Doing a Detox Cleanse
There are many ways to do a detox cleanse. I will outline a few different ways that can be used in detoxifying your body.
Remember that the idea here is to give your digestive system a complete rest and, by doing so, allowing your body to remove built up toxins, repair and heal.
This page contains details on how to detox, if you want to know more about why you should be doing a detox cleanse or a cleansing fast, read this page.
I recommend doing a 7-10 day detox cleanse once or twice per year (at the changing of the seasons - see spring cleaning tips - is best) and doing shorter cleansing fasts in between. I will talk about the shorter cleanses first and then the 7-10 day cleanse.
- Fast for one day a week
- Fast for one weekend a month
- Have a watermelon day
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables for a whole day or a whole weekend
Choose what feels right for you right now and next month try something different. Always listen to your body, tune in and feel what the best option is for you at any particular time.
We are always changing so know that what works for you now may not necessarily work the best for you in 6 months or a year.
If you choose to fast, abstain from solid food. You can drink only water, you can have only liquids (this may include fresh green juices(juice fast), coconut water or vegetable broth) or you may choose to have only blended foods (this would be things like fresh vegetable and fruit smoothies or blended soups).
Doing only water is the most intense cleanse while doing blended foods would be the mildest detox cleanse of the 3 options.
Like mentioned, you can also choose to have a day of just eating a cleansing food like watermelon or a day/weekend of just eating raw organic fruits and vegetables.
All of these options are cleansing and all will give your entire system a rest from foods that are difficult to digest. Check in with yourself and see which option feels the best to you. There will be times when you will be very motivated and times when you feel less so. It is all good and it is all about listening to your body for guidance.
If you choose to do the detox cleanse where you fast from solid food for one or two (ie weekend) days, eat an early dinner the night before (around 4pm), don't eat anything solid for the next one or two days and the following day eat a late breakfast.
This will give your body at least a 40 hour rest and since it takes about 30 hours for your body to switch into detox mode, this is a perfect little detox cleanse.
To get the most out of any detox cleanse, it is always best to ease into it with a pre-cleanse period and to ease out of it with a post-cleanse period. For the short cleanses above, the day before and the day after the cleanse try to eat very alkalizing foods, like fruits and vegetables, and stay away from acid forming foods.
Acid forming foods are things like processed and refined foods (cakes, cookies, breads, pastas), animal products (fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, cheese), coffee, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, additives and preservatives, sodas, candy, etc.
7-10 Day Cleanse
Why 7 days?
Many things in Nature work in natural cycles of 7 so allowing your body to cleanse for 7 days fits into this natural rhythm. Doing 10 days gives your body a chance to work with the cycle of 7 plus a few extra days.
We recently did a 10 day juice feast.
Doing a 7-10 day detox cleanse once per year is a nice retreat and rest for your entire system. The changing of the seasons is the perfect time to do a detox cleanse, read spring cleaning tips for more information on why this is so.
There are three stages to doing a 7 day cleanse;
-all described below.
Give yourself a proper pre-cleanse period of at least a week and up to a month or longer before your 7 day detox cleanse. The time you pre-cleanse is dependent on how toxic your diet and lifestyle is.
During this time fill your diet with alkaline foods such as fresh organic whole fruits and vegetables. Grains such as quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat are okay to have during this stage but make the bulk of your diet fruits and vegetables. Be creative and make it fun. Drink good quality water at room temperature and on an empty stomach. You can add a squeeze of fresh lemon or a tsp of apple cider vinegar to your water.
Stay away from acid forming foods like processed and refined foods (cakes, cookies, breads, pastas), animal products (fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, cheese), coffee, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, additives and preservatives, sodas, candy, etc. Start looking at the ingredient lists of everything you are taking in and stay away from any unnatural ingredients.
Support your body with plenty of rest and light exercise as you may already start to feel the effects of the detox cleanse during this stage. Just removing toxic and acid forming foods from your diet, which are difficult for your body to process, frees up so much energy that is now being redirected to cleaning house.
The cleanse stage is where you will remove solid food from your diet and just have liquids for 7-10 days. I highly recommend doing this part at a cleansing retreat centre like The Spa Resorts in Thailand.
A 7-10 day cleanse is a big undertaking that can affect a person on many levels. It is so much easier to do something like this when at a retreat centre. At a resort, you are surrounded by many others also doing a cleanse and there are many provisions set up to assist you through your cleanse.
There are now many retreat centres around the world that host 7 day cleansing retreats. I mention The Spa Resorts in Thailand because I know and trust their 7 day fasting program as this is where I worked for years as their Executive Health Advisor.
Whether at home or at a retreat, take heed of the following important information and tips for use during your cleansing fast.
During the 7 day cleanse, it is very important to make sure that your body is still getting adequate nutrients and electrolytes. This is done by the intake of fresh green juices, coconut water, vegetable or potato peel broth and plenty of good quality water with a squeeze of lemon added.
Click here to read a detailed account of our recent 10 day juice fast.
It is important to make sure that a variety of fresh organic vegetables and fruits are used to make the juices and broths to ensure that they are full of a wide range of nutrients. Herbal supplements and bentonite/psyllium drinks can also be taken during this time to assist with nutrition and with the removal of toxins from the body.
