Cleansing has become very popular in recent years, but it is certainly not new to humans. Various types of cleanses have been practiced throughout history. In these modern, technological times we have put a new spin on an old practice. There are many types of cleanses out there on the market and in cyber-space. It can be confusing and overwhelming when trying to decipher which cleanse, which method, or which product is the best.
Cleanses range from 3-day fasting with varying “drinks” or “juices” as the only nutrition to one, two, or three week programs. Quick fixes may seem attractive, but are truly not very effective and are more difficult than it may appear. I recommend a longer more nutritious whole foods type cleanse that can last 1, 2, or ideally 3 weeks. These programs do actually help “cleanse” or “detox” the body by gently removing toxins that we accumulate from the food (or food-like products) that we eat, junk that we drink, and environmental toxins that we breathe and absorb through the skin. The liver is the body’s natural detoxifier, but it can use some help sometimes!
Two of these whole foods cleanses that I recommend are the “Ultimate Reset” by Beachbody (you can order at www.ultimatereset.com/totalwomanfit) and the “Clean” or “Clean Gut” programs by Alejandro Junger, M.D. These are both very sensible programs that truly help the body repair itself, heal and generally promote good health. Each is 3 weeks long if completed, however, there are significant benefits when only completing weeks one and/or two. These programs should not be jumped into quickly or taken lightly. Preparation and commitment are very important in order to achieve the desired results.
The accumulation of toxins is normal, and even those with the best diets will build up toxic sludge in the body from factors that are beyond our control. The air we breathe (especially here in the valley), the chemicals that are all around us from cleaning products to fibers in carpet and furniture cause this accumulation. Spending a few weeks to “clean up” the body is a great idea, either a couple of times a year, or even seasonally. Anytime you feel yourself getting sluggish, brain fog, irritable, or depressed it is a good time to clean it up.
Cleansing, or detoxing, is an intense process and each person will experience it differently. Sometimes you have to get worse before you get better. Symptoms like headaches, fatigue, moodiness, and skin eruptions, changes in bowl movements or even body temperature are common, as well as food cravings. Emotions may run amuck during a cleanse. Often, stored emotions manifest and are cleaned out as well. Having a good support team around is helpful. Share what you are doing with those you share your life with and ask them to help you through it and understand that you may be emotional, cranky, tired, or hungry, but it is normal and a means to an end. Expect and accept the good with the bad! In the end it will be worth it and you will feel great, clean, restored and rejuvenated.