REFRESH SERIES: PART I
Cleanses and detoxes are one of the most controversial and misunderstood topics when it comes to health. While I understand both sides of the conversation, what I hope to do with this series is share my approach and how I go about REFRESHING my body.
BEFORE YOU START
Get clear on WHY you are doing this.
Is it to give your digestion a break? Decrease inflammation? Identify possible food intolerances? Change and create new behaviours and patterns around food? Whatever your reason, go deep. Talk to someone or journal. Write down what it is you are wanting to accomplish, how you want to feel, and why you want to heal. If your reason for doing this is so you can fit into/look good in a bikini in two weeks, then dig deeper and re-evaluate this approach. Cleansing is about healing. It’s not an easy task and should only be taken on from a place of respect and love for your body - NOT restriction or punishment.
I know sometimes it’s easy to get really into something and just want to start but it’s important to take a look ahead and plan accordingly. It might be super challenging to take on a cleanse around holidays or big celebrations. Check out your schedule and carve out some time that you are able to commit to. It’s also important to evaluate your cleanse plan and the season. If you're looking to do a cleanse in the fall/winter or when the temperatures are dropping, opt for a warming, grounding cleanse that involves broths and stews as opposed to a raw plan. I’ve made the mistake of doing a raw juice cleanse in February when it was still snowing and it was extremely difficult - on my body, mind and spirit. Look to the season, the temperature and your individual needs and preferences before beginning.
Start eating cleanly NOW!
Too often I see people binge on certain foods right before they start a cleanse and man do they feel ROUGH. Loading up on trans-fats, sugars, caffeine and alcohol before starting a cleanse makes it much harder on your body to do the work you want it to. Remember, this is about HEALING, so make it as easy on your body as possible. The cleaner your diet is heading into a cleanse, the less likely you are to experience ‘detox’ symptoms. So ease your body in to it. Start by including more raw vegetables and fruits into your diet - aim for at least one raw meal per day. Reduce the amount of alcohol, caffeine and pop you are consuming. Cut out the refined sugars and grains. By taking some of these steps before you start your cleanse, you will improve your digestion and also start to change your palate and taste buds!
Make sure you are ELIMINATING!
This step is SUPER important. So many people head in to a drastic cleanse without thinking about elimination and feel TERRIBLE. Toxins are often stored in our fat, so if we do a detox and lose fat really quickly but our elimination pathways are blocked, the toxins aren’t able to be excreted and in fact can become more toxic! So make sure those pathways are working BEFORE you start a program. You should be having two-three regular, solid bowel movements per day. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and eating fibrous foods (raw veggies are great for that).
Our skin is another organ where we eliminate toxins. I highly recommend dry skin brushing every day to help with this process. Dry skin brushing has many benefits including exfoliation, stimulating the lymph nodes, cleaning out pores so the body can perspire, stimulating blood circulation and it helps move excess waste and toxins trapped underneath the skin, body and other organs of elimination. You can find dry skin brushes online or at most health food stores. It’s a super easy task to do before you shower - simply start at your feet with long, upwards strokes toward your heart and move your way up your body.
Make a PLAN - set yourself up for success!
Likely whatever cleanse you are doing will be substantially different to how you previously did things, so make sure you really prepare for it. If you’re not used to juicing in the morning, you may have underestimated the time it takes to do, resulting in you running late for work and just grabbing a bagel instead. If you find you are really hungry in the afternoon and haven’t prepped your dinner, you may be tempted to just hit up the fast food place or buy a pre-made meal from the grocery store. So, one of the best ways to stick to a cleanse is to plan and prepare. Get clear on whatever plan you are following. Print cheat sheets to put on your fridge and have a digital copy on your phone of foods you can eat, meal ideas and whatever other information you think is helpful. Fill your fridge and pantry with all approved foods and hide/remove/re-assign whatever else is off-limits during this time. Take an hour or two to prep snacks, wash and chop veggies, portion things out - again whatever it is you feel you need to do to set yourself up for success.
Refreshing is a time to heal and reconnect you to your body. Honour the process and don't rush it.
If you are looking for additional support or want to heal on a deeper level, I would love to help you become your most vibrant self. Let's work together xo