Every day our bodies are both nourished and challenged by the substances in our food, air and water. Our bodies must become very proficient at utilizing the nutrients and eliminating the toxins. Unfortunately this elimination process can become overwhelmed by the multitude of toxic substances in our environment. With our help, however, we can allow our bodies a much needed break through a detoxifying or cleansing diet.
The concept of detoxification is a very ancient one. Fasting has been noted in history for many centuries. A true fast differs from the type of cleanse outlined here. In a true fast, only water is consumed over a period of time, usually a few days. Many health professionals now embrace this term to also include juice ‘diets’ or juice ‘fasts’.
Cleanses are normally done once or twice a year, usually in the spring and again in the fall. Healthy living during the rest of our modern day lives (pollution, poor eating, chemicals, etc.) these toxins move inward, causing a multitude of illnesses.
The physical and emotional benefits of cleansing will vary from person to person, depending on the current levels of toxins and capabilities of the elimination channels. Normally one will experience an initial discomfort when they begin a cleanse, followed by a feeling of physical and emotional euphoria. After completion most people will find they have more energy, their skin and hair is healthier, and their digestion is improved. Often minor blood sugar imbalances and weight problems will improve.
An unsupervised cleansing diet is ideal for individuals are in relative good health and wish to maintain or improve how they feel. Individuals who are ill or experience chronic health problems are best to consult with a health professional to discuss any special considerations. The Spring cleanse will help bring the body out of it’s natural ‘hibernation’ state and prepare it for a summer of increased activity, fresh air, and an abundance of fresh foods. A Fall cleanse will help the body cope with the winter ahead which is typically spent indoors with little activity and poorer quality foods.
Additional ideal times to cleanse include the preconception period for both men women. Women who are planning pregnancy should be aware of the importance of a healthy and toxin free body. Men with a healthier body produce healthier and more abundant sperm. Individuals experiencing fertility problems may find that a cleanse helps clean and prepare the body for conception.
Premenstrual difficulties can often be averted with a light diet the week prior to menstruation. Allergy sufferers can also use this cleanse to asses potential food allergies and overcome seasonal reactions. People overcoming addictions such as tobacco, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can benefit from a detoxifying cleanse. Withdrawal symptoms can diminish by reducing the amount of regenerative work the body needs to accomplish.
As stated previously, it would not be appropriate for anyone other than a healthy individual to follow this diet without supervision. Someone with prior deficiencies and general weakness are at risk of worsening their condition. Strengthening and building should be the approach in these situations. Individuals who are underweight, suffer from extreme fatigue, experience coldness, have a heart condition, or are anticipating or recovering from surgery should delay a cleanse until their health issues have been addressed.
Women who are pregnant or lactating should also be cautious about cleansing. Although a light diet may help some women through difficult periods, nutritional needs far outweigh what can be provided on this cleansing diet.
Some people are experienced enough with cleanses that life continues normally for them. Others (especially those who are also giving up caffeine etc.) find that they want to plan for the worst by allowing plenty of freedom and time to themselves. You may want to start Stage Three on a weekend or a day that you do not need to work or worry about responsibilities. The third day of this stage brings a type of euphoria for some people, and although you shouldn’t plan a marathon, you may find that you are very productive. Make sure the people around you understand and respect the choice you’ve made. You may be exceptionally irritable or fatigued on the first couple of days and they will need to be prepared for this. See your doctor if necessary.
It is vital that all stages of this program be followed. Avoiding the proper beginning and end stages of a cleanse can be very harmful to the body. It is important that the body not be shocked by introducing a stage without preparation. If you have never done a cleanse before, plan a short one in order to become accustomed to it. Decide beforehand exactly how many days you are going to do your cleanse and stick to it. Some people find that once they’ve started they don’t want to discontinue. Plan ahead for this.
Eat the Optimal Diet (see below) if you are not already.