encourage you to find a doctor that practices a combination of western and integrative medicine to get a super valuable opinion. If you live in Miami, I recommend my doctor, Dr. Virgilio Sanchez at MCCI.
MOVE. Your body needs it. We live sedentary lifestyles for the most part. We drive long commutes to work and back, sit at desks all day, and come home to lay on the couch and veg out. We need to get our blood flowing and wake our muscles up. Whether you are walking, running, cycling, swimming, playing tennis, or dancing zumba, I urge you to do something. Yoga, pilates, and hot yoga are also great regimens. Your options are endless. Do something you enjoy and make a commitment to do it as often as you can.
4. Drink water
How much water are you drinking? Are you keeping track? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. You need water in your system for your body to function properly. Additionally, it helps eliminate toxins and makes your skin look fantastic. Note, not all water is created equally. Aim to drink good quality spring water. If you have a reverse osmosis filter in your home that is fantastic. Of you can try good bottled water. One great cleansing tool is to drink a glass of Hot Water with lemon and a few drops of liquid cayenne pepper first thing in the morning. This little trick will help you eliminate toxins, regulate your bowel, and replenish your system.
5. Boost your nutrients
Our bodies are complex and we need so many vitamins and nutrients, it is difficult to get it all from the foods we eat. That is why supplements can be great. The problem with supplements such as multivitamins is that we often rely on those to be enough to nourish our bodies. I see this a lot in pregnant women who take their pre-natals but don’t pay much attention to the food they eat. Supplements should be just what their name implies— supplemental. Along with a clean diet and a good exercise regimen, supplements help boost your health and energy.
I use as supplements vitamin D, vitamin C, green superfood from Pure Synergy, woman’s multivitamin from Pure synergy, and magnesium CALM powder. And that is just scratching the surface. There are so many supplements and nutrients available to offer our bodies. It is my goal to explore more of them in 2015.
In conclusion, I would suggest committing to a healthy regimen for 90 days before embarking in a full detoxification program. You may be shocked at the results you receive from these basic tips.