Spring is a season of healthy renewal. Not only is it a great opportunity to deep-clean your home, but it’s a chance to cleanse your body. Start now by boosting your intake of raw foods and juices to refresh your digestive system, liver, skin and other body organs.
A raw foods diet focuses on an abundance of clean, whole-foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds)—meaning you can eat basically as much as you want. Sound good? Oh, and if you’re wondering about protein, you will not become protein deficient while eating raw foods.
A good cleanse can remove congestion and toxins and help you feel rejuvenated, notes Dr. Elson M. Haas., founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in California. Dr. Haas believes that detoxification is a core healing principle—the missing link in modern healthcare and nutritional medicine.
We can certainly all benefit from eating more raw foods, which are easier to digest than cooked and processed foods, notes Dr. Josh Axe. He explains that nutrient- and enzyme-rich raw foods also help alkalize the body, reduce acidity and minimize dangerous, chronic inflammation—all of which is cleansing and beneficial to overall wellness.
1. Do your homework
The more you know about raw diets and cleansing programs, the easier it will be to customize your own. You might find it helpful to peruse a few books on the subject in advance. Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, and Lose Weight Naturally by Megan Gilmore is a good resource, as is Raw Food Detox: Over 100 Recipes for Better Health, Weight Loss, and Increased Vitality by Ulrika Davidsson. As you learn more, you can determine what you want to add to your menu, as well as what you might like to avoid during your cleanse.
2. Target a time frame
Selecting a convenient time for your cleanse allows you to effectively focus. You may want to ensure that you can operate from the comfort of your own kitchen as you learn to blend, chop, juice and/or spiralize your entrées, drinks and snacks. The amount of time you can allocate may dictate the length of your initial cleanse. Even a short weekend dedicated to salads, juices, exercise and sound sleep is extremely beneficial, and can lay the foundation for new healthy habits moving forward.
3. Prepare yourself
To help ensure a comfortable transition to a menu of mostly fresh foods, eat lighter for a few weeks leading up to your cleanse. Meanwhile, stock up on fresh, seasonal fruit, leafy greens, colorful veggies, raw nuts and seeds, sprouted raw nut and seed butters, dehydrated raw crackers, organic herbs, spices and more. When you keep your fridge and pantry filled with healthy, versatile staples, you can easily create a wide range of meals and snacks. A veggie juicer and a high-speed blender are both great investments, as fresh juices and smoothies are especially valuable when you are focused on cleansing.
4. Tailor it to you
There are many helpful products you can use in conjunction with raw foods when you are in cleansing mode. Some supplements target the liver, some the kidneys, and some offer an overall body detox, so consider your options to see what fits for you. Your approach might be as simple as cutting out gluten and eating a huge rainbow salad every day, or you may choose to follow a specific juicing program or raw menu series, like this 21-day meal plan. Just be sure to avoid extremes. The idea is to create the positive change you seek while minimizing unnecessary physical discomfort.
5. Sweat it out
In addition to adding more raw foods and juices to your daily menu, regular exercise is an indispensable part of any effective cleansing program. Working out increases the blood flow in your body, infuses your tissues with oxygen and releases toxins through perspiration. Exercise also boosts the circulation of lymphatic fluids, facilitating the removal of pollutants and bacteria. Any activity that makes you sweat is beneficial. If you haven’t tried hot yoga, you may find it especially valuable during your spring program—and beyond.
For optimal success, plan ahead for your cleanse and be sure to provision yourself as needed. It helps to enlist family support in advance as well. You might also track your experience in a journal, noting the foods, products, tips and strategies you found most useful, which will serve you well in future. Happy cleansing!