Cleansing – What Is It and Is It Really Healthy?

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What You Need to Know about Cleansing

While away this week on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, I asked several people what cleansing meant to them. Every person had something different to say. Some felt it was strictly a spiritual experience, others thought it was simply eliminating processed foods, others said juicing only was the way to go.

“Cleanse” is a big buzzword today and translates to many different therapies depending on who you ask, what their needs are, or perhaps what they read or heard their friend was doing.
As a Naturopath, I feel it is very important to work with a professional and make sure that you are well prepared. We are all different and what may suit one lifestyle and digestion may be very detrimental to another.

A true cleanse means to empty the body of obstruction (waste) first, before taking in nutrients. Too many people do not understand that a true cleanse involves more than just changing ones diet.

I like to refer to this formula when explaining the true meaning of a cleanse to my clients.
V= E – O. Vitality is equal to Energy minus Obstruction. The body can only work optimally, meaning able to heal, repair and regenerate itself when it is clean – rid of waste and obstructions. Obstructions are a build-up of waste, acids and toxins that the body has not been able to eliminate over the years. These acids and toxins come from processed foods, undigested food, hormones, pollution, and inorganic food supplements and medications.

The best and deepest way to cleanse would involve colonic irrigations to clean and rid the internal environment of waste so that the body’s cells are prepared for regeneration and change. Merely changing your diet may be the first step to improving lifestyle, but this is still not a true cleanse. Following irrigation, a juice fast, and/or eating raw food gives the body a break from digestion and provides the energy needed to clean.

The Dangers of Cleanse Diets

Without proper guidance, the cleansing process and your body’s reaction may not be fully understood, which can be dangerous and detrimental to your overall health. The body rids itself of obstruction first at the cellular level, and then through our four channels of elimination: bowels, kidneys, lungs, and skin. This means that it can take while before the cleanse is complete. Some people abandon a cleanse while the body is still doing it’s job of eliminating toxins/waste.

The most popular time that people choose to cleanse is the New Year. They feel overloaded with processed foods and alcohol from the holidays and decide to follow a restricted “cleaner” diet, so to speak. Some even choose to fast or drink only juice for several days without any professional guidance. This can be dangerous as everyone is different and may lead to adverse reactions.

The best time to try a cleanse is in the spring, when nature changes the season, and we come out of winter hibernation.

Because we are all different, I do not like to offer cleansing recipes, and would suggest that you consult with your physician and a professional. Some people may not be ready for an all-raw diet, or even juicing.

The need to detoxify and cleanse the body has never been greater than right now. Never before have people lived in such a toxic environment. Our air, water, food, soil and everything we touch has the potential of being toxic to our system. When we cleanse and remove toxic debris; feed the body good, healthy, organic and vital foods, the body will respond with healing and reversal of the disease processes. The road to health begins with an understanding of and committing to cleansing and detoxifying the body and restoring balance, peace, and harmony.

By Frances Michaelson

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Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances Michaelson is author of several publications including her upcoming book, Let’s Practice Health: Learn Why Your Gut Is the CEO of Your Health. With over three decades of experience, and a broad knowledge base, Frances is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. She is the former owner of Muscleup Inc., an exercise product distribution company, which she founded and operated for over 20 years. Frances is a licensed naturopath in Quebec and has been a personal trainer for the past 17 years. She is also an avid health and fitness blogger and a frequent conference presenter.

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