April2014Cleansefeature2Spring is a time of birth and blossoming. It is also a time of transition and of letting go to create space for new beginnings. Understanding the energy of the season helps us to better integrate the tradition of spring cleaning our homes and spring cleansing our bodies.

A cleanse is a ritual intended to purify the system of anything that is causing harm or hindering development. When we embark on a cleanse, we are sending out a message of self-care and committing to letting go of habits, behaviors, and attachments that are not serving us. Clean out your body and get your food story straight, and the other pieces of your life will fall into place.

Disrupting our nutritional habits creates a heightened sense of awareness in all areas of our lives. It is nearly impossible to undergo a cleanse and not notice the health of our thoughts, emotions, and relationships. Likewise, the choices we have made and continue to make.  It is a process of decoding the system and provides a clear understanding of true nurturance. As a result, we become aligned with our heart’s deepest desires and willingly let go of anything that is standing in the way. Herein lies our true opportunity for growth and expansion, as we are now pure vessels engaging in conscious creation and living with purpose.

 

JUICE CLEANSE

Offered by multiple companies or juice bars or can be prepared at home with a juicer and a list of recipes. Duration varies, usually lasting three, five, or seven days.

Benefits:

  • Deliver a large amount of nutrients and live enzymes to the body.
  • Give the body a rest from digestion (especially the digestion of processed foods, alcohol, fast food, fried food, chemicals, additives, preservatives, and other substances).
  • Interrupt a cycle or pattern of destructive food choices or binging on substances, including alcohol.

Considerations:

  • The fresher the better. Enzymes and nutrients are time sensitive and decrease the longer the juice sits.
  • Choose unpasteurized. The heating from pasteurization reduces the amount of vital enzymes, denaturing the benefits of the juice.
  • If possible, go cold. Cold-pressed juices reduces oxidation and many sources suggest that they tend to be nutrient dense.
  • Read labels to ensure all ingredients are organic, nothing is from concentrate, and there are no added sugars.
  • Choose or make juices with a wide variety of vegetables. Minimize fruits and high-starch vegetables (carrot and beetroot) to reduce sugar.

 

Juicing is a method of dramatically increasing live enzymes and nutrients while simultaneously giving the body a break from digesting processed foods, alcohol, sugar, meat, and harmful chemicals.  This is a great tool for resetting the body and our relationship with food, and can  facilitate longer-term dietary changes as food becomes reintegrated with conscious intention.

 

SPECIFIC FOOD CLEANSE

Often a raw, vegan, gluten-free, mono-diet (Ayurvedic kichari), or whole foods nutrition regimen. Length of time varies, but usually 14-30 days.

Benefits:

  • Kickstart a health regimen and create new eating habits and behaviors.
  • Eliminate toxic and inflammatory foods.
  • Overcome cravings and disrupt destructive cycles of poor nutritional choices.
  • Encourage a new cooking repertoire and reshape the palate.

Considerations:

  • Beware of marketing and buzzwords when grocery shopping or eating out. Labels like   vegan, raw, all-natural, and gluten-free do not necessarily mean healthy. These foods can contain processed ingredients, GMO ingredients, chemicals, and preservatives.
  • Read labels, focusing on ingredients as opposed to nutritional value. A good strategy: If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, then it’s probably not good for you.
  • Ask questions about food preparation when eating out. Many dishes are prepared with unhealthy oils and loaded with fat and sugar.
  • Nuts, seeds, and coconut oil are healthy if eaten in moderation.
  • Ideally, this type of cleanse emphasizes clean eating. Depending on the program, it may or may not be “healthy,” low-fat, or low-calorie. Education and awareness around ingredients is important, whether you are eating at home or out.
  • Long-term, many of these diets are best served by taking food- and superfood-based supplements to ensure proper nutrition.

 

CLEANSING WITH HERBS

Usually marketed as a full-body cleanse, liver cleanse, colon cleanse, or parasite cleanse. Average duration is anywhere from 5-30 days.

Benefits:

  • Aid in the detoxification process by enhancing the body’s natural ability to repair damage.
  • Address multiple body imbalances simultaneously.
  • Can eliminate harmful bacteria and other organisms.
  • Kickstart a health regimen by resetting and restoring the system.
  • Eliminate cravings and break out of destructive eating cycles and alcohol binging.

Considerations:

  • Use a high-quality product that contains only organic, herbal ingredients free of additives, binders, fillers, or other unnecessary and sometimes toxic material.
  • Most herbal cleanses also allow complementary whole foods, but proper nutrition is critical to receive the greatest benefit from a detox. Make sure you are educated in terms of wise food choices and the timing of meals with herbs.
  • Many herbal laxatives are packaged as cleansing aids, but can cause more harm than good. An increased number of trips to the bathroom does not indicate a more successful detox.

 

If a good herbal formula is used and a proper nutritional program followed, an herbal cleanse can serve as a powerful method for healing, eliminating stress and toxicity in the body, and restoring balance. The corresponding nutritional program should increase alkalinity, decrease inflammation, break destructive eating habits, eliminate cravings, and support implementation of a healthy lifestyle. An herbal cleanse can also identify the existence of deeper imbalances that need to be addressed.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is best to work with someone who is skilled in the science of cleansing to ensure you are conducting any program safely and effectively. It is also important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any regimen. Safe and proper cleansing takes time, attention, and dedication.

 

30 Day Clean Eating Cleanse

EAT ONLY THESE (Everything organic)

Fruits

Vegetables

Herbs

Beans

Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet)

Fresh-Pressed Organic Oils (olive, coconut, hemp) and/or ghee (clarified butter)

Nuts and seeds

Herbal teas, coconut water, fresh juice

 

SKIP THESE COMPLETELY

Meat

Dairy

Sugar

Salt

Caffeine

Bread, pasta

Wheat, corn, and soy

Fried food, packaged food, canned food

Alcohol

*Anything containing an ingredient you cannot pronounce

 


Spring cleaning our external environment and internal landscape also clears space for new growth and expansion.

Here are two additional rituals to consider this Spring:

 

30 Day Digital Detox

  1. Set aside one day per week completely free of all technology. Unplug from your phone. Avoid the internet, email, texts, and social media.
  2. Try turning your phone off for one hour per day.
  3. Limit your social media time to a specific one-hour block twice daily.

 

Purge the Clutter and Chaos

  1. Remove anything you have not worn from your closet and drawers within the past year. Donate!
  2. Rise 20 minutes earlier every day to practice a sitting meditation.
  3. Take inventory of the top 5 – 10 people you spend the most time with in your lives. Notice which relationships are positive and fulfilling. Spend more time nurturing relationships with those who nurture you back

 

Nykki Hardin is a Natural Health and Lifestyle Educator and founder of Reset Self Cleanse.  She combines her knowledge and expertise in nutrition, herbs, and the mind, body, spirit connection with her experience working at cleansing and fasting resorts, in a metabolic testing lab, and in health education. She believes in the body’s inherent intelligence and ability to heal, and is dedicated to sharing and teaching the tools and information necessary to thrive in today’s busy, overactive world.  resetself.com, [email protected]