With every start to a new spring and summer season comes the mad rush for people to get in shape, to lose those pounds they gained over the long winter months, and to cleanse themselves of all the impurities acquired during the past year.
There are so many different programs offered in magazines, on TV, and online. How does one choose? A 3 -day juice fast? Raw diet? Sprouts and seeds? It can all be a bit overwhelming.
The cleansing plan (or detox plan) that I recommend is usually 14 days, and can be extended to 28 days. The focus is not weight loss or simply cleaning your bowels. It is more sophisticated than that. It is a metabolic cleanse intended to help your body’s systems to re-align and work the way they were intended. It consists of an elimination diet and supplements, which help maintain a healthy inflammatory response while promoting optimal digestion and elimination.
The diet generally eliminates common food allergens and “acidic” foods. These can trigger negative reactions in the body that range from simple digestive upset to precipitating an autoimmune disease. These bad boys are dairy/milk, gluten/wheat, soy, corn, sugar, citrus fruits, and nightshade plants.
The detox plan that I have chosen for my own patients requires the elimination of ALL sugars initially, and, for the most part, carries on the sugar-free theme for the long haul.
Whichever plan you choose to participate with, you must be committed to the journey, and be mindful that you may not feel great the first few days. The elimination of coffee, alcohol, and sugar can be very difficult for many, especially if you consume lots of it.
Here are a few of my tips for a successful cleanse:
- Drink filtered water regularly throughout the day. Drink half your bodyweight in ounces. If you are 140 lbs = drink 70 ounces or 9 glasses of water daily
- Eat 5-7 small meals daily, instead of 3 large meals. Eat every 2-3 hours. Try not to go more than 3 hrs without food. This will maintain your metabolic rate, keep you from feeling hungry, and stabilize blood sugar.
- Focus on the task at hand. Do not start a cleanse while studying for the bar exam, or while planning your sister’s last minute wedding. Pick a start date that doesn’t conflict with holidays, parties, vacations, etc.
- Reach out to the many online cleanse communities. They can be found on various social media sites. Use them for support, guidance, and a source of good information.
- Clean out your pantry and freezer before you start a cleanse program. I guarantee that you will reach for that ice cream (no matter how far back you placed it) in a moment of weakness and hunger.
- Aerobic exercise for 30 min daily. Sweating helps rid the body of toxins.
- Sauna therapy, if possible, cleanses the skin, releases stored toxins, and stimulates healthy circulation; 15 min three times a week.
Whether you are a seasoned cleanser, or a newbie, these cleansing tips will set you up for success.