What To Look For In A Cleanse

Before you start a juice, detox or cleanse, make sure it's a healthy one. Be wary of these types of cleanses:

  • Cleanses that focus on juices, especially fruit juices. These have a lot sugar without the fiber that is naturally contained in the whole fruit. They can spike your blood sugar levels, potentially causing energy lulls, mood swings and anxiety. Long term, sugar contributes to inflammation, a precursor to disease. For more info from the Harvard Medical School, click here.
  • Cleanses that significantly lower calories. In the short term they may produce weight loss, but the weight is likely to return if you return to your normal diet. Further, your metabolism may have lowered as a reaction to lowering your caloric intake and you could gain weight.
  • Cleanses with supplements. It can be hard to tell what is actually in the supplements. Further, many vitamins require a combination of nutrients and carrier agents to be absorbed effectively into the body. It is much more effective to get these vitamins in your diet. For more info, click here.

That does not mean all cleanses are bad. A smart cleanse is one that resets your body by focusing on whole foods, not deprivation. A really great cleanse will give you meals that taste great and make you feel great so you'll want to stick to them.

As a wellness consultant, my job is to study the research and pull it together in a simple way that makes it easy for you.

I believe these are the three best kinds of cleanses:

1. Cleanses that help you get off sugar

Sugar can cause fatigue and lead to inflammation, a precursor to most major diseases. Further, eating sugar makes us crave more sugar so getting off it can jumpstart weight loss. For more info on sugar read this piece by Dr. Robert Lustig. The best way to break this pattern and reset your body after an indulgent period is to reduce sugar for at least five days.

2. Cleanses that help boost body and brain functioning

Food is fuel. Replacing the bad stuff with brain foods like Omega 3 proteins can have a significant impact on how you feel, your energy, focus and even productivity levels.

3. Cleanses to identify food sensitivities which can cause autoimmune diseases or pain

Many people experience brain fog or pain and sometimes even autoimmune diseases from food. To test it for yourself, try the elimination diet. Remove the five major allergens, which are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and corn, for three weeks. The results can be extraordinary – people who have had brain fog or been in pain for years can see their symptoms gone.

One warning: you may feel sick at the beginning of a cleanse. This is a normal part of releasing addiction to sugar and removing other toxins. It will pass in a few days with sugar and after two weeks on an elimination diet.

To get off sugar while enhancing energy, focus and productivity I developed the SmartCleanse 5-day delicious whole food meal plan. There are versions for Women, Men and Vegan, Gluten Free and Soy Free diets. It is available for free at Joy & Brussels Sprouts.

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