The terms “cleanse” and “detox” are often used in relation to health. To cleanse the body is to remove toxic environmental and dietary substances through a specific regimen. Programs that fall into this category include candida cleanses, liver cleanses, and colon cleanses among many other juice and/or food-based cleanses.
Research shows we ingest chemicals through the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. The main reason to go on a cleansing program is to rid the body of these chemicals then build it up to optimal levels with nutrient-dense foods.
Juice cleanses can range from 3-7 days or more. It’s recommended that you slowly ease into and out of your cleanse by transitioning to a mostly raw foods diet in the few days leading up to and following the cleanse. It’s important to eliminate caffeine and alcohol and eat clean. After a few days post-cleanse, you can ease back into the sustainable diet that works for you by integrating dairy, meat, and carbohydrates last (if applicable to your diet).
Toxins are deposited into our fat cells, producing excess buildup that our bodies cannot naturally eliminate on their own. This compromises our immune system and causing illnesses, hormonal imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies. Cleansing is used to purge the body of these undesirable chemicals and buildup.
Some cleanse providers recommend colonics, sauna sessions, massages, and other complementary cleansing therapies throughout your juice cleanse. Depending on your individual type, you may want to incorporate some or all of these tools to get the most out of your detox.
We cleanse to rid ourselves of these toxins, give our digestive systems a rest, and rejuvenate our bodies. Goals include weight loss, improved skin, better digestion, improved mental clarity, healthier hair and nails, and much more. Cleansing programs work to strengthen the immune system by looking at food as fuel for internal organs.
Foods to include:
- Fresh fruit and vegetable juices
- Raw vegetables in moderation (if necessary)
- Herbal teas
- Green tea in moderation (if necessary)
- Lots of water
Foods to avoid:
- Nuts and seeds
- Processed food
- Quick weight loss in some cases
- Promotes elimination of toxins that weaken the body’s natural detoxification systems
- May help people quit smoking and/or drinking caffeine
- Can be a lifestyle rather than a diet
- Can clear skin, boost your immune system, and increase energy
- Cleanses must be done with caution – they may stress the internal organs and cause nutrient deficiencies
- Extreme cleansing diets can be addictive
- Detox regimens are intended for short-term use and are not necessarily a lifestyle change
- Participants may quickly gain back water weight after cleanses
- May be hard for some to give up solid food
- May lead to binges
- Could cause stomach distress in some depending on pre- and post-cleanse diet