Your body doesn’t have to break down any solid food during this stage which gives your digestive system a complete rest. Your body can now fully concentrate on cleansing at a cellular level by releasing built up toxic and unwanted matter. During the detox cleanse your body will be able to repair and heal on many levels; physically, emotionally and psychologically.
Very important now is to support your body while all of this is happening.
Know, that as toxins are being released, you may feel a variety of cleansing reactions. Some common cleansing reactions are headaches, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, intestinal disturbances (gas, bloating, cramping), flu like symptoms, fatigue, aches and pains. On a psychological level you may experience mood swings, intense emotions, strange dreams and strong cravings.
Two things are happening,
- Toxins are being stirred up within your system
- Toxins are being eliminated from your system
It is very important to keep a balance here by releasing toxins as they are being stirred up. If toxic debris is being stirred up in your system faster than you can get it out of your system you will feel sick. The balance is kept by either slowing down the stir up of toxins or by speeding up the elimination of toxins.
There are several ways to help your body to eliminate toxins during your detox cleanse. The best and fastest way is by doing some sort of colon cleanse; either an enema, a colema or a colonic.
An enema you can do yourself with an enema bag – do this twice a day as needed. Nowadays, there are several colonic irrigation places around where you can also book a series of appointments and go and have a colonic done. A colema is a cross between an enema and a colonic and is what I believe to be the best way to cleanse the colon. Not everyone has the room in their home to set up a colema board but if you do, this can be a great asset to your health.
Retreat centres will have something set up for you to clean your colon. Whichever option you choose, do some colon cleansing during your detox cleanse. This is very important in the elimination of toxins and in helping you to feel good during the this time.
Also helpful is light exercise like yoga or walking. Our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like the heart to move its fluid around our body. Our lymph can only move when we move which is why our lymph nodes are located in our joint areas.
During a detox cleanse it is important to move your body in order to get that lymph moving so that the toxins in the lymph can get to the places in the body where they can be filtered out and removed.
Be sure to only engage in light, non-cardio exercise during the cleanse stage. Cardio exercise will require too much energy which will take energy away from the cleansing you are trying to achieve. A cleanse is a time of rest when your body can do work at a cellular level.
Other things that are very helpful while detoxifying your body are dry skin brushing, tongue scraping, steam baths, saunas, massage, neti pots, oil pulling, deep breathing, meditation and lots of rest.
Don’t take this lightly as a cleanse is a retreat for your entire system. Plan and allow yourself to have several days of quiet, little stress, little tv, computers or cell phones. Get others to do the cleanse with you so you have support. Book colonic sessions or buy an enema bag and use it. Fill your time during the cleanse with healthy activities that you enjoy in order to make this time fun and enjoyable; long hot baths, good books, sharing green juice with uplifting friends, light work in the garden, going for walks etc.
A cleansing fast like this can be done at home but being at a retreat centre allows you to be fully removed from the stressors and distractions of daily life at home and also to be supported by the atmosphere of the retreat centre. The retreat centre will prepare everything for you and will usually have yoga and meditation classes as well as massage and other therapies available to you.
When doing any cleanse, always listen to your body. And always arrange the time of your cleanse to be one where you have plenty of time to relax and rest.
The post-cleanse period is at least 3-4 days after your 7 day detox cleanse and the longer the better.
After your detox cleanse (your days on liquids) it is time to slowly start to introduce solid food back into your diet. Even though you are now eating be sure to keep up your intake of good quality water (add lemon for taste) in between meals on an empty stomach.
Start with some fresh papaya or some fresh watermelon. Have blended green smoothies and blended soups.
During this post-cleanse period, it is very important to start with simple and easy to digest foods and to slowly build up your diet to, hopefully, a healthier diet than you had before. Stay away from packaged, processed and refined foods especially during this time and try to limit or eliminate them as you move forward.
As you start to re-introduce solid food back into your diet, support your digestive system with proper food combining and better digestion tips.
USEFUL TIPS AND REMINDERS
- the pre-cleanse and post-cleanse periods are very important, do not skip these stages.
- listen to your body. Slow or stop the cleanse if needed.
- get plenty of rest, don't plan anything stressful.
- drink plenty of water.
- ingest plenty of nutrients (green juices, vegetable/fruit juices, coconut water, broth).
- cleanse your colon.
- move your body with light, non cardio exercise (yoga, rebounding, walking).
- use skin brushing, tongue scraping, steam baths, saunas, massage, neti pots, oil pulling, deep breathing.
- limit use of electronics (cell phones, computers, tv, etc).
- have others do the cleanse with you.
- do your cleanse at a cleansing retreat centre like The Spa Resorts.
Remember that, although cleansing is beneficial to better health, the most important part of any detox cleanse is how you come off the cleanse and the diet and lifestyle choices that are made after the cleanse is over and in between cleanses.
Take the time and make the effort to take care of your body and it will take care of you... you are so worth it!
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Have You Done a Detox Cleanse? Been to a Retreat? Done one at home? Have Questions? Here's the Place to Share.
Doing a detox cleanse is so much easier with support. Share your experiences/questions here and we can all support each other. Tell us what cleansing has done for your health, how you felt, reservations you had/have ... just about anything you want to share can probably help someone else out there.
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The following comment was submitted by Paul who was part of a group that did a 3.5 day detox cleanse and 7 day retreat in Thailand recently ( contact me …
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