What is Dietary Cleansing
Considering making any type of change when it comes to your diet can feel incredibly daunting! Thinking about all the options out there and doing a little research is the first step towards achieving your personal health goal. Undertaking a dietary cleanse can be a great way to get yourself back on the path of making healthy food choices in the long haul. A cleanse can set you up for success if you are considering making healthy long-term changes to your diet as well.
During the holiday season, people tend to binge-eat more often because it is customary to indulge in food with friends and family! After all, we celebrate entire holidays that are centered around the dinner table. While it is totally OK and normal to embrace feasting in the holiday season. Once the new year rolls around it is important to begin considering a healthy diet again!
After letting loose for a couple of months, a cleanse will help you transition smoothly back into a healthy eating routine. When practiced for the right reasons, a cleanse can be a wonderful tool to have under your belt!
Who Can Benefit From a Cleanse?
It is very easy to succumb to making less-than-ideal food choices every once in a while. While the adage holds true that all foods are OK to eat in moderation. When you continually make the same poor choice repeatedly, it becomes what we call a habit. Unfortunately, like any other habit, poor eating routines are easy to form and can be very difficult to break.
While it would be amazing if we craved healthy fruits and vegetables all the time, our brains simply do not work that way! They are hardwired to crave high-calorie fatty foods like potato chips and ice cream. When you begin to overindulge in junk foods on a regular basis, you run the risk of taking on unwanted weight gain and other undesirable side effects. You may even encounter more serious health problems further down the road, as a result of your food choices today!
As scary as that may sound, it is something that you have some control over. Unhealthy habits and cravings may never fully disappear. By trying a cleanse, you are giving your brain and body the opportunity to ‘reset.’ A dietary cleanse can help you to get your unhealthy cravings and indulgences under control for days, months, and years to come.
A Cleanse May Not Be For Everyone
While dietary cleanses can be beneficial for many people, not everybody is the same! Some people should even avoid trying them altogether. Under certain conditions, a cleanse can definitely do more harm to your body than good.
If you have a history of having any kidney problems, then you should avoid dietary cleansing and instead opt for another avenue of healthy eating. You may want to get in touch with a medical professional who can help you find the right diet for your body.
If you have struggled with disordered eating in the past, then you should also avoid dietary cleansing. Most cleansing plans support short-term but very serious calorie restriction. The intense calorie reduction of a cleanse could easily be a trigger for those who have struggled with an eating disorder. This may lead them down the unhealthy and life-threatening path of relapse.
How To Find The Right Style
There are so many popular cleanses out there these days, and it can be incredibly difficult and disheartening to navigate the jumble of information online. There are juice cleanses, alkaline cleanses, total fasts, raw food detoxes, and colon cleanses- just to name a few.
Some of us need the rigid structure of a clearly outlined plan, while others may want to piece together their own personal cleanse plan. The beautiful thing is, there is no ‘detox police!’ You are not confined to sticking to the strict guidelines of just one cleanse. While you may want to stick to a very clearly outlined detox plan for simplicity’s sake, you do not have to by any means. You can easily take tips and guidelines from a variety of cleanse diets and combine them to make a plan suitable to your needs and lifestyle.
How Long Should A Cleanse Be?
Figuring out how many days you want to do the cleanse can also be tricky. Cleanses typically last anywhere from 3-15 days depending on what you are looking to get out of it. Some people are looking to do a cleanse simply to lose weight quickly before their upcoming beach vacation or wedding, while others are looking for long-term solutions to get rid of unhealthy habits.
If you are looking to ‘lose weight fast’ for an upcoming event, a juice cleanse or even a fast might be all you need to reach your goal. On the other hand, if you are looking to make more long-term changes to your diet, then a raw foods style cleanse plan could be what you need! A cleanse is in no way a ‘one size fits all’ diet, and it is important to carefully consider what you are looking to get out of it. Think critically to decide whether a cleanse can really help you achieve your goal in a healthy way regardless of what your goal may be.
How Often is it Healthy to Cleanse?
Cleansing too often is not recommended. Because cleanses by nature are very restrictive of calories and food-groups, they are meant to be practiced over short periods of time. Most of them are around 3-15 days long, but it is totally up to you to decide how long (or short) you want the cleanse to last.
Listening to your body and paying attention to your energy levels and cravings is the best way to determine when you might be ready for another cleanse. If you begin to notice that you are feeling fatigued, unmotivated, and lazy on a regular basis, then your body could really benefit from the pick-me-up effects of a good cleanse!
Cravings can also be an indicator that your body needs a reset. If you crave highly processed, sugary, or fatty foods daily and find that you cannot resist the craving, then a cleanse might be the best thing to do for yourself. You could even start one right now!
On the other end, you might be the type of person that is constantly feeling motivated and energetic. If you make healthy decisions and eat a well-rounded diet on a daily basis, then that is amazing! You probably don’t need to do a cleanse too often.
Maintain Realistic Expectations When Cleansing
We all have our own personal health goals- but oftentimes, in reality, they can be infeasible and unattainable. Like any other endeavor in our life, it is very important to go into a cleanse having realistic
You will not automatically lose 10 lbs in a week just because you are partaking in a dietary cleanse. Everyone’s body works differently, some metabolisms are fast while others are slow. The truth of the matter is that you might not lose any weight at all during a cleanse! And that is OK. You will, however, be making healthy choices for your body that can lead you towards making healthy long-term decisions and losing weight over time.
Understanding that health goals are more often ‘marathons’ and not ‘sprints,’ and having the necessary patience to be OK with that is the real key to reaching any health goal.
Keeping the Benefits Coming!
While a cleanse is one way to reaffirm your commitment to healthy eating, making health-conscious decisions in the following days is equally- if not more important for your overall, long-term health.
When you’re cleansing period is over, reassess your health goals and figure out what dietary steps you need to take on a daily basis to reach them. Focusing on consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables will ensure that your body is getting the important fibers, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that keep it clean and fueled properly. Eating a healthy and well-rounded diet will provide you with the energy you need to help you reach your goals in all other areas of your life as well!
If you are like me and have a sweet tooth (or many sweet teeth!) then you can challenge yourself to cut back on the added sugars that you consume each day. Making small changes each day can really go a long way. If you are a chocoholic, then buying a dark chocolate bar instead of a milk chocolate bar at the grocery store is one small way to make a big impact on your health without totally depriving yourself of your favorite treat! Ignoring your cravings completely and restricting yourself fully will most likely intensify the cravings you feel and lead you to overeating and bingeing later on.
Eating in moderation every day is the key when it comes to eating a healthy, balanced diet! When you inevitably find yourself veering off the healthy path and caving to your cravings too often, it can be good for your body (and mind) to revisit a cleanse or even give a totally new one a try!
As you can see, a cleanse does not need to be over-complicated. A simple, easy to follow cleanse is the best. If you are getting started, pick a simple 1-3-day cleanse to try. You may be surprised how easy it is to follow.
Small adjustments in our eating habits will have long-lasting effects. Don’t try to make too many big changes at once, unless directed by your doctor. Switching out a cookie or chips once a day to a piece of fruit is a good way to start.
I am starting to experiment more with juicing and smoothies. I will share some of my favorite recipes and what I find in future posts.
Until next time, keep clean and healthy.
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