It’s the new year, and time to get on track—especially with all the holiday eating, drinking, celebrating, and then inevitable bloat and fatigue that follows. Enter: a clean, whole body cleanse. Summer Sanders, author of Love Your Body, Feed Your Soul, is here to answer all the Qs about how and why you should commit to a cleanse for your health. We recommend Pressed Juicery’s Full Day Juice Fast and a body detox starting now…
If you’re questioning whether you would benefit from a cleanse, the answer is most likely yes. Even if you live a healthy lifestyle and eat clean most of the time, cleansing can be an important tool for longevity, vibrant heath and beauty. Embarking upon a cleanse can significantly reduce inflammation, support detox pathways, increase energy and cognitive function, and will give you a radiant glow. Cleansing can also offer an emotional and spiritual reset. When we cleanse our bodies, we can’t help but to also cleanse our minds, and this is the beautiful benefit of cleanses. If you stick to it, you may find that old ways of thinking, bad habits and negative patterns are easier to notice and let go of, and that living in your truth follows.
Modern living is more toxic than ever before. Our bodies get weighed down (literally) with pesticides from conventionally grown food, processed foods, alcohol, heavy metals, sugar, synthetic hormones from conventional diary and meat, as well as plastics, toxic chemicals in beauty and cleaning products, exhaust from cars and airplane travel, radiation from cell phones, Wi-Fi and long plane rides. Our bodies are constantly attempting to cleanse naturally, but all these factors can keep them from effectively doing their job.
Do I Need A Cleanse? Most Likely, Yes.
Many of these irritants are part of daily living, and it can feel overwhelming knowing they are harmful. If you’re like me, you want to keep living and enjoying your life, having a cocktail here and there, and sometimes eating a piece of chocolate cake. Maybe your favorite lipstick is not from a clean beauty brand and maybe you travel for work—these are some of the reasons cleansing is so valuable and important for long term health, happiness and beauty, in our modern day and age.
“Toxicity goes hand in hand with the buildup of what Eastern traditions call amma and what we simply call mucus. It is responsible for the puffed-up, bloated, heavy or dulled feeling in the body and mind that is so common today,” says Dr. Alejandro Junger, author of Clean.
You can majorly support your body (and mind) by doing quarterly or yearly cleanses. Most everyone can benefit from a cleanse because, as indicated above, we tend to lead lives that include these toxins.
If you experience any of the following symptoms you may want to consider a detox: bloating, acne, eczema, fatigue, bloating, bad breath, constipation or diarrhea, unexplained weight gain, PMS, high emotions for no particular reason, depression and anxiety. All of these symptoms can indicate that your toxicity levels are high and need cleansing.
How To Cleanse + Where To Start
There are many ways to cleanse and detox your body: water fasting (one of the most intense), the Master Cleanse, juicing, blended (smoothie) fasting, raw food, food-based programs, Ayurvedic programs…there are many to choose from. The great thing is you don’t have to dive into a water fast to get the benefits.
Three healthy detox methods that you can do from home are juice cleansing, blended cleansing and food-based cleansing. I personally love juice cleansing and have experienced many benefits from it, such as weight loss, glowing skin, no PMS, high energy levels, mental acuity and overall zest for life.
If you’re ready to start a cleanse now (I hope you are!) here are some important cleansing tips:
DO A PRE-CLEANSE | This means removing all processed foods, caffeine, cigarettes, recreational drugs, sugar, dairy and gluten from your diet. By doing a pre-cleanse, you set your body up for a much more enjoyable cleansing experience. By removing these irritants your body begins to gently cleanse naturally, so when you start your cleanse of choice you’ll be ready to move out the deeper toxins.
GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE “P” WORD | As in poop. Consider doing enemas or colonics throughout your cleanse. This often turns people off, but hear me out: With most cleanses you are eating less, or nothing at all. This means you are not getting much fiber to help push things through. By doing an enema or colonic, you help the body flush out toxins quicker. You’re also providing an “escape” route. If you don’t do colonics or enemas during a cleanse, you run the risk of backing up the system, and leading to possible terrible breakouts, headaches and bloating.
ELIMINATE | Cleansing is all about elimination, and the more you can support your body to eliminate in a healthy way the better. By giving toxins easy “escapes” you can minimize unpleasant detox symptoms. To get the most out of your cleanse, try using these supportive methods: sauna, dry brushing, magnesium soak, baking soda soak, lymphatic massage, colonics (as mentioned), and hot and cold treatments.
COMMIT | As with anything that is challenging, cleansing requires commitment. Make time and space in your life so you can follow through with your cleansing goals and enjoy the benefits.
CONSULT YOUR NATURAL HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL | It’s important to consult your health care professional before starting a cleanse.
The Do’s + Don’ts Of Cleansing
Don’t be too rigid | The best way to make it through a cleanse is by knowing your body and listening to what it needs. If you’re on a juice fast feeling really low and at a breaking point, instead of abandoning the cleanse, try eating some fruit, soaked nuts or simple steamed vegetables. This will not stop your cleanse! It will just slow the symptoms and help you stay on the wagon.
Do consider inviting a friend or family member to detox with you | This is incredibly helpful. You can support each other and hold each other accountable during the challenging moments.
Don’t try to do too much | It’s always best to set aside time for a cleanse when you know you won’t have a busy schedule. Take time for warm baths, reading and healing.
Do try gentle yoga and outdoor walks if you feel up for it | Getting sunshine and fresh air only supports a better cleanse.
Don’t do high intensity workouts | Your body is in a delicate place when detoxing. Give such workouts a break for this time and focus rather on slower movements, such as hatha yoga.
Do break your cleanse with consciousness | In other words: fresh salads, steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, tea and green juice. How you break your cleanse matters! Often people dive right back into having pizza and cocktails and then become sick. It’s important to slowly move back into eating your regular diet so as to not shock your system.
Do make healthy eating + living your priority | When you use some of these healing methods (such as saunas and skin brushing) on a regular basis, the toxin load in your body is minimized. This makes your yearly cleanse easier and more enjoyable, and potentially can add years to your life.
As with anything, the best cleansing advice I can give is to listen to your body. Each of us is unique, so honor that uniqueness and allow your body to guide you. And for even more guidance, check out my book Love Your Body, Feed Your Soul, which features four seasonal cleanses that you can do from home.