It’s the New Year, and time to get back on track. With the festive season behind us, many of us are now left feeling bloated and fatigued as we make our way through January.
Even if you consider yourself to be a clean eater cleansing can be an important tool for longevity, vibrant health and beauty. A well-planned detox can help significantly reduce inflammation, improve liver function, increase energy, improve focus and give you a more radiant glow. Cleansing can also offer an emotional and spiritual reset.
When we cleanse our bodies, we can’t help but to also cleanse our minds, and this is the beautiful benefit of cleanses. If you stick to it, you may find those old ways of thinking, bad habits and negative patterns are easier to notice and let go of, and you are more easily able to live your truth.
Modern living is more toxic than ever before. Our bodies get weighed down (literally) with pesticides from conventionally grown food, processed foods, alcohol, heavy metals, sugar, synthetic hormones from conventional dairy and meat, as well as plastics, toxic chemicals in beauty and cleaning products, exhaust from cars and aeroplane travel, radiation from cell phones, Wi-Fi and long plane rides. Our bodies are constantly attempting to cleanse naturally, but all these factors can keep them from effectively doing their job.
This is why it doesn’t really matter how clean you eat. Everyone can benefit from doing a cleanse.
Many of these irritants are part of daily living, and it can feel overwhelming knowing they are harmful. If you’re like me, you want to keep living and enjoying your life, having a cocktail here and there, and sometimes eating a piece of chocolate cake. Some of your favourite make-up products might be completely clean, and many of us have to travel for work. There’s no value in becoming overwhelmed though, instead, we should turn our focus on the things we can do to support our bodies’ detoxification pathways so that we can continue to maintain good health, despite our environment.
I, therefore, recommend doing quarterly or yearly cleanses. Almost everyone can benefit. Particularly if you suffer from symptoms of bloating, acne, eczema, fatigue, bad breath, constipation, diarrhoea, weight gain, PMS, depression or anxiety. These symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that it is overwhelmed and needs some help reducing its toxicity levels.
HOW TO CLEANSE + WHERE TO START
There are many ways to cleanse and detox your body: water fasting (one of the most intense), juicing, blended (smoothie) fasting, raw food, food-based programs even Ayurvedic programs. The great thing is you don’t have to dive into a water fast to get the benefits.
The best cleanse for you is based on your current health status and your general constitution. Which is why I like to guide people through detoxification programs on a one-on-one basis.
I also aim to give people a taste for the benefits of detoxification through my free detox events, some of which go for 1-day, and others, which last for a full week.
In my upcoming Bali Retreat, I will be taking people through a 24-hour juice fast. I personally love juice cleansing and have experienced many benefits from it, such as weight loss, glowing skin, better emotional stability, improved energy levels, better focus and overall zest for life.
That said, to get the most out of a detoxification program I tend to recommend following a program for a minimum of 2 weeks, with 4-6 weeks being the real sweet spot.
If you’re ready to start a cleanse now (I hope you are!) here are some important cleansing tips:
DO A PRE-CLEANSE
This means removing all processed foods, caffeine, cigarettes, recreational drugs, sugar, dairy and gluten from your diet. By doing a pre-cleanse, you set your body up for a much more enjoyable cleansing experience. By removing these irritants your body begins to gently cleanse naturally, so when you start your cleanse of choice you’ll be ready to move out the deeper toxins. I recommend doing this for at least a week before embarking on a cleanse
GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE “P” WORD
As in poop. Consider doing enemas or colonics throughout your cleanse. This often turns people off, but hear me out: With most cleanses you are eating less, or nothing at all. This means you are not getting much fibre to help push things through. By doing an enema or colonic, you help the body to more efficiently flush out toxins.
Cleansing is all about elimination, and the more you can support your body to eliminate in a healthy way the better. By giving toxins easy “escape routes” you can minimize unpleasant detox symptoms. To get the most out of your cleanse, try using these supportive methods such as saunas, dry brushing, magnesium or bicarb soda baths, lymphatic massage, colonics (as mentioned), and cold showers.
As with anything that is challenging, cleansing requires commitment. Make time and space in your life so you can follow through with your cleansing goals and enjoy the benefits.
CONSULT YOUR NATURAL HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL
It’s important to consult your health care professional before starting a cleanse.
THE DO's AND DON'TS OF CLEANSING
Don’t be too rigid - The best way to make it through a cleanse is by knowing your body and listening to what it needs. If you’re on a juice fast feeling really low and at a breaking point, instead of abandoning the cleanse, try eating some fruit, soaked nuts or simple steamed vegetables. This will not stop your cleanse! It will just slow the symptoms and help you stay on the wagon. It’s a much better option than quitting altogether. All or nothing thinking is not your friend. Do your best, and commit as best as you can.
Do consider inviting a friend or family member to detox with you. This is incredibly helpful. You can support each other and hold each other accountable during the challenging moments.
· Don’t try to do too much | It’s always best to set aside time for a cleanse when you know you won’t have a busy schedule. Take time for warm baths, reading and healing.
· Do try gentle yoga and outdoor walks if you feel up for it. Getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine will help further support your body’s ability to detoxify.
· Don’t do high-intensity exercise during your cleanse. During detoxification your body’s organs are already working at close to maximum capacity, so don’t put too much extra strain on your body during this time. Focus on slower movement, such as walking, yoga and gentle pilates.
· Do break your cleanse with consciousness. In other words: fresh salads, steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, tea and green juice. How you break your cleanse matters! Often people dive right back into having pizza and cocktails and then become sick. It’s important to slowly move back into eating your regular diet to prevent shocking your system – and ending up right back where you started again!
· Do make healthy eating + living your priority. When you use some of these healing methods (such as saunas and skin brushing) on a regular basis, the toxin load in your body is minimized. This makes your yearly cleanse much easier and more enjoyable. It can also potentially help can add years to your life.
As with anything, the best cleansing advice I can give is to listen to your body. Each one of us is unique, so honour that uniqueness and allow your body to guide you along the way. If you would like further guidance on how to best manage a detox then please book in for a free discovery call with me – and we can discuss your options further.