The arrival of spring symbolizes new beginnings. Plants and animals awaken from the winter months, our earth becomes more vibrant, and it is an opportunity for us to plant new seeds of our own, clear out emotional, mental and physical clutter. Many are looking for a fresh start in some way, so why not let our earth support you and change with you. I will not downplay the common realization that when springs arrives, we tend to think of summer and swimsuit season. We often step up our yoga and exercise routine, and many want to participate in a spring-cleaning for the body.
Cleansing or detoxing has a lot of buzz in the wellness and natural health industry these days, and there are many misconceptions of what a detox actually is. I have put together some information as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and someone who has had both positive and negative experiences doing a spring cleanse.
Cleansing does not mean you have to do a juice fast or eat rabbit food for a month. In some cases a detox program can be more harmful to an individual than beneficial if done improperly, or without the correct intention and motivation. If you have never done a cleanse program before, I recommend starting with a gentle protocol that is food-based. It is important to be educated about what a detox protocol entails, the possible side effects and symptoms you can experience, and understand the fundamental nutrition our body and mind need to flourish.
I have experienced negative side effects from a cleanse program, because I did not listen to my body or eat in a manner that nourished my body and mind. I simply followed the protocol and I didn’t know the severity of existing food sensitivities. We are all biochemically unique, thus I recommend finding a detox program that can be personalized for your needs and goals.
Get Educated! Here are some FAQs …
What does it mean to Detox or Cleanse?
Detoxing or Cleansing is the process of clearing toxins from the body, mind and spirit, neutralizing and transforming toxins in preparation for elimination, and clearing excess mucus and congestion in the body.
What Are Toxins?
Toxins are anything potentially harmful to the body. External toxins are things like drugs, environmental exposures, and often, food choices. Internal toxins are things like oxidized fats, free radicals, and other irritating molecules in the body.
What Are Symptoms of Toxicity?
Some examples of toxicity are recurring headaches, fatigue, mucus problems, aches and pains, digestive problems, excess weight, allergy symptoms, sensitivity to environmental agents like chemicals, perfumes and synthetics, acne and other skin conditions.
Clear and remove toxins from our bodies
Increase health, vitality, rejuvenate the body
Overcome illness and prevent future health problems
Rest or heal the digestive system
Lose excess weight (not the primary purpose, but can be a nice side effect)
Help re-evaluate our lives, make changes, or clear mental and emotional toxins
Achieve bodily homeostasis
Help clear skin
Slow the aging process
Improve flexibility and / or athletic performance
Increase energy levels and productivity
Why 3 Weeks or More? Why Not a Week or Less?
It is important to release toxins slowly so your body can keep up with elimination and to avoid overloading the liver. Releasing toxins too quickly can make you sick and stress detoxification processes, creating unpleasant symptoms. There should be an ease in and ease out of any program for the safety of your body.
What Should I Expect When Detoxing?
Very common is withdrawal-type symptoms often from coffee and sugar! The first 1-3 days one may experience side affects such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, light-headedness, or other symptoms similar to toxicity listed above. These symptoms are normal and should pass. If persist more than few days, discontinue cleanse and see health care practitioner. You may experience very loose bowel movements, so for the first few days of a detox program, plan to have a more relaxed schedule. Towards the end of detox you may feel more energetic, light, rejuvenated, and enlightened.
Are There Any Dangers and / or Contraindications of Detoxification?
Yes there are possible risks with nutritional programs, even just a food-only cleanse.
Drug detoxification, for instance, should be done with careful management of the detox process with an experienced practitioner.
Excess cleansing should be avoided as nutrient deficiencies can result. Releasing too much toxicity can make people sicker.
One should avoid any sort of fasting just before surgery and wait 4-6 weeks after surgery, and follow medical or/and naturopathic doctor recommendations.
Do NOT cleanse while pregnant or breast-feeding
Cancer patients should only cleanse under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner
If you have a debilitating disease, or diagnosed condition such as diabetes, an eating disorder, hyperglycemia, underweight, or are taking any medications, do not undergo any type of detoxification without proper consultation with a qualified health practitioner
If you know that certain foods bother you, consider investing in food sensitivity and allergy tests. I had a food sensitivity I was not aware of when I did a detox program once, unintentionally ate that food consistently during the cleanse, experienced negative side effects, and had to discontinue cleansing as a result.
Isn’t Juice Cleansing the Easiest and Best Way To Get the Best Results?
Not necessarily. Juicing can be very beneficial, but like anything, can also be harmful as well, again, if done improperly or without the correct intention and motivation. Fresh juice is loaded with micronutrients, which as vitamins and minerals. But our body needs both macro and micronutrients to flourish. Macronutrients are protein, lipids, and carbohydrates. I personally am a very active person so I have never done a strict juice fast. I have done a 3-day juice cleanse, with light amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, because that was most beneficial for my body. Not only are we all biochemically unique, but also we have varying lifestyles, which is why I recommend consulting with a holistic nutritionist and / or health care professional such as a naturopath to discuss what would be best for your body for optimal results.
Where Do I Start?
Ask yourself: why do I want to do detox or cleanse?
What is your intention and motivation?
Have a check in with your ND or MD, especially if you have any health concerns or diagnosed conditions.
Plan ahead for a cleanse program, including your regular activities and upcoming events.
Surround yourself with supportive people! Invite friends and family to join!
Laura is a Southern California girl living in Calgary, Canada as a Yoga Instructor and Holistic Nutritionist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher with 300 Hours of Teacher Training. Her company, BendBalance, is focused on educating and empowering the community to make conscious choices to live an overall healthier, happier, and more balanced life. Nourish. Sweat. Soul.
Check out her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/bendbalance/ ... Website coming soon!