I usually do a cleanse/gentle detox at least once a year, and I usually keep it the same; vegan style, excluding wheat, corn, and soy (all of which I don’t usually eat anyway but make sure to steer clear during my cleanse). Basically- seasonal and local fruits and vegetables; cooked and raw, some legumes, along with lemon water and detoxifying herbs and spices.
This year, however I stumbled upon a great website which has a variety of programs related to yoga and wellbeing. The program is great and mapped out quite well, with some adjustments, I think I may adapt to this cleanse as my annual spring cleanse.
I am still in the planning stage, but I am easing into the cleanse by eliminating meat, dairy (except homemade grass-fed yogurt), and bread (even my homemade sprouted spelt bread for now). I am still working on the rest on my personalized plan.
The thing is, most cleansing or detox programs will give food recipes for foods that are not part of a person’s daily diet such as mung beans, which are a highly recommended food for a cleanse due to their alkalizing effect. I have never had mung beans until today. I decided to try a certain recipe; it wasn’t bad, except I didn’t care for the spices. It really made me rethink my meal plan strategy and I realized that I have to come up with a plan where I can tweak my existing eating habits. I will definitely post recipes that are “cleanse friendly” according to this particular program I am following, once I figure out how to successfully do so.
What works for one person, may not work for another, I personally prefer Middle Eastern food, so I will adjust some recipes to work for me, like making a sprouted lentil tabouli salad, I am sprouting lentils now and will be eating them tomorrow.
As far as the mung beans, I like them, they taste similar to lentils so I will try a soaked mung bean and brown rice Lebanese porridge called mjadara, I will post recipes as I do them. But first, back to the plan…..
In order to be successful at anything, you must have a plan, for a cleanse, this plan must include:
- An intention, a goal and how to get there; the best way is to write it down in a journal and make daily entries. It is important to choose a good time when stress levels are not high.
- Create an exercise program; include deep breathing daily and gentle stretching such as yoga.
- Stress reduction; daily prayer, meditation or reflection; write your emotional experience in your journal daily.
- Removal of toxins by eliminating certain foods and lifestyle habits (junk-food, alcohol, smoking, etc…)
First, think about what the food/substance does for you… Be mindful of your relationship to it, how it serves you and how it negatively affects you.
Make a plan to reduce and a date to eliminate the substance by. Get a friend to hold you accountable and check in.
If you feel that this food/substance still has more power than you do – ask for help. Call addictions support in your area for substances and talk to a nutritionist to help you deal with sugar and food addictions.
Remove processed foods:
- Coffee (even decaf)
- Black tea
- Dairy, eggs, meat, unless it is 100% grass-fed/pasture raised and humanely processed.
- Wheat (sprouted or soaked spelt is fine), corn, or soy (unless organic and fermented)
- Replace with cleansing healthy, natural-organic local foods such as seasonal vegetables and fruits. The key to a successful cleanse (or any shift towards healthier eating) is NOT to deprive yourself! Your cleanse will be so nourishing on deep levels that you as you shift intentionally towards cleansing foods you are able to let go of old eating patterns and foods that don’t benefit you. Add cleansing foods: Organic or natural (NON-GMO), preferred local and in season.
- Practice mindful eating; be aware of the food you prepare and pay attention as you chew it, enjoy it, feel the nutrients as your body absorbs them.
- Replenish with probiotic foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, cultured vegetables, etc…
This cleanse can last up to 6 weeks if it feels right.
Who Should NOT Cleanse?
Before beginning any cleansing or detoxification program, you must first do extensive research and/or ask your health care provider if you have a medical concern.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Anyone recovering from an eating disorder.
- Anyone with a serious weak health condition needs to be cleansing under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
It is possible to over cleanse and become deficient. So if you have cleansed already a few times this year, or are following a raw food diet, another cleanse might bring you to deficiency. When we are deficient, toxic elements can be integrated into the body instead of vitamins and minerals. If you are emaciated, weak, have a small quiet voice, and have trouble expressing emotions a cleanse is probably not for you.
To learn more about the cleansing/detox program I am following, please see 8 Day Spring Cleanse