The body naturally builds up toxins. Even within a relatively clean environment and with a healthy diet, we benefit from regular seasonal cleansing. Cleansing has always been the foundation of natural health systems, including Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. These systems honor the body's innate intelligence to heal itself.
Our modern condition, stressed, starved and poisoned, contributes significant amounts of toxins and stressors to our daily existence. Even though cleansing has always been essential, the need for regular cleansing is greater than ever. Cancer, heart disease and diabetes—the diseases of modern toxicity—are off the chart and on the rise.1
Deeper reasons to cleanse
Cleansing helps us remove toxins, maintain healthy immune systems and increase elimination—but it also helps us feel mentally clearer and more spiritually connected. It benefits us on a profound level because when we remove obstacles to our well-being, we are better able to connect to ourselves. According to Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine from the East, the cause of all disease is the ignoring of our own innate intelligence and experience. Cleansing also helps to clear the slate of our minds, so that we better connect to our innate wisdom, enabling us to move forward so that we are more intimately in touch with ourselves.
Every organ is related to emotion. Therefore, when you make positive changes on a physical level, you will also see emotional benefits. When we understand the power of our daily dietary and lifestyle habits on a deeper level, we start to wake up to a life with more joy, clarity and intention.
What does a cleansing diet look like?
No refined sugar
Healthy diets call for low to no refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, two of the most addictive and disease-causing substances on the planet.
No refined carbohydrates
Eliminate refined carbs in the form of grains that have been stripped of nutrients, leaving just the flour. Include whole grains and starches, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and ancient forms of wheat. Most successful diets minimize or completely eliminate modern inorganic wheat and corn products.
No processed vegetable oils
Processed vegetable oils that have been highly refined and highly heated are often oxidized and stripped of nutritional value, and they were never part of the food chain until the past one hundred years.
Most processed oils are high in omega-6 essential fatty acids and low in omega-3s, an imbalance that contributes to inflammatory conditions. Additionally, unless they are organic, corn, soy, canola and cottonseed oils are all genetically modified.
Most healthy diets eliminate dairy products except for ghee and fresh, organic cultured products like kefir and yogurt. Dairy builds mucus in the body, is hard to digest, and burdens the immune system.
Copious amounts of produce
Multicolored vegetables and fruits support immunity and good elimination, regulate body weight, and feed the friendly bacteria in the gut.
Healthy diets focus on eating an abundance of whole foods instead of counting calories or obsessing about ideal macro-nutrient ratios. They don¡¦t include processed or manufactured foods.
Outside of the cleanse diet, you might want to incorporate a few simple home practices for regular detox throughout the year.
How do you go beyond diet when cleansing?
There are some simple home practices that you can incorporate for regular detox throughout the year, or ramp up while focusing on a dietary detox:
Sweating for Skin and Lymph Detoxification
The body releases hundreds of chemicals and toxins through the skin in our sweat. In this way, sweating benefits the lymphatic system, kidneys, lungs, skin, liver and blood. Sweating can be achieved through exercise, sauna or bathing.
Dry Brushing and External Oleation
Using a dry brush, which can be purchased at most health food stores, removes dead skin cells from the surface. After dry brushing, lightly massaging the entire body from head to toe with sesame or coconut oil is extremely nourishing for the tissues, assists the body with drawing out fat-soluble toxins, and rejuvenates and moisturizes the skin.
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Jonathan Glass, MAc, CAT
Jonathan Glass, MAc, CAT, is a Master Acupuncturist, Certified Ayurvedic Therapist, and herbalist who has served on the faculty of the New England School of Acupuncture and The Dharma Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda. An advocate of group-supported cleansing and co-creator of the Total Life Cleanse, he has facilitated thousands of students through his transformational cleanse program. Jonathan has been in private practice since 1987 and co-founded the Healing Essence Center with his wife Katherine, located in Concord, Massachusetts. Jonathan lives with Katherine and his two boys in Maynard, Ma.
Website: Healing Essence Center