health food

Cleanses can be great to kick-start you into a sort of detox mode, and help the body get a break from the day-to-day toxins it’s been inundated with. It shouldn’t be about loading/overloading with health food and supplements or depriving your body from nutrients. It needs to be about resting your organs and providing consistent, whole-food nutrition. 

Most cleanses instruct you to leave out a lot of things from your diet, (like; sugar, wheat, corn, dairy, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and all processed foods). This allows your filtration, absorption and elimination organs to rest from the harsh stuff that’s been building up in your system. Clogging arteries, limiting absorption, sky-rocketing blood glucose and pressure, messing up bowel regularity, and knocking hormones out of whack… This is what we look like on the daily with the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet).

These cleanses then suggest adding in whole foods, often being very specific in what types of vegetables or fruits at specific times of day, and additionally adding in herbal supplements to aid in filtration of toxins and absorption of nutrients.

I am not going to be outlining a specific plan here for an intensive cleanse. I think you should do your research and define what kind of goals you are specifically shooting for when you consider a cleanse. Take into consideration your current health, your body’s susceptibilities and needs. Don’t wreck your body on some crash diet/cleanse in the name of losing some pounds or just saying you ‘checked off’ “do a cleanse in 2020” on some bucket list. 

Listen to how your body reacts to what you put in, and what you leave out. Do you have a naturally high metabolism but you want to do a limited food cleanse? You might want to adjust the eating times with more nutrient dense foods to maintain a balanced blood glucose level so you can sustain through the cleanse. Don’t get so locked into rules that you come out of it worse off than when you started.

Don’t think because you don’t ‘feel’ hungry, that your body doesn’t need fuel. Attempt to consciously feed your body nutrition from food, not just fancy supplements. 

After your own research, craft your own regime to work through for 1 week, or up to a month. After the cleanse, ever so slowly, add back in healthy but more hearty foods. I was going to list a few I’m thinking of, but again, I’m not outlining a plan here, so make up your own mind of what this should look like for you! This will be different for different people, as some might say whole grains would be a healthy hearty addition, yet those who are gluten intolerant will not be able to do that. Or adding meat back in will be good for some, but those who are vegan of course wouldn’t add meat to the diet. 

Track your progress. I highly recommend keeping a food diary. Keep a journal with a column for the date/time, each meal or snack that day, and tracking how you feel throughout the day. This is especially telling once you begin to start adding foods back into your diet to see how you function with those things. Does wheat make you foggy? Does caffeine give you headaches? Corn based foods upset digestion? Sugar make you crash? You will never notice the connection between these things and how you are feeling if you do not write them down. 

Remember; a cleanse should be a vacation for your body. It doesn’t mean it will be a walk in the park. Eliminating foods that we are addicted to (sugar, caffeine, carbs) will leave us feeling crummy at first. Those first 3-4 days will be the toughest as you go through, basically, withdrawal symptoms. Headaches, acne, and change in elimination regularity are common things to consider. Don’t lose heart. Stick with your program best you can. Adjust things as needed, but don’t give up. By day 5-6 you’ll start feeling better. Clearer and more energized as your system doesn’t have as much junk to work through and process; your organs are finally able to take a breather!

Again, I am not telling you what to do in a cleanse, but simply giving you some things to think about in regards to cleansing if you decide to do one. I will list a few tips and supplements here that simply support the overall health of organs in promoting the normal function of them. Things you can add to your list of items to research as you put together your own cleanse for 2020.

Drink adequate amounts of water. This should be obvious, but for some it’s not. If you think you are drinking enough water, you should probably be drinking more. Most people don’t drink enough water, and your body will thank you if you supply it with a steady amount of pure water during a cleanse. It helps your brain function better and all your digestive system functions better with more water. Typically you need to drink half your weight in ounces of water per day. Do your research and keep track of how many ounces you intake in a day.

Add lemon to your water. Lemon (juice AND food grade essential oil; they contain different but equally important nutrients; look it up!) is a great addition to a cleanse. It supports healthy digestion and is one of the top recommendations in regards to supporting the normal function of detoxing in the filtration organs. It also contains vitamin C to support a healthy immune system. 

Turmeric. As a tea or tincture, or the whole root added to foods, it is helpful in supporting the normal inflammatory process. The Standard American Diet is full of inflammatory foods… this leads to a host of problems from indigestion to cancer. Eliminating these foods is the best way to eliminate unhealthy inflammation but adding foods and herbs that help the body naturally deal with inflammation can help in that cleansing period. 

Consider herbal tonics that are geared directly toward specific organ health. Kidney, Liver, Gallbladder tonics are simply a blend of herbs that work synergistically to promote the normal healthy function of that particular system. If you think of the cleanse (eliminating junk) like a vacation, herbal tonics are the ticket to an ‘all-inclusive’ resort. You’re not just giving your body a break from the day to day, but you are serving it nutrients so it doesn’t have to work as hard.

Peppermint (herb tea and essential oil). Peppermint tea with ginger can support healthy digestion and calm cramps that can be associated with cleanses that have high fiber content and uping your water consumption. Use peppermint essential oil on temples along with lavender oil for tension headaches in those first few days of a cleanse.

Some people suggest cleansing monthly, quarterly and/or yearly. This greatly depends on the type of cleanse you are doing and your own personal health state. It is also always good to bring your cleansing ideas and research up with your doctor who knows your medical history and can offer wellness suggestions specific for you.

I’d love to hear about your experience with cleanses and what suggestions you would add to this list. Again, this is simply to open up the conversation and also to get you thinking very specifically before you decide on any type of cleanse.

Do you cleanse yearly, quarterly? What things have you tried that you would or wouldn’t suggest others do?

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