When I was younger, I spent years with mysterious health issues – stomach problems, mood swings and a general fatigue that I could not be explained.  Hours of time was spent in doctor’s offices, enduring a battery of tests.  I resigned myself to the fact that I was just going to feel terrible.  It wasn’t until I did my first cleanse that things made sense – my input was creating my output.  After a lifetime of eating a North American diet (full of flour, sugar, dairy and loads of refined foods), I had a system that was overloaded and not functioning properly.  This was not an easy realization.  Not because of the concept (that’s easy), but because of what I was going to have to do to fix it.   I was going to have to change my mind about food!  Let’s be clear about something here – I love food – especially the food that I was going to have to eliminate in order to take care of myself.   But I had felt terrible for so long that I was willing to try anything.

I immediately noticed a difference in my energy levels.  My stomach felt healthy for the first time in years and my memory and ability to think clearly improved.  My skin cleared up and I was smiling a lot more.  Could it be that what I eating was affecting my health to that extent?  The answer was yes, and it was then that I committed to cleaning up my eating habits for good – including cleansing regularly.

Benefits of cleansing

As the weather heats up it’s the perfect time to cleanse. The variety of fresh foods available becomes more abundant during the summer months.  After a season of heavier foods, spring and summer are a great time to detoxify the system. Rich winter diets are lovely and comforting, but can put a burden on our systems. Cleansing allows our bodies to get back into balance. Many people report more clarity, greater alertness, clearer skin, improved digestion, weight loss, an over-whelming joy, and many other health improvements after a cleanse. It just feels good.

Types of cleanses

There a many types of cleanses.  Kits available at health food stores contain supplements and a list of foods that you can/cannot eat.  There are “Master” cleanses, juice cleanses, and elimination cleanses.  The possibilities are practically endless.  A Naturopath, Herbalist, health food store employee and the internet can all be great resources to help you decide which cleanse is best for you.

Simple Things to keep in mind

If cleansing is new to you, keep your first experience short and easy.  Even three to seven days will make a difference in how you feel.  Be realistic – it has to work for you.

Choose organic when you can.  This is no time to be eating pesticides with your food.  As Mark Pollard, author of In Defence of Food puts it, “Spend more and eat less”. Eliminate sugars, dairy products, saturated fats, additives, caffeine, alcohol, refined foods, and  processed foods for the duration of the cleanse.

Drink lots of water – keep everything flushing through your system.

And most importantly – never think of a Cleanse as deprivation.  The variety of foods you can eat on most cleanses would be considered a feast in many areas of the world.  You simply need to change your mind about food.  The results you will see have the potential to change your life – it did mine!