I cruised into the yoga studio where I practice a few days ago to grab a quick class. As I entered I was blinded by the radiant glow of the studio owner. Instantly, I knew what she had been up to - a juice cleanse. I have a love-hate relationship with cleansing. I recognize the need to do one a few times a year but hate suffering through the first couple of days. The last long term cleanse I did was the Master Cleanse with my husband and a friend for 10 days. I was preparing to be on TV so I was definitely motivated to push through. The first 3 days were brutal. I found my self crawling on the floor begging my husband to give into cravings with me. The second 4 days were easy. Once we got through the detox symptoms our energy skyrocketed. I found the last few days tolerable but boring. I decided that all of my future cleanses would be 5 days or less.
Over the years I have gathered a few "cleansing tips" that I use to keep myself on track. A few of my favorites are
Make a list of what you are expecting to get from your cleanse and refer to it in those moments of wavering resolve
Make a list of what challenges you expect to face. For me this normally consists of one thing - cravings. Your list of what you are expecting to get will be much longer and therefore put the challenges in perspective
If you give in and cheat don't throw the whole cleanse out. Try not to cheat but if you start going down that road try to have a safe cheat item: i.e. a little watermelon or cucumber slices. These water filled items may allow you to quickly move on from your weak moment and complete your cleanse.
Why am I suddenly blogging on cleansing?? I'm coming off of a few days of vacationing and a few weeks of reckless indulgence. With that, last night I announced to my kids that I would be embarking on a juice cleanse for a few days. READ: Don't bug me to go out to eat!!
In the spirit of appealing to my selfish side, I have compiled a list of "what's in it for me". So, much like on Letterman, here are the top 10 reasons everyone should occasionally cleanse your body...
Get Blood Sugar Levels in check: keeping blood sugar levels under control help reduce future health problems, prevent weight gain, and reduce unhealthy cravings.
Reduce Unhealthy Cravings: see #1. When the body is nutritionally balance, cravings seize to happen.
Increase Absorption of Vital Nutrients: When you cells are clean, they can more easily absorb nutrients in your food. Every body system will benefit from this.
Boost Your Immune System: I do not take flu shots. My immune system is very strong and cleansing just makes the cells of the body more equipped to fight disease.
Brain Chemistry Boost: My mental clarity is always enhanced after a cleanse. My thinking is clearer and more concise. I've read that cleansing helps your body absorb fats and proteins more effectively. The better your body does this, the more healthy brain chemicals it produces.
Increase Energy: During my last cleanse I was amazed at my increased level of activity - yes I said DURING! After a cleanse this increase continues. Cleansers definitely feel more inclined to exercise. Your cells are "de-junked" and full of super nutrition -- the effect is more energy and more motivation to move your body.
Balance Your Hormones: Cleansing and super nutrition help your body balance its hormone levels. This leads to increased stamina, better sleep, and a feeling of well-being.
Support Your Liver: The liver is your body's primary elimination organ. When it gets overwhelmed with toxins and poor nutrition, poor thyroid function and low energy are the results. Cleansing supports the liver and leads to better thyroid function.
Improve Your Quality of Life: This is the ultimate reason to cleanse and replenish your body. When you are clean, you feel happier, sleep better, exercise more, make better food choices and loose excess weight.
Lose Weight: All though this is the least important reason to cleanse it is an added benefit! Your body protects itself from ingested toxins by producing extra fat cells. These fat cells encapsulate the impurities and keep them from depositing into and harming your vital organs. Cleansing leeches chemicals from fat cells and helps your liver and kidneys flush them from your system.
Armed with this list and a load of fresh fruits and vegetable, I'm ready to move forward!