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What To Do Before You Do A Cleanse

Every now and then I get challenged on a belief I hold and, sometimes, I even have to change my mind.

I have never been a fan of diet cleanses or detoxes because, as long as you’re eating healthy food, I believe the body does an excellent job of cleaning itself out and repairing tissue without the aid of juicing or other concoctions.

I still believe that, for the most part, that is correct. The key is eating healthy food and, if you know anything about me, you know that means real food, not processed, and as close to organic as possible.

Providing your body with the fuel and nutrients to repair tissues and maintain energy is often the best way to keep your body in working order. However, there are times when cleansing is not only appropriate, but also necessary for the health of the physical, mental and spiritual body.

The past six months have been a topsy turvy time for me, and my body was not happy about it.

I tend to hold my stress in my gut and, in spite of all my efforts, I could not seem to get myself re-balanced. Food was no longer my friend as my body objected to whenever I ate, and it didn’t seem to make a difference what I was eating.

My head was spinning from the long list of life changes that had occurred over the previous months, making sleep elusive as well.

Two things that I rely on heavily for a happy life are food and sleep!

I did some reading, talked to some people for whom I have great respect and decided that I would give a cleanse a try.

I chose a seven-day long cleanse that included eating only raw foods for a few days, followed by three days of juicing and then a few more days of raw food. The three days of just juice would give my gut a complete rest and a chance to reboot.

I chose to make this journey more than just a physical cleanse. I included meditation and journaling as part of the process.

One friend said to me that this experience would be a portal, a doorway that I could chose to walk through that would provide me with some insight into the past months. as well as a help me envision the future. I can happily report the seven days provided everything I expected.

In reading about cleanses and after my experience, I developed some guidelines that I will use with my clients where cleanses are concerned. Anyone who is considering a cleanse can consider this advice.

Before cleansing:

  • If you have any medical conditions, check with your doctor before starting a cleanse.
  • Write down clearly what your goals are by cleansing
  • Take a week before beginning the cleanse to stop eating junk food, reduce or stop smoking, drinking coffee, and taking optional medication, etc.
  • Arrange your schedule so that during the mid-to-later portion of the cleanse you are not having to work or have other commitments.
  • Have good quality probiotics on hand and take them everyday of the cleanse
  • Be prepared to meditate and journal.

The biggest mistake people make is jumping into a cleanse without preparation. If you don’t take the steps to ease into it, you are less likely to be successful in completing the cleanse.

The most common stumbling block for many is the coffee headache. If you normally drink coffee every morning and then suddenly stop, you will likely suffer a nasty headache that can shut you down for the day or several days.

You can wean yourself off caffeine before the cleanse and avoid that all together by reducing your caffeine consumption by 25 percent each day over four or five days.

If you’re going to cleanse, I strongly recommend you being in charge of your food and drink rather than purchasing pre-made foods or juices. The process of preparing your food and drink while you’re cleansing is an important part of the experience and reconnects your body to what you’re putting into it.

If you’ve never meditated, this would be the time to start!

There are several apps you can use and videos online that can walk you through it. We also have resources in the foothills to guide you through meditation, including the new Bodhi Oak Zen Center, for example.

If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse or detox, do not rush into it. Rather, use it as a tool to reconnect with your body on all levels.

Virginia Eaton is a health and fitness coach helping people reorganize priorities.

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