We’ve all heard it, the new cool thing to do right? “Yeah, I can’t eat that, I’m cleansing” or “I feel so light and clear while I cleanse…” It is kind of hard not to giggle because anyone that has ever done a good cleanse knows it’s a lot of work, it makes you tired and irritable and it’s not usually something you go brag to your friends about. Probably on the level your annual colonoscopy, it’s just a good thing to do to keep your body working optimally.
So what does a real cleanse look like? Spring cleansing isn’t just about food. The concept of rebirth during the spring isn't simply a religious or seasonal metaphor. Spring is the perfect time to recreate ourselves and blossom into the beautiful potential we envision for our lives.
Everything that happens in your outer life begins with your internal choices or lack thereof. When you are clear about who you want to be and how you wish to live your life, then your choices and actions become as easy and natural as a spring breeze.
Gaining that internal clarity first requires the awareness that it's necessary. It requires you to step back, breathe deeply, and make the conscious decision to activate your own metamorphosis.
Step one, this is the universal number one thing that makes a cleanse work well – drink tons of water. You want to clear you body and mind? Water is the only way for your system to truly flush toxins. We can loosen them with herbs and enemas but we can’t clear waste from our bodies without water.
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water:
- Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
- Keeps your temperature normal
- Lubricates and cushions joints
- Protects sensitive tissues
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
During a cleanse, you can safely increase that amount by about 20%. 18 cups a day and 14 cups for women.
The next most important thing – removing everything that is not serving your body clear itself out. This means all:
· processed foods, oils, etc
· allergens promoters – wheat, dairy, eggs, etc
· all sugars – including natural fruit sugar
· all meat including fish
So what does that leave? A lot of vegetables. There is ample science that tells us about plant based diets and their effects on the human body. Most of us may think we eat a lot of veggies, but often times, we end up filling our plates with many other things besides.
This doesn’t mean that meat, dairy and eggs aren’t good for you because they are, it just means during a cleanse, we allow our bodies to take a break and rely mostly on very bitter and astringent flavors (fiber) in our food to clear out our bodies. Just like the snow melting in the spring, we need a spring cleanse because it allows our bodies to “melt” away at the impurities we have evoked on it.
The next most important part of a cleanse is to simplify. This means keeping the same crazy busy routine and the same intense relational interactions are not going to get you the benefits of a cleanse just because you’re eating salad and sprouts. Sweep out extraneous distractions, projects, and tasks that drain your brain energy. Prioritize just a few main goals for each day and allow yourself the time to focus on them deeply and thoroughly without being mentally or physically pulled in different directions. A cleanse is as much about clearing your mind and your heart as it is about clearing your body. The only way to do that is to dive within and spend some time with yourself and your thoughts. It is amazing what we can process and clear when we allow the time and space for that to happen. Whether it be meditation, a long easy hike, journaling, our bodies need the break, so do our hearts.
So how long does this all take? Well, it depends on the person, the amount of toxins and your state of mind. Each person is unique, there is no one size fits all. If you don’t know how to answer these questions, it’s time to visit a natural medicine doctor. There are many types including Ayurvedic Doctors, Chinese Medicine Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors, etc. They have been trained in both the science of nature as well as the art of medicine. Most natural medicine docs will give you a specific treatment outline and help you discover where you need to focus your energy in your body and how to effectively create a powerful cleanse tailored specifically for you.