Essentials for Natural Wellbeing Tip #4 – Cleansing Part I
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 13, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
In many traditions, cleansing is considered the cornerstone of good health. And for good reason! We normally keep our body so ‘busy’ with its daily regime of digesting, metabolizing, and eliminating, that it simply doesn’t have time (or the resources) to properly detoxify itself. Cleansing gives the body a bit of a ‘breather’… a chance to unwind and let go of toxins that have been accumulating in fat cells (possibly aided and abetted by holiday indulgences!). Cleansing also provides an opportunity for the body to do some deep, restorative healing that it may not otherwise have a chance to do.
There are lots of different types of cleanses to choose from, but most of them share several features in common. Here are my first 5 suggestions for you, if you’ve been considering cleansing*:
1. Go Green: Eat lots of steamed or lightly sautéed greens such as kale, collards, spinach, dandelion leaf, and chard for their powerful cleansing & alkalizing properties. Good quality greens powders are also fine to augment your cleanse with.
2. Hydration: Ensure adequate hydration (half your body weight in pounds = minimum ounces of water/herbal teas to consume daily). Coconut water is ideal as it’s high in electrolytes, particularly potassium which many of us are deficient in. Potassium helps the body’s cells to pull more water into them, hydrating you more efficiently.
3. Protein: Do continue to eat high-quality, easy-to-digest protein while cleansing. Protein is necessary to help keep your blood sugar levels stable and maintain lean muscle mass. Good sources of protein include hemp & chia seeds, nuts, fish, and quinoa. Mung beans are also good during a cleanse as they’re easy to digest, especially if they’re pureed after cooking.
4. Fiber: We want to ensure that all the toxins being released from your fat cells during cleansing, end up being fully eliminated from your body. To this end, it can be helpful to add extra fiber into your diet. You can do so in the form of ground up psyllium, flax and/or chia seeds (grind just prior to eating for optimal freshness). Porridge and prunes for breakfast are great fiber boosters, too.
5. Fat: Good quality fats will help your body feel satiated, not deprived: Olive oil, Coconut oil, Hemp oil, avocadoes, and omega-3s (see our recent post on the importance of omega-3s) are all healthy choices.
Join us here tomorrow for the rest of our suggestions for cleansing – even a few days will do wonders in helping to get your 2011 off to the right start!
*If you’re on medication or have a health condition, it’s recommended that any changes to your diet (including cleansing) and/or exercise routine, be done under the guidance of your doctor or healthcare provider.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan