Doing a cleanse can be intimidating. This list is designed to remove some of those intimidating factors, as I've had some great success with The Conscious Cleanse of late. This is written from one laywoman to another, as I am not a trained nutrition coach. I hope it helps you.
For the sake of clarity, when referring to a cleanse, I am not referring a juice cleanse or the master cleanse. I am referring to a program designed to help clean out your digestive and circulatory systems by helping you learn to make healthier nutritional choices.
1. It's not about deprivation. It's about addition.
One of the things I love about a healthy cleanse is that it is not about depriving yourself of your favorite treats, rather it’s about learning to add in things in creative ways that make you feel better. Superfoods like nuts and seeds (Chia, Flax, Hemp) and sea vegetables — things that help improve your body’s functioning.
These superfoods can make a huge difference in your daily quality of life and most of us need an education regarding how and when to use them. A great cleanse will show you which superfoods work and how best to use them!
2. It’s not about losing weight. It's about retraining your body to be healthier.
A good cleanse will feel more like a lifestyle change than a weight loss program. You might lose weight, but ideally, that is not the goal. It just kind of happens due to the shift towards more consistent choices that benefit your health.
When it’s over, you might not want to go back to your old ways. If you find a new way of being in which you feel healthier, more vibrant, with greater vitality and you genuinely enjoy life more (all of which are possible), that's wonderful!
3. Hydration becomes easier.
When we are habitually dehydrated, it can be mind boggling to adjust that pattern. We might not even feel thirsty because we are so deprived of water. It doesn’t make rational sense. The good news is it gets easier.
Just keep drinking water as prescribed via your program. It helps to have a bottle on your person that will help you know exactly how many ounces you are consuming. That way, you can more effectively monitor your intake and retrain yourself to take in what you need.
4. Food becomes delicious.
A phenomenal cleanse will include an array of mind-blowing new recipes. Eating unhealthy food as a way of life is a difficult routine to change. Our body craves salt, sugar and fat as a result. All other forms of food seem boring and seem to lack taste. But with sustained effort, our taste buds shift with each new bite. Gradually, healthier food becomes scintillating. It takes time, but it's so worthwhile.
5. More nutrients makes weight loss easier.
The functional medicine doctors and the nutrition gurus call these kinds of foods “nutrient dense." This means that they're less processed and have greater nutrients and therefore greater benefits when consumed. In turn, this translates into the body needing less food to feel full (since it's already getting so many nutrients). The food you are consuming is simply more satisfying to the body. As your body needs less food, you eat less, which obviously support weight loss!
6. There will never be an ideal time, so just do it now.
When I introduced a cleanse to my yoga studio community, I cannot even count the number of people who contacted me to ask when the next one would be, since it simply wasn’t a good time. People were usually worried about vacations, visitors or events. Here’s the harsh truth about all of that: those are just excuses.
If you want change, you're going to have to sacrifice something. There will never be the perfect time. You’ve simply got to choose to commit. And if you aren’t committing for whatever reason, it might be worth digging into why you believe that you aren’t worthy of that commitment to better health.
7. Being guided through this process with trained support is priceless.
The cleanse I chose comes complete with a team of health coaches in place (12 hours-per-day) to help you through the process. I did the cleanse first on my own without any help, and while it was great, it wasn't the same as doing the cleanse with the support of the coaches and a virtual community in place.
With a community, you just feel set up for success. Inevitably, unless you're a trained nutrition coach, questions arise. Like, when's the best time to drink water? Can I substitute this for that? Having this team of folks in place to help you will feel critical. It can be more expensive, but it's a worthwhile investment.
8. Preparation is key.
I cannot stress this one enough. We are busy. Most of us have deadlines and families and homes to sustain. It is so much easier to maintain this shift and adjustment when you have turnkey solutions in the refrigerator and the pantry (and even sometimes on your person). Find the day that works best for your life (Sundays are quite popular) and dedicate it to preparation.
Get your smoothies prepared ahead of time in a freezer friendly bag, make a big batch of quinoa, have a bag of raw nuts packed to toss in your briefcase or in your purse every morning.
Preparation is key to sustaining lasting change.
9. Perfection is a myth. Don’t even go there.
One of the reasons I chose The Conscious Cleanse as my foray into the world of cleanses is because of this paragraph right here:
“Remember this is not about perfection. It’s about having a bad day and picking yourself up with love. It’s remembering that tomorrow is a new day. Regardless of your slip-ups, you don’t check out, you don’t quit, and you don’t overburden yourself with guilt or self-loathing. You might want to reread that last sentence.”
— Jo Schaalman and Julie Peleaz
10. You'll feel better in every way.
I promise. OK, not at first. No lie. The first three days can be miserable. You might feel like you have the flu as your body rids itself of toxins. But hang in there. Just on the other side ... bliss.