With the change of season and the rapid approach of spring, cleanses are becoming more and popular.
Many of us tend to turn towards restrictive diets and cleansing methods such as fasting, juice and soup cleanses, and raw food diets in an attempt to lose the extra weight and regain energy.
However, this is usually a recipe for failure as it's nearly impossible to stick to such restrictive protocols, which usually make you feel cranky and hungry!
Are you hoping there is a better way? Well, there is!
Spring is a great time for cleansing as we welcome a new season and leave behind the heaviness of winter.
This year we encourage you to think of cleansing in a different light; nourishing your body with all of the nutrients it needs to perform its detoxification functions and leaving you feeling energized!
Check out our article below to find out what a gentle cleanse can look like and how it can help you achieve your health goals!
What is cleansing and why is it important?
Cleansing stems from detoxification, which really means your body's ability to process and eliminate toxins from the body. While the body itself creates its own toxins through physiological processes, the reality is we have become much more toxic today than our ancestors. Through the increase of air pollution, contaminated water pathways, commercial farming practices, conventional medicine, and toxic chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis, we really need all the help we can get. This is why it's so important to ensure proper eliminatory function through the bowels, liver, kidney, lungs, lymph and skin, to ensure that we are getting rid of toxins instead of letting them build up inside of our bodies.
Restrictive cleansing methods
Fasting is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and has been used as a detox method to decrease the toxic burden on the body, while releasing stored toxins from the body. Fasting can be a safe and effective method when done correctly. However, in our toxic fast-paced world today, it often times can do more damage than harm. Fasting should be done during a period of rest, allowing the body to reset the system without responding to demanding activities in our everyday life. Fasting should not be attempted during long periods if you are not experienced, and if your lifestyle is not modified accordingly.
Juice cleansing is a great way to receive an abundance of nutrients readily into the body. However, there are certain concerns around juice detoxes:
Higher glycemic: the lack of fibre, fat and protein increases the rate of blood glucose being delivered into the bloodstream, which can be problematic for diabetics or those with unstable blood sugar levels.
Expensive: let's face it, juicing is not cheap! It takes a lot of fruit and veggies to make a juice, whether you make it at home or buy it.
Quality: as you are ingesting the fruits and veggies straight into your bloodstream, it is even more important to ensure that you are buying organic products. The whole point of a detox is to cleanse the body of toxins, therefore we don't want to be ingesting more toxins at a higher rate. Always look for fresh organic, raw and unpasteurized juice!
Increased release of toxins: This may sound like a good thing to you, but if your detoxification pathways are not optimal, you may be flooding your body with more toxins than it can handle, as you release toxins from fat stores. This is why it is so important to make sure that you have healthy bowel and liver function before starting any cleanse.
What to avoid
In order to ensure we are as toxic-free as can be, the first step is reducing our exposure to what is coming in.
But when it comes to your food, what should you avoid during a cleanse?
Caffeine can deplete the body of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, and decrease the absorption of iron and calcium. During detoxification, the body requires additional nutritional support in order to process toxins and waste. This process can become impaired with high and chronic coffee consumption. Coffee is also a nervous system stimulant, increases blood sugar, and can negatively affect digestion.
Up to 95% of alcohol must be metabolized by the liver, which can lead to fat accumulation in the liver and a build-up of toxins due to increased demands. Nutritional deficiencies are also common, as alcohol can deplete vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, D, E, K and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. Many of these nutrients are needed for liver detoxification pathways to be completed.
The problem with sugar is that we have become so accustomed to it in our diet nowadays that we are consuming it in alarming amounts. This is detrimental for many reasons as it can result in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, cravings, yeast overgrowth, pathogens, and mood imbalances. Processed sugars like HFCS and artificial sweeteners are even more problematic as they can damage the liver over time and lead to kidney damage, insulin resistance, and diabetes.
Processed foods contain highly inflammatory ingredients, additives, chemicals, GMOs, and are commonly void of nutrients. Not only do they put an added burden on the liver to process, but they have also been linked to endocrine disruption, cravings, weight gain, diabetes, neurotoxicity, heart disease, and cancers. Check out the dirty dozen list of food additives to avoid at all costs!
What to include
Your body needs a substantial amount of nutrients to ensure phases of detoxification are completed properly. This is why good nutrition is one of the best ways to promote cleansing in the body.
Nutrients needed for detoxification:
Detoxification supporting foods:
Easy ways to cleanse on a daily basis
Start your day with a cup of warm lemon water.
Join a yoga flow class to restore your mind and spirit and reduce inflammation.
Eat organic foods whenever possible.
Drink filtered water.
Eat whole foods and avoid packaged foods.
Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
Practice dry brushing.
Feed your gut bacteria with probiotics and prebiotics.
Get plenty of fresh air and time in nature.
Detox from social media at least once per week.
Get your body moving and sweat once per day.
Minimize red meat consumption.
Increase your water consumption.
Eat your last meal 3 hours before bed.
Eat cruciferous vegetables, brightly coloured fruits, and leafy greens.
Supplements to support cleansing
Fibre: binds onto toxins to promote elimination and faster transit time and supports a healthy microbiome in metabolizing waste and toxins. Include 1-2 tbsps of chia or flax seeds as an addition to a fibre-rich diet of fruits and vegetables.
Multivitamin: a good quality multivitamin is a great way to guarantee that you are providing your body with all of the nutrients mentioned above, that are so critical for the detoxification process.
Antioxidants: these compounds help protect the liver, tissues, and cells from free radical damage created in the detoxification process. As our toxic load increases, so do our need for antioxidants. You can get antioxidants from brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, or through supplement form.
Dandelion root: liver cleanser that helps filter out toxins and promotes digestion by stimulating stomach acid and bile. Enjoy a cup of dandelion root tea as an alternative to coffee!
Curcumin: potent anti-inflammatory that is protective to the liver and boosts glutathione production (master antioxidant in the body), and naturally supports detoxification. Add turmeric root to your meals, make a turmeric latte, or supplement with a potent curcumin product.