Cleansing is good for you. Period. How drastic does it have to be? Not too! Basically we are talking about giving our bodies and digestive tract a break. Our bodies have a natural ability to address toxins, but today with our compromised environment and food supply we have to pay extra attention.
We either eat too much or not enough of the good stuff. That is a fact. How do we know this? People are getting sick in any number of ways—cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc... and compromised immune systems are on the rise.
Let's get on the same page. Fast and processed foods are NOT food. These are food substitutes that affect our health in the worst ways possible. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but wake up, please.
A cleanse is really about cleaning up our bodies with or without food. Some people require some sort of solid food, others can get through a liquid diet for a few days. What you can or cannot handle is largely due to natural ability and will power. There is no rule.
THE ISSUE & THE FIX
In Asian culture, the focus is on eating balanced meals and being satisfied, not necessarily full. In the west we tend to eat until we drop. The latter is probably not a good idea!
To determine whether or not you've had an adequate amount of food, ask yourself these simple questions.
Do you generally feel good after a meal and still energized? Or do you feel sluggish and sleepy? If energized, you've eaten plenty, get up from the table and go about your day.
If you're constantly feeling sluggish after a meal, chances are you've eaten too much food to the point where your breathing is compromised. Sure there can be other factors, but if this is consistent after eating, you want to seriously start looking into your eating habits and rectifying the situation sooner rather than later. If you don't address it, chances are it will get worse, and in many instances out of control. This goes for both children and adults.
Don't get me wrong, people can be absolutely beautiful whether overweight or not, but allowing excess weight on joints and organs is detrimental to your health.
EAT YOUR VEGETABLES
Put more vegetables on your plate. A diet that is high in fiber will allow you to eliminate more quickly and efficiently. Add to that plenty of water or liquid (excluding alcohol), and you have a formula for success. When you eliminate daily (2 o 3 times), you get rid of toxins.
Is water boring? Vegetable juices and fruit smoothies (minus the dairy and added sugar, honey, or agave), relying solely on the nutrients got from plant-based foods, are excellent alternatives. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for maintaining overall good health. An added bonus is that your skin will glow and maintain good elasticity as you get older too.
AN ANCIENT FORMULA THAT IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY
Consider the ancient formula 1/3 food, 1/3 water, 1/3 air. In Asia, this has been common practice for millennia. What it basically means is that a small amount of food will go a long way, and that some liquid is necessary to turn solids into a "smoothie" (in the stomach), that is easily digestible especially if you have room to breathe, allowing for proper and more effective digestion. Your stomach needs space to work. Imagine if you stuff a blender to the rim and try to run it. You'd burn out the motor. Don't do that to your body. Don't burn out your motor. Give yourself some room for solids and liquids to churn.
ARE YOU A CARNIVORE, VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN?
For carnivores, just switching gears and rearranging their plates to include 70% vegetables, 15% protein and 15% whole grain is a good enough cleanse. It's a gentle enough process that is easily achieved. Switch your proteins between poultry, meat and seafood, and once a day only. In fact throw in some legumes as a protein alternative once or twice weekly, enjoying vegetarian days.
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, don't pat yourself on the back just yet. If your diet is comprised of your favorite protein bars, and organic packaged foods, and high in carbs, you're no more healthy than a person who eats too much meat. Eat your vegetables and fruit and stay away from packaged foods, even those labeled "organic" or "low-fat," which are not what they seem. Fresh is and always will be best.
Let's go a step further. How about fasting once a week? If we are honest, we can all agree that we eat too much, so taking a break every 4 days is not such a bad idea. You'll starve? Hardly. Your body is still digesting plenty of food.
Fasting does not have to be difficult. Make a conscious decision to eat a healthy breakfast on Wednesday and not eat until lunch on Thursday. 24 hours will have passed, you'll have given your body and digestive tract a small break, and will still have had food on both days. Tricks of the trade!
Don't do a liquid cleanse until absolutely necessary. And especially don't do it cold turkey. If you really want to do a liquid cleanse or raw cleanse, it's great. Take a week to prepare eating less each day, the last 3 before the cleanse reducing your food intake by 75%, 50%, and 25%, respectively.
Drink vegetable juices, pure ripe fruit smoothies (no dairy, milks of any kind, sweeteners), and ripe avocados, tea (no dairy, no sweetener), and plenty of water daily for 3, 5, or 7 days. A juicer and or blender will be necessary and well worth the investment. You may do this cleanse 3 or more days. It is loaded with nutrients.
BREAKFAST - 16 ounce fruit smoothie, followed by tea (7 AM)
MID-MORNING - plenty of water
LUNCH - 1 whole avocado, 16 ounce veggie juice, followed by tea (12 PM)
MID-DAY - plenty of water
DINNER - 1 whole avocado, followed by tea (7 PM)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Cleansing is really not about losing weight, though you will. It's inevitable. Cleansing is to address dietary imbalances and to recalibrate in general. The idea is to take notice of the things that need changing. It's a clean slate from which we can develop a healthy lifestyle, which starts with a healthy diet. There is no other way. The foods we eat affect our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
RELAX YOUR MIND & BREATHE DEEPLY
Cleansing is challenging. It can be an emotional roller coaster. Your body is not used to eating so little, even for just a day, so be kind to yourself. Sit still, take a leisurely walk, or practice some gentle yoga. Most of all breathe deeply. It's mind over matter. Before you know it the cleanse will be over. You are in the driver's seat. You decide how many days you want this cleanse to be. This is a very gentle cleanse that you can do at the beginning of each season, 4 times a year.
Eat well and be well...