Many people think of doing a detox or cleanse in January, but in fact Spring is a much better time to do a cleanse. We are moving from the hibernation of winter to a season of new growth and rejuvenation. As the weather gets weather it’s also easier to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and less of the heavy, comfort foods. Much in the same way our houses need a spring clean so our bodies also benefit from one!
Why do a cleanse?
We live in a world surrounded by toxins. In fact we are exposed to thousands more toxins than our grandparents were. From the air we breathe, to our water and food, to the products we put on our skin (our skin can absorb what we put on it) and even the homes we live in, we are constantly being exposed to toxins: pollutants, heavy metals, pesticides, artificial ingredients, artificial fragrances and other chemicals.
In addition to that if we are drinking too much caffeine, alcohol, eating too much sugar and processed foods, not drinking enough water, not eating enough fruit and vegetables and not getting enough quality sleep, then over time our bodies can become overloaded which in turn can eventually affect our health.
Renew Life, who are experts in digestive health, have products designed specifically to support the body while doing a cleanse. We have had great feedback on these products in the shop, so have asked Caroline Harmer, Director of Education at Renew Life, to explain a bit more about the cleansing process and about their products.
What are some of the symptoms that might indicate someone needs to do a cleanse?
Health symptoms that many people accept as normal may actually be signs of toxic overload. Common signs of toxicity include:
- Low energy and fatigue
- Headaches and migraines
- Acne and skin issues
- Constipation and digestive issues
- PMS and hormone issues
- Premature aging of the skin
- Difficulty losing weight
- Bad breath
If you have any of these symptoms, or are just concerned about the toxins you may have been exposed to over the years, it’s time to start cleansing. Regular herbal cleansing can help reduce our toxic burden by helping the body more efficiently eliminate harmful toxins.
How does our body cleanse toxins?
Your body has 7 channels of elimination (these are detoxification pathways that our bodies use to get rid of toxins). The 7 elimination channels are listed below with the herbs or natural minerals traditionally used to stimulate more efficient elimination of toxins and wastes:
- Liver – Artichoke, burdock, dandelion, turmeric, yarrow & yellowdock
- Bowel – Magnesium hydroxide, Rhubarb root, Triphala & marshmallow
- Kidneys – Artichoke, burdock, dandelion & parsley
- Blood – Artichoke, burdock root, dandelion, hawthorn berry, red clover, turmeric & yellowdock
- Lymphatic system – Red clover, yellowdock, garlic
- Lungs – Garlic, mullein, red clover, turmeric & yellowdock
- Skin – Burdock root, dandelion, & red clover
What are the health benefits of cleansing?
Most people start out with vibrant health, but by age 30 begin to develop ‘minor’ irritations’. These small problems become more serious, causing our health to fall into further decline. Eventually, chronic disease sets in and even everyday activities can cause pain or suffering. There are countless benefits to total body cleansing. Some of the positive health benefits of cleansing include:
- Decreased risk of chronic health conditions
- Increased energy levels
- Improved digestion
- Better weight management (even weight loss)
- Improved overall health and well being
- Improved elimination
How do I choose the right cleanse for me?
While there are plenty of herbal cleansing formulas to choose from, beginners would benefit from a whole body cleansing formula (cleansing all 7 elimination channels) which is designed for first-time cleansers called First Cleanse. It lasts two weeks and includes gentler whole herbs to provide natural support for each of the body’s 7 elimination organs. First Cleanse is specifically formulated so it is strong enough to be effective, yet gentle enough not to cause strong ‘cleansing reactions’ – a common fear among people who have not cleansed before. After that, you may wish to move on to a deeper, more advanced cleanse formula called CleanseSMART (first time cleansers can use CleanseSMART if they want a deeper cleanse or if they are constipated). CleanseSMART lasts 30 days and deeply supports all 7 elimination channels. CleanseSMART contains more potent herbal cleansing extracts to support much deeper detoxification and removal of wastes.
How often should I cleanse?
Make it your goal to do a whole body cleanse at least twice a year to flush out toxins and waste. Spring happens to be a great time to clear away the toxins that clutter our bodies. We may not be able to see them, but we can feel the effects of toxic overload and sluggishness. First Cleanse and CleanseSMART whole body cleanses work regardless of lifestyle and offer the opportunity to refresh and renew from the inside out.
Top 10 Tips from the shop, for doing a cleanse:
- Drink plenty of water – to flush out toxins and help bowel movements
- Eat plenty of fibre (oats, fruit and vegetables, pulses, ground flaxseed) – to ensure you have a bowel movement at least once a day – to eliminate toxins.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit, including raw vegetables and juices.
- Cut out all processed and burnt foods
- Cut out sugar – use cinnamon, berries, a little xylitol or stevia as natural sweet alternatives
- Cut out tea and coffee. Switch to green tea instead, especially Matcha, as it’s naturally high in anti-oxidants which help the detoxification process in the liver
- Cut out alcohol
- Avoid gluten and dairy, two common food allergens and any other foods you know you react to.
- Get plenty of quality sleep (see last month’s blog for more information!)
- Get moving! Anything which gets the heart pumping but also spend time outside to get fresh air. Exercise improves circulation which helps the release of toxins, as does sweating.
Other options to consider:
These may bring added benefit while doing a cleanse but can also be done on an ongoing basis:
- Add in super greens, such as chlorella, barley grass, wheatgrass and sea greens. These are cleansing and alkalising and a good source of anti-oxidants. Add to water or into juices.
- Dry skin brushing –this can encourage the lymphatic system to get moving. Start from the toes and work up, brushing towards the heart. Do for 1 or 2 minutes before a shower.
- Have a sauna – to sweat and help release toxins.
- Have a massage – this helps release toxins.
- Start to switch to natural skin care products, make up and toothpaste
- Switch to natural household products – washing up liquid, cleaning products and laundry liquids
- Use BPA free bottles and glass containers to store food.
Doing a cleanse can be very gentle or more through. If you’ve never done a cleanse before why not come in and have a chat with us. We have a team of qualified nutritional therapists in the shop and are here to help!
If you are on any medication, always check with your GP or healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements.
I’m Alison and I’m a Nutritional Therapist. I love encouraging people to try healthy foods and to show them how simple, quick and easy it is to eat healthily. I’m a busy mum with 2 children, one of whom has a disability and special needs, so meals have to be easy! I love getting my veggie box each week, baking healthy treats and being out in the countryside.