Guidelines, Planning, Tips, Do’s, Don’t’s, and Supportive Practices to get the MOST out of your cleanse!
I have done a few “cleanses” at this point, and I have done them the wrong way! It has made for less than pleasant experiences in places where we should be feeling nourished and come out of thriving! I must admit that for a bit there, I was convinced, “Cleansing just isn’t for me,” and you know what, I still must say that juice cleansing may really not be for everyone. I was personally inspired by SO many testimonials of people who were seriously ill, dying, and struck with disease, and cleansed with juices to find a completely vibrant health-state on the other side. Though I am fortunate to not have had an illness as a personal-drive, I thought about how beneficial it can be just to be constantly aware of the inevitable toxicity of the world we live in and how integral it is to give ourselves “tune-ups” every now and then, even within a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.
From start to finish, I am going to share with you what I have found to be helpful in my personal journey with cleansing, as I am in my final one for the season and finally feel like I got it!
Why Cleanse Anyway?
Our digestive tracts are overworked and underpaid. We are constantly feeding, assimilating, pooping and doing it again. Think about how many meals you’ve had in your life, how many drinks, how many times you breathe, and how much has slipped through the cracks. Anywhere from harmful bacteria to that guilty pleasure you allow yourself every now and then- it adds up. I am your number one supporter of that chocolate cake you ate last Wednesday (no really, I may be), but your colon is all like, “so, what about that paid vacation I deserve?”
So, overtime, our bodies get overrun with toxins and our colons get lazy and let scum just hang around. It’s like a dark alleyway that is never lit or monitored in the middle of a city. You maaayyyyy end up with some sketchy residents or criminal activity. Our colons can get blocked up, leading to build-up of parasites, bad bacteria, and fungus that thrives off of all this excess fecal matter in the intestinal walls and stored fat cells. This can lead to a sluggish digestive system, which hosts a myriad of health issues ranging from low energy levels, headaches, depression, anxiety, insomnia, to disease. An average person may hold 5-10 LBS of OLD TOXIC WASTE just taking a holiday in your colon indefinitely! A juice cleanse can get that shit moving. Literally.
- Motivation: What is driving you to cleanse? Is it YOUR body telling you to do it or a lack of self-confidence? I truly feel this is the MOST IMPORTANT part of cleansing; your idea of it. This really is setting the foundation for a journey that will benefit you and nurture your truest self versus a high-stress, constricting, stagnating experience that is only bound to put you in a worse situation than what you’ve started with. The idea is to be IN-spired- in creation mode! Also, even if your attitude is in check, make sure your body is on board, as well. One helpful tool is doing a muscle test, which is a tangible way to communicate with your body’s intelligence. You just need a friend to ask you whether a juice-cleanse is right for your body right now. Answer yes, and have them push down on your dominant arm. If it holds strong, your body is saying yes, if there’s some give, maybe it isn’t the right time. You can see what your “strong vs. weak” is by saying, “My name is _____” and doing one with your real name, and one with a fake name. If your body is into it, your mind is engaged, you feel a gut expansion when you think about it, it excites you and inspires you- then it is a good time to cleanse. Check your foundation in all aspects of your being before going any further with a radical cleanse regimen.
- Time: Well, time is KEY! That goes for time of the month, time of the year, time in your life, and time in your cycle (if you are a woman), but men can channel lunar energy too, and it is good to take that into consideration. I strongly feel juice cleanses should be confined to spring-autumn. It is simply harsh on the body to be feeding it such cooling qi during colder months, and again, could be harsh and stressful on your system and cause a wirey nervous-system response. There are plenty of cleansing options that can be done in the winter (delicious, exciting and tasty ones at that), and I will be sure to share when that comes around. We are at the end of the cleansing season, The Autumnal Equinox! Though for most of us, weather has already started cooling down, and we’re ready for grandpa sweaters, leaf picking, hot apple cider and pumpkin bread, it is a PERFECT time to cleanse. JUUUUST when you’re ready to relax into a new season. There is the perfect amount of resistance to where it is a healthy way to cultivate will-power in a comfortable and vibrant way. If you are a woman, plan around your cycle. Keep in mind that cleansing during menstruation will be an extra challenge, and if you feel as though that will cause a high-stress situation for your body- avoid it. Do it during your upswing. However, menstruation IS also a cleanse, and for me, it was seemingly appropriate to join the two (despite my chocolate cravings). I was happy to be receptive, really looking within, and feeling like I was purging to the max. Lastly, choose a time where you have little to no worldly expectations- time away from work, strenuous physical activity and exciting social situations. You want to treat your cleanse like a retreat. Look forward to the stillness, and make enough space in your calendar to accommodate it properly.
