There has been a LOT of contradicting information about “Cleansing” or various “Detoxes” in the media over the past few years, so much so, that many people think of it as a “quick fix” weight loss gimmick.
So let’s explore what a “cleanse” really means!
Do You Need Internal Cleansing?
How do you know when it’s time to free your body of accumulated toxins and other waste material? Most of us start our day with a shower to feel clean and invigorated. However, what we don't often think about, is how important it is for us to keep clean on the inside too!!
The purpose of a cleanse is to clean our internal organs from toxins and pollution so that our body can work more efficiently. Toxicity occurs in the body when we consume or are exposed to a substance more than we can utilize or eliminate. I recommend a cleanse, generally in the spring and fall, as I believe it is extremely beneficial to open our channels of elimination and purge stored toxins. Exposure to toxins comes from the food we eat and the air we breathe, as well as chemicals, pollutants and drugs, which all compromise our body's natural balance.
Making poor food choices and overeating can cause sluggishness and fatigue. The organs that can become overloaded with toxicity are the liver, gallbladder, kidneys and even our skin. Cleansing these organs can lead to increased vitality and restored energy. Once the body has been cleansed, the immune response will be enhanced. When done correctly, most people feel more relaxed, creative, conscious and are able to handle stress better after detoxification.
What is your body communicating?
I always stress the importance of listening to your body, the only way it can speak to you is through “symptoms”. The following are some symptoms that could indicate you are in need of a cleanse.
Cleansing is not for everyone
- Constant fatigue
- Frequent breakouts or dull skin
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Dull eyes and hair
- Frequent headaches
- Painful joints
- Sinus problems
- Night sweats
- Gas and/or heartburn
- Abdominal bloating
- Strong body odor
- Difficulty coping with stress
It is normal and in fact you should expect to experience some mild symptoms while cleansing. Such symptoms may include, but are not limited to, mild headaches, achy muscles and joints, lethargy and mood swings. However, if you begin to feel very weak, dizzy, shaky, nauseous and develop severe headaches, it is important to stop, listen to your body and gradually improve nutrition, slowly decreasing exposure to toxins before trying again.
These more severe symptoms are a sign of a highly toxic body. If the body is highly toxic, elimination can become blocked which could result in a “healing crisis.” This usually indicates that too many toxins are circulating and cannot get out, causing the liver to become overloaded and increasing overall levels of toxicity.
Who Should Not Cleanse Without Professional Care
What to expect after you have completed your cleanse
- Anyone who is malnourished
- Anyone currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiation
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Those with hypoglycemia or diabetes
- Anyone with ulcers, the sick, the very stressed, very thin or very toxic
Tips for a Successful Cleanse
- More energy
- Better sleep patterns
- More efficient digestive system, meaning less gas, bloating and heartburn
- Increased mental clarity and focus
- A reduction on dependency to such things as sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or drugs.
- Improved eating habits
- More emotional stability
- Always ensure you are taking in enough fiber while cleansing. Toxins released from cleansing ultimately end up in the colon, therefore, it is important to keep the bowels moving during a cleanse so as not to re-infect or re-intoxicate the organs. Ground flax is a healthy and gentle form of soluble fiber that can be sprinkled on cereals, salads, or added to smoothies.
- Drink lots of clean water throughout the day during your cleanse, this will assist in the elimination of toxins.
- Only start your cleanse when you have the energy to do so. If you are getting a cold or just recovering from one, wait until you feel your energy levels return. Cleansing takes a lot of energy!
- Treat yourself to a massage or a nice relaxing epsom salt bath while cleansing, not only will it make you feel great, but it helps in the detoxification process.
- Start your day with hot water and fresh organic lemon to help prepare your digestive system and start the cleansing process.
- Avoid all wheat, dairy, corn, sugar, animal protein, caffeine, alcohol and as much animal protein as possible during a cleanse.
- Continue your regular exercise program as it aids in the detoxification process, however, listen to your body, if you are tired, rest.
What Type of Cleanse to Choose?
- No matter what type of cleanse you are undertaking, ensure you finish it off with a good quality human micro flora probiotic supplement to rebalance the good bacteria in your gut. Doing so will not only aid digestion and elimination, but also increase your immune system!!
Everyone is unique and has special needs, a good cleanse can simply mean you eliminate all processed foods, sugar and alcohol or it may involve choosing a more stringent regime such as a raw food diet. What road to choose depends on your constitution and current level of health. For best results, I recommend a supervised cleanse by a nutrition professional.
Ciara Foy, CNP