Spring is for many people a time to think about cleansing. Cleansing your home, your mind and your body is a natural choice during this time of year. We leave winter and its heavier foods behind and prepare for some more lightness and sunshine, igniting our inner fires.
Cleansing may sound all peaceful and zen, but it could be a very intense experience. Or even horrible if you do a cleanse that is too harsh for you. You may experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, sluggishness, brain fog, irritation and other symptoms.
So for those of you who are interested in doing some detoxing, here are some practical tips:
Be very honest about what you normally eat (and hey no judgment from us) But if you are used to eating refined sugars, drink alcohol, lots of breads and pasta, coffee, dairy products, soft drinks and meats, and you would like to do a cleanse, just quitting sugar, soft drinks and alcohol is enough for you to start with. And I would suggest you do it for a month instead of a week. Since the changes will come as a shock to your system and it needs some time to readjust. Just doing it for a couple of days or a week, will not do much for you and even maybe not even worth the hassle.
If you have a pretty clean and healthy diet that includes loads of vegetables and excludes refined sugars, soft drinks and alcohol. You could ditch the animal products (if you are not vegan) for a week as a pre-cleanse before going into a deeper cleanse with Kitchadi like Irina Verwer describes in her blog. If you are vegan, but still have a high sugar (including agave and other sugar substitutes) intake it is still good to get rid of all your sugars first before doing the Kitchadi or raw cleanse.
And, if you have a medical condition and if you are pregnant, detoxing may not be for you. So do consult with your health practitioner if your detox plan is good for you.
Get your rest
If you can, plan a couple of days off. If this not an option for you, try to clear your schedule as much as you can. Don’t do any strenuous workout, but opt for walks and gentle yoga and do get some early nights.
When you are detoxing you do need extra fluids to eliminate the waste. If you don’t, your body may re-absorb the toxins. So make sure that you are getting enough water for your body weight. During the detox drink an extra 0,5 – 1 liter of water, depending on your normal water intake. Some people prefer cold water, but generally, room temperature is better. You can also pimp your water a little with some herbs, fruits or vegetables. Other liquids to drink are herbal teas and vegetable juices. If you want to know how much water you should drink for your body weight and height, check here.
Breathe and move
Like I mentioned, big sweaty workouts are not for you during this time. But gentle moving like yoga, tai chi, walking is great for you. Moving keeps your energy moving and can help to nourish your organs with fresh oxygenated blood. Also doing some pranayama can really help you during this time. It helps to cleanse and oxygenate your body. If you feel good you can even add a sauna visit to your cleanse. I would not recommend sauna for first timers or if you are feeling weak. I would also not go for the hottest saunas, but choose the lower temperature ones like the infrared.
When you are done with your cleanse, then slowly re-introduce your food back into your menu, as you did with the pre-cleanse. Allow for a couple of days for your body to re-adjust. And maybe you feel so good, you want to leave some things out for a longer period.
I hope you found these tips useful and we’d love to know how you get on during your detox.
Text: Marlene Smits
Image: Harold Pereira