- Plan it!: Seriously, plan it. I have seen both sides of it, and not having a plan will quickly turn your cleanse into something completely different, which can greatly affect your blood sugar, hormones, mood, and general sense of well-being. I will go further into this in the next section, but before you take that first sip, get a plan together. Decide whether you’re going to DIY, or team up with a juice bar. If you are doing it yourself, realize how much “work” goes into it- shopping for fresh ingredients, dishes, cleaning the machine, carrying around all your juices, etc., and make grocery lists, schedules, and plans to make it as effortless as possible. If I may say, teaming up with a juice bar was the only way that allowed me to relax, even though I have a juicer. It literally costs the same amount of money with half the labor, and if you have a juicer, you know just how many damn greens it takes to pinch out an ounce of juice. Take my advice, save yourself all that time and energy, and pay someone to help you out. I guarantee this will greatly aid in making it a more beneficial cleanse for you and will cost virtually the same amount of money. I am 100% sure that you can set this up with a local juice bar, and if they don’t already have a kind of plan sketched out, I will help you create one. Then you can set up times to pick up, and boom! The juice bar I teamed up with even provides the mason jars and I don’t have to wash a dish.
I am not a fruit-hater by any means, but I will have to say, juicing with too many fruits is NOT a good idea. Take it for what its worth. Fruit is an incredible gift to the planet, but honestly is better eaten whole. An apple here and there will not hurt you in your cleanse, but the higher vegetable and lower the fruit- the better. Fruit sugars can cause spikey levels of blood sugar and not be beneficial for gut, intestinal and vaginal flora, especially if you are experiencing any type of candida. If that is the case, I wouldn’t do any fruit. Carrots, beets, and sweet greens are sweet enough to not make every juice a bitter or savory experience. So, as you set up your cleanse, keep this in mind. A lot of juices are fruit based, so be sure not to be blindly purchasing the green juice that only has one fruit in it because chances are, that is what is making up most of the juice. Unless you want to go from talk show host to a coma 5 times a day and be wondering why your cleanse didn’t help your candida at all, keep it high in vegetables only. National Geographic actually just released an article about how juicing fruit not only was not remotely near as healthy as it is to just eat the fruit, but how it actually RAISES the risk of diabetes! I have attached the study at the bottom of the article. Fruit sugar is still sugar, peeps.
The general rule of thumb is to have a pre/post cleanse, which I think is important. You don’t want to go from beers and pork to a full-fledged juice cleanse, especially if your diet isn’t rich in fresh vegetables to begin with. The further away you are from a juice diet, the longer I suggest the pre and post cleanse be. If you eat pretty well, I think a 3-day pre cleanse, and 3-day post cleanse is fine. The idea is to prevent shock to your organs, especially your liver, who is already working so hard. Pre and post cleanses should be mostly raw vegetables, some steamed/cooked vegetables, soups, broths, and no red meats, etc. I wouldn’t really hit nuts, seeds, meats, fish, or dairy again until you’re a few days out. Think of your intestines as a fresh, possibly even “raw” surface. Nourish it; because there’s a chance there are parts of your intestines that are exposed that have not been exposed for a while. Treat it as such. Chew your damn food well. And keep it simple with spices and the like for a few days.
Juice Cleanse vs. Juice Fast
This is HUGE!!!!!! SOOOO many people have juice cleanses mistaken for juice fasting. If you are only having 3 juices a day, you are fasting. Bottom line. I, for the longest time, thought 3-4 juices a day was the right way to do it, but I was very wrong.
