Why I Cleanse
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3 weeks ago I completed a raw juice and raw food cleanse for my annual spring cleanse, and I want to share with you my why for this practice! Just like some good spring cleaning around the homestead, cleansing our bodies seasonally is essential, in my opinion, for optimal health. Plus, it’s a really good opportunity to provide space for a shift in our mindset. Cleansing has become a seasonal tradition for me, and I love it.
Cleansing can come in many forms and there are a million and one ways to do it. I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of information and advertisements. The definition of ‘cleanse’ (n) according to Merriam Webster is “a very restrictive short-term diet primarily intended to remove toxins from the body.”
I have practiced ‘cleansing’ regularly for about 9 years. It is something that I do seasonally in the spring and fall to give my body a ‘reset’ and to purge unwanted toxins from the winter and summer festivities. However, I would not say that I am entirely strict with it or completely deprive myself for the duration. My fall cleanse looks much different from the spring, and it all depends on my activity level on whether I choose to simply fast with only juice, incorporate raw food, bone broth or kitchari.
Whatever the case, or type of cleanse, the biggest hurdle is my mindset and the shift in thoughts that I experience.
On a daily basis, I think about food. We all do. It’s fuel for life, but it’s also a major luxury to be able to taste so many different types of food, restaurants, and diversity in fare from Mexican food to Japanese to Indian food. However, all of that variety can reek havoc on our gut and it’s important to come back to some simplicity with our diet. Ultimately, I feel my best when I am making simple, organic, healthful meals at home. Check out this food combining chart for the best ways to combine food for optimal digestion by my dear friend, Tara Alder. To be honest, this isn’t the easiest option while traveling, living a fast-paced lifestyle or going out to dinner with loved ones. Food is fun, social, and delicious.
Taking a few days off from thinking about every meal, planning meals, and simply in the ‘being’ state vs ‘planning’ and ‘doing’ is what I love most about cleansing. It is a moment where I am choosing everything that is going into my body with intention, grace, and an opportunity to observe my thoughts around food (which can become slightly obsessive). Who really needs all of the food that we actually consume on a daily basis? Our bodies can function on limited resources if the resources are of high quality.
This is why I love the Nourish juice cleanse. I have been drinking “Jon the Juice Guy” juices for about 9 years, and every time I feel amazing afterward with lots of energy, clarity, and intention around food. The best part is, you can choose to drink only juice, water and other liquids (herbal teas and bone broth), also known as juice fasting or, you can make it into a raw food and juice cleanse like I did just 3 weeks ago. The Nourish juice cleanse comes with 6 delicious, organic, cold-pressed juices that you drink throughout the day. I usually stick to 3 days for a cleanse, but you can do more if you wish.
I was teaching yoga each day and hosted a hike up Mt. Pisgah during the cleanse, so I chose to eat some raw nuts, avocado and also some organic arugula salad with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon throughout the 3 days. It’s amazing how much our bodies feel nourished when we are getting plenty of organic and healthy nutrient-dense food.
If you decide that a cleanse is right for you, and you have consulted your doctor, here are some of my top tips:
Know your “why”. Why are you choosing to cleanse? What is your intention behind a cleanse? If it’s weight loss, you might want to rethink this. It’s unlikely that you’ll lose a bunch of weight cleansing your body for 3 days. If you want a reset for your digestion and your body, great! This is perfect for you.
If you drink caffeine (including coffee, tea, soda, kombucha, etc), begin to wean off starting the week before you cleanse. I love coffee so, I like to switch to half-caf for a couple days, then to decaf, then to only herbal teas and water. This will help deter the withdrawal headaches and additional discomfort for during your cleanse.
If you are doing a juice cleanse, always choose organic and cold-pressed juice. Vegetable juices are way lower in sugar, so be sure that your cleanse is primarily vegetables with only a small amount of fruit to avoid big spikes in insulin.
Say no to alcohol for at least 2 days prior and at least 2 days after. Alcohol is a toxin! We have to rest our bodies from it regularly.
If you are making your own juice, I suggest making it all in advance. Cold pressed juice only lasts for up to 4 days, so be sure to make it all, the day before you start. I love to make juice and smoothies at home, but sometimes it’s easier to consult a professional when you are choosing to consume only juice for 3 days (that’s a lot of work and your patience may be thin when you’re operating on only juice-- juice-rage anyone?!). If you’re in Oregon, give yourself a break and come to Eugene to pickup your 3-day cleanse to keep things a little easier on yourself.
Start your day with hot water with lemon before drinking your juice. This is great to detox the liver and also prepare the body to absorb nutrients.
Drink lots of water throughout the day! This will help flush out toxins and keep your body feeling good.
Plan to feel tired. You won’t be able to do everything you usually do when you’re consuming your normal diet. Plan around it, and maybe rethink the heavy lifting and intense cardio for after the cleanse is over. The energy comes for me on day 3. Day 2 is the most difficult as this is the day I am really ridding of the toxins and experiencing brain fog. Plan for some light movement and meditation.
Keep your social calendar free so that you can enjoy some time at home and rest. This is something that I can personally work on. I have gone out to numerous restaurants while cleansing and it is not easy. Give yourself a break and avoid watching your friends eat the burger while you sip on water and juice. If you are feeling in control, give it a try and just notice the thoughts you have.
Practice mantras. Here are some that really work for me:
“I am grateful for the opportunity to cleanse my body.”
“This is only temporary.”
“I can do anything for 3 days.”
“I can do this.”
“Cleansing is easy!”
“My body is loving these nutrients!”
Get your roommates and/or partner involved! Accountability is amazing to have when you are attempting any difficult task. If they are not interested in participating themselves, perhaps ask them to support you in completing it and share your “why” with them.
Choose something that you know you will be successful at. If drinking only juice for 3 days sounds like hell, hit up the grocery store for some organic avocado, greens, lemon and raw nuts.
I hope these are some helpful tips for you! Cleansing is arduous, but your body will thank you for the reset and your mind will be challenged. We can do hard things and it’s worth it!