Cleansing has become a annual ritual/practice for me. Going on a cleanse is a great way to get back on track, kick start a healthier diet, and re-set eating habits. I know technically January is the start of a new year but in a lot of ways September feels more like an appropriate time for change and new beginnings. James and I have been chatting about starting a cleanse for a few weeks now and so, I thought I would share a little about the changes and restrictions we make in doing so. There are lots of different philosophies, guidelines and programs as far as cleansing is concerned. I've taken quite a few different approaches but have come up with some pretty simple guidelines that I follow each time I feel the need to cleanse without having to research the latest and greatest or pump my body full of supplements. Here's what I do:
- 21 Days. 3 weeks is the standard amount of time I plan on cleansing for. As a general rule it takes your body 21 days to stop craving something and allow for new habits and behaviours to take root. The first few days are always the roughest. But, it gets easier, and you stop being hangry soon I promise.
- Cut out all the foods your body gets addicted to. This includes: Caffeine, Sugar, Alcohol, Animal Products, and Gluten. I know, what's left? But, this pretty much eliminates anything your body may need to cleanse from and also the things that may be causing irritation in your system. If you find there have been drastic differences for you such as clear skin, a calm digestive tract etc. It may be an idea to implement each thing back separately and in small doses after your 21 days so you know what it was that was irritating your system in the first place.
- Keep it whole. I know it may be tempting to substitute things that you're cutting out and this mostly pertains to animal products. The substitutes are often over processed and just cluttering up your system. There are whole food substitutes that are great alternatives, however. Agave is a great sugar alternative, there are really great herbal teas that can replace the ritual of your morning cup of jo (proper Chai tea is my favourite) and nut milk is a great dairy substitute. I stopped drinking milk years ago and have easily switched to nut milk for baking etc. But try to avoid soy products.
I'm curious! What kind of cleanses have you tried? Which changes have made the biggest difference in how you feel? What has been the hardest thing to give up during a cleanse?