You honestly have to be drinking 4 quarts of juice a day to provide for your body. If you are not providing that much juice, you are depriving it from the vitamins, minerals, and calories it requires, which means you are on a fast. If you want to be on a fast, then, well, there you are. If you want to be on a cleanse, get saturated. Think of yourself as a dirty little sponge that is constantly soaking and ringing and soaking and ringing… and soaking, and ringing… That requires a lot more juice than you could have ever even imaged.
Keeping your body happy during a cleanse is important and the biggest part of it is providing enough for it. It actually shouldn’t be that hard to cleanse, other than habitual cravings for flavors and food you like, you shouldn’t really be “starving.” That puts the body into starvation mode, and the liver will not be happy with you. A cleanse should be gently, constant, flowing and enjoyable, so we’re talkin’ 8-12 oz juices A DAY, plus water :). Feast, not fast.
How Long Should I Cleanse For?
At least 3 days. Do 5. Or 7. I wouldn’t really say one-day “cleanses” are that great. We like to think that one day of juicing is just what the doctor ordered, and it sounds good on paper, and even HAS certain benefits, but in the long run, your liver needs a little bit more of a grace period to adjust from one state to the next.
THE MASTER PLAN
What if you took the Traditional Chinese Medicine Clock and applied it to your cleanse. How intimate and personal you would be getting with your body!? Well YOU CAN! In TCM, all time corresponds with certain organs, so during the hours of your active organs, you can feed them nourishing and communicative ingredients! This can be a really fun part of the planning process.
VEGGIES + FRUIT
5:00 – 7:00 AM
Cucumbers, kale, spinach, carrot, pineapple
7:00 – 9:00 AM
Cucumbers, fennel, ginger, pineapple, tarragon, cilantro, lime
9:00 – 11:00 AM
Fennel, garlic, parsley, ginger, lemon, cayenne
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Greens, garlic, ginger, tomato, red bell pepper, apple, beet, tarragon, zucchini
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Kale, spinach, carrot, pineapple
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Parsley, arugula, kale, cilantro
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dandelion greens, parsley, cucumber, pineapple, celery
7:00 – 9:00 PM
Turmeric, celery, ginger, cayenne, dandelion greens, garlic
9:00 – 11:00 PM
Give yourself a hug.
11:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Apple, beet, greens, parsley, arugula, daikon
1:00 – 3:00 AM
Daikon, dandelion greens, burdock, apple, beet, carrot, parsley, zucchini
3:00 – 5:00 AM
Lime, lemon, apples, tomato, parsley
So, obviously, there’s some overlap, and MANY other fruits and vegetables that can nourish the different organs, but this is a great guide to give you an idea of how you could split up your ingredients and keep things interesting. This being said, you should be having a new juice every couple hours anyway, and this is a fun way to keep the ingredients revolving, and gives you time to give each organ an inner smile, love, and attention.
Quick Thought on Emotional and Mental Expectations
You will experience many things during your cleanse, and some old emotional stuff may start coming up. We store old patterns and emotions everywhere throughout our bodies, and you better believe a juice cleanse will loosen some of it up. Be patient with yourself. Nurture your pain and fear as children of your own- because they are. We are our inferior feelings. We do not ostracize children when they are injured because they are children. We hold them, and allow them to cry, we take care of them. Treat the uglier parts of yourself this way, especially during your cleanse, and life will nurse them back to health and vibrancy.
Also, your dreams may get interesting. Mine last night sure was. Take them as healing messages, no matter how out there they may be, it is your body getting rid of stagnation.
- Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Rest. Sleep. Get enough, and make sure it’s good. If you can get to sleep before 11PM, that’s even better, so your liver gets that downtime it requires while cleansing.
- Non-strenuous movement. Yin yoga, lighter hikes, tai chi, flowing dance, walk your dog, wash the windows. Any kind of movement is good, but keep it light, low-stress, and enjoyable. Both high intensity workouts and becoming a stick in the mud can greatly harm your cleansing process. Find a good balance, and do something everyday to keep the blood flowing and circulation in motion.
- Sweat without stress. Yeah, sweat! If you have access to an infrared sauna, do it! What a blessing that machine is, literally dislodging toxins from you. If you want to put your cleanse into super-mode, do the infrared sauna as often as everyday while your cleansing and after.
