When, Why, What & How to Cleanse...for Everyone.
No matter what is going on in life, I have always felt my best when I stay in tune with nature and follow the laws of each season, such as Chinese medicine and other ancient cultures have learned and taught for 1000's of years. This means that I cleanse once per season (Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter) and that cleansing to me is not just nutrition, but also about the mental, emotional and spiritual properties that align with each season. You will learn all of these properties as you read each seasonal cleanse.
Because one of my favorite benefits of cleansing is the discipline it gives me, I also like to do 1-3 day cleanses each month so that my discipline doesn't spiral out of control. These can be as simple as no meat or coffee for a day, fruits and veggies only for a day, or maybe a juice fast on a Sunday or anything else I may feel at that time.
Often times our discipline, or lack thereof, is most noticeable in what and how we eat, so I like to make sure that my eating does not get out of control and start affecting my discipline in other avenues of life, such as business, sleep patterns or spiritual practices. You'd be surprised by how much one day of mindful eating can boost your discipline and confidence in EVERYTHING else you do. Not to mention help your liver and other organs detox some of the poisons they have been ingesting on a daily basis.
- One major cleanse (1-3 weeks) each season (4)
- One minor cleanse (1-3 days) each month (12)
The consequences of accumulating toxins in our body are chronic and degenerative diseases, immune system disorders, neurological disorders, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, cardio-vascular diseases, cancers, obesity, and more.
Cleansing is More Important than Ever
Nowadays we are exposed to more environmental toxins and pollutants than ever before in history and the need to detoxify on a regular basis has become essential for optimal health. While there are many detoxification programs to choose from, it is important to choose a plan that you can follow and that respects the state of health your body is in.
One of the worst things to do is start an intense cleanse if 1) you have never done one before and 2) your body is relatively unhealthy and has a lot of toxins to release.
I am assuming that any or all of the following sound go to you. If so, then cleansing would be great for you because this list is what we have proven time after time for centuries to be the byproducts of cleansing!
This list is WHY YOU SHOULD CLEANSE.
- About 80% of our immune system, and therefore ability to fight disease and illness, resides in our gut!
- Reduce your storage of toxins
- Provide the nutrients that support the detox pathways enhancing elimination of toxins
- Provide nutrients that help repair, renew and nourish your body
- Discipline enhancer
- Get in touch with nature and create a healthy bio-rhythm
- Boost immunity by preventing an overloaded system and cleansing the blood
- Prevent chronic disease
- Reduce allergies
- Improve quality of life
- Lose excess weight
- Have better looking skin
- Increase energy levels
- Reduce inflammation
- Balance hormones
- Increase the body's ability to cope with stress
- Gives your physical body a vacation and promotes better cellular communication and ability to fight disease
- Stop or slow premature aging by reducing oxidative stress (one of the biggest factors in premature aging) and free radical damage
- To prevent the accumulation of toxins, illness and disease.
- To promote well being, increased energy and optimum health.
Let's keep this simple, because as anyone who Googles "cleansing" knows (all 44,000,000 of you), this subject can become over complexified (yes, that is a word =). Usually, it seems that those who are selling something to help you cleanse are giving the most complicated explanations on the subject, and of course claiming that their products or treatment will cleanse you of whatever the toxic disease is.
While all of their claims may be true, the bigger question is this; are they really necessary? Are the products and various things they recommend actually needed to detox the specific parts of your body?
My hope is to make it clear that unless you have a serious disease that has progressed to the point where intervention is necessary, most often you can encourage your body to adequately cleanse itself with very simple techniques.
After all, that is what it is created to do! It is our lifestyle and environment that hinder the natural process of detoxification. Once we get out of our own way, the body will take over and cleanse itself without much help at all. What a wonderful machine we live in right? Wouldn't it be nice if your car would change its own oil and filters if you just drove it well and let it rest 6-8 hours every night!?
The good news is that your body inherently gathers up and removes toxins from your cells and blood throughout the entire body every second of every day. Your liver breaks them down and your kidneys, skin, colon, lungs, and mucus linings in your nose and ears get rid of them.
In other words, every time you've had bad breath, a coughing or sneezing attack, random stinkiness or sweating, or many other bodily "undesirables", you were probably just detoxing!
Okay, back to the what.
Detoxification refers to the process of eliminating toxins from your body, and there are two major types of toxins your body accumulates over time:
Environmental Toxins: Also called exogenous (made outside your body) toxins, include all the chemicals, pesticides, pollutants, herbicides, medications, carbon monoxides, and many, many, and unfortunately many more that you're exposed to through air, water, and food.
Metabolic Toxins: Also called endogenous (made inside your body) toxins, are produced by your cells as part of their natural metabolic processes or unnatural processes like incompletely digested food microorganisms among other issues.
