To cleanse or not to cleanse?
I used to question why we should cleanse or detox. Don't we have this amazing body with organs dedicated to the cause? The fact is in this day and age, in most of us, these organs are working extremely hard, trying to digest, absorb and eliminate particles that aren't fully digested or are foreign to our bodies. These undigested or foreign particles can build up in our organs preventing or reducing their function and can make us less energetic, more anxious, or generally more susceptible to illness etc...
For me personally, after doing the Colorado Cleanse earlier in the year, I'm not into a full-on restrictive detox. Our bodies will detox well when fed good food, aided with a few tricks, so here they are (& there are bound to be more), this is a good start:
1. Get plenty of sleep with an early and smaller evening meal: our bodies detox through the night and work better if not having to digest too much.
2. Alkalise: foods like meat, sugar, caffeine, wheat, processed foods are very acidic - try eliminating some of these during a cleanse. All fruit and vegetables are alkalising, especially try liver cleansing foods like beetroot and milkthistle. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are very alkalising. Lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning is a great way to alkalise.
3. Go greener: Greens are such an important part of our daily diet, and particularly if you're cleansing. Kale, chard, spinach, brocolli, celery, and herbs like coriander and basil, whatever you can find in your garden or that's local and in season.
4. Enjoy ginger: I love this plant! enjoy it raw or which way you prefer. Inlcude other great digestives like turmeric and cayenne pepper, also very alkalising. (Enjoy it while there's still some local ginger available).
5. 3 meals a day: by eating 3 times a day, it helps burn off the food you eat and if weight is an issue you can start to burn through it.
6. Organic: if we're trying to 'lighten the load' on our organs, it's a good idea to reduce exposure to chemicals and toxins where you can.
7. Chlorella: This gets a special mention due to all it's medicinal properties. Chlorella is a green algae with a high protein content and also rich in betacarotene, B complex vitamins, zinc and iron. It's also high in nucleic acids, responsible for growth and repair of tissue. It helps cleanse the blood stream, liver and kidneys. It can promote the production of gut flora and is very alkalising.
8. Move: while cleansing it's a good idea to exercise, do yoga, or get a massage - whatever suits you best. As toxins are released it's important to keep your body moving to assist their elimination.
9. Water: Drink lots of it, it will help flush out toxins as they're released. Or try sipping warm water every ten minutes through the day. This is an ayurvedic remedy that helps flush out the lymphatic system.
10. Time: Spring and Autumn are particularly good times of the year for cleansing. Whenever you decide to cleanse, the important thing is to have time to nurture your body and thereby support your immune system eg good sleep and having time to take it a bit slower... school holidays might work well for some! 3 days may be enough while 7 may work better for others. Listen to your body and do what works best for you.
At the end of the day - enjoy beautiful nutrient rich wholefoods and you won't go wrong.
When you're green inside, you're clean inside' -
(This post was first published in October, 2011)