From my experience designing, participating in, and advocating cleansing to clients and case studies, I’ve come to understand and endorse a few fundamental cleansing principles. However, I do recognize that through a few powerful actions, it’s possible to gain the benefits of cleansing without demanding the adherence to strict protocol.
Meet “CLEAN Cleansing”. The intention of the following recommendations is to create effective detoxification with real and noticeable improvements in integral body functions, without making you a slave to your diet. Namely targeting digestion, circulation and liver function, my development of the CLEAN fundamentals are inspired by ideas from the book “Eating Alive” by Vancouver based Naturopath, Dr. John Matson.
Efficient Digestion = Extra Digestive Energy = Bodily “Housecleaning” (or enhancing the bodies natural detoxification efforts)
Good Diet + Strong Digestion + Complete Absorption = Strong Blood
Strong Blood + Complete Circulation + Effective Elimination = Good Health
Reduce and eliminate toxins to revive your body’s innate healing processes, and restore your natural, vibrant health.
C-Circulation: Enhance your circulation through lymphatic stimulation to increase detoxification efforts. Focus on daily activities listed in the resources section below, and support circulation with warming herbs and seasonings such as cayenne, cinnamon, chili, pepper, and ginger.
L-Liver: Responsible for over 500 functions, the liver is the main regulator of blood composition, detoxification, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. The heart may pump the blood, but the liver cleans it. Targeting the liver will boost your energy, metabolism, skin health and heart health (via blood health) among numerous additional benefits. The easiest way to stimulate the liver is through lemon water and cleansing teas. See resources section.
E-Elimination: Efficient elimination is crucial to the removal of detoxified wastes from the body. “Opening the doors” will allow stagnation to dissipate and refreshed energy to flow easily and naturally. The easiest way to boost your elimination is through adequate lubrication and bulk. I know….vivid wording, but it’s true! For tips on boosting the quality of your eliminations (I know you’re interested!) read on to the resources section.
A-Accelerate Digestion: Consuming foods lightly cooked or raw increases your consumption of valuable enzymes. The combinations of foods we eat together in a meal can also be responsible for boosting or stalling the bodies own digestive enzyme production as well. This in turn increases our absorption of vitamins and minerals, reduces bloating and digestive discomfort, and reduces food intolerances and associated symptoms. Ideal food combinations are listed in the resource section.
N-Natural Foods: While a cleansing diet does involve challenging your body’s reliance on previous depleting foods, deprivation is not a necessary component in re establishing vitality. Promoting a diet centered around whole, fresh, alkaline, live, and organic ingredients ensures we provide our body with the most nourishing components to help optimize the bodies ability to heal. Toxins are the source of chronic irritation, and therefore “dis-ease” in the body. For a list of the “non-foods” we should aim to avoid and/or limit, see the resources section.
During any changes in the input or output of your energy, I highly recommend increasing your daily water intake. This supports the body as it adjusts, and ensures metabolic and dietary wastes are excreted effectively, and don’t contribute to toxicity levels. Aim for half your body weight in ounces. (Hint: There’s 32 ounces in a liter).
In terms of multi-vitamin’s and minerals, ensure your daily multi contains the following to support effective detoxification efforts: Zinc and Selenium, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Exercises: Unlike other body systems, the lymphatic system has no automatic pumping mechanism and relies on physical activity to boost circulation, replenish worn out blood vessels, build a stronger immune system, and aid in detoxification. The best forms of activity for lymphatic stimulation involve bouncing, jumping, vertical movements and/or bursts of energy. Aim to incorporate at least a half hour of the following activities (or your favorites) daily.
- Jump rope
- (Brisk) Power walking
- Horse riding
- Rebounding (trampoline!)
- Plyometric exercises
The following actions are also highly beneficial to promoting healthy circulation: Epsom salt baths (esp. for aching running muscles!), skin brushing, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, endermologie (which I’m loving lately for post run recovery and release of lactic acid), or massage therapy. Think about adding one of these healing modalities if you are dealing with specific areas in your body with blocked energy/circulation.
Lemon Water and Tea: Being sour and astringent, a daily glass of lemon water (best first thing in the morning) will help keep your liver toned. I also recommend a detoxifying tea several nights a week. Look for varieties with herbs such as: lemon balm, peppermint, wormwood, fennel, licorice root, dandelion, milk thistle and/or black walnut. If you’ve found a favorite-let me know!
Quality Eliminations: Aim for half your body-weight in ounces, of water each day, and a daily serving of omega 3 essential fatty acid oils such as flax, hemp, pumpkin, or a fish oil supplement. The “bulk” comes from adequate fiber. Think: oats, barley, brown rice and other whole grains, ground flax seeds and wheat germ, a servings of beans or legumes, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables emphasizing your leafy greens.
Leafy greens, including superfoods such as spirulina, wheat grass, and chlorella contain a component called chlorophyll. This helps bind and chelate (draw out) toxins from the digestive tract and bowels. Cleansing tea will also help boost the quality of your elimination.
Ideal Food Combinations:
- Protein + Vegetables (can add healthy fats such as oils, or nuts and seeds)
- Whole grains + Beans & legumes (can add healthy fats such as oils, or nuts and seeds)
- Fruit-best eaten on it’s own, or if you are prone to low blood sugar symptoms such as hypoglycemia, combine with a small amount of protein such as almond butter or nuts/seeds
- Dairy-best eaten on it’s own, or with simple sugars such as fruit. When combined with other foods, dairy tends to ferment in the stomach if the other foods stall its digestion (i.e. proteins or carbohydrates take longer to digest). You can still enjoy cheese and olives for appetizers though-they are after all a fruit!
- Limiting: Proteins + Grains and Carbohydrates together in one meal. Too many dense foods are hard for a sluggish digestion to completely assimilate. Strengthen your digestion first, and then on occasion this combination may be tolerated.
Non-Foods to Limit:
- Refined, concentrated and/or artificial sweeteners (sugars, syrups)
- Refined flour: bleached flours, commercially baked products etc…
- Processed, non-organic soy products
- Carbonated beverages (soft drinks, carbonated waters and juices)
- Alcohol, caffeine and stimulants (includes chocolate…sorry! Work on minimizing it, and only indulging on good quality options)
- Food additives (colorings, preservatives, monosodium glutamate (MSG) etc…)
- Margarine, hydrogenated oils, and trans fat
- Table salt
- Read labels! Most packaged foods are going to have some items on this list in the ingredients. It is important to start getting in the habit of checking labels, and consequently avoiding or minimizing foods that contain modified and processed ingredients. Look at these foods as “non” foods, and thus non-vitality promoting.
By targeting several powerhouse organs and body systems, these recommendations can help to alleviate many of the common dietary and physiological symptoms we write off as “normal”, only because we’ve dealt with them for so long. They are gentle enough to be looked at as lifestyle shifts, but effective enough to produce results. The best way to measure the impact is to try them for yourself. I would love to hear about your efforts, let me know what you try, and how your body changes!