** It is normal for your cells to contain some toxins at all times.**
**Toxins are only dangerous to your health when allowed to accumulate so much so that they interfere with cellular function - which is called toxicosis.**
My approach to cleansing is simple. I want to encourage my body to eliminate the two major types of toxins that accumulate on a daily basis. And since stress is a large factor, I include ways to rejuvenate the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives as well as the nutrition plan.
I do not recommend or sell certain products, although I do use some natural herbs, teas, probiotics and some other natural-based aids to help the process.
I also do not promote any sort of "liver" cleanse, "colon" cleanse, or any other type of cleanse aimed at treating a certain organ. I will however give tips on what kind of herbs help specific organs function better based on research and science.
Can you see the difference? I am including the whole body here and not trying to fix anything in particular. Simply encouraging the body to do what it's already doing, which is continually healing itself no matter how hard we try to screw it up.
- The goal of cleansing is to promote the body's natural ability to eliminate the two major types of toxins; environmental and metabolic.
- My philosophy follows more of a total body approach than a specific organ or disease cleanse.
It can take months, years, even decades for toxins to build up enough to cause chronic disease and symptoms. For this reason, it is unrealistic to expect one cleanse to solve all of your problems or even make a noticeable shift in your overall health.
This is where cleansing with the seasons makes perfect sense as a lifestyle plan and something to build upon for as long as you are eating and breathing.
Please remember that what is written below is my philosophy on cleansing, which takes on a seasonal, Chinese medicine approach. As mentioned above in the "What" section, your body is cleansing itself on a daily basis and does not require much in the way of specific regimens to experience a good amount of cleansing. So if the seasonal approach below is too much for you to start with, try these 3 basic fundamentals to facilitate your body's natural ability to cleanse itself.
- Get as much physical, mental, and emotional rest as possible, and use fresh air, silence and sunshine whenever available to nurture your spiritual energy.
- Hydrate yourself with water-rich foods (mostly fruits and vegetables) and liquids.
- Minimize your exposure to exogenous and endogenous toxins.
Now, if you are ready to learn how to cleanse with the seasons, keep reading.
You want to make sure that you give yourself permission to set aside as much time as your life allows and to put in enough effort and intention to achieve a feeling of renewal. Cleansing halfway or in a rush is not going to give you that deep cleanse you are probably looking for, although it is at least a start.
As mentioned in the "When" section, the most important part of cleansing/healing for me and many others who follow ancient medicine, is to connect with and get into the rhythm of nature by cleansing with each season.
Before starting a cleanse, you want to prepare your body for it so there is not an abrupt change in your inner ecology, just like nature prepares the earth by having a transition period in between each season. Most of us are unaware of this transition, but with some keen observation you can notice that there is a great amount of energy taking place right before each season really gets going into its full force. Chinese medicine relates this transition period to the Earth element and energy. You can read more here for a brief description of the 5 elements and their associated seasons.
For instance, in nature, Earth energy looks like the last winter storm that clears the air and waters the soil right before spring starts, or a fire at the end of summer to cleanse the soil for autumn. It is a very nurturing and supportive energy.
Please go to the Earth Transition Cleanse to read more about it and learn how to start each cleanse off on the right foot and prepare the body to deeply take in and reap all the benefits from whatever cleanse you choose to do.
Before you start a cleanse, it is essential to know where your body is so you know exactly what you are getting into. For example, if you have never cleansed before, you probably should not start with an intermediate or advanced cleanse, unless of course you are prepared to suffer and have a lot of wherewithal to survive the process!
The most common mistake I see with cleansing is that people get gung ho about detoxing and choose a pretty aggressive cleanse to start with. There is nothing really wrong with that, however, it is a very intense way to do it and is usually the exact opposite thing that most people need, which is more intensity in their life!
That said, my first cleanse was very intense, and I am lucky to still have a yearning to do more because of what I went through! I had intense headaches for three days among other discomforts, was irritable and pissed off more people in that time than I probably have in the many years since.
So, my advice is always the same, ease into cleansing and take an approach about it that allows you to improve upon your successes each time. The beauty of cleansing is that your body actually learns the patterns of it and becomes more efficient each time you do it, like a cleansing memory. Once you have some experience with it, all you need to do is set your intention and get ready to start, and the body automatically starts accelerating its detox processes just like it increases its saliva when you think about food.
Below are some guidelines I have learned are great for helping people decide where to start and how much they can handle. Everyone is in different places with their health, discipline and time/effort allowances relating to work, life, etc. Do not over commit, take it easy, and choose components that you feel comfortable with and can achieve without much difficulty the first time.
This is a general list that will be expanded upon with each seasonal cleanse.
1-3 weeks is a good amount of time to allow deep cleansing.
