Discussions about the efficacy of cleansing have gone back and forth, but truthfully, cleansing practices have been around forever, both for health and spiritual reasons.
Since I always like to put things in perspective and simplify, I’ll give you my humble opinion on the matter: If you eat mostly clean, non-processed food, work out a sweat three or more times a week, don’t smoke, drink very little, don’t often get nasal congestion, don’t have bags under your eyes, have healthy bowel movements at least once a day and, more than anything, feel good and energized – without depending on caffeine and/or sugar that is, – then you might not need to detoxify your body. But if your lifestyle is less than ideal, and you feel constantly tired, then chances are, you will benefit from cleansing.
There are many reasons to cleanse, but the one reason I hope will motivate you is this: you will feel better afterwards, and if you find the way that works best for your body, you’ll feel MUCH better.
Here are five simple cleansing ideas for you to try:
1. The ‘No-Boxed-Food’ cleanse: For three days or longer, eat only non or minimally processed foods. That includes any fruit or vegetable, whole grains – but no bread, pasta, or crackers; beans, nuts, any fresh meat – but no cold cuts – whole eggs, and minimally processed dairy.
Avoid any food that comes in a box (or a bag) that lists more than three ingredients on the label and any ingredient you know is not real food. Liquids would include water, herbal tea and non-pasteurized fruit and/or veggie juices. Do this for three weeks and you’ll be well on your way to a life-changing healthy habit.
2. The brown rice and veggie cleanse: This is a macrobiotic take on cleansing. For three days or longer eat only brown rice and vegetables – raw or cooked. Miso soup two times a day will complement this cleanse nicely. Macrobiotic philosophy emphasizes the importance of chewing thoroughly in any regimen.
3. Liquid cleanse: This cleanse requires more planning and commitment than the two above and is difficult to do on your own. If you are hypoglycemic or need to take medication with food every day, this might not be your best option.
Have only non-pasteurized, fresh fruit smoothies, green smoothies, vegetable juices, vegetable broth, and water for two or three days.
4. Water cleanse: Give your digestive system a little break by having only pure water for a day. As with the liquid cleanse, don’t do this if you are hypoglycemic or take medication with food every day. This cleanse doesn’t require a lot of preparation, but it might bring only minimal improvement if you jump right back to your unhealthy habits.
5. An elimination diet: This is a nice way to tie together all of the above. I recommend doing it over a period of a month or longer.
The first week, you eliminate processed foods, caffeine, and sugar, and in the second week, you gradually eliminate meat, dairy, eggs, grains, beans, and nuts. For a couple of days, you would eat only raw fruit and veggies, and if you feel good and would like to step it up a notch, have a day of fresh smoothies and veggie juice, followed by a day of water, and another day of smoothies and veggie juice.
From then on you should start gradually adding foods back into your diet over the next two weeks or so. It’s called reverse elimination. And, in case you’re wondering, you don’t need to go back to processed foods, caffeine, or sugar.
© 2009 Andrea Ramirez.