Many people think of drinking terrible tasting teas and liquid diets when they hear the words “cleanse” or “detox”. A food-based cleanse is far from that experience. Using everyday foods that may already be stocked in your kitchen, you can cleanse your system without too much fuss or cost.
Cleansing allows your body to eliminate waste and toxins more efficiently and gives your body a break from foods that may contribute to toxic buildup.
Your body already has a natural cleansing process through its digestive, urinary, respiratory and lymphatic system. Even your skin plays a role in eliminating toxins. When you overtax these systems with excessive food intake or the wrong foods like too much sugar, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine, your system will work less effectively. With cleansing, your entire body is a target and through the process the functioning of every organ is improved.
Some benefits you may experience from a cleanse include clearer skin, cleansed organs, weight loss, feeling more relaxed, and heightened energy.
The following are the types foods that you should consume during a cleanse:
- Vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, kale, swiss chard, onions, garlic, beets, ginger, cucumber, leafy greens)
- Nuts and Seeds (flaxseed, hemp, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, etc)
- Fats (olive oil, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, coconut oil)
- Spices (turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, parsley, cinnamon)
- Brown rice
When preparing these foods, be sure to cook them very simply to preserve their most natural state and heightened nutrition. You can add flavor using the spices listed above or using garlic and onions.
What Foods to Avoid
The following is a list of foods you should avoid during the cleanse. The idea is to eliminate all refined and processed foods, starches, and anything high in sugar.
- All refined and simple sugars
- Dried fruit
- Fruit juice
- Wheat based grains
- Anything made with white flour
- Caffeine (limit to 1 cup of coffee if necessary)
- All processed foods
- All dairy
- Red meat
- White potatoes
- Refined fats
- Artificial Sweeteners
Here are a few delicious and simple recipes from Delicious Living magazine to jump start your cleanse:
If this is your first cleanse, here are some important tips to get you started:
- For a great fiber addition: mix 2 tbsp ground flaxseed with 1/4 cup water and let stand for about 5 minutes. Drink this mixture first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
- Besides being a great source of fiber, which will help improve elimination, flaxseed is a potent source of omega 3.
- Drinking water also improves elimination and you should drink half your body weight in ounces per day. For example if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink 65 ounces of water.
- If drinking water on its own is not appealing, then add freshly squeezed lemon juice or 100% cranberry juice (not from concentrate).
- Start your day with 1 cup of hot water and juice from 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon. Drink this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Wait 30 minutes before having anything else. The lemon water acts as a tonic to the liver and stimulates it to produce bile. It also acts as a dissolvent to help the liver flush out toxins, and improves stomach acid levels.
Drink herbal teas to help digestion, liver function – Excellent teas for cleanses are dandelion root, ginger, and peppermint.
Take detox baths – Use a combination of Epsom salts and baking soda in a hot bath and soak for up to 30 minutes (start with only 5 minutes as you may experience dizziness, headache, nausea, etc.). These baths may help your body eliminate through your skin by perspiration.
Rest more – Part of cleansing is resting and slowing down. Exercise at a slower pace. Avoid high intensity workouts. Try a yoga class or a stretching class or a light workout. Try meditation. Above all, get enough sleep. Our bodies are meant to repair during sleep time.
Cleansing your body can be simple and very doable when using a sensible approach, high quality nutritious foods and personal commitment. Give it a try and your system will thank you for it!
Note: If you have specific health concerns, please check with your doctor before you begin a cleanse.