After an action packed past few weeks, my body is begging for a cleanse. Yes, even a health nut like myself sometimes indulges in the occasional cocktail, slice of cake, and even cheese fries...yes, I am human and I don't deny that I do give in to these urges sometimes. Not all the time of course, but for special occasions I believe it's ok to treat yourself. With weddings, birthdays, road trips, and football Sundays, this body is ready for a detox! It's amazing how much more in tune I have become with my own body since I've been living a clean lifestyle. That urge to have a delicious chocolate cupcake is almost always overridden by the thought of feeling inflamed for two days; the tastiness is just not worth the discomfort. But today I'm addressing those special times that we do give in to temptaion. Below I've outlined a simple juice cleanse to help flush the body of unwanted toxicity.
3 Day Juice Cleanse
It is always important to remember that when the body is going through a cleanse, fast, or detox, it must be supported with plenty of water, vitamins, minerals, and even herbal companions. Since the body is dumping toxins, elimination should be monitored. Sometimes toxins purge through the skin; this is ok. It is also common to feel mentally sluggish, to have headaches, and to generally feel a little under the weather. This is also ok. It simply means the body is purging toxins which is why staying hydrated is so very important. Staying hydrated will help flush the toxins from the body. Ensuring that the cleanse has plenty of antioxidant support is also extremely important for the detoxification process.
Light exercise is encouraged during a cleanse. Walking, gentle and restorative yoga, and stretching are highly recommended. Remember, the body also rids toxins through sweat.
During a typical juice cleanse 6 juices are consumed each day. Juices can be freshly made at home if you have access to a juicer. Fresh juices can also be purchased at most health food stores and local juice bars which are showing up everywhere. Try to stay away from juices that are shipped and mass produced as these do not contain the nutrient density from freshly juiced fruits and veggies, but they also usually contain preservatives. If 3 days of juicing is daunting, try 1 or 2 days first and build up to 3. 1 day of cleansing is better than no days of cleansing!
Herbs to consider:
- Dandelion root: diuretic to help eliminate toxins through urination; liver support
- Dandelion leaf: kidney and urinary system support; blood cleanser
- Cranberry: diuretic and kidney support, helping the function of these organs as they detoxify the body
- Burdock: supports the liver and kidneys, helps with lymphatic congestion, laxative and diuretic
- Parsley: blood cleanser
- Spirulina or Chlorella: contains fatty acids, iron, protein, B vitamins, antioxidants, nutrient dense, and energy enhancers
Supplements to consider:
- B-complex to ensure energy levels are maintained and healthy brain function
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) to support brain function, cardiovascular health, joint health
- Multivitamin (optional) to ensure the body is getting everything it needs to function
Juicing is a great way to pack in a TON of nutrients without having to eat every bite. Essentially, all of the wonderful micronutrients are extracted from the fruits and vegetables, leaving a highly concentrated juice ready to enjoy. Studies have shown that through extended, and monitored, juice cleanses, people have lost extensive amounts of weight, reversed health problems, and have gotten off of medications. Ensuring that a juice cleanse is full of a variety of fruits and vegetables is very important. The variety is what will give the juice the blend of nutrients the body needs to function at its most optimum potential.
- Apple, pineapple, lemon, orange, and papaya
(all of these fruits help to support a healthy digestive tract, and also support the cleansing of the liver and gallbladder)
- Spinach, parsley, celery, apple, lemon, ginger
(this combination not only detoxifies the blood but aids in cleansing the whole body while supporting a healthy digestive tract, boosts the immune system, has antioxidants, and also relieves stress)
- Kale, spinach, cucumber, lime, celery, parsley, lemon
(healing, cleansing, detoxifying, and supportive of the digestive tract; also very nutrient dense)
- Carrot, apple, beet, spinach, ginger, lemon
(immune boosting, stress relieving, antioxidant rich, healing, cleansing, and all around supportive of the digestive tract, liver, and gall bladder)
These are just a few options that can be experimented with. Virtually any fruit or vegetable can be juiced. Play around and see what the taste buds enjoy!
Reaping the benefits:
This is a great way to pack in nutrients for those who lack whole, fresh foods in their diet. It is also a way to help detoxify the body by providing a multitude of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and alkalizing benefits. This type of cleanse may be extended if the individual feels good enough to continue, and as long as they make sure not to extend it for longer than a week at a time. Those who are experienced have done juice fasts for as long as 30 days!
Juicing may rid the body of toxins that cause headaches, intestinal stagnation, skin issues, amongst other things. It may also help boost weight loss. The phytonutrient density in fresh juices have also been known to help protect the body from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other inflammatory diseases. These wonderful nutrients aid in doing these amazing things by guarding the body from oxidative damage which happens when cells are exposed to chemicals and pollution.
Some other things to consider:
- When fruits and vegetables are juiced, all of the wonderful nutrients are extracted in a liquid, leaving the bulk behind. The bulk is not all bad though; it contains fiber. Fiber is an essential component to a healthy diet, helping to flush the gut. The pulp, or fibrous parts, from juicing can be saved and utilized in other cooking dishes.
- Juicing alone is lacking in essential fatty acids, which are important to normal body functions. This is why it is a good idea to support the body with an EFA supplement during a cleanse
When is it a good time to cleanse or fast?
- Cleansing can be done at any time, as long as the individual understands what kind of support the body needs as well as the different emotional and physical shifts that may occur. Taking that into consideration, it is usually better to pick a time when there is plenty of opportunity to allow the body to rest and restore. This is also a good time to reflect, let go, and deepen body awareness.
When NOT to do a fast or cleanse:
- If there are any serious health concerns or issues, it is best to consult a physician before starting a cleanse.
- If an individual is on multiple medications it is always best to consult a physician before cleansing.
- If someone is pregnant or thinks they may be pregnant, it is best not to fast. This is a time to build nutrients, and gently allow the body to rid itself of toxins on it's own rather than overloading the system with a fast which can be too intense for the pregnant body and the fetus.
- If someone has a weak or compromised immune system, this kind of cleanse could be taxing on the organs.
By Amber Lynch, LMT, Herbalist, Holistic Nutrition Coach