Many people take the start of the New Year as an opportunity to do a total body cleanse. Detoxing may sound like a daunting challenge to some, but it is a simple process. The purpose of a yearly body cleanse is to detoxify the body and promote increased energy, prepare for weight loss or just give your liver and digestive tract a good cleaning.
Detoxifying and cleansing the body has been around for over 100 years in our western culture. Detoxification of the human body has been a long-standing practice in Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Many cultures have understood the importance of renewing their bodies either seasonally or annually, and often these methods are firmly tied to traditions and myths that make them ritualistic in these cultures.
In our modern age, we need to think about the types of new toxins we expose our bodies to daily. These include heavy metals, preservatives, drug residue, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides that we come in contact with on a regular basis.
Modern toxins are just one aspect to consider. The other more immediate part of an annual detox is the removal of yeast overgrowth, lingering fecal matter, intestinal parasites, and bacterial and viral contamination, along with excess fats from your liver.
To efficiently experience a detoxifying cleanse, start by temporarily changing how you nourish your body. Here is a simple way to get started.
1. Remove sugar, fried foods, heavy meats and other processed foods from your daily nutrition. Remove these foods from your diet for 21 days.
2. Start your 21-day cleanse window with a mild digestive tract cleaning. There are natural herbal-based products at your local health food stores that work well. The staff at the store can recommend which product may work best for you. If you are someone that doesn’t mind an aggressive cleanse, there are a few good natural products available on the market. If you’re like most people, you will want to stick with a milder digestive cleanse product. Either way, give yourself 24 hours in a comfortable environment to clear your digestive tract.
3. Eat raw fruits, vegetables, and greens such as broccoli, kale, swiss chard, arugula or beet greens. If eating raw is challenging to do for you, lightly steam your veggies. Again for best results, do this nutrition plan for 21-days.
4. Pick five days in the 21-day cleanse period to purge your liver of toxins. The best time to start a liver detox is after you have completed a digestive cleanse. There are a few simple ways to cleanse the liver. First, you can begin using turmeric mixed with water, ginger and lemon. Cayenne pepper with lemon mixed in water is another method. It is the capsaicin in the cayenne pepper that helps with this process. Finally, you can take milk thistle, turmeric, licorice root and other herbal supplements in capsule form. I would caution that some supplements touted as a liver cleanse can be toxic, even dangerous. Please consult with knowledgeable health store staff or your physician if these substances are safe.
5. During the 21-day cleanse process, make an effort to do five micro-fasting days within the 21-day period. Micro-fasting is not eating food from the time you get up until 4:00PM or 5:00PM. Drink plenty of water and you can add a little lemon to your water for taste. Short fasts will give your overall system time to reset from processing food and help your digestive system regroup.
6. During the 21-day cleanse, you need to avoid drinking alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and unnecessary drugs or supplements. This can be a real challenge for people’s lifestyle. Winter months make detoxing somewhat easier since there are fewer social activities during these months.
Finally, during the 21-day detox and cleanse you should maintain an active lifestyle. Get plenty of walking in or keep your exercise program on track while you do your cleanse.
Please keep in mind that many people who have health concerns are not good candidates to do a detox or cleanse. If you have pre-existing health issues, are very unhealthy or you are elderly, you should always check with your primary care doctor or nurse practitioner before starting any dieting, fasting, detox or digestive cleanse.
Judd Jones is a director for The Hagadone Corporation and Certified Health Coach.