Which Cleanse is Right for You?
Determine which cleanse works best for your lifestyle, circumstances, and experience.
Part of my job as a health coach and cleanse consultant is to help my clients decide which type of cleanse is right for them. Through the years I have had many people ask what a cleanse is, what the differences between cleanses are, and what they do for one’s health. Here I will discuss the different cleanses that I might recommend (depending on an individual’s health and circumstances) in the order of intensity, from the easier cleanses to the more advanced.
Level 6: The Elimination Cleanse
Hidden allergies are more often a culprit for health problems than most people realize. I had no idea that my constant tiredness and bumps on my arms came from a gluten sensitivity, nor did I realize that it was the dairy that disrupted my sinuses and digestion so profoundly. I just thought these were innate issues I’d have to struggle with all my life. If you search online you’ll find droves of people who have cured things like:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- acid reflux
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- acne, fatigue
- asthma & allergies
- and depression
There are even cases of it curing:
- kidney problems
- inflammatory bowel diseases (i.e. Chrohn’s, colitis, etc)
- attention deficient disorder (ADD)
- heart disease
- autoimmune diseases
- neurodegenerative diseases (like dementia)
- and autism
An elimination cleanse is a good cleanse to try if you are trying to understand any confusing health challenge.
The basics of an elimination cleanse is to:
- Remove possible food allergens from the diet for 3 to 4 weeks (or until you see an improvement in your health)
- Reintroduce each food back into your diet, one-by-one
- Eat the reintroduced food 3 times in one day, then monitor your symptoms for 2 days after to see which foods negatively affect your health and should be eliminated from your diet for good
This means, if you reintroduce citrus to your diet on a Monday, monitor how you feel on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you do not observe any changes, reintroduce something else, like tomatoes, on Thursday.
Common foods to be eliminated are:
- dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream etc.)
- gluten (wheat, barley, rye, processed foods containing gluten, etc.)
- soy (look at labels!)
- corn and corn syrup
- pork and processed meat
- nuts, especially peanuts
- nightshades: eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers
Basically you want to be eating a very whole foods-oriented diet with no processed food. It will mostly consist of vegetables (except nightshades and beans/legumes), fruit (except citrus), rice, and fish if you choose to eat animal protein. There are other foods that are not on this list that you may be allergic to, so be aware when you feel unusual after eating a lot of a certain food. For example, I know I get migraines and hangover-type feelings after I eat raw red onions, so I knew I had to avoid them. Also, if you feel addicted to or have constant cravings for a certain food, that may be an indication that you are allergic to it (quite unfortunately!). Add these suspicious foods into your unique elimination cleanse experiment.
- Fully Raw or FullyRawKristina
- This Rawsome Vegan Life
- Megan Elizabeth
- Jennifer Cornbleet
- Julie Morris
- Diana Stobo
- Ani Phyo Books
You can make almost any popular or mainstream dish with raw foods. There are yummy soups, desserts, sauces, dips, pastas, sushi, tacos and so much more that can be made with raw plants with the right methods. If you learn and practice these recipes, you will come to deeply enjoy raw foods, and reap the benefits of what this cleanse does for your body. You can even find pre-made raw food treats (like this Hail Merry chocolate tart) at health foods grocery stores like Whole Foods.
On this cleanse you’ll lose excess weight quickly & easily, have better recovery time from workouts, clear your mind, skin, sinuses, and intestinal tract, and fully renew your life. The fiber in all the plants will naturally clear out your gastrointestinal tract so that your body can take out it’s trash often and efficiently. See what other ailments and conditions people have cured on a fully raw foods cleanse in the film Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days.
You can do a raw foods cleanse for as long as you want. You can start out with 3 days and if you like it, extend it to 7 days. If you really like it, extend it to 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or just keep it open-ended. Some people, such as one of my idols Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, eat fully raw every day and look & feel absolutely amazing doing so. Feel free to start incorporating more raw salads, side dishes, and meals into your daily life for more nutrition and vibrance in your life!
Level 3: The Smoothie Cleanse
I have a 3- to 7-day smoothie regime that I offer my clients as a cleanse consultant.
When you go on a smoothie cleanse, you are still ingesting super filling insoluble fiber to keep you feeling full and to encourage regular bowel movements. You can have an incredibly clean diet leaving out all oil, salt, or other condiments usually used for taste when eating solid meals. You can give your body only the nutrients it needs without any toxic hindrances, so that it may focus on other important functions.
There are many tasty smoothies to make from sweet to savory. There are tropical, berry-mix, banana, mint-honey, citrus, and superfood smoothies as well as more savory smoothies that are more like soups or V8 juice.
Level 2: The Juice Feast
By taking out the fiber from a smoothie cleanse, all the nutrients that a plant has to offer can be absorbed straight into the bloodstream. This liquid gold is so potent that it is even used as a the main part of a nutritional therapy called Gerson Therapy, which has cured diseases like terminal and late-stage cancer, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, arthritis, heart disease, migraines, and so, so much more. It is truly a potent medicine. It’s main weapon is bolstering up your own immune system and allowing it to fight at it’s most optimal level possible, so that you can beat whatever is ailing you without harsh chemicals or drugs.
