Spring time is such a wonderful time to do “a cleanse”, a time that symbolizes new life and fresh starts. A good cleanse can do much for your body in terms of rejuvenation, and re-evaluation. Getting “back to basics” and taking a good look at your diet. Coming out of the winter months where our diets involve more heavy starches and baked goods, spring and summer are always fantastic months to start the switch to fresher foods (seasonal eating!)
On the other hand cleansing, in my opinion (and not JUST mine), is a wholly individual thing to undertake. What to do, to what extent is healthy for your individual needs/goals/body, how long a healthy cleanse is for you, and if you should even do one at all… all depends on the single person doing it.
What your health is like, what kind of activity level you maintain, what is your reason, your goals, your intentions, and many other things SHOULD be taken into consideration before going on a cleanse (and especially a fast if this is your choice… but my opinion on fasts would take a whole separate post). So needless to say I am not actually the BIGGEST fan of those one-size-fits-all cleanses marketed as a healthy alternative for anyone and everyone. I DO recommend working with a dietician, naturopathic doctor, or a qualified nutritionist, if you really want to try a fancy-full-on-cleanse or detoxification program.
HAVING SAID AAAALLLLL THAT, cleansing in and of itself can mean just simply cleaning up your diet, eating cleaner foods, or starting any activity that might have detoxification effects. Cleansing can also be an emotional or mental endeavor, removing negative influences, people or thoughts from your life, or could even involve purging your home of junk and clutter.
Your body on it’s own does a wonderful job of cleansing itself with built in systems that do the work for you! Your skin, your kidneys, your bladder, your liver, your colon, all work in a synergistic way to remove toxins from your body naturally. Assisting your body by treating it well, feeding it well and doing what is within your control to maintain your healthfulness, will effectively support your bodies natural cleansing abilities!
While saying that, here is a list if things that most anyone CAN do or integrate into their diet or lifestyle, that would provide great support to your body (especially if not already a part of your life style)… without having to go on a 30 day long drink-only-carrot-and-spinach-juice “cleanse” (is that actually something? I hope not).
- First up, you guessed it, Lemon water. Not only will consuming more water in general help with flushing out your system, adding lemon to your water not only tastes good BUT also has mild liver cleansing properties (… along WITH a healthy diet, please don’t rely on lemon water to keep your liver running smoothly, it will likely do nothing for you if you’re not treating your liver very nicely**.) Lemons are also a great source of VitC, a known antioxidant, and low in calories. I know, you know. Not exactly a new innovative tip. Cut up a few lemons into slices and store them in bags in your freezer. This is a lovely, easy way to integrate it into your diet, just wake up, throw a frozen pre-cut lemon slice in your water and away you go. It’s also makes for great “ice cubes” on hot days.
- A simple way to “clean” your diet might be including much more fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, some raw nuts + seeds, and lots of water. Integrating more fresh fruits and veggies is also not a new tip but honestly these day I feel like not much is. Most fruits and vegetables have high water content, full of vitamins, digestive supporting enzymes, and minerals (different ones for different ones of course) among other things and are low in calories. Whole grains provide fiber and other nutrients for keeping your colon healthy and obviously your nuts + seeds are packed with healthy fats and other nutrients as well, all while keeping you feeling full and not entirely calorie deficient and miserable. Switching to a diet like this from a few days to weeks at a time, cutting out processed foods and baked goods, lowering dairy products and minimizing fatty animal products, could be a great way to re-evaluate how you eat and just rejuvenate your digestive system. Aaaalllll while still keeping a diet high in fiber and healthy nutrient rich foods. You might even find that you begin to enjoy the diet enough to continue eating this way!
- SNACC Detoxification. Cutting out any one, some, or all of these… added sugar, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and chemicals… can be all someone might need to help cleanse their body. All of these might be the hardest things to quit, but they might also be the simplest means of detoxification. For most of these as well, their will likely be withdrawal symptoms, those being the hardest part of the process. There WILL be an end in sight, we all know this to be a fact, we just need to be strong enough to convince ourselves of this fact in the moment.
- Sweat sweat sweat. As far as our detoxification systems go (liver, bladder, colon, kidneys etc.) I think that the skin is one that is often forgot. Exercise not only does wonders for your mood by enhancing endorphins, and for your body by building muscles, burning fat and working out your heart, it can also make. you. sweat. Which is just yet another way that our very fabulous bodies dispose of toxins.
- Add some things! Cayenne pepper increases fluid elimination and sweat. Garlic lowers blood fats and is a natural mild antibiotic. Ginger root also stimulates sweating and circulation. Licorice root has mild laxative properties. Parsley leaf is a mild diuretic and can assist in flushing the kidneys and there are also things like milk thistle which is a great liver support, or ground flax seed which is very supportive of colon cleansing!
- Take it past food and exercise. Do a techno cleanse and remove yourself from all electronics (including TV) for a few days. Go through your closet, your drawers, your cupboards. Take on the idea of “if you haven’t used it in the past year, you don’t need it”. Put on your favorite music and spring clean! Have a garage sale. Go camping. Meditate and learn to breathe and clear your mind and heart. Find mantras that help you remove negative thoughts from your head. Distance yourself from behavioral influences that you believe are negatively impacting your well-being.
Doing a cleanse does not necessarily mean going on one.
Photos once again from pexels.com
Info references from the text Staying Healthy With Nutrition