The Truth About Cleanses
Lots of rumors and misinformation surround cleanses, but the main idea is rather simple. Cleansing is meant to detoxify the body from the less desirable things that have been put into it, like toxins or unhealthy foods. Cleanses can also be used to kick start a diet or a change in habits.
Some may confuse fasting and cleansing but they are quite different from one another. Fasting is restriction or abstinence from some or all foods and drinks and could be done for variety of different reasons, such as religion. Cleanses focus more on cleaning out the body and refilling it with nutrient-rich items.
It should be noted that cleanses are not a weight-loss solution. This can be confusing because you will probably lose weight on a cleanse, but you should expect to gain it back afterwards because it is water weight being eliminated from the body. This is similar to diets that prohibit a person from eating one thing or one category of things, like carbohydrates. While it does work in that you will lose weight in the short term, once the item is introduced back into the diet, the weight probably will be too.
Saying that, if you’re feeling unhealthy, sluggish or overweight, a cleanse might be just the thing to get your body headed back in the right direction. Here are four easy cleanses to get you on your way.
Fruit and Vegetable Cleanse
This is a simple cleanse for beginners and can be done over a weekend, since it should last for just two to three days. The idea behind this cleanse is to replenish the body with nutrients that most of us don’t get from our daily diet of processed food. Eat only fruits and vegetables, raw or cooked, for the duration of the cleanse. Try to avoid additives like sugar, butter and salt, and stay away from animal proteins and fats too. Use this opportunity to be creative and and to figure out all the different ways that fruit and veg can be enjoyed. The wider the variety of fruits and vegetables you eat, the better, because they will provide a wider variety of vitamins and nutrients.
If you love fruit, an all-fruit cleanse may be right for you. This cleanse can be done for any amount of time you feel is necessary but not for more than seven days. Again, this is an easy cleanse to follow. Eat only fruits. Citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges have the highest detoxifying properties, so try to eat a lot of those. Grapes are also great because they have properties that protect against cancer and diabetes and have high amounts of vitamin C and potassium. Grape-only cleanses can be done for three to five days.
The juice cleanse has a lot of the same healthy properties of the previous two cleanses (notice a fruit and vegetable theme here?) but with the added bonus of being absorbed more quickly and healing the body quickly, ideal if you are sick or want to detox fast. For the juice cleanse, drink only fruit and vegetable juices and broths for three to five days. Note that this cleanse will not provide enough calories for someone who requires a high amount of energy. Athletes and anyone else leading an active lifestyle should approach this cleanse with caution. Vegetable soups and solid fruits and vegetables can be added to supplement the cleanse if necessary. Make sure to consume only 100% fruit and vegetable juices without any added sugar. In the ideal juice cleanse, you would make your own juices with a juicer and fresh foods.
This detox sounds easy but can be surprisingly difficult. Again, the idea is simple. Avoid eating sugar. But be careful to check items you might not expect to have sugar, as it is hidden in many foods like condiments and soups. The benefits of this cleanse are that you will be able to lose weight more easily, have more energy, and wean yourself off of sugar dependence. It is less extreme than many cleanses so it can be done for weeks or months, since you will still be getting nutrients from your food and simply cutting out unneeded sugar.
Beware of cleanses that sound dangerous or too good to be true. It is not healthy to starve yourself and it is important to get enough healthy nutrients and calories. The Master Cleanse, made popular by celebrities recently, will likely result in weight loss but this is because it is lacking in sufficient nutrients and calories. Plus, it requires a lot of willpower to avoid solid foods for 10 days. A healthy sampling of fruits and vegetables is better than this strict cleanse. When in doubt, check with a doctor before changing your diet.
After your cleanse is done, the key is to stay away from bad habits that necessitated the cleanse in the first place. View your body as a clean slate and sustain it with nutritious, energizing foods and beverages. To keep moving in the right direction, try to follow these tips:
– Eat lots of fiber.
– Keep your liver in good working condition by taking dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
– Fill up on these toxin-removing foods: Brussels sprouts, garlic, asparagus, avocados, walnuts, spinach, grapefruits, tomatoes and carrots.
– Take vitamin C. It will help drive away toxins.
– Drink lots of water, at least 2 quarts per day.
– Practice deep breathing to oxygenate the body.
– Aim to reduce stress in your life.
– Make use of a sauna to sweat out toxins.
– Exercise daily.
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