Q1: How can I prepare myself for a cleanse?
A1: Yes to preparation! This is going to be the key to a smooth cleanse. Check out the below steps to get the best results. You can start your pre-tox 2-7 days before you cleanse, depending on your current habits.
Step 1: Identify your goal for the cleanse and to determine a way (or ways) to measure that goal. For example – If your goal is to curb your sugar cravings, keep a food log for a few days to track when you currently have these cravings, and how you usually act when a craving arises.
If your goal is weight loss, weigh and measure yourself.
If your goal is to get rid of brain fog or headaches, document when you usually experience these symptoms, the duration, and intensity of it.
And if your goal is more frequent and less painful bowel movements, keep track of your bowel movements, what you ate before, and how you felt.
Step 2. Clean out your kitchen (this feels soooo good!). Go through your pantry, refrigerator, and cabinets to remove anything processed, sugary, or caffeinated. Check ingredient lists for any additives, fillers, colorings etc. If you don’t want to throw things out you can donate unopened foods to a friend or so.
Then, make a shopping list and think about the meals you want to prepare. Browse the internet for inspiration if you like. If you can spare five minutes to sit down and prepare your menu for the week, it will save you a lot of time during the week and it will be way easier to avoid the temptation of unhealthy foods. Not sure what to put on your shopping list? Think about all the foods that don’t require flashy packaging and endless ingredient lists such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs. Make vegetables and fruits the start of your plate (at least 50%).
I also highly recommend eliminating sugar, caffeine, processed & junk foods, alcohol, and cigarettes 2-3 days before starting your cleanse.
Step 3: Prep the goodies! One of the causes of bad eating habits is lacking time to prepare healthy snacks and meals. Luckily, with a little food prep you can avoid this trap.
When you get home from grocery shopping, prep before putting items away. Chop veggies, mix spices, or marinate fish/lean meat in advance to save time when you’re ready to cook. Store things in glass containers in the fridge. The more you can prepare ahead of time, the less likely you’ll be to grab something unhealthy out of convenience.
You can do this!
Q2: I feel so good after my cleanse, what can I do to support my body’s natural detoxification process?
A2: I’m so happy you feel so good! There are lots of things you can do and I’ll share my top 5 tips that promote detox and can help you to continue feeling great.
- Eat a diet rich in whole foods (fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs etcetera) and especially antimicrobials and anti-inflammatory foods such as garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, manuka honey, thyme, rosemary, blueberries, green vegetables, wheatgrass and green tea, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, bone broth, almonds, pineapple, avocado, sweet potato, and carrots.I also recommend adding organic matcha to your routine. This will provide an excellent source of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a molecule that naturally has metabolism boosting effects in the body.
- Dry brushing helps stimulate the lymphatic system by aiding the flow of lymph fluid throughout the body. You’ll want to pay special attention to your inner thighs and armpits where the greatest number of lymph nodes are found. The lymphatic system plays a vital role in elimination, helping to move toxins through the body.I recommend starting at the feet, using smooth strokes up the legs. Repeat the same process with the arms, starting with the palms of the hands and brushing up the arm toward the heart. On the stomach and armpits, brush in a circular clockwise motion. Remember to brush towards the heart, which is in the same flow as the lymphatic system.Aim for about 5-10 strokes on each part of the body.
- Avoid/limit processed carbohydrates (bread, cookies, cakes, pasta, pizza), refined sugar and flour, and fried and greasy foods. These foods all have a negative influence on your gut and your gut plays an important role in the body’s detoxification process.
- Limit over cooked meats and fats. Overheated damaged fats such as those from char-grilled meats and fried foods, can create toxins called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and heterocyclic amines (HCA). These are carcinogens which release free radicals into the body (free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body). An additional problem with fried foods is that they’re generally hard to digest which can also contribute to inflammation and irritation, especially if you have a more sensitive or reactive digestive system.
- Eat foods that support liver function. Your liver is your primary detoxification center so it’s important for the liver to be healthy. Liver supporting foods can include:
- Black pepper
- Citrus fruits – lemons, oranges, grapefruit
- Dark leafy greens
- Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
- Fermented foods – sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir, yogurt
- Flax seeds – use freshly ground or soaked overnight (pre-ground seeds can be rancid)
- Root vegetables – beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes
- Sea vegetables – dulse, kombu in soups, nori, seaweed
Bonus tip: Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate waste through perspiration!
I get pretty easily overwhelmed, do you have any practical tips to reduce overwhelm/stress? Absolutely! One important aspect of wellness that is often overlooked is mental health and I highly recommend including a mental cleanse to relax your mind and reduce overwhelm and stress. Just like with a body cleanse you’ll want to get rid of the ‘’bad’’ and add in more of the ‘’good’’. Here are ten ideas you can try:
- Spend time outdoors. When was the last time you walked outside and took notice of your surroundings? Did you take time to take some deep breaths? For a lot of people, spending time in nature is a perfect way to relax the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Limit the amount of time you spend on social media per day. Social media can be great, but it can also be exhausting and hurt your productivity and mental health. If you find it difficult to set limits yourself, the apps for Instagram and Facebook have a time-tracking function, and you can also set a time limit for how long you want to spend on the app per day.
- Clear up your social media. Unfollow everyone who doesn’t make you feel good or inspires you (I’m sure you think of some). Good vibes only!
- Focus on the small things. Write down three things you’re grateful for every morning.
- Turn off the news. News can fill you with anxiety and stress. Focus on activities that are more fulfilling instead.
- Celebrate what’s new and good in your life instead of focussing on things that aren’t going well. From there, take action to improve your life one step at a time.
- Exercise daily. When you move, your body releases endorphins, which help improve your mood and boost your energy levels.
- Focus on sleep. You probably know the effects that lack of sleep can have on your mood. Whether it’s from pulling an all-nighter to finish a project, suffering from insomnia, having a newborn baby, etc. Not getting enough sleep can make us irritable, moody, and more vulnerable to stress. Try to sleep 7-9 hours a night and establish a calming pre-sleep routine. Think of a cup of sleepy tea, some breathing exercises, stretching, a shower or bath etc.
- Practice ‘’zero negativity’’. No put-downs and negative comments and actions to yourself, friends, family, co-workers etc.. When you catch yourself saying something negative, stop, and take some time to reframe your words in a more positive way.
- Create a home that makes you feel comfortable and happy. Your home environment plays an important role in your health and happiness – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Try adding some houseplants (the more the better if you ask me), clean and declutter your living space, create a cozy bedroom, light soy candles etc.