The goal is to choose components that 1) you need work on and 2) you can hopefully maintain somewhat post-cleansing, and thus use them as a new-found health tool to build upon.
This method of "chipping away" at your weaknesses will smoothly transition you from beginner, to wherever you wish to end up.
TO DO LIST
- Sleep pattern; 10:30pm-6:30am
- Organic, free range foods
- Grass fed beef
- Follow the 80/20 rules
- 10 min stretching daily
- 10 min silence/meditation daily
- 20 min walking daily (ideally outside with fresh air)
- 10 min plugging into nature (observe in silence any way you wish)
- Proper food combining
- Proper blood type foods
- Follow proper cooking & eating rules
- Eat simple meals, i.e. only 2-3 types of food each meal, including types of veggies
- Increase your antioxidants
- Eat as alkaline as possible.
- Eat your fruits and veggies throughout the day.
- Artificial flavors, colorings or words you can't pronounce.
- Negative self talk
- Allergy foods
- T.V. and news
- All fats but virgin coconut oil and olive oil
- Added salt
- Overcooked foods
- Gluten and wheat
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Nuts and seeds
- Processed dairy (anything not raw)
- Foods on your blood type "avoid" list
- Unhealthy cleaning or beauty products (aluminum in deodorants, fluoride in toothpaste, etc.)
- Violence, hate, anger, etc. (movies, books, people, music, etc.)
THE MUST FOLLOW LIST
- Microwaved or canned food
- Super intense, physical activity
- Smoking and recreational drugs
- Overworking, over-committing, etc.
- Earth transition cleanse
- Use your breathing to release stress and tension throughout the day.
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water; 100lb person should drink 50 ounces of water per day.
- Get as much physical, mental, and emotional rest as possible, and use fresh air, silence and sunshine whenever available to nurture your spiritual energy.
1) AVOID VARIOUS TOXINS - You could do everything right in your cleanse and still not get a good detox if you miss these X-factors. Besides good nutrition, mental and emotional practices, you also must avoid ingesting various toxic chemicals or putting them on your skin, because the body can absorb many toxic chemicals through the skin. From the skin they will seep into your blood stream and lymphatic system, eventually accumulating wherever they are attracted to.
Below are only a few areas to focus on and are essential for your well being on a daily basis, whether you are cleansing or not.
- Health products (toiletries, cosmetics, deodorants, etc.)
- Cleaning supplies
- Smoking and drug addictions (including over the counter drugs)
- Environmental; fumes, smoke, chemicals, STRESS, etc.
2) RELEASE STORED TOXINS - The goal here is to add some methods that encourage your body to release any harmful chemicals that are presently stored in the body. The cleanses I present for each season also promote the release of toxins, but these are a few things to do in general to facilitate the process even more.
- Drink lots of water (promotes release through urine, which is the preferred method of releasing toxins)
- Massages, acupuncture, etc. (promotes blood flow and stimulates areas to release stored tension and toxins)
- Clay baths (helps release excess metals)
- Neti pot (releases bacteria build up in nasal cavities)
- Sweat, i.e. exercise, walk, steam room, etc.
- Fasting (there are many ways to fast, which give the body a rest from digesting and let it focus on detoxing - this is an advanced method and takes experience or professional guidance)
3) Rest - Simple, obvious, yet the most often overlooked factor is rest. Give your body the rest it needs so it can devote its resources to cleansing and detoxifying mechanisms.
Make sure your life (job, family, time, etc.) can support your cleanse and that you are mentally ready and have set intentions.
Cleanse with each season and start by preparing the body for your "real" cleanse by doing a transition cleanse, the Earth Transition Cleanse is what I recommend.
Decide which level of cleanser you are; beginner, intermediate, or master, and choose your components accordingly.
There is something known as the "Cleansing Reaction" that you should know about...
When the body starts its process of eliminating toxins, there can be "un-fun" symptoms during this time. And as a rule, the more toxins and gunk you have stored in your tissues, the more uncomfortable this process is going to be, which is why I recommend cleansing at your appropriate level, i.e. beginner, intermediate or advanced. This is also why one should have an intention and clear focus before doing a cleanse, otherwise it is easy to be derailed and turned off from cleansing forever.
There are numerous ways to release toxins, here are just a few along with their symptoms. As long as you are following a proper cleanse, these are all good things, just not very fun to go through.
Natural Ways the Body Releases Toxins
What We May Feel or Notice
This info is not the cleanse, it is hopefully just the info you need however to figure out how to build the perfect cleanse PROGRAM for you. Note the word program refers to the fact that ideally, cleansing is a process to improve upon year by year. Once you read the info presented here and are ready to start a cleanse, you can go to the appropriate season in the book and apply the guidelines that you learn right here for your specific in-season cleanse.