- Skin brushing will keep the lymphatic system moving and also when we cleanse, we release toxins out of everywhere- skin being the most. Brush dem dead skin cells off and enliven your lymphatic system at the same time. No sleepers for your body!
- Hot and cold showers. Lymphatic system, and also elimination of fat cells!
- Sing. If you are feeling lethargic (which is very possible), sing. Studies show merely singing can help release endorphins all over ya body! So, if that means hopping in your car for a highway drive or going to kiritan class, this will keep your spirits up, which is important.
- Journaling and writing. I do something called the morning pages, as presented by an author, Julie Cameron. Wake up, write 3 straight pages of whatever- anything, just whatever comes out. Write, and never look back. This helps to empty mental stagnation. Also, if you want to keep a journal or blog about your experience, that can also be a growing experience.
- Breathe. Even if you’re not a meditating type, breath could not be more important. Get some fresh air, and take deep, full, breaths, and the function of your organs will be at its highest.
- Get some sun. Try 15-30 min a day and soak up that vitamin D.
- Pamper YOSELF: Do things that make you feel good or special. Face masks, long showers, nails, massage, foot baths, stretching, etc. Make everyday this week a spa day.
- Clean water. This is the most important supplement. If you are cleansing and drinking toxic water, you’re just creating a better landing pad for toxins. If you can get good spring water, that is best. If not, get a distilled, clean, pH balanced water from the store and add minerals to it.
- Minerals. Even if you are drinking fresh spring water, it is good to be getting your mineral content while cleansing because though fruits and vegetables are more mineral rich than other things, because of depletion of our soil, they unfortunately fall short. Liquid trace colloidal minerals are solid, not just for cleansing, either.
- Probiotics. These are especially important after the cleanse, but it does not hurt one bit to be supplementing with them during. You’re basically flushing your intestines, so you want to be repopulating with beneficial residents.
- Vitamin C, B, and D3. – Stick with whole food derived C’s and B’s, and liquid D3’s.
- Kelp Extract– ooooohh mannnnn, just do it. That seriously was the best dang thing during my cleanse and beyond.
- Tonic herbs and herbal teas: You don’t have to be a purist. If you are on a regimen and taking herbs and teas that work for you- keep it going. Tonic herbs can greatly benefit your cleanse. In fact, it’s a great time to take them because your body is so open. It’s like moisturizing after a shower. Put as many goodies in there as is cleanse-legal.
- 7. Lemon in your water.
- Ginger and mint tea for the tummy rumblers.
- Branched Chain Amino Acids: This is really cool for the active person who is worried about losing muscle mass. I personally stay pretty active on a juice cleanse, and these will not only help with recover but also muscle maintenance.
- Natural “Intimate Wipes”: or baby wipes. Or softer toilet paper. Your bum will thank you.
I will link you to some good sources at the end of the article for these things.
A Final Note
A juice cleanse is obviously beneficial for many reasons that we have already covered, but I just want to add a selfish comment about a personal gain.
A cleanse is one opportunity to cultivate your will and strength as a human; to obtain radial presence. You have to be VERY present during a cleanse (especially with all those trips to the bathroom). Allow yourself the dignified magnificence of completing something that is definitely not the easiest thing to do. Allow yourself grace and modesty throughout, and there is an outstanding afterglow, not only in your physical health, but also in your general state of being. Simply after doing something from start to finish with full devotion and integrity can transform your character for the rest of your life. Do not deprive yourself of this detail of cleansing. Take your cultivated will and brand new feeling of lightness and health, and apply it to other goals and paths to joy. All energy is transferrable. Allow it to cultivate during your cleanse and let it run wild into what comes next!
National Geographic Article on Pitfalls of Juicing Fruit
Finding a Spring near YOU
Tonic Herbs and Teas:
Reishi Spore Oil: https://hyperionherbs.com/shop/reishi-spore-oil-capsules/
Branched Chain Amino Acids
You can get these at Vitamin Shoppe. Their brand is good. If you pair it with something like Emergen-C, or their electrolyte drink mix, that will take the edge off the taste of the powder, and it will save you money as opposed to going with the capsules.
Natural Wipes- these are great- soothing herbs, calendula, chamomile, rose, organic, and biodegradable- and bum-approved: