With the changing of seasons just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to plan your fall cleanse. As the trees get ready to let go of their leaves, your body is also naturally in a place to let go of things it doesn’t need for the winter.
Cleanses are also a great opportunity to step out of being super busy and take some precious quiet time to rest and heal. And, there’s no better time to fit this in than right between an active summer and a busy holiday season in December!
In general, I recommend doing 2 cleanses each year. One cleanse in the fall and one in the spring.
1) Move Out Toxins
The simplest way to think of a cleanse is that it’s about giving your body a break from garbage coming IN, so that it can catch up on putting the garbage OUT.
Each day we’re exposed to chemicals in the environment through our food and in the air. These include PCBs, phthalates, pesticides and heavy metals, among others. These can have a massive effect on your ability to think, your hormonal balance, your energy, ability to lose weight and overall feel like your brilliant yourself. Our bodies are built to move these chemicals out, but if it’s too much too fast, it has a hard time keeping up.
When too much garbage is coming in, the last thing your body wants is toxic chemicals in the bloodstream where it can damage your brain or other sensitive organs. To protect itself, your body stores toxins in fat cells. Yes, your fat cells! On a cleanse, your body has a chance to pull stored toxins out of your fat cells and gets to get rid of them once and for all.
2) Restore Your Digestive Health
Generally, going on a cleanse means moving onto a simpler diet. When I work with clients, I’ll often recommend avoiding the top 10 food allergens as part of the cleanse. This reduces inflammation and opens a window for the sensitive tissues lining your gut to heal.
A cleanse also helps restore healthy gut flora. Sugar is a major food source for unhealthy bacteria and yeast. When you avoid it consistently for a period of time, you starve them out, which makes more room for the good guys to re-populate the area.
What A Cleanse Is NOT
The idea that a cleanse will help get rid of things that are stored up or “stuck in your digestive tract isn’t true. If you’re constipated and the cleanse has high doses of laxatives, it will no doubt help move things out. But, the tube that runs from your mouth all the way to the other end is smooth.
If you run your tongue along the inside of your cheek you’ll get an idea of what it feels like the whole way through. Silky! Unless you have diverticulosis, an uncommon condition where small pockets develop along the sides of your intestines, there are no nooks or crannies for things to hide away in or get stuck on along the way.
Elements of Healthy Cleanse
There are a million detoxes, fasts and cleanses out there and it’s really hard to know which one to choose. Overall, I don’t think that there is one “best” cleanse, or the “right” way to cleanse. That being said, I think a good cleanse incorporates some key principles:
1) It Gives You A Chance To Learn About Foods And Eating Habits You Can Use In Your Everyday Life
Juice fasts and restrictive cleanses are popular, but I generally don’t recommend them because there is no take-away benefit after you finish. Instead, I like to recommend cleanses that include whole foods like brown rice, vegetables, and clean proteins so that you can practice meal planning & cooking these great foods.
With each cleanse I do, I find my eating habits in general gently shift closer to an ideal diet. Valuable stuff!
2) It Provides Enough Food For You
This is somewhat related to the first point. There is no need to starve yourself on a cleanse. Eating a super clean diet with enough calories is usually enough to spark off your body’s innate response to clear out the clutter.
Also, when you limit calories excessively, your body can switch into a “storage” mode. Instead of letting go of fat, it can slow your metabolism down and hold onto it for survival.
Some cleanses start with a day or two of water fasting before moving into a clean diet for a week or longer. The fasting part is called “physiological rest”. I think this is a good option to consider and a more balanced approach to fasting.
3) It Doesn’t Rely On Laxatives As The Main “Cleansing” Element
A lot of pre-packaged cleanses load up on laxatives as a safety measure. If you are constipated (i.e. not going to the bathroom each day) a cleanse is the last thing you want to do. It can actually be dangerous since the cleanse can release really high levels of toxins in your bloodstream and without daily bowel movement there’s no way for your body to get rid of them. Your best and most effective first step is to get support to establish daily bowel movements without laxatives. This alone will be an amazing cleanse since your body will be getting rid of what it doesn’t want more effectively.
If you have daily bowel movements, you might find cleanses packed with laxatives send you running to the bathroom so much that you end up not enjoying the experience and maybe even ending up a little dehydrated.
Laxative herbs include senna, aloe, cascara, and rhubarb. Instead, the most important herbs in a cleanse are those that help your liver do it’s job in processing and packaging toxins, while also protecting it from free radical damage. These include milk thistle, dandelion, greater celandine and turmeric. A good cleanse also incorporates nutrients and herbs that help build a healthy gut lining and flora.
The Cleanses I Recommend
I have a few different cleanses that I recommend to clients depending on what their body needs and their interest. They usually run from 10 days to 3 weeks in length and all of them include whole foods. I also hand select herbs and nutrients that fit with each of my clients’ body’s needs.
As a valuable member of my community, I’d like to share one of the cleanses I use with you. It’s called the “12 Day Gentle Cleanse” and you can find it here. It will be available online for ONE week. Have fun with it and remember, don’t do it if you’re constipated AND there’s never a perfect time to cleanse, just pick the date and it will all come together!
If you’d like to explore cleansing on a deeper level and get extra support in preparing for and going through a cleanse, I’ll be back in January and would be thrilled to help you. And the best part about connecting in January is that it gives us a few months to address your specific health concerns and build nutritional foundations to prepare you for a powerful Spring Cleanse!
If you’re interested in booking a complimentary chance to connect one-on-one with me, please email Brenda, my Client Care Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, if you dive right into the Gentle Cleanse this fall, please send me a note and share your experience. I look forward to hearing from you!
All the best,