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June 15, 2017
Spring and summer are great times to do a light cleanse. The temperature is warm and we tend to opt for lighter foods naturally, which can make the whole process just a little bit easier. While cleansing—whether through a change in diet, a green juice fast, or other method—it's important to keep in mind that it’s not only what goes into our bodies that matters. In my practice as a nutritionist I see many patients who only consider the type of foods they should stop consuming. But when you undergo a cleanse, excess toxins get released into the bloodstream and the colon, so we should really be concerned with how they get out. Because of this, we want to support the body's ability to remove these toxins quickly and effectively by activating the four elimination systems:
Whenever my patients go on a cleanse, I often recommend a few of the following tips to support healthy and timely elimination. Each one is either routed in traditional medicine, backed by current research, or is knowledge that I've gathered through clinical experience:
Taking chlorella or spirulina tablets can help maintain a stable metabolism while you're running off a reduced number of calories. They will also support the detoxification process of heavy metals.
Taking metabolic enzymes can assist with the breakdown of waste matter and help expel cellular waste. These enzymes help the body detox by breaking down toxic substances so they can be excreted.
None of the first three options sounds appealing? You can also activate all the organs of elimination by breaking a sweat with some form of exercise that you enjoy for 15 to 20 minutes every day.
Wild herbs and "weeds" like dandelion or lamb's quarter are great to include on a cleanse whenever possible. They act as natural tonics to support healthy detoxification.
Don't forget about your water! I recommend drinking filtered, slightly alkaline water. It plays such a major role in our bodies—we might as well invest in good, clean, healing H2O.
When cleansing it's a good idea to avoid nightshades—which include brightly colored veggies like eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes—to elude any allergies and inflammation they might cause.
Eat bitter foods to purge the liver naturally; these include greens like dandelion, arugula, and escarole.
I don't discourage eating a variety of foods on a detox, but I do suggest eating an acid or enzymatically rich fruit after dinner to promote healthy digestion—like pineapple.
During your cleanse, remember to eat seasonally and locally to get the highest amount of minerals from your food, which activates enzymatic processes in the body.
Take advantage of Chinese medicinal mushrooms and adaptogens; they can strengthen as well as detoxify the organs. Drink them as a tea throughout the day or add them to a smoothie or healing drink.
Include raw vegetables and low-glycemic fruits (like berries) as much as possible. A low-glycemic diet means a low-inflammation diet, which will support your body and even slow down the cellular aging process.
Drink fennel tea and add turmeric to your smoothies. The first is a natural diuretic, and the second will help curb inflammation.
If you’re into cooking and experimentation, try using Japanese ceramic cookware when you're cooking at home. It steams the food and holds all the nutrients inside so you're getting all the benefits.
When you're detoxing it's important to cut out common substances known to put stress on your liver and spike inflammation levels. It's best to avoid cured meats, organ meats, refined foods, canned foods, sugar, table salt, saturated fats, coffee, alcohol, and nicotine.
It's also important to be mindful of toxic relationships and toxic media. These will stress out the body and can slow down digestion and the elimination process.
Remember that the medicine in a food is found in the texture, smell, and color. This is also where you find the phytonutrients that are so often raved about, so when browsing the market or grocery store, look at what textures, smells, and colors attract you most. It’s a sure and direct way to connect to food intuitively and meet your nutritional requirements on that day. Instinct is the way the body communicates with you.
Raw cacao is always a good idea when you're detoxing. Cacao is high in minerals and antioxidants and will support your body before, during, or after a cleanse.
If you're looking for more detox tips, try this one-day ayurvedic Cleanse for better skin, and read what happens when you give up caffeine alcohol and sugar.
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