Cleanses and detox programs are everywhere. How To Chow even has a few! You can do a master cleanse, a smoothie cleanse, a raw food cleanse, a cooked food cleanse… Whew! How do you know what to choose?
The truth is, a cleanse can be just about anything you want it to be. What do you overdose on? Sugar? Alcohol? Dairy? Negative thinking?
The body likes to be in balance and when we overdo it on any one thing, the body gets out of whack. Since it can’t talk to you in words, it sends you message like fatigue, anxiety, pain and changes in digestion and appearance. A cleanse is simply removing something from your diet (or your behavior) for a period of time to allow the body to reset and for your health to be restored.
The extreme cleanses are the ones you tend to hear about a lot. But you can do gentle, healing cleanses throughout the year and enjoy amazing health benefits. For example, if you have been on vacation and indulged in copious amounts of rich food and alcohol, then you might want to cleanse a bit when you return. Spend the week (or month) afterwards avoiding alcohol, unhealthy fats and refined sugars (chips, desserts, etc). Focus instead on fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins and water. This is a gentle cleanse that will have you feeling better in no time. Summer is a perfect time to include more raw foods since they are in season and the weather is warm. Raw foods help detoxify and hydrate the body. So put away the soups and casseroles and do a raw food cleanse for a week or so enjoying lots of fresh, raw, ripe fruits and vegetables.
You might even do a cleanse for your mind – instead of focusing on all the negative feelings you have about your body, focus instead only on what you love about your body and how grateful you are for it. Treat it with love, feed it healthy foods that make it look and feel great, and exercise it in ways that feel good to it. A week of this will transform your body (and your mind).