Cleansing isn’t about depriving your body of food or nutrients — instead, it is a chance to retrain your palate to acquire a taste for whole foods in their natural state. I strongly believe that eating wholesome, cleansing foods in order to bring your body to an alkaline state will balance your body in a way that will be beneficial for your entire life.
Approaching a cleanse in a healthy way can help you to re-establish a baseline and allow your cells and organs to function at their optimum potential. Cleansing also helps you introduce healthy, organic, and fresh foods to your diet, giving your digestive system a break while purifying your blood.
It is safe to do a one or two day juice fast, if you feel up to it, but it is not necessary. Cleansing is about eating fresh whole foods as the basis of all your meals: eating more salads, drinking more smoothies, and drinking lots of fresh water throughout the day. At the very least, start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon juice to get the process going — this is the easiest and best thing you can do to start your cleanse today!
Why you need to cleanse and detox
1. Detoxification is a normal process, where your body neutralizes and eliminates toxins through its major organs such as the colon, liver, kidney, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin — our bodies do this every day! But our self-cleansing system can get overloaded by our unhealthy lifestyles and exposure to environmental toxins, and sometimes it can use a little help.
2. There are many factors that contribute to toxicity in the body: processed, packaged foods; outdoor pollution and smog; pollution and harmful chemicals in the home, including in some shampoo, makeup, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, detergents, etc. Most of us come into contact with many of these factors every day.
3. We have limited control over the environment that we are exposed to; however, we have total control over the food we eat and the products we use on our body and in our homes.
4. We are exposed to too many harmful chemicals, through our diet (animal protein, saturated fat, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar) and through the environment. Even if your diet is good, a cleanse can restore your immune system and protect against environmental toxins that pave the way for disease-bearing bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Signs and symptoms of toxicity
Here are some of the signs that a cleanse may be beneficial to your health:
- Cravings for sugar, salt, starches, bread
- Bloating and a gaseous, distended stomach or lower abdomen
- Headaches, stomach aches
- Lethargy, fatigue
- Dry skin and hair, eczema
- Constipation, diarrhea (overall irregularity)
- Mood swings
- Lack of concentration
- Weakened immunity
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
How to detox your body with a cleanse
You can detox for as little as three days or up to a week. Here are some of the benefits:
- Eliminate stored waste (you may even lose weight!)
- Improved vitality and energy levels right away
- Improved circulation through purifying the liver, kidney, blood
- Enhanced mental clarity
- A more regular heartbeat and immune functioning
What needs to be eliminated for maximum results:
- Bleached and refined flours
- Refined sugars (high-fructose corn syrup)
- Table salt
- Trans fats and refined oils (processed corn, canola, sunflower)
- Meats treated with hormones or antibiotics, farmed fish
- Foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides
- Genetically modified foods and oils
- Dairy products
- Additives and preservatives (nitrates, sulfites, flavourings, and colourings)
- Fast foods, fried foods
- Sodas, juices with added sugar
- Tap water
- Coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol
I hope this gave you some tips on how you can get ready to start the new year on a healthier, cleaner foot. Here is a simple recipe to get you started!
1 cup purified water
1 cup spinach or arugula
½ clove garlic
½ cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup sprouts (sunflower)
½ large avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
¼ cup fresh herbs
2 pinches of Himalayan or sea salt
fresh lemon juice
1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend for 30 seconds. Be careful not to over blend.
Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy is stemmed around whole foods. She is dedicated to providing balanced lifestyle choices through natural foods. Using passion and experience, she strives to educate individuals on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious.