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Spring-Cleaning from the Inside Out: Making the Right Choices

By Jess Lewis-Peltier ecomii.com
March 23, 2011
File under: Detoxification, Natural Remedies, Weight Control

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As spring approaches and it is time to do some spring-cleaning, internally that is. After a long season of heavier winter eating, spring is a great time to consider a whole body cleanse.

Cleansing once every quarter is important for a few reasons. A good cleanse (also called detox) can rid your body of built-up toxins from processed foods, pharmaceuticals, air-borne pollutants and any other substances considered toxic or hard on the body-system.

Cleansing also gives your body’s digestive tract a chance to lighten its load. The theory behind giving your body a break is rooted in the fact that it expends a lot of energy on the digestive process and spends less energy in the healing and rebuilding process. Consider a cleanse equal to giving your body-system a vacation.

For some, detox and cleanse can imply lighter foods and a feeling of bliss but for others it sometimes denotes a feeling of dread and deprivation.

You don’t have to feel deprived during a detox. As a matter of fact, the most successful cleanse and detox programs are the ones that are gentle and help to create healthy habits. Choosing an extreme cleanse may be just as harmful as continuing with processed foods, because it triggers the body’s defense mechanisms.

Cleansing is great for weight loss, particularly if it’s done in a sustainable way. Extra weight taxes the body-system, constantly. Reducing body fat will increase efficiency and reduce the body’s toxic load. Keep a food journal for a few days before beginning a cleanse to observe your habits and identify areas of improvement. What would you like to gain (or lose) from the cleanse and what would change permanently in your diet?

Three basic guidelines to look for when choosing a cleanse:

1. Choose a cleanse that encourages small frequent meals over starvation. Days without food or with minimal juices are considered fasts and not a cleanse. A general rule of thumb for a cleanse is a calorie reduction of about 25 percent to instantly lighten the load.

Any more than this and your body will kick into survival mode and hold onto weight and water. Opt for ca cleanse that allows you to eat less food and a lighter cuisine for a longer period of time. While fasts have their place, doing a light cleanse over time is more sustainable.

2. Be sure the cleanse includes lots of whole foods. When we think of cleansing, we often think of reducing, however the fact is we should add foods to create an efficient cleanse.

Adding more live, whole foods into the diet helps the digestive system function properly and increases the nutrients entering the body system, which gives us that feeling of lightness we strive to achieve in a cleanse.

3. Beware of harsh supplements. If a cleanse requires supplements, be sure to look for ones with natural herbs that are gentle on the system. Herbs that promote overall health benefits like parsley for the kidneys, milk thistle for the liver and goldenseal to cleanse the lymphatic system are optimal.

Supplements that are high in fiber cause cramping, which can be very painful and are unnecessary if you increase your intake of whole foods and vegetables. Steer clear of any supplement that has stimulants as these tax the adrenals in a big way and create the opposite of the effect desired.

Jess Lewis-Peltier, ‘The Holistic Yogini‘ is a naturopath, biochemist, herbalist and yoga teacher living in southern California. Facebook Jess and follow her on Twitter.

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