We’re exposed to toxins every day. Simply by typing on this computer, sitting near a busy street full of cars and eating sushi, I am exposed to bacteria, heavy metals, pollutants, chemicals and food preservatives my body must process and excrete to maintain my health, wit, and vibrancy.
I don’t want to freak out about toxins because exposure to them is constant and inevitable, so I don’t!
Our bodies have very effective cleansing systems that eliminate toxins daily: the liver, skin, kidneys, digestive and respiratory system. However, these systems need micronutrient and antioxidant support to do their jobs, and unfortunately, most of us are deficient in a handful of basic vitamins and minerals, as well as the phytonutrients abundant in fresh produce.
This is where seasonal juice and whole-food cleansing can come in handy. Just because we have good detoxification systems in place doesn’t mean they are operating effectively. In fact, if you suffer from joint pain, constipation, acne, digestive issues, fatigue or frequent sickness, your cleansing systems are likely overburdened and need some TLC.
Detoxification is *real* and quite uncomfortable.
When you juice cleanse for a day or so, your body is equipped with potent warriors that seek out poisonous and toxic substances and fight inflammation. The flush of rich micronutrients nourishes and heals stressed cleansing organs while giving our only means of nutrient absorption (the digestive system) a much needed break to restore and repair.
But warning: you may feel worse before you feel better!
As your body is pumped full of fresh juice, it begins to break down many stored toxins in fat tissue and organs all at once. This process initially unleashes free radicals into your organs and blood stream. Your body goes into overdrive to neutralize the released toxins and escort them out of your body. An abundance of antioxidants are needed, and this is why many people suffer from harsh and stressful symptoms: rashes, nausea, or headache.
Consider your current lifestyle before cleansing.
Why is it that some people have severe reactions to a juice cleanse while others breeze through it like it’s no big deal?
Your every day life influences how your body handles a whole-food or juice cleanse. Do you drink a lot? Eat fast food, processed foods, or packaged food often? Do you smoke or live with smokers? If you are exposed to external toxins and depleting foods each day, your body works exceptionally hard while you’re on a cleanse, and your body can become overstressed.
To avoid icky symptoms that can emerge, check in with a nutrition consultant on the best way to cleanse for you, given your current lifestyle. Generally, here’s good advice for those brand new to cleansing:
- Eat whole foods alongside your juice—Consuming food will slow the rate of detoxification and allow your cleansing organs to process and eliminate toxins at a nourishing pace.
- Drink a bunch of water—Drink one glass of water after each juice (4-6 glasses a day) to facilitate the release of toxins through the kidneys, digestive and respiratory systems.
- Spend time doing nothing—Rest is key for your body to eliminate and restore after the stress of processing toxins. Enjoy restorative yoga, naps in the sun and bubble baths.
There’s so much more!
Even on my fifth blog post on this topic, there is still so much to say about how a juice cleanse affects your physical body. Every person is unique and needs something different from their cleanse. As mentioned before, it’s important to consider your activity level, set up your week for a success, and get real with your perceptions of self.
Because there are so many intricacies, I’m leading a guided juice cleanse with JuiceBox on September 3. In this program, I analyze your lifestyle and provide tangible feedback on how to improve your daily diet for vibrant health. I will also help you adjust your cleanse for your body! You'll receive daily engagement to inspire and educate you, and we will enjoy an exclusive restorative yoga class together at the Seattle Bouldering Project.