When your body doesn’t have to use any energy to break down food (which it does even on a smoothie cleanse) your body is able to use all the energy and nutrients from the juice for healing, regeneration, and fighting foreign invaders. Your gastrointestinal tract gets a breaks from it’s literally constant use, and other organs of the body are able to function with more resources. You would never be able to consume the pounds of vegetables that it would take to get the nutrients you can from a juice cleanse because of all the fiber and bulk.
People who partake in juice cleanses may enjoy looking younger & reversing the effects of aging, clearer skin, thinner body, a renewed metabolism, healthier hair, better sleep, regular bowel movements, improved fertility, a higher sex drive, and less chance of chronic diseases in the future. This comes evidence that these are typical results of a juice cleanse and that the former diseases have been cured in some individuals, not because I am a doctor, nor am I proscribing any professional advice.
A juice feast entails drinking mostly vegetable juice all day (so that you never feel hungry) and, if you wish, using a saltwater flush (SWF), laxative tea, or enema to aid in the process of eliminating any remaining solids in your system. An example of a basic green juice (the bulk of a juice cleanse) comes from Joe Cross’ Mean Green juice recipe which I’ve transcribed here:
For 1 serving use:
- 1 cucumber
- 4 celery sticks
- 2 apples
- 6-8 kale leaves
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp ginger
Wash everything, peel the lemon if you prefer (reduces the bitter taste), throw it all through a juicer, and enjoy!
You may also drink the spicy lemonade described in the next section, or juice some grapefruit in the mornings for some variety in your day. Other juice recipes are posted here, at Reboot With Joe, or at Juicing Vegetables. If you plan to use a method of flushing your system (explained in depth in the next section), do this in the morning and at night before bed. If you don’t have a juicer you can blend the ingredients in a blender and strain out the juice with a cheesecloth inside a strainer. You can do a juice cleanse for as long as you like (with a doctor’s permission). Some typical time-frames are 3 days, 1 week, 10 days, 2 weeks, 30 days, and 60 days, as seen in Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.
Level 1: The Lemonade Cleanse
Now, the Lemonade Cleanse takes some serious determination, will-power, and support. It provides enough calories and nutrients for cleansing, weight loss, and body regeneration. The program is to drink six to 12 glasses (drink enough that you are not hungry) of the following spicy lemonade recipe:
- fresh squeezed lemon juice (organic preferred)
- grade-B maple syrup (just enough to sweeten)
- cayenne pepper (start with a pinch and add more to later drinks if you can take it)
- pure water
When I was in college I would take a 32-ounce jug, squeeze 1 or 2 lemons into it, add the maple syrup & cayenne, and fill the rest with filtered water. If I was in class for awhile I would refill the jug after 3 or 4 inches were gone so that I would have something to drink all day (you can check out my probably-too-open-and-honest diary of how my very first cleanse went here). This cleanse really isn’t too strict on measurements or amounts, just make sure you are prepared and never hungry. Just keep drinkin’, just keep drinkin’!
Another part of the cleanse is the saltwater flush (SWF) and senna tea. As soon as you wake up in the morning on the day you start your cleanse (on an empty stomach) drink the saltwater solution. This consists of:
- 2 tsp or 1 tbs of sea salt
- 1 quart of warm, filtered water
The salt water will not be absorbed and will go right through you. Within 30 to 60 minutes you should have a bowel movement, so make sure you are not in the middle of a commute at that time. You should experience 7 to 15 bowel movements and/or urinations per day during the first few days on this cleanse, so station yourself near a bathroom. I would say that by day 5, if you no longer have any semi-solids coming out that you can stop the SWF and replace it with the tea.
At night, before you go to bed make yourself a cup of senna (or laxative) tea. Only steep it for 30 seconds at first, then 1 minute if it doesn’t flush you out. Only steep as much as your body can handle.
Three days before the cleanse, start eating more plant-based and raw foods. I was so inspired when I first heard about this cleanse that I skipped this step and went right into it. Drink the spicy lemonade for 10 days for health improvement and weight loss.
On the first day off the cleanse you may start drinking orange juice (organic and self-made is best but not imperative) to help guide your body back to digesting slightly sugary foods. On day two you can add vegetable broth to your diet, and on day three you can start eating solid raw plant food like salad. Do not eat something like bread on the first day off the cleanse! Your stomach will seize up and it will be painful!
Although this cleanse is most popular for weight-loss (typically 1 pound per day for overweight individuals), the real health benefits are in the detoxification of your body. Some of that weight-loss actually comes from the expelling of sludge that is packed on the walls of your intestines from toxic waste that has built up over the years. Other benefits include: less toxins in the body, mental clarity, more youthful skin, improved bowel function, fewer headaches, less bloating & gas, less acid reflux & indigestion, a cleaner G.I. tract better able to absorb nutrients, less obstructions to weight-loss in the gut, lower blood pressure, stronger immune system, higher energy levels, general health, and a natural, happy high.
I hope this helps you decide which cleanse is right for you and, as always, feel free to contact me with any questions! Happy Cleansing!