Eat Clean and Cleanse

You’ve likely heard of cleansing. You may have gone on a cleanse or two, or maybe you’re one of the few people who actually cleanse on a regular basis.

The idea of cleansing is that you simplify what you ingest in order to give your systems a rest. There are various ways to cleanse, but the first and most important step is to do a digestive cleanse.

Now, cleanses range from basic to extreme. I highly encourage a gentle cleanse if it is your first time, or if you haven’t cleansed in a while. I do not recommend doing a juice or water fast unless you can take time off from everything else and attend to yourself – almost like a retreat. These types of cleanses should be done with guidance, and are not for everyone.

However, you can do a very gentle cleanse just by simplifying the food you eat.

For example: If you choose to gradually cut out sugar, gluten, and dairy, you would eliminate the three top foods that can add stress to your system. Also be sure to avoid alcohol and other toxins on a cleanse (or as much as possible in general).

By eating a simple diet of mostly vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, amaranth), green leafy veggies and legumes, you give your body a high fiber, highly nutritious menu. By eating smaller portions, you allow your digestive and elimination systems to rest and clean out.

Including healthy fats such as flax oil, flax meal, a small amount of fish, fish oil supplements, and hemp hearts and/or oil, you will be supporting your body in many important ways. (Google Essential Fatty Acids or Omega oils to find out what the big deal is with these healthy fats.)

Give yourself a set period of time for your cleanse. The longest I’ve gone on a strict cleansing diet was 3 months. A good start would be 7 to 10 days.

About Fruit: In general, local, seasonal fruit is okay in the morning. If you’re on a cleanse, you’ll likely want to stay away from sweeter, tropical fruits like bananas. However, if you eat fruit while you have other food already in your stomach, the fruit can ferment and create stress for your system.

The only things that combine really well with fruit are green leafy veggies and celery. Sometimes you can also get away with nuts or seeds, but it depends on your body, and it’s best to simplify if your intent is to cleanse.

The reason fruit generally doesn’t combine well with other food is because it breaks down faster in your stomach.

I always start my day off with a green smoothie, and I put a raw protein powder in with my green leafy veggies and fruit. I also use stevia to cut down on the fruit and make the shake taste better. Because the protein is raw and broken down as a powder, it digests easily and combines well with the fruit.

Tea: It’s a good idea, especially when cleansing, to drink herbal tea. Green or white tea is also good, but go for organic sources. It’s also fun to look up herbs and discover their benefits.

For example, I love making raspberry leaf and nettle tea. Raspberry leaf is a fantastic tonic for women, and is helpful for the liver as are nettle leaves. Nettle is also good for the spleen, is anti-inflammatory, and can be helpful in so many other ways, including eliminating viruses and bacterial infections.

If you’re looking for a local source of herbal goodness, Healthy Life on Victoria St. in Kamloops has an excellent selection of bulk herbs, and the staff there is quite knowledgable.

Water: Every system in your body relies on hydration to function. It’s that simple. When you cleanse, you need water more than ever because your body wants to release and get rid of any accumulated toxins. So be sure to drink lots of pure, clean water.

One thing you can do every day to gently help your body reduce toxins and enhance health on a regular basis is drink lemon water. I like half a lemon squeezed into hot water. You can also add a bit of honey, which has many of its own benefits.

Nature has so many gifts for us. When you eat simply, with a focus on clean, organic foods and being attentive to what your body needs, you can bring huge benefits to your health.

Please Note: Be careful with cleansing. You don’t want to do too much too fast, and you need to give yourself a lot of support. Be sure to check with your health practitioner if you have any medical conditions prior to cleansing, and always research your approach before you start. Also, if you are currently in Yoga Boot Camp, or your life is highly demanding, be sure to cleanse gently so you don’t find yourself drained of energy.

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