Six Essential Tips For A Successful Cleanse

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Spring is finally here!  Hurray for longer days, more sunlight and more time outside enjoying nature.  It’s time to spring clean the body with a gentle cleanse.

The main purpose of a cleanse is to clear the body of toxins and contaminants that can accumulate in joints, organs, tissues, cells and in the bloodstream.  By giving your body a break from its toxic burden and deeply nourishing yourself with the right foods and exercise, you can reach a new level of health and vitality. A gentle cleanse can also help improve mental clarity and emotional stability, balance blood sugar, reduce cravings and crashes and increase strength, flexibility and stamina.

 

Here are six essential tips for a successful cleanse:

 

1). Begin a cleanse on the weekend (or a day off), so that you can find adequate time to shop & prepare the foods you’ll be enjoying.

2). Choose a time frame that works for you—3 days, 10 days, even a month.  Do your best to pick a time that you know are free of excess stress or social events.

3). Don’t be concerned with portion sizes or calorie-counting.  Eat a variety of the whole foods suggested below.  This is not a fast.

4). Stay hydrated and sip on plenty of water adding lemons, limes or cucumbers.  Hot water with freshly squeezed lemon is my favorite cleansing drink to start the day.  Sip slowly and think about how great you are going to feel from the cleanse.

5).  Add a green juice to your morning routine. It’s loaded with enzymes that keep your immune system strong, offers protection against osteoporosis and tastes refreshing and filling.

6). Exercise! Regular exercise is critical during a cleanse, because it moves the lymphatic system to promote more efficient elimination of toxins and waste.  Even a regular walk or gentle stretching routine can make a big difference.  Make it out to yoga class.  For the next month, I will be working on twists to cleanse the body.  Twists are poses that squeeze and massage your organs.  When you release the pose, your organs become flooded with nutrients and toxins are released.

What to eat during your cleanse:

  • All fresh vegetables; Juicing, steaming, baking and grilling are all healthy options
  • All fresh fruits: Juice, make a smoothie, add to oatmeal, frozen blended bananas have a similar texture and taste to ice cream
  • Whole grains, including oatmeal, brown rice & quinoa
  • Beans
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Dairy substitutes, such as rice milk, almond milk & coconut milk
  • Organic chicken and deep sea fish (optional)
  • Oils, including extra virgin olive oil
  • Herbs & spices, as well as vinegar

 

Try this great and tasty recipe for vegetarian chili:

Sauté a chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic in a little water, add 4 chopped olives.

When the onions are soft, add a selection of chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, leeks, parsnips, etc.) and 2 cups of cooked red kidney beans (or your favorite beans).

Add paprika and chili to taste, then cook until the vegetables are tender.  Add a teaspoon or 2 of honey and lemon juice.  Serve with brown rice and a side salad.

 

There are many types of healthy soups you can cook.  Here is a sample of one of my favorites.

 

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White Bean, Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup

3 medium carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise

2 large tomatoes, quartered

1 large onion

1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 cups vegetable broth

4 cups finely chopped kale

1 bay leaf

1 can great northern beans

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray rimmed baking sheet with oil spray.  Arrange carrots, tomatoes, onion, squash on sheet.  Drizzle with oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until vegetables are brown and tender, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.

Put vegetables into a large pot.  Add 5 1/2 cups broth, kale, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until kale is tender, about 30 minutes.

Add beans.  Simmer 8 minutes to blend favors, adding more broth to thin soup if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper.

 

Here is my favorite green juice recipe:

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Green Juice

1 head of romaine lettuce or celery

5-6 stalks of kale

1-2 apples (adds sweetness)

1 whole lemon (don’t need to peel it)

1-2 inches fresh ginger (optional)

 

Process through a juicer one vegetable at a time.

Pour into a large glass and drink!

