To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse?
By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis
To cleanse or not to cleanse, that is the question. Is cleansing something we need to do and is it worth it?
Cleanses are done to help the body eliminate toxins from our body. Toxins like the pesticides and herbicides on the fruits and vegetables we eat, polluted air, off-gassing from paint, carpet or materials our furniture is made of, heavy metals like mercury and lead, medications and even unpronounceable ingredients in processed food.
Toxins we absorb or ingest must be packaged and sent out of our body to decrease and minimize damage to our body and ultimately our health and vitality.
Our bodies are incredible as we have several organs that are designed to do just that. Our lungs act as personal air purifiers, with tiny cilia trapping nasty things keeping them from entering our body. The liver purifies our blood, packaging toxins in bile and excreting them into the intestines for eliminated. Our kidney’s filter all the blood in our body every 35-45 minutes, excreting toxins in our urine. Finally, when the colon works its magic, our sewer system is cleared out before its contents harms us.
Why would doing a cleanse be helpful?
Cleansing can be beneficial when it is used as a “food re-boot” where it springboards you into eating more whole, minimally processed plant-based foods.
Cleansing eliminates junk from your diet and replaces it with nutrient dense foods to help the body’s natural detoxification process. Our body adores it when we eliminate junk and replace it with healthier options.
However, what you do for a few days and in some cases a few weeks will not undo months or years of eating heavily processed packaged food, fast food and things that come in crinkly wrappers. If you are eating junk, not drinking enough water or not exercising – your body’s ability to cleanse or detox will be inhibited.
Is there a better way to support your body without doing a fasting cleanse? YES!!!
- Each night, fill a glass with 1-2 cups of water and add a slice of lemon or lime. Place it by your nightstand or bathroom sink and drink it first thing each morning. Hydrating your body with water and the lemon or lime will support your body in detoxifying. Try it for 1 week. You will not be disappointed, and it will be the easiest thing you have ever done to help your body be filled with more vitality.
- Garlic – activities liver enzymes that help the body flush toxins
- Beets and carrots – plants high in flavonoids (antioxidants) and beta-carotene stimulate overall liver function
- Green leafy veggies – gobs of chlorophyll soak up toxins from the blood, neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides and protect the liver
- Cruciferous veggies – filled with glutathione, your liver’s favorite antioxidant to help clear toxins
So, do I cleanse or do I not? Maybe. If you are using it to reboot your diet and springboard into a healthier way of eating, go for it! Make sure your cleanse includes enough calories that you don’t feel like you are starving or severely limiting calories. Otherwise, it’s just another diet that will mess with your mind and your body and no one wins when that happens.
Ultimately, nutrition and health are the big picture – what you do for 5-7 days our of the year isn’t going to make the most impact on your body. It’s the daily choices and decisions that make the most powerful decisions for the health of your body meal by meal.