Question of the day: "Would you recommend that I go on a cleanse? Would this be a good way to clear out my system, and get more energy?"
Just about every magazine on the shelf advertises the latest 'cleanse', especially around the new year. And while most of us could use a little internal house keeping, I do not generally recommend clients go on a full blown cleanse. These cleanses, many of which involve just juice or water for a few days, can be a real shock to the system, and not everyone is in a state of health where this would be recommended. If your immune system is already taxed, you are lacking energy, and you are generally depleted, a cleanse is not a good idea as it will further deplete you.
As most diets are lacking in essential nutrients, I would be more likely to recommend that we 'build', instead of 'cleanse'. At this time of year, particularly, most people will not benefit from a full blown cleanse.
That said, almost everyone can benefit from these mild daily detoxifying practices:
The daily detox involves two things:
1) Lemon Water
2) Dry Skin Brushing
Drinking the lemon water helps the body to eliminate waste efficiently, and acts as a mild detoxifier. Lemon water acts as a liver tonic and helps you to digest food by stimulating the production of bile. Clients who incorporate this daily practice find that it wakes up their digestive system and keeps things moving, gently cleansing the system on a daily basis.
Enjoy a glass of warm water with ¼ to ½ a lemon squeezed in it every morning when you wake up. This should be the first thing you do, and breakfast should follow, with at least a 15 - 30 minute wait before eating. It is important to use a real lemon, not lemon juice from a bottle. Alternatively you can use 1 teaspoon of unpasteurized, unrefined apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. Both will have the same effect, so whatever is easier/ preferred is what you should do. If you experience heart burn or a burning sensation, drink milk and discontinue this practice. This is very unlikely to occur.
Dry Skin Brushing
Stimulates blood and lymph flow
Helps eliminate toxins from the body
Removes dead skin cells
Encourages cells to regenerate
Stimulates production of sebum
Helps combat cellulite
Results in smooth glowing skin
The Skin is an organ of elimination, just like the kidneys, the liver and the colon, and more than one pound of waste products are discharged through the skin every day! If the Skin becomes inactive with the pores choked by millions of dead cells, then impurities will remain within the body. In such cases, other eliminative organs, mainly the kidneys and liver, will have to increase their labour and will eventually become overworked. Therefore, by dry skin brushing you can actually alleviate some stress from the liver and kidneys, and support your body's natural detoxification cycles.
Brush the dry skin starting at the soles of your feet and working your way up your legs, your front (belly & breasts) and your back. Brush gently, and always work towards the heart. Then do your hands and up your arms. Focus the brush strokes towards the heart, again. Skip your face but give the back of your neck and your scalp (hair permitting) a good go! For hygiene reasons use a separate brush for each member of the family and of course wash the brush every couple of weeks.
Brushing your whole body in this way should take you between three and five minutes, depending on how many strokes you give to each area. Try to keep a rhythm going and brush for up to five minutes every day and preferably immediately before you have a bath or shower so that the dead cells are washed away.
Finally, moving to a diet which is centred around whole foods - fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains and quality meat and dairy products is essentially cleansing. By focusing your diet on unprocessed foods, you will be cleansing out all of the additives, chemicals and artificial products in your diet.
This, combined with what I call the daily detox would benefit most people looking to improve their overall health.