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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.