Friday, April 1, 2011

Properly Start Your Cleansing Journey

This article will also be available on the Total Cleanse website
Properly Start Your Cleansing Journey
Sarah Reid, RHNC
If you’ve ever had the benefit of undertaking an intensive detox program, you know it is no walk in the park. Designed to clear the body of what can be years of putrefying waste and “re-set” the systems, a properly executed cleanse program will force the body to rely on it’s own ability to recuperate and repair while supporting the vital excretion systems (liver, colon, kidneys, lungs and skin) with vital nutrients for their function.  A juice cleanse is the most intensive program that can safely be implemented – allowing the systems to rest (especially the liver and colon) while providing concentrated liquids, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Juice-based approaches to detoxification should not be confused with juice fasting, which has no concern for the nutritional needs of the body. Well-designed cleanses strive to meet the caloric requirements of their users, and though weight loss is common on these protocols it is mostly due to the removal of toxic waste products (especially from the colon, which can contain over 20 pounds of it). Though not designed as an intestinal detox, juicing promotes the overall health of the gastrointestinal tract, and the abundant water consumed helps in elimination as well.
Whether you’re planning your first or fifth detox program, it is vital to adequately prepare your body and mind for the experience. Cold-turkey, all-or-nothing programs sets the stage for frustration and ultimately, failure. Though juice-detox procedures can be carried out any time of the year, most first-time participants (and many veterans) agree that late Spring to mid-Summer is ideal. Not only do these seasons have better-quality, more local fruits and vegetables available (at a better price), but the warm climate helps fight against a common symptom of detoxification – feeling cold.
Ideally, the preparation period for any juice cleanse lasts anywhere from 7-10 days and allows the body to adjust to both less food and less overall protein. The elimination of common toxifying substances should be the first element on the agenda. These include any and all drugs (including alcohol, nicotine and caffeine), processed foods (including refined grains and sugars), any dairy products and any meat (excluding fish). Next to be eliminated should be natural sweeteners, eggs, fish, shellfish and yeasted products, followed by starchy vegetables and fruits (such as potato and banana),nightshade vegetables (such as tomatoes and eggplant) gluten-containing grains and all pasta, shell beans and high-fat fruits such as avocado and coconut (flesh and milk). Finally, eliminating any grains or nuts and reducing the amount of “solid food” in the total diet allows the body to prepare for 3-5 days of fluid-only nutrition. An ideal “last meal” before a cleanse is a bowl of low-sodium broth or twice-diluted brothy soup (without previously eliminated foods) with raw or lightly steamed greens dressed with lemon juice and a small, home-made fruit smoothie made with fresh juices, fruit and (if desired) coconut water. Coconut water is the liquid found inside the coconut fruit and is not the same as coconut milk. As you decrease your variety of food, increasing water and fresh vegetable consumption becomes ever more important, and should be greatly encouraged.
When the body is properly “trained” to accept a restricted diet, even a short-term one, it is more receptive to the available nutrients it is being provided with and less reluctant to cling to the degeneration-causing compounds in the cells. Though they seem like a daunting task to many, juice cleanses are completely possible, completely wholesome starts to a healthier lifestyle.

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About Me

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I started my "working life" as a holistic and allopathic nutritional consultant with a love of cooking. Teaching the value of wholesome meal choices to families became close to my heart after I battled a long history of struggles with weight and health, and the passion for teaching led me into where I am now. My blog, which focuses on "bringing good taste to healthier food" through creative use of whole grains, fresh produce and acknowledging the importance of the occasional treat, also features a wealth of "specialty diet" friendly recipes for gluten-, egg-, dairy- and sugar- tree nut-free items that everyone can enjoy without alienating those who need them.

Overall, I want to bring back the desire for good quality, homemade, (mostly) healthy food into the hearts and kitchens of families so that the next generation will be less box-reliant than mine. I firmly believe that any “homemade” food, even when labelled as "naughty", is a more wholesome treat than pre-packaged, cookie-cutter junk. With the knowledge of good food (and how to cook good food) as a base, a healthy lifestyle can follow, and then anything is possible!