One of the hardest things about diving into a cleanse is knowing, really knowing, what to do and what not to do. While we may have the basic gist of cleansing before we begin – what to eat, and what not to eat – most of the time the provided perimeters fall short of providing us the guidance needed to succeed. This is because as soon as we embark, situations and circumstances arise that somehow seem to determine whether or not the cleanse is going to be effective, and we find ourselves without a safety net to catch us. Therefore, as a means of being the rudder to your boat, a lighthouse on your journey, we are offering a few pieces of guidance that will help you make your way through a successful cleanse…
10 Things You Should Know On A Cleanse
Do: Talk to your Physician
Although going on a cleanse has a long list of health benefits, make sure a cleanse is suited for your body. Every time a detoxification effect is elicited, toxins are moved out into the bloodstream. This can change the physiological environment of the body. For some conditions, that may pose a risk. Therefore, no matter what the cleanse, make sure to talk to your doctor about its potential implications to your health.
The practice of exercise is not only for shedding pounds but also for promoting key detoxification processes in the body. Exercise stimulates lymphatic flow, blood circulation, respiration and promotes sweating – all of which are essential to the safe movement of toxins in the body. In addition, exercise improves the function of your kidneys, digestive tract, lungs and liver, which are the organ systems responsible for the processing and elimination of toxins released while cleansing. Aim for 30-minutes of light exercise a day – just enough to get the blood flowing, without overly taxing the body. Listen to your body and don’t over-exert yourself.
The sheer process of moving toxins out of the cells, through the blood and lymph, and out through the bowels or urine requires water. Without proper hydration, toxins cannot be eliminated, and may even re-accumulate, causing more harm than good. While cleansing, make sure to drink half your weight in ounces of filtered water daily to ensure a safe and effective cleanse.
The main controllers of detoxifying and removing toxins from the body are dependent on key nutrients in order to function. Without these nutrients, toxins cannot be properly neutralized and expelled and can back up in the body system. Therefore, the proper support of the liver, digestive system and kidneys is essential while cleansing. If any of these three systems are not functioning properly, look for a supplement to support them before beginning a cleanse.
What cleanse are you planning for? Is it effective and safe? Do your research on the juice ingredients, herbs or foods utilized in the cleanse to ensure they are of the highest quality and will meet the kinds of goals you have. Many herbs and food blends sold as supplements can contain toxins such as heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals that can be detrimental to the body. Especially when it comes to herbs, do your research: contact the cleanse company to inquire about their processes and sourcing or consult with a licensed alternative practitioner. (Key words you want to hear are GMP and NSF-certified.)
When the body becomes stressed it uses up nutrients such as vitamin C and B, which are essential to the cleansing process. Without these nutrients the body cannot detoxify properly, leading to not only a less-effective cleanse, but to a potentially health-compromising situation. Therefore, it is key to plan your cleanse during a time when stress can be controlled and when stress-reduction techniques can be employed.
Don't: Stay up late
In Chinese Medicine, the hours between 9 p.m. and midnight are the most important hours for healing and detoxifying. It is during these hours that the body is most efficient at processing toxins, and regenerating tissue, so it is very important to go to bed early while cleansing. Aim to go to bed between 9 and 10 p.m. for a health-supportive night’s sleep.
Don't: Over do it
Not all bodies are ready to cleanse equally. While some people may be ready for a 10-day cleanse, other people may only be able to do a 1-day cleanse. This all depends on your state of health, your history of drug, alcohol and medication use, your elimination functions and your degree of toxic exposure. Therefore, it is best to start slow with a short cleanse to see how you do before you dive into a long, more advanced cleanse. Based on how you feel, you can then decide how to proceed with your next cleanse program.
While it may seem obvious that you should not indulge in toxic foods and lifestyle practices while cleansing, it is also important to practice abstinence both before and after the cleanse. The times around your cleanse are just as important as the time on your cleanse, because this time period also influences how effectively the body can move toxins. Therefore, eliminate all processed and fried foods, refined flour and sugar, soda and alcohol three days before and after your cleanse.
It is important not to underestimate the power of a cleanse. Cleansing the body is not just a simple way to lose weight or to make up for weekend binges and bad eating habits over the holidays. A cleanse has very real effects on the functioning of the body, and therefore should not be taken lightly. During the cleansing process, it is not uncommon for symptoms of these changes to arise such as fatigue, foggy brain, anxiety and sadness. These are all normal reactions to an extended cleansing and healing process, but you should be prepared for them. Be sure to plan your cleanse during a time you can dedicate to yourself, rather than simply running your life as normal. Spend extra time relaxing, sleeping, meditating and nurturing your body, in order to provide the opportunity for true healing and revitalization.