Spring is in the air! It is such a wonderful time for renewal and new beginnings! The anticipation of the new season can bring lots of excitement and a sense of wanting to clean out our life. We all know what it is to spring clean our house, our garage and our basement, but what about a spring cleanse for your body? Are you feeling spunky and “ready to roll” this spring or are you feeling tired, lethargic, depressed, bloated and unmotivated?
We understand that maintenance of our car, our house and our personal possessions requires our attention. We change the oil in our car regularly, change the spark plugs and oil filter, flush and fill the radiator and maintain all of the fluids in order for it to run optimally. We put gasoline in the tank, not water, turpentine or olive oil, because we know that is the best choice for the car to run and not ruin the engine. We also make adjustments for the seasons. If something shows up as a malfunction, we address it. We need our car to get places and cannot think of being without it. Your body is no different. It requires your attention, care and healthy choices in order to function optimally and serve you every day as a vehicle of your day-to-day life.
Most people feel a little shy or intimidated by body cleansing. Their first thought is that they will be running to the bathroom and that can make them fearful. This could not be further from the truth because your body is an amazing creation and has an inherent wisdom. It will do what it needs when provided the proper resources and will always default to finding physical harmony, balance and health. When doing a cleanse, we need to understand how to work with the body’s process of cleansing.
I consider cleansing as a continuum. Any step up, or a few steps up from where you are will help your body be in a better place. Take some time to truthfully access and evaluate where you are and what would be an improvement. The point of a cleanse is to reduce the toxic load we take in and lighten the burden on the digestive system while we increase the food, herbs, water, exercise and other factors that give the body the signal to throw out the toxins it might be storing. It is always optimal to do this with some sense of ease and going slowly can be very beneficial. This is especially true if you have been eating a diet high in junk food and processed foods with additives and preservatives or using body products with lots of chemicals.
The body stores toxins in fat cells and will actually produce extra fat cells to store toxins it cannot remove until we take the steps to support their elimination. While a “diet” may not always help with weight loss, a healthy whole foods diet and lifestyle can because it reduces the toxic load on the body. Eating healthy every day by incorporating lots of fruits, vegetables and superfoods can help with establishing and maintaining optimal body weight and positive health and wellbeing. This will allow you to inch your way on the continuum toward a healthy lifestyle. Also addressing factors like stress, lack of sleep, overworking and not resting are important as they can all interfere with the body’s natural processes of detoxification.
When people ask me how to cleanse, I first try to get a feel for where they are in their health journey. There is no exact formula for cleansing. There are as many ways to cleanse as there are people on the planet. It is always best to meet your body where you are, customizing a cleanse that will work for you as an individual, with your lifestyle, your time and level of personal commitment, otherwise, you can set yourself up to feel overwhelmed. If you quit your cleanse and attach a sense of failure to that, then the odds of you trying again are unlikely. Start small and work your way up, making it manageable.
One way to do a simple cleanse is to eat only fresh fruits one day (fruit from Heinen’s Produce Department) and only fresh and lightly-steamed vegetables the next day. Try doing this every week. You can include fresh-pressed juices to this if you like, and be sure to drink plenty of water.
Here are some other simple cleansing tips:
Things to Eliminate
- Alcoholic beverages
- Processed sugars and sugar substitutes, including Stevia
- Condiments, commercial salad dressings, iodized salt
- Caffeine and caffeinated beverages, including tea
- Sugar-laden beverages
- Processed and bleached white flours and/or grains
- Junk food and processed food
- Dairy, including yogurt (it is harder to digest)
- Animal meats, stick to baked or broiled chicken and fish
- Your microwave; use a toaster oven if you need to warm your food
Things to Add or Include
- Make a commitment to cleanse. You need to be “in the game.”
- Clear your schedule to help you stay focused.
- Drink an 8 oz. cup of hot water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon first thing in the morning. (You can “up the game” by putting the entire lemon in a blender. The peel adds 8x more health properties than the juice alone.)
- Eat a diet with a minimum of 50-70% fresh, lightly-steamed vegetables. Eliminated canned and frozen varieties.
- Include low sugar fruits like berries, apples and pears. Avoid bananas.
- Increase your superfood intake, especially greens, spirulina, chlorella and wheatgrass.
- Increase pure water intake. Avoid tap water.
- Use herbal teas or herbal supplements that support detoxification.
- Walk 30 minutes a day and get lots of fresh air.
- Consider using a rebounder to detoxify the cells and get your body circulation and organs going. Start with 3 minutes a day and work your way up.
- Consider dry body brushing to get the lymphatic system going.
- Consider hot Epsom salt /sea salt baths to help you detox through the pores of your skin. (Do dry brushing before getting into the tub.)
- Consider doing oil pulling to help you detox.
- Do lots of deep breathing to oxygenate your body.
- Meditation is a wonderful way to connect with your body during a cleanse.
- Use an infrared sauna to help your body detox.
- Tai chi, yoga or qi-gong are wonderful to get your chi flowing!
- Commit to getting good sleep and rest.
- Make sure you have emotional support. (Others around you may be intimidated or fearful by your commitment to cleanse.)
- Honor the moments when you feel you need to be alone.
- Reward yourself after you complete your cleanse
Start with a 1-3 day cleanse. You can do this once a month or when the seasons change. Take care to break your cleanse SLOWLY. It is ideal to move back to a whole food diet, including the other food groups you eliminated over a period of 2-3 days for every day that you cleanse. Do not break a cleanse with junk food, pizza or fast food or you will defeat the entire purpose of the cleanse. Try to eat clean afterward and work toward committing to a healthier lifestyle. The point is to make this a part of your life, not a temporary fix.
Cleansing is an upgrade from a whole food, natural diet and can be quite effective when done properly because you are working on a cellular level with the body. However, do not look at this as a “quick fix”. There is no silver bullet or shortcut. Cleansing needs to be taken VERY SERIOUSLY. If done improperly, you can do more harm than good. Educate yourself, work with a holistic doctor, trusted program or protocol. Do not trust everything that you read on the internet. Use a proven or prudent resource and a protocol that makes sense and is based on real foods and a healthy lifestyle.
Our Heinen’s Wellness Consultants are here to support your wellness needs. We can help guide and support you while on a cleanse with healthy options, product recommendations and recipes. We can also do an individualized store tour customized to your specific dietary needs. If you need help to get motivated, come see us and we can help. We are here for you!