To Cleanse or not to Cleanse

It’s that time of year – the seasons are changing, the weather’s getting warmer and we’re all feeling a little more optimistic and “lighter”.  Season changes are always the best time to reset any stagnant habits that aren’t serving you well, which is often the reason why many people choose to do a cleanse.  But there is a very clear difference between what a cleanse is and isn’t and if it’s a good option for you or not. 

I’m not a big fan of restrictive cleanses that send you home with a bag full of laxatives for two weeks.  Nor am I a supporter of fasting or juice cleanses for the general population (these types of dietary modifications should be used for clinical purposes only and should be closely monitored by a qualified health care professional if they are necessary for treatment of very specific conditions).

So what’s my idea of a cleanse?  One that isn’t restricting or leaves you feeling deprived for starters.  Cleansing should be mental, emotional and physical and help build you up instead of knock you down.  Here are a few of my “reset” tips that I recommend following for 10-14 days:

  • Skip the packaged, processed foods and make your own.  This is simple to do and can help you save a few extra bucks.  Protein and granola bars are the worst offenders here and thankfully there are a ton of healthy, clean DIY bar recipes out there to choose from.
  • Limit your sugar intake to <25g/day.  Natural sugars, including fruit should be the sources you use.
  • Cut down on caffeine.  An overload of caffeine can cause quite the burden on our bodies.  Either completely eliminate coffee or switch over to an organic green tea.
  • Eliminate alcohol completely for 10-14 days.  Just trust me on this one.
  •  Pump up veggie and fresh produce intake, particularly bitter greens.  Arugula is a great option for this, as those bitter greens help gently stimulate liver function.
  • Drink plenty of water – as in half your body weight in ounces daily.
  •  Invest in a dry brush.  Dry brushing supports lymphatic drainage, which helps clear out toxic build-up in our bodies.  Start from your extremities and work towards you heart in a gentle, circular motion.
  • Start a moderate exercise routine.  I am a huge fan of yoga and recommend trying out a studio.  Shanti yoga is one of my favourite yoga studios in the HRM and they’re definitely worth taking some classes with.  They cater to all levels, from beginner to advanced practices.
  • Get outside for a walk.  More sun + physical activity = a happier you.  There’s even published studies on the health benefits of walking outdoors for longevity as well as improving mental health.
  • Make sleep a priority.  Your brain’s natural detox centre is only active while you’re sleeping.  All the more reason to get that rest you so require so you can better function during the day.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a great start for resetting old, unproductive habits, improving your outlook and is a reminder to make self-care a priority.  Exactly all the things that a cleanse actually should be.