Cleanses & Detoxes: The What, Why & How
Spring has arrived. It's the time of year when people are compelled to open their windows wide, clear out the cobwebs, and let the sun shine in. It’s also “crunch” time, with summer beckoning around the corner, it’s time to peel off the heavy layers of winter and show some skin. While you’re lightening up your wardrobe – how about lightening up your body? Get rid of the pale staleness that has been holding you back the past few months. Time to CLEANSE & DETOX! Detox diets, juice fasts, and cleanses – everywhere you turn around they seem to be the words on everyone’s lips. What are they? What’s the real deal? You’ll find all the answers in my quick cleanse and detox primer.
Spring is generally thought of as the optimal time to detox as according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) it’s the season of the major detoxification organs of the liver and gallbladder. Just as the seasons have cycles, so does the body. After a cold overindulgent winter of hibernating we generally yearn to get outside, exercise a bit more and choose lighter foods such as fruits and greens. It’s the perfect time to kick it up a bit and renew your health as the earth renews itself.
Are cleanses and detoxes just the newest fad?
NO!! While it may be the HOT new thing with juice bars and detox delivery services popping up all over the place the concept of fasting, cleansing and detox if far from new! Cleansing has been a long established health and wellness practice around the globe!
- 4th Century BC – Hippocrates aka “Father of Medicine” recommends periodic fasting to cleanse and rest the digestive tract
- 16th Century – Paracelsus, a renowned physician – called fasting the “Greatest remedy, the physician within”
- In India yogis and Ayurvedic practitioners have always promoted the health benefits of internal cleansing
- In North America Native Americans utilized detoxifying sweat lodges
- Europeans have undergone colonics and sauna sessions for centuries
So why do people cleanse? Because chemical-laden processed foods, environmental pollution, and everyday stress have taken their toll on our bodies.
The impact? To stay healthy we need to keep our bodies running at peak performance. A body bogged down with waste and toxins cannot accomplish its natural daily detoxification. Compliments of our environment and poor choices, we now have bodies that are soo overburdened and overwhelmed with toxins they can’t perform their functions. Nowadays, it’s not only essential to clear out the existing toxins but to implement a protocol to eliminate the toxins we come in contact with.
How to implement cleansing:
- Cleansing Diet – This one while may not seem simple to some people, it is the one we have most control over – eliminate toxic foods. To start, choose only ORGANIC and UNPROCESSED foods. Next begin to add in foods that naturally have detoxification properties – obviously fruits and veggies will be high on the list, but topping it would be GREENS. Gorgeous, brilliant, life giving greens! Loaded with chlorophyll, antioxidants and bursting with nutrients! Top cleansing ones would be bitter greens like kale, dandelion (superstar liver detoxifier), arugula, mustard greens, and chards. Going back to Spring as being the time to cleanse the liver, add lots of liver supporting foods like beets, artichoke, garlic and lemon. Eliminate processed, cooked fats what “sludge” up the liver & body – choose only organic, cold pressed fats.
- Juice Fasting - My favorite way to kick start a cleanse is with a 3 day juice fast. Not only does this rest the digestive system and allow quick intake of nutrients but it can also loosen toxins to get them out of the body for good! I recommend following a juice fasting program with an intense week of cleansing diet (lots of greens, healthy fats and organic, natural protein sources to usher the wastes away)
- Super-Powered Nutrition - Start taking a few superfood green powders – chlorella, wheatgrass, barley grass, and spirulina are all great choices to give your body a nice “internal scrub”
- Treat Your Body as a Temple – This should go without saying but try to imprint this one in your mind!! Fresh air, exercise and using only natural, chemical free products on your body will go a long way. What you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body!