A cleanse is a period of time where you are actively increasing your nutrition and reducing your exposure to unhealthy foods, beverages and environmental factors where possible. It’s a specialised time to for healing, rejuvenating your health and working on cravings and perhaps shedding any unwanted weight.
Environmentally we are often exposed to chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, petrochemicals, hair dyes, cleaning products, medications, air pollutants, synthetic fragrances, plastics substances such as BPA and phthalates, combined with poor diets which may include processed oils, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives, excess refined carbohydrates, sugar, trans-fats and excess alcohol. Many of these are substances contribute to poor health, fatigue and chronic inflammation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. On average, the CDC’s report found 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine. It is known that many of the detected chemicals can be harmful to human health and capable of contributing to chronic disease and other health concerns.
Natural detoxification is one of the body’s most normal and basic functions. Your liver and kidneys along with your bowel, lymphatic system and skin aid in the process of eliminating chemicals and waste via your sweat, urine and faeces. Detoxification includes neutralising and eliminating waste from the digestion of food, cellular respiration, immune complexes, dead microbes and cells along with the addition of eliminating environmental pollutants.
For these processes to be working optimally you need to reduce any health burdens such as processed foods, environmental factors where possible and alcohol combined with HIGH LEVEL NUTRITION. There are certain plant compounds, vitamins and minerals which are vital for these detoxification processes to work optimally. If you are lacking in these specialised nutrients you will not be able to efficiently support detoxification thus contributing to fatigue and poor health including weight struggles.
We know with some research that certain plant compounds help us to remove certain toxins, for example, coriander and garlic have specialised compounds that reduce the toxicity associated with heavy metal exposure. Sulphur bearing aminos acids found in brassica and onion family vegetables support phase 2 liver detoxification.
Cleanse periods are great jump starts into healthier eating patterns, it is also an educational period where more plant based meals, smoothies and juices are introduced. This periods supports your focus on nutritionally dense meals as well as learning what foods are not so nutritious and enjoying a period of complete avoidance of unhealthy foods.
While completing a liquid only cleanse, your digestive system will be working at a reduced level so the body can enjoy easy assimilated nutrients and focus its energy on cell renewal and other health changes. When you complete a cleanse one of the first positive symptoms experienced will be improved skin appearance and improved energy levels as the nutrients will be replenished in the body and lastly the skin. The skin is the last place that nutrients tend to be delivered so when we saturate our bodies with high levels of anti-oxidants and plant compounds it starts to show up in our skin and our eyes.
Dietary restriction and fasting have been around for thousands of years, particularly for religious and cultural reasons. Traditional cultures all around the world have used fasting and nutritional cleansing as an integral part of a preventative health care. It is also used for inflammatory disease states and poor health. Studies indicate that periods of fasting and calorie restriction have been shown to support healthier and longer lives combined with less disease and aging. Cultures that fast intermittently throughout their lives have healthier longer lives then people who never break from continuous eating.
A cleanse in the initial stages can be difficult but within a few days your cravings will reduce and you will be feeling lighter and more energised. These changes will also support healthier food choices after the cleanse period has finished thus giving you continued benefits.
Holiday seasons are great times to complete a cleanse whether it is before Christmas to help reduce your overall intake of unhealthy foods as your cravings will be reduced and your satiety signals will be more effective or after the new year to help lighten up after consuming too many festive foods and drinks.