Notice how the lemon really cut out the “green” taste that most people try to avoid.  For best results, drink on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

Sample cleanse day plan:

  • Prepare green juice.  Sip slowly and enjoy.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and add it to a mug of hot water.  As you drink it, think positively about how great you are going to feel as you cleanse.
  • Allow yourself time to commit fully to this cleanse.  Become aware of your body – how does it feel?  Check through every part of your body.  How are you feeling emotionally?  Excited?  Wary?  Pay attention to any thought or fears you have.
  • Practice stretching or a do a few sun salutes or go to a yoga class.
  • Take a bath in your favorite essential oil and dress in comfortable, loose fitting clothing.
  • Eat a good breakfast.  Include a piece of fruit or a bowl of fresh fruit salad.  Drink a cup of herbal tea to refresh you.
  • Spend the morning relaxing.  You could listen to music, read a good book, or just sit quietly and think.  Record your reactions to the cleanse and the kinds of thoughts and feelings which emerge.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Half an hour before lunch, have a hot drink.  Ginger tea is ideal.  This warms up the stomach and prepares it for digestion.
  • Prepare your lunch with care and attention. There is evidence that food lovingly and carefully prepared has more “life energy” in it.  Lunch should be quite substantial.  See the vegetarian chili recipe above.  Try not to drink cold water with your meal, it slows down digestion.  Finish the meal  with stewed fruit, rice pudding, fruit salad or fresh fruit.  Eat your food with mindfulness, paying attention to its taste, texture, smell, and how it feels in your mouth.  Give thanks for the food you are eating and think how it will benefit your body.
  • A short while after lunch, take a walk.  Become aware of where you are walking and what is around you.  Stroll gently or, if you are quite fit, walk at a brisk pace, but always with awareness.
  • How you spend your afternoon is up to you.  However, it’s worth trying to keep away from large crowds and busy places while you are cleansing.  Use the opportunity to spend time with yourself.  Be gentle on yourself and think what would make you feel good.  Perhaps an afternoon movie, a massage, or a lazy long afternoon of doing nothing.  It’s up to you.
  • Eat your evening meal early, around 6pm if you can.  Again, drink a cup of ginger tea half an hour beforehand.  Make it a light meal.  A bowl of hearty soup or a salad or poached fish with steamed vegetables.   Eat another piece of fruit.
  • Take plenty of time for your evening bathing ritual.  Prepare your bathroom with candles and soft music.  Add essential oil to your bath.  Get in and relax.  Use the power of visualization.  Imagine the toxins in your body being loosened from your cleanse.  See them in whatever way you like, moving out from your tissues, from the liver and kidneys, from those fatty deposits on your body.  Imagine them coming out and through the skin and floating off into the water and then evaporating into the air.  Now visualize a beautiful golden healing energy moving into your body in a place of the toxins – it enters every cell of your body, filling you with a feeling of light, peace and relaxation.  Thank your body for working so well with you today.
  • Aim for an early night.  Ideally, you should be in bed and ready for sleep by 10pm.  Your bath should have relaxed you and you may well be ready for sleep.

Shopping list for your cleanse:

  • Fresh vegetables and salad (see veggie chili and soup recipe above)
  • Fresh fruits
  • Lemons
  • Grains (oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa)
  • Organic chicken and deep sea fish (optional)
  • Dairy substitutes, such as rice milk, almond milk & coconut milk
  • Nuts, seeds, oils
  • Herbs and spices, fresh ginger and garlic
  • Ingredients for green juice
  • Water
  • Essential oils (lavender is best for relaxation)
  • Sea salts and Epsom salt for your bath
  • Cider vinegar
  • Candles
  • Relaxation or visualization tapes (optional)
  • Journal for recording thoughts, dreams, etc.

By adopting these simple practices, you can experience positive transformation on many levels. A seasonal cleanse should be a gentle, life-supporting experience. Relax. Enjoy. Renew.

You can find more articles on our blog, Performance For Life.

-Teryn Krisik, Group Exercise Instructor at SSC