Spring is on its way. Winter, with its rich holiday foods and cold, short, and dark days, has likely left you with a lot less energy than during warmer months when sun and fresh produce are plentiful. You may have even added a few pounds. Not to worry. Even before the weather is warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities, you can get a workout doing your household spring cleaning and get that energy level back with a detoxifying cleanse. Getting rid of toxins and losing a few pounds will increase the quality of life and general wellness.
Below you will find a protocol along with supportive instructions for a pre-cleanse and the cleanse itself. If you have never experienced a cleanse, you may be surprised by the short period of physiological changes that you may experience. Do not be alarmed if you experience sweating, lightheadedness, weakness, nausea, or a change in body temperature. Although these are common symptoms associated with a cleanse, do not ignore any change that seems extreme. If you feel uncomfortable with continuing the cleanse at any time, you can stop and opt for light vegetable salads and raw soups. You may stop a cleanse at any time, but to fully realize the benefits, the full course must be completed.
Prepare your body by easing into the full cleanse. You may want to consider beginning on a Friday since the 2nd and 3rd day of the pre-cleanse and the cleanse are usually the toughest. You will have Saturday and Sunday to rest during the tough days (if you have different days off, adjust accordingly). This simply means that if you are accustomed to a heavy meat diet along with fried foods or if you consume nicotine, alcohol, sweets, and other drugs (except medication under a physician’s supervision), you should reduce your intake of these and incorporate the following.
Drink at least 2 litres of water or more per day. Use alkaline water of Ph of 8.5+ or spring water. Water is the living element that removes all toxins. Reduce carbonated drinks, flavoured drinks, black teas, and caffeine as they may decrease the impact your body will feel during a cleanse.
Incorporate healthier, plant-based whole food choices. Eliminate heavy trans-fat, high sugar, and empty-calorie foods. As you transition into the cleanse, keep these dos and don’ts in mind as they become very important during the cleansing protocol.
Consume dark leafy greens such as kale and collard greens (you can add to salads or make soups).
Consume sprouts, whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, brown rice), seeds, nuts, and legumes. Use raw, organic, unprocessed, and unsalted varieties.
Consume seaweed (alaria, Kombu, dulse, nori, or dehydrated sea palm) and kelp noodles. You can also add these to miso-barley paste for added nutrition. You may also add mushrooms for taste and benefits. Avoid added salt and flavourings, when possible.
Consume a variety of fruit such as pomegranates, grapefruit, avocados, strawberries, blueberries and local seasonal fruits. Try to minimize the intake of bananas, cherries, grapes, and oranges. Although delicious, their sugar profiles may set off a little trouble during the beginning of a cleanse. If concerned about candida, please refer to the candida-safe foods section.
Cultured food: Yes! Consume plenty of raw kimchee, sauerkraut, or other fermented foods. These will enable gentle elimination and a balance in body acidity.
Cultures: Minimize intake of cheese and other dairy products to one serving a day. You may consume a small amount of unpasteurized milk and goat’s milk kefir for probiotic building and immune fortification. You may substitute dairy probiotic for coconut water kefir or traditional kefir.
Tea: Herbs that benefit a cleanse are parsley, spearmint, chamomile, marshmallow root, burdock, and dandelion. These are non-acidic and caffeine-free. Drink little to no stimulant teas such as green or black tea. Abstain from other brewed drinks like yerba mate and guaraná.
Oils: Consume raw, unrefined organic oils. These remove bad fats and introduce good fats in your body that detoxify, promote tissue flexibility, and stabilize the immune system. Check product labels to look for: Organic, Cold-pressed, Extra Virgin, Unrefined.
Gluten-free: Eating pieces of bread can be very delightful, yet these contribute to a great portion of intestinal trouble. Try to replace wheat-based bread with gluten-free bread, especially bread that contain sprouted Kamut, potato, almond meal, garbanzo beans, coconut flour, sorghum, rice flour, and amaranth. You may opt for gluten-free granola with raw honey, fruit, and yoghurt alternative (coconut and almond) as a breakfast.
Avoid drinking alcohol or taking drugs (unless prescribed by your physician).
Avoid refined sugars, empty caloric food, wheat, monosodium glutamate (MSG), genetically modified foods (GMO), saturated fats, artificial flavours and colours, soda or other carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, acidic drinks, pasteurized juice, junk food, and canned food.
Avoid excess red meats by gradually reducing portions. The same applies to chicken, fish and eggs. Consume animal protein as minimally as possible.
Avoid non-organic food. Nothing says toxicity like food that is loaded with pesticides. Pesticides can cause many harmful effects for the human body and have long been known to potentiate cancer cells. Give your body healthy, local, and organic produce.
Avoid processed supplements, unless directed by your physician. Supplements are not necessary if you get plenty of fresh whole foods, water, plenty of sunshine and fresh air. Supplements have been known to contain additives such as magnesium stearates and titanium dioxide. In some instances, these excipients may potentiate hepatic-toxins. There are some whole foods supplements that you may continue to take such as chlorella, spirulina, and shilajit.
Stress can result in overeating, anxiety, and metabolic meltdown. Stress plays a large role in digestive trouble. So do not create stress with the cleansing process itself. Be positive about your preparation and cleansing. Be gentle with yourself if you are unable to follow every detail; there is no right way or wrong way to the process and you should benefit from it, not chastise yourself for not being perfect. Stress induces anxiety that raises cortisol levels in your blood and adding the natural stress of the physiological changes of the cleanse can induce a meltdown during a cleanse. Here are some tips that will help you pre-cleanse mentally and physically:
Yoga: You can find yoga classes almost anywhere these days. If not, try a video or record one of the many yoga television programs. All forms of yoga from Bikram to Vinyasa to Kundalini are beneficial. The exercises decompress tissues, relax the mind, and promote proper conscious breathing. Go at your own pace trying to do a little more each session. Enjoy the serenity of silence and being present with yourself.
Breathing: Rotational breathing exercises maintain a strengthened respiratory system and permit tissue building, and increase oxygen in the brain. Breathing reduces lethargy, anxiety, and brain fog. Try this exercise: breath in hold for eight seconds then breathe out and hold for eight seconds. This will ease a tense mind!
Walking: A brisk thirty-minute walk is better than no exercise at all. Walking strengthens bones, increases circulation, and is a great detox for your skin. Walking also improves heart rhythms and thus reduces stress-induced anxiety. Get out there and walk!
Cardio: While pre-cleansing, remember to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible or break a sweat at the local gym when the weather does not cooperate. Exercise during this period will help to burn excess fat, boost endorphins (happy brain chemicals), regulate blood sugar, and promote optimum digestion. The more you sweat, the healthier you are. Your skin is a large organ that needs detox and sweating take care of removing stagnant toxins.