The Origins of Cleansing
The origins of cleansing date back to 1747, when Dr. James Lind of the College of Surgeons in Scotland discovered a remarkably effective remedy for scurvy, a deadly disease that plagued sailors on long voyages. Through his research, Lind proved that the use of citrus fruit blends in directed dosages and a controlled environment could treat and eventually eradicate the disease. The fact that sailors, once razed by this affliction, could just bring barrels of lemons onboard to beat scurvy revealed that whole fruit can have some incredible medicinal uses.
The Modern-day Cleanse
One modern-day adaptation of Lind’s principles is the juice cleanse, which is designed to detoxify the body using all-natural fruit and vegetable based juices with no artificial ingredients or additives. This “detoxification” can’t be attributed to some mechanism in the juice that literally pulls toxins out, but by following a diet completely void of additives and consisting only of clean fruit and veggie juice you may give your body time to cleanse itself and fill up on positive nutrients. Before embarking on a juice cleanse, you may follow a pre-cleanse protocol that eases the body into the cleansing process. Components of the protocol include reducing intake of certain foods prior to cleansing, planning for your daily schedule, and developing a nourishment plan to supplement your cleanse.
Clearing the Air
In July of 2015, Harvard Medical School published a guide of sorts (1) to cut through the false claims that were becoming commonplace among cold-pressed juice providers.
It serves as a valuable resource for judging the efficacy of many claims. The report specifies what is known about juicing:
- Kale juice may improve lipid levels, such as cholesterol, which affect your risk of heart disease.
- Carrot juice may reduce oxidative stress in cells in women treated for breast cancer.
- Citrus-based juices and carrot juice may reduce heart disease risk
- Cold-pressed juice can squeeze more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, important because less than one-third of adult Americans eat the recommended nine servings a day (according to the CDC).
- Cold-pressed juice can increase your intake of healthy antioxidants, soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Environmental toxins can build up in the body.
- A "detox" diet is generally low in calories and can result in initial weight loss.
However it makes sure to be clear about some false conceptions:
- A "detox" diet is not required to cleanse the intestines and body of waste products for good health.
- Research has not fully confirmed the complete safety of prolonged juice fasts and detoxification diets.
Bottom line is, a juice cleanse can be an incredible wellness tool for many, but it may not be for everyone. It’s important to consider all the facts before embarking on your cleanse.
Your Pre-cleanse Diet
It is important to remove certain foods from your diet at least 24 hours prior to starting a cleanse. This helps the body adjust to receiving its nourishment from only juices and raw foods. Considering tapering intake of dairy, flour, sugar, meat, alcohol, caffeine. During your cleanse you will be consuming multiple juice drinks throughout the day, which supplement your body with nutrients while giving it time to remove toxins from processed, unnatural products. Since cleansing juices are crafted from raw foods, it is also recommended that you integrate raw foods into your diet before starting the cleanse.
Your Cleansing Schedule
To receive optimal benefits from a cleanse, it is important to follow a strict schedule. To help adhere to the schedule, it is recommended that you cleanse at a time when you can lighten your schedule and minimize stressors. Plan to consume cleansing juices at regular intervals, typically two to three hours apart.
Your Cleanse Diet
During the cleanse, you should consume non-caffeinated herbal teas and/or water between cleansing drinks to prevent dehydration. For optimal results, it is best to consume only the cleansing juices during the process. However one or two whole, live, nutrient-rich foods can be consumed during the source of the day if necessary. These should be eaten before early evening and chewed thoroughly to increase the volume of enzymes in your mouth and aid in the digestion and absorption of the meal into your body. If you are unsure how to prepare the foods or what foods qualify as whole, live and nutrient-rich, consult a nutritionist or seek other professional advice.
After the Cleanse
Once you have completed the cleanse it is important to develop a plan for sustaining the effects of your efforts. For optimal results it is recommended that you continue consuming raw foods post-cleanse, as they don’t contain the harmful compounds found in processed foods. Additional ways to sustain the benefits of the cleanse include managing/reducing stress levels and working towards achieving a more balanced lifestyle that makes wellness a priority. Easier said than done of course, but prioritizing your mental and physical wellness makes it far less difficult for your body to function as it should.
A cleanse can provide a significant jumpstart to your wellness-centered lifestyle. When considering a juice cleanse, first determine whether or not you can commit to the dietary changes and scheduling requirements that are needed for an optimal cleanse. If you decide that a juice cleanse is right for you, remember to follow a pre-cleanse protocol and develop a post-cleanse wellness plan for optimal success.