Spring is nearing and, I don’t know about you, but it’s this time of year I start to get the Spring Cleaning (and Spring Cleansing) bug. Often times, toxic diet culture has taken the word “cleanse” and made it personify some drastic and often unhealthy way of punishing your body. But as our houses need a full detox every now and again, our bodies thrive when we give them a chance to start anew. Under the right direction of your chosen healthcare doctor, nutritionist, guru or other voice of wisdom, I recommend cleansing about twice a year.
Why We Should Cleanse
Our bodies are superheroes. They are powerful, fighting machines that adapt and repair themselves. And...they are constantly having to deal with toxins. Our liver, kidneys, and bladder are key for your body to process these toxins. Toxins come to use from nearly every source we encounter; food, water, air, make-up, clothing, shampoo...everything!
Cleansing is basically an intentional time where you either go on a specific diet or introduce certain cleansing foods or supplements to detox your body. A cleanse can be as simple as a Whole30 diet where you are allowing your gut to reset and detox from processed foods, sugars and any potential allergens. In this situation, the cleanse if from both the foods that you focus on eat and the foods that you are not eating, and the time period is 30 days. Cleansing can also be through adding in supplements that will help you detox (especially through pooping), such as dandelion root, beetroot, and milk thistle.
Cleansing is More Than What You Eat
As a holistic health practitioner, I believe that cleansing is about more than just having a flat stomach. Cleansing is essential to reset your body to its optimal state. Cleansing can be about more than just your diet and supplements. If you are seeking to truly detox, I recommend taking a look at the different areas of your life that could use “reset”. This might mean cleaning out your pantry, your make-up collection, and clothing, your social calendar, your water and air purifiers...maybe even some repetitive thoughts that are holding you back in your life.
When it comes to my “spring cleansing” routine, I like to cleanse three things: my liver, my make-up, and my daily habits. I like to cleanse my liver because it is such a foundational organ in one’s overall wellbeing. I clean out my make-up because make-up can expire. Also, make-up is where I am most likely to collect new things that I don’t really like or that don’t align with my make-up standards. I like to cleanse my daily habits at least once a year as a way to see if what I am doing right now is still taking me to where I want to be.
Areas You Might Consider Cleansing
For your body:
For your home:
- Your pantry
- Your cleaning products
- Your air filter
- Your water purifier
- Your wardrobe
- Your make-up
- Your flooring
- Your arrangement (Feng-Shui)
For your mind + soul:
- Clean your purse
- Cleanse your phone (photos, excess apps, numbers you don’t use)
- Organize your important papers
- Create/cleanse your quiet space
- Proclaim your priorities + organize your life accordingly to support them
- Comb over your budget
- Sort through your self-talk
Three Cleanses for Your Body
For Your Liver
Why you might consider a liver cleanse: some key symptoms that you might need a liver cleanse include chronic bloating, inability to lose weight, overheating, acid reflux, change in skin complexion, anxiety, moodiness, depression, and trouble digesting fatty foods.
A basic cleanse for your liver that I recommend would be a 7-21 day detox. For your detox, I recommend eliminating processed foods, sugars, caffeine and alcohol. You could also consider a Paleo diet or a Whole30 diet.
The next step would be to seriously up your water intake. This means having more than the recommended daily value. The recommended daily value is half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 100 pounds, you should be drinking at least 50 ounces of water on average. During your liver cleanse (using the same example), the person who weighs 100 pounds should be drinking closer to 75-100 ounces of water a day.
The third step of the cleanse is to fill your diet with liver supporting foods. This includes garlic, beetroot, and cruciferous vegetables.
Finally, take supplements that support your liver function. Some of my favorites are milk thistle, artichoke extract, dandelion root, and chicory root. An easy place to start would be to have dandelion root tea in the evening before bed!
For Your Kidneys
Why you might consider a kidney cleanse: back pain, chronic kidney infections or bladder infections, persistent fatigue, brain fog, (all over) itchiness, swollen hands, bad breath, frequent urination, nausea and face puffiness.
An easy kidney cleanse to try at home is hydrate, drink (tea), eat (kidney supporting foods), and supplement. Hydration is important in all cleanses (all life in general), but it is especially important for kidney cleansing. You will also want to add in a kidney detoxing tea such as stinging nettle. Most kidney cleansing teas are dieretic which means that you will need to drink even more water to replace the dehydrating effects of the tea. Fill your diet with kidney supportive foods like cranberries, grapes, and seaweed. Supplement with vitamins B-6 and Omega-3s.
For Your Colon
Why you might consider a colon cleanse: bloating, constipation, trouble digesting foods, “gut health” issues, depression, anxiety, acne (especially around the mouth and chin), fatigue and low immunity.
Colon cleanses are not taking laxatives. In fact, overdosing on laxatives is a sure-fire way to damage your body and make digestion and excretion more difficult in the future. Instead, a colon cleanse should be a gentle cleansing that reduces toxins in your body!
I recommend going to get colonics! Colonics can be incredible for cleaning out and removing toxins from your body. To follow up, with a high fiber diet and a good probiotic.
How to “Come Off” A Cleanse
Go slow. Don’t binge on all the foods you eliminated the very day your cleanse ends. If you have been doing a cleanse that was restrictive in eating size, start with a small amount of food and foods that are easy to digest.
Keep notes. As you begin to add old foods back in or switch your supplement routine, takes notes each day of what you had, how much water you drank, the supplements you took, your energy levels, and digestion (read: what’s your poop like?)
Plenty of rest and water. Even if it didn’t feel like a massive amount of work, recognize that your body is detoxing. Allow yourself plenty of rest, recognize any changes in moods, and drink LOTS of water.
Cleaning Out Your Pantry
Time to clean out your pantry! Throughout the year, it’s easy for things to get lost, expire or to gain a collection of foods that deep down you would rather not be eating (hello, Halloween candy!). Here are some quick tips to clean out your pantry.
Replace/trash foods that are:
- Processed and refined
- Full of artificial sweeteners
- Canned fruits and veggies (replace with fresh!)
- If you are focusing on gut health, clean out potential allergen foods (wheat, dairy, peanuts, soy, corn, etc)
Include foods that are:
- Healthy oils (like coconut and avocado)
- Herbs to spice up your foods!
- Supplements like greens, reds, and collagen peptides
- Healthy fats like anchovies
- A treat that supports your best health (hi, dark chocolate!)
Three Cleanses for Your Home
Detox with plants. Plants have a great purifying quality for air. They also have been proven to improve one’s quality of life, happiness and energy levels.
Do a deep cleanse of doorways, air vents, and floors. Often times these areas get overlooked when we are doing our routine cleanings. But doorways, air vents are floors are some of the most used and dirt infested areas of our homes. Deep clean your floors, cleanse out the crevices of your doors and spend some quality time purifying your air vents!
Cleanse out your bedroom. We spend an awful lot of important time in our bedrooms. This is your sleeping sanctuary. Cleansing out your bedroom might look specific depending on the person, but three easy places to start are 1) no electronics in the bedroom, 2) use organic “adult” products and 3) change out your pillows and wash your sheets.