Doing a spring cleanse is a great way to wipe the slate clean in order to build a strong foundation for health. Some of the many benefits of cleansing include weight loss, better hormone balance, improved digestion, reduction in allergy symptoms, and (my favorite) improved energy. While there are many ways to do a cleanse, I encourage using whole natural foods, water therapy, and rest to stimulate and support the body’s natural detoxification pathways. This ensures a safe and healthy cleanse experience.

When doing a cleanse, I recommend setting aside a 3 week time period during which you don’t have any travel or major celebrations scheduled. Before you start cleansing, clean out your kitchen, getting rid of packaged foods and foods that are not allowed during a cleanse. I often recommend that people avoid dairy, wheat, and sugar while cleansing. It is helpful to get rid of foods containing these ingredients before you start cleansing. Finally, find a partner in crime to join you for your 3 week cleanse whom you can cook with and commiserate with!

The food component of a cleanse is always very individualized, but should emphasize eating unprocessed, whole foods. As I mentioned above, avoiding dairy, gluten, and sugar are a great start. These foods tend to be inflammatory to our bodies. Other foods one might consider eliminating include the night-shade family of vegetables, corn, soy, eggs, and citrus. The fun part of cleansing, however, is about all the foods that you can eat, in particular brightly colored fruits and vegetables. A cleanse is a great opportunity to explore new fruits and vegetables that you haven’t tried before, and to try new recipes that highlight vegetables as the main ingredient. Green leafy vegetables are particularly important to focus on while cleansing because these veggies are high in nutrients that support the liver’s detoxification pathways. Eating 4-5 servings daily of greens will stimulate your liver to metabolize and eliminate toxins and metabolic by-products. Make sure to stick to organic foods while cleansing to reduce your overall exposure to toxins.

Water therapies help support detoxification by stimulating circulation and sweating. Contrast showers or immersions of hot and cold water are a great way to stimulate circulation and mobilize toxins for elimination. Wet and dry saunas are what I recommend to stimulate sweating (but be sure to be well hydrated and have your doctor’s approval before starting a sauna regimen). Sweating, whether in a sauna or through exercise, is one of the body’s natural mechanisms for eliminating heavy metals, and can be a relaxing and invigorating adjunctive therapy while detoxing.

The final component, and arguably the most important, to a cleanse is rest. Rest is often over-looked in many treatment plans, but is equally as important as the foods you eat, supplements you take, and exercise you do. When we are at rest, the body is finally able to focus its energy on healing. Consciously finding extra time to rest during a cleanse will help support detoxification and all of your body’s regulatory functions. Allowing yourself time to rest also provides you the opportunity to reflect upon the impact that the healthy changes you are making have on your emotional state and stress levels. Being aware of how your daily routine, in particular what you eat, effects your moods and stress levels is an important step in everyone’s healing and cleansing process.