Internal Spring Cleaning: 7 Tips for Successful Cleansing and Detox

Here are my top 7 tips to ensure your cleanse is successful and you are able to achieve real detoxification. Here’s hoping that your transition into spring is one that makes you feel lighter and full of energy to take on all the projects and activities that come with longer days and more sunshine!

    1. If you cleanse too hard, as can happen during a fast, you often end up with a “healing crisis” –an acute condition brought on by the process. This is due to the rapid release of toxins into your system, which is faster than your organs can handle them. Symptoms range from headaches and nausea to fever and rashes, and while these usually only last for the first couple of days, it can be very unpleasant depending on how toxic you are when you start.

 

    1. While it’s true that cleansing can jump start your weight loss efforts, be wary of products that are really weight loss products claiming to be detox and cleansing products too. These products may contain harsh ingredients and chemicals to jump-start a detox program that can also be harmful to the body. In many cases they are often just liquid-type diets intended for rapid weight loss by reducing or controlling calories, and don’t offer much by way of actual cleansing.

 

    1. One of the simplest and most common ways to cleanse your system is to simply increase your intake of quality fiber. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and goes through the body undigested until it reaches the colon. Fiber also stimulates the liver to release toxins back into the digestive tract so they can ultimately, be removed by the colon.

      There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber (like psyllium husks) absorbs toxins and is the more gentle of the two. Insoluble fiber (like oat bran) sweeps the colon and is harsher, but when combined with liquid bentonite (clay), it’s remarkably effective at pulling material off colon walls that’s been there for years. Always remember, when eating more fiber, drink extra water. Because fiber absorbs fluids and expands, additional fluids are needed to keep it moving through the digestive tract.

 

    1. You don’t have to starve to cleanse. A good meal plan is the most significant part of a good cleansing program that’s not based on fasting. For at least 2 weeks, eliminate bread or flour products of any type (including pasta, cakes, cookies, cereal or crackers), dairy products, tropical fruit, fermented foods, sweets, caffeine and alcohol. Other foods to avoid are nightshade foods (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms), shellfish, peanuts, and grapes.

      During this time, your diet should consist of 80% alkaline and neutral ash-forming foods like green vegetables, non-tropical fruit, potatoes, squash, alkaline grains like millet, coldwater fish, onions, garlic, green tea and almonds. Eat less than 20% acid-forming beans, lentils, eggs, and grains (oats, corn, and wheat).

 

    1. A final component to include in colon cleansing is daily essential fatty acids from good quality oils. EFAs such as fish oils, flax, and borage oil can lubricate and soothe the colon in addition to proving nutritional support for other aspects of your body’s health and well being.

 

    1. As part of your detoxification, support your blood and lymph systems with teas containing blood-purifying herbs like burdock root, red clover or dandelion. Help blood and lymph circulate more effectively with dry brushing, or massage, and encourage toxin elimination through the skin via sweat-inducing exercise, Epsom salt baths, or dry saunas.

 

  1. Maintain a healthy internal environment by adding probiotics like plain yogurt or kefir and naturally fermented foods to your regular diet, to support the proliferation of healthy bacteria in your gut.

Whether your goal is to maintain longer-term health or simply to get back on track to better nutrition, a program of regular cleansing (i.e. at least twice a year, or ideally, once a quarter) can make all the difference in how you look and feel.

Give Your Bathroom Cabinet a Spring Cleaning: What Products Are Safe?

When you consider how many personal care products are on the market today and how few have actually been tested for safety it’s hard to know how to choose products that are safe. The best thing you can do is stick with products made from natural, plant-based vs. synthetic ingredients –ones that are identifiable and even familiar.

Look for soaps and moisturizers made with vegetable and nut oils (preferably unrefined) like jojoba, coconut, olive oil, hemp seed, sunflower, high-oleic safflower or shea butter. These are ingredients that work with your skin to keep it hydrated and protected and will not clog pores or interfere with your skin’s ability to produce it’s own natural and protective sebum.

Replace your anti-bacterial Triclosan-based products with ones made with Tea Tree essential oil and Lavender alcohols. Instead of propylene glycol, looks for products made with vegetable glycerin and aloe vera juice or gel. And avoid products preserved with parabens.

For an added measure of security, look for products that are certified organic or made with certified organic ingredients. And don’t be fooled by products that combine synthetic ingredients with natural ones. While the natural ingredients may be helpful they don’t cancel out the toxic or unhealthy effects of the other ingredients.

Don’t forget that many of the ingredients that are harmful to you, are also harmful to the environment, both on the manufacturing and production side and on the back-end as they make their way down toilets and drains and into our riverbeds and streams altering the ecological landscape.

You may be shocked and even dismayed to learn that you are using a lot of products made with suspicious and potentially toxic ingredients. But take heart! There are many natural plant-based alternatives out there with new ones coming into the marketplace everyday. With that in mind, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just get your spring-cleaning done by resolving to green your personal care routine first. This will motivate you to explore other ways you can deepen the sustainability of your lifestyle and make more healthy conscious choices.