Spring Cleaning for the Body
by Kerrie Loya
- This month - Include your body along with your house in that wonderful ritual of Spring Cleaning!
Why not take this ritual one step further and give your body a good spring cleaning? It makes sense that after a cold, long winter, your body needs to be refreshed in preparation for the return of sun and warmth. There are several different options: juice fasts, cleanses, and digestive resets. Each option caters to different body types and goals, but they all claim to rid the body of accumulated toxins from eating too much fast food, processed food, and impure food. Do these fasts work? After hours and hours of research, I believe that they certainly can’t hurt, and at the very least, they can kick-start a healthier diet and get you back in touch with actual hunger!
AGNI - The Sacred Fire Within
In Ayurvedic medicine, a one-day digestive reset is common, particularly around the change of the seasons, but can also be done on a monthly basis. It is believed that agni resists ama, the harmful, sticky sludge of poorly digested food, wastes and toxins lurking in your digestive system. Ama comes from old food, too, like that four-day-old pizza in your fridge. Periodically, “resetting” agni provides for a strong, healthy digestion. The best thing about this process is it is only one day and can be adjusted to your own schedule.
According to Bayan Botanicals, resetting Agni is great for those who struggle with: digestive issues like constipation, loose or irregular bowel movements, a lack of energy, or intense cravings for spicy, salty or sweet foods. A mono-diet based on your constitution is just the thing to put you back on a healthy path. If you have trouble skipping meals, you will eat kitchari, a mixture of basmati rice and split mung dahl. If you feel lethargic with a cloudy mind, fruit is your choice. For those who feel uncomfortably heavy and dull, a juice fast is the choice.
Now to get started. Pick a day where you can have peace and quiet and minimize stress. Don’t eat after 7pm the night before. Upon arising on your agni reset day, scrape your tongue and scrub your body with a hemp body mitt or loofah. Drink 16 ounces hot water to cleanse your system. Do some gentle exercise such as stretching or take an easy walk. Eat your chosen mono-diet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three hours in between meals. Drink 8-12 cups of room temperature water or hot fluids. You can also take triphola tablets or powde one half hour before bed, which should be 10pm.
Now if you really feel great after one day of detoxing, you can purchase a seven-day Ayurvedic cleanse kit for $69.95 here.
The Pressed Juicery Cleanse
The Pressed Juicery was founded in 2010 when the creators successfully lost weight by ridding themselves of fast food and yo-yo dieting by juicing. With many outlets in California, Pressed Juicery sells beautiful, cold-pressed, eclectic juice blends designed for specific dietary needs. Their signature three day juice cleanse isn’t cheap, but is delivered fresh each day - even to Bay St. Louis! If you sign up ontheir website you receive 10% off your order.
Cleanse #1 is for those who are new to cleansing, athletes or those with higher caloric requirements. This cleanse includes two almond milks high in protein and complex carbohydrates.
Cleanse #2 includes their most popular juices including the “Greens 2”, kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon.
Cleanse #3 if for experienced juice cleansers and is the lowest calorie option.
Once your cleanse is over, you can opt to purchase a post-cleanse box consisting of three days worth of meals for $75. It includes green detox salad, cauliflower tabbouleh and quinoa with veggies.
I am always weirdly impressed with packaging and the Pressed Juicery takes the prize for the most beautiful website and juice bottles. Does it make Pressed Juicery better than other cleanse options? Not necessarily, but it definitely makes me want their products over others.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Favorite Cleanse
So is Gwyneth just naturally beautiful, or is her addiction to the Clean Cleanse responsible? And does cleansing really work? According to NPR, the reason cleansing diets are alluring is that food choices are limited to super pure items so the body gets rid of toxins. Medical experts refute this concept, though, by pointing out that the liver and kidneys naturally detox the body.
Alejandro Junger, the “detox it boy”, is the creator of the Clean Program, a 21-day program which gets rid of dairy, sugar, alcohol, gluten, caffeine, nightshade veggies (potatoes, eggplants), soy and peanuts. He claims that “toxins slow us down and make us sick”. For $450, you can prove him right or wrong. Now, I think the biggest thing a program like this does is teach us what foods are good for our bodies by fine tuning our food choices, teaching us what it feels like to be hungry, and to feel gloriously and healthfully satisfied.
For a look at the reality of a 21-day cleanse program, read the hilarious article “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cleanse Made Me A Monster." It’s the account of one woman’s Clean Cleanse experience. My favorite part of the whole article is her account of cheating by adding an extra scoop of lentils!! Now I love lentils, and am hard-pressed to ever find a way that eating lentils equals cheating.
You can order the program book “Clean” at local bookstores (or online) and I found the accompanying reviews to be excellent and full of practical advice.
The Wellness Detective Weighs In
My editor calls me the “Wellness Detective” because I love to investigate the many facets of a well-lived life. What do I think about juice fasts, digestive resets and cleanses? I love the concept and I do think any of these techniques have merit. My general philosophy is if it can’t hurt you, why not try it??? A one or three day fast is relatively easy to accomplish, and if you feel great afterward, it is certainly worth it.
Now, I must admit, I have done a five day juice fast preceded by a high colonic (I am from California, after all), and I was less than overwhelmed with the results. In retrospect, I believe I didn’t see dramatic results because I have spent my entire life eating healthy and exercising. I love food and love cooking and really am not a fan of juice, so the whole experience was kind of a drag.
I have also done an Agni reset from Deepak Chopra’s book “Perfect Health." His is different from the one I outlined above but seeks to accomplish the same reset. Chopra advises doing the program over a weekend:
I really enjoyed this routine and felt lighter and purer after completing it. To reap all the benefits, continue to eat a light breakfast and light dinner, making lunch the biggest meal of the day. Don’t skip meals, take it easy on the booze and coffee, and avoid eating between meals.
So here’s to a good Spring cleaning, inside and out! I would love to hear from any of you that participate in any cleanse, fast or agni reset program.