Cleansing 101

March 21, 2010

Spring cleaning continues with the mind, body, and soul’s body cleaning. This is my favorite one because it really renews your body and how it feels.
Cleansing the body, if you chose to do so, is best done through a short physical cleanse. Ideally, any “cleanse” or detox [way of eating] should be for at least 21 days to facilitate a change in any habits.
Taking a few days to cleanse, purify, detox, and let go of any unhealthy “habits” is essential, but not ideal for everyone.

One year ago this April, I participated in a 21 Raw Food Cleanse facilitated by raw food chef, Elaina Love. It was a wonderful experience and I am grateful to have gone through the process, to have the knowhow of a cleansing process at my fingertips.

The 21 day program had different stages and goals, depending on whether you wanted to go all out and eat 90-100% raw for the whole duration or if you wanted to slowly integrate raw foods and eliminate the process, standard American diet (SAD) foods.
I, along with many others, completed the 21 days of cleansing and decided to extend the cleanse even further. I went for about 3 months 100% raw. I loved the way I felt. And I hope to do the cleanse again this April.
I’d also like to mention that a cleanse, or detox, does not only work on the physical level. It reaches the emotional level by allowing you to reflect on why you choose what you eat, how you eat, and how you feel when you eat. It was scarey starting the cleanse but it was one of the best experiences.

Some of the tips that I learned during the 21 day cleanse are listed below. I encourage everyone to start some sort of cleanse this week, or any week, and see how you feel physically and emotionally. It never hurts to try something new (and maybe challenging).

From the 21 Day Raw Food Purification by Elaina Love and Olga Aura, The Five Essential Principles of Eating:
1. Eat only when hungry. Stop when full.
2. Natural Foods – no processed foods
3. Alive foods with enzymes (life force) still intact
4. Simple foods. Use proper food combining; 1-2 food groups at a time
5. Clean and pure – organic foods with minimal added sugars, salt, and oily dressings

These are key to a cleanse and great to try to incorporate into your own way of eating.

When starting a cleanse there are steps to ensuring the highest level of success and completion. Each cleanse should be a gradual succession to the next cleansing process.There should be an elimination phase, purification phase, and if you wish, a food sensitivity test.
For an elimination phase, common irratant foods may be eliminated, such as coffee, refined sugars, gluten and breads, dairy, and meat. If you are used to consuming these products, eliminating them slowly is usually the best route. When eliminating, keep in mind that “detox” symptoms may (and usually will) occur.

When I cleansed and eliminated, although I did not eat many of the irritant foods, cutting out coffee and meats cause headaches and constipation. These detox symptoms lasted about a week or two but it was amazing to know that these would cause my body to actually be detoxing.

The purification phase is usually done for only a few days and done so by consuming only blended or liquified foods. This is the best way to give your digestive system a break and let it rid itself of all the buildup or backup.

When testing for food sensitivities, done at the end of the cleansing process, adding back in one previously eliminated food at a time, lets your body figure out if it prefers the substance or not.
Maybe you chose to eliminate dairy and when added back into your diet, you still felt just as good as you did without it. This means milk and dairy may work for you. Learning by observing how your body reacts to certain foods is a valuable skill and can help many ailments. This is one great advantage to completing a cleanse.

One last key to cleansing the body is to have a goal in mind. Do you want to “lighten” the way your body feels? Would you like to regulate or give a break to your digestive system? Would you just like to try something challenging?
Whatever the goal is, have one, and keep it within eyesight for the upcoming days of a cleanse. Cleansing is tough and having the goal ready to be read helps.

Just in case you are thinking about starting a cleanse, here are a few meal ideas to get you started.
Let me know if you would like to do a detox period and would like more information. I may just start one this next week myself…

  • Green smoothies with fruit and lots of green leafy vegetables. To these, you may add alkalizing lemon or lime juice, and hemp seeds, flax seeds, sunflower, or sesame.
  • Raw fermented foods such as coconut yogurt, kim chi, sauerkraut, etc.
  • Blended salads- make a salad and blend it. Easy and super tasty.
  • Salads filled with a variety of veggies and tossed with lemon or lime juice and olive oil
  • Steamed quinoa
  • Avocados or homemade guacamole
  • Steamed veggies, fresh raw veggies, and low sugar fruits
  •  Seaweeds
  • Herbal teas

Green juices are an excellent detoxifying meal or drink

Or even (a forgotten) Turmeric Milk. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and super alkalizing.

Turmeric Milk

  • 2 cups almond milk (or other milk sub)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of grated ginger root and cracked pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick or good amount of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp agave, or to taste 

Have you ever embarked on a cleanse or detox session before? If so, how did it work for you? What were your goals? How did you like the cleanse? And did you learn anything about yourself?
If you have not, would you ever consider cleansing?

That’s all for now! Happy Sunday and happy second day of spring. I hope you all have a great rest of your weekend!

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