If you’ve been thinking of doing a cleanse, hearing about the latest cleanse, or just wondering what the heck a cleanse even is, fear not – I’ve got your answers.
A cleanse can be a variety of different things, and the end result should always be that you feel better, not worse, that it feels good, not horrible, and that you understand the entire process.
First and foremost, be sure you are not paying for a cleanse.
You do not need expensive products to do any kind of cleanse, and anyone that insists you do is motivated by money first and not by actually helping you.
I’ll talk more about this extensively as we work our way through this topic.
Let’s start with what a cleanse is.
What Is a Cleanse?
A cleanse is any process you undergo that cleans out your system, either spiritually, mentally, or physically.
The goal is to detoxify, decontaminate, and decompress your various systems, and, when done properly, you can do a single cleanse on its own or multiple cleanses at the same time.
A cleanse should leave you feeling good, refreshed, invigorated, and ready to face the day.
A cleanse should not leave you feeling depleted, drained, exhausted, and now in need of restoration.
Types of Cleanses
A spiritual cleanse is a type of cleanse you undergo to get back in touch with your spirit, your soul, your higher self, your higher consciousness.
A mental cleanse clears your mind, brings back focus, and gets rid of brain fog.
A physical cleanse releases bloating, heartburn, indigestion, and any other conditions that leave you feeling bloated and swollen.
The most important thing to know about a cleanse is that it is not doing anything to your body. It is not adding anything or interfering with your natural systems in any way.
Dozens of websites, social media platforms, and even books by doctors and other “experts” will sell you on biohacking, pills, smoothies, juices, and various other approaches designed to clean your system.
But here’s the thing: your body, mind, and spirit already know what to do to clean your system out.
They don’t need anything added.
They need you to get out of the way.
The best way you can facilitate cleansing your system is just that – get out of the way.
I say this with love and compassion in my heart, and I do believe that many of the people selling you on expensive interventional medicine and approaches do indeed think they are doing what is best for you.
It just happens to help them that they make money off this advice.
One of the most dangerous and trending forms of cleansing is the colonic.
A specialist will insert a tube into your rectum while you lie on your side and literally suck everything out of your colon, filling up a bag with your waste, ostensibly “cleaning” your colon.
On its face, this may seem like a good thing.
Yay! My colon is nice and clean!
But the side effects to a colonic are numerous and can include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, cramping, and even perforation of your bowels, not to mention dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
And here’s the thing: you don’t need a colonic!
Your colon is self-cleansing.
Eat your greens and clean meats, drink plenty of water, and get daily exercise and plenty of sleep, and your colon will function perfectly fine.
Expensive Diets, Pills, and Smoothies
This same advice applies to any expensive diet, pill, or smoothie you have to pay for or sign up for.
Just eat clean food!
Your body does not need help to clean itself. It already knows exactly what to do to clean and heal itself from virtually every single illness, discomfort, or disease you have without intervention.
Expensive Therapeutics and Counseling
On a mental and spiritual level, the advice stands.
You should not be paying through the nose for counseling, and you should not be investing hours of your time trying to “get well.”
You likewise should avoid pharmaceuticals, expensive or not, whenever possible.
The vast majority of functional medicine doctors, from general practitioners to psychiatrists, work with their patients to get them off medicines, not on them.
There are exceptions, of course.
Antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medicine, and antidepressants can be life saving for a small percentage of the population on a short-term basis. They can help during dire emergencies that would otherwise lead to harmful hallucinations and even suicide.
In these cases, the situation has become so extreme that only extreme measures can place a block in front of harm and damage.
But, again, once you are over that initial extreme situation, the goal should be, always, homeostasis.
Homeostasis is your body, mind, and spirit getting you into a normal flow and balance, with all of your systems functioning at optimal levels.
Be clear here that your body, mind, and spirit are always aiming for homeostasis.
You don’t have to do anything to make this happen.
But you can, and likely do, do plenty to stop it from happening.
Facilitate Wellness through Natural Cleansing
Dozens upon dozens of functional, integrative, and naturopathic medicine doctors discuss at length the benefits of allowing your body to cleanse itself.
Basically, of getting out of the way.
One of my favorite doctors on this subject is Dr. Mark Hyman, who has written numerous books on the value of seeing food as medicine and simply allowing your body to do what it does best.
I also love Dr. Ellen Vora, a functional medicine psychiatrist who wrote the book The Anatomy of Anxiety, and who discusses at length the lessons we can learn from understanding our anxieties and other mental health issues.
I do not say any of this lightly: get out of your own way.
The absolute best way to cleanse any of your three systems is to simply stop blocking your own health.
The foundation for any cleanse is to live a mostly clean and healthy life that facilitates overall wellness.
You should have a daily practice and routine that looks mostly the same every day, with allowances for indulgence, because who am I kidding? We have to treat ourselves!
Daily Routine for a Cleanse
On most days, you want to put some version of these practices into place so that the idea of a cleanse is something that supports your already functioning system, and not something you need to spend money or time on that intervenes in extreme ways for extreme symptoms.
Wake at the Same Time
For mental health, wake at the same time and get your circadian rhythms under control. This practice tells your brain to release endorphins and dopamine as well as when to release melatonin later in the day.
Try to wake around the same time as the sun if you can.
Move Your Body and Drink Water
To jump start your body and your digestive process, move your body with some gentle yoga or a slow walk when you wake up, and drink one full glass of room temperature water.
The best mental, physical, and spiritual cleanse you can put into place is to sit for 20 minutes in quiet and solitude, allowing your mind to connect to your spirit, and your body to rest.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Start your day with protein and fiber for energy. Something like Greek yogurt and fruit or eggs and veggies.
Be sure to create something every day, ideally before you consume any social media or do any professional work. It taps into your creative side and encourages joy.
Move Again and Get Outside
Within an hour of breakfast, aim for vigorous exercise, ideally outside in the sunshine.
Do Work You Love
If you do not do work you love, find a way to shift your career. If you do work you love, remember that you love it, and give it everything you have while you are doing it.
Eat a Healthy Lunch
Aim for a veggie rich lunch with protein, like a salad with egg and seeds or chicken and fish.
Studies have shown that a 15 minute walk after each meal is even better for your body than walking 45 minutes at one time.
Move after you eat to aid in digestion.
Eat a Healthy and Early Dinner
Try to eat at least 2 hours before bedtime and then stop consuming calories.
Aim for at least 12 hours of fasting, and up to 14 hours for menstruating women.
Intermittent fasting like this is one of the most beneficial things you can do to facilitate your body’s healing mechanisms.
Move Once More and Earth
After dinner, get outside, with your bare feet in the grass, and walk around.
This practice allows the earth to take all your stresses and moves your body for good digestion.
Turn off all screens at least one hour before you go to sleep. Put your phone on airplane mode so you can’t be tempted. This allows your brain and mind to detox.
Read a physical book with a low light for one hour before bed to settle in.
Go the Bed at the Same Time
Aim for the same bedtime every night for those circadian rhythms and good melatonin for good sleep.
And that is the foundation for any other cleanse you want to do.
It will support total health and keep you on the road to total wellness.