Detoxifying, re-energizing, losing weight – we all have our reasons for wanting to try out a cleanse. With all the newest and hottest cleanses hitting the streets, it’s hard to narrow down which ones work and which ones don’t.
Not all cleanses are created equal. That's why we wanted to give you the information to make sure you choose the one that's right for you (or if you need one at all!)
Be sure to discuss with a health care professional before embarking on any clease as other conditions or illnesses may impact your results.
1. Why do you want to do a cleanse?
Figure out what your goal is. Do you experience extreme fatigue? Are you looking to lose weight? Want to just see what they hype is about? Different cleanses cater to different things so it’s important to be certain of what results you want.
First, figure out if you need to do a cleanse, and what areas are bothering you most. You can get started here. Do you:
- Want to lose weight?
- Experience extreme fatigue, even after a good night's sleep?
- Feel bloated or gassy after eating?
- Constantly crave sugar?
- Eat healthy and exercise, but can't lose weight?
- Have PMS symptoms (females only)?
- Get infections easily?
2. Find one that’s right for your goal
Here are a few suggestions on popular cleanses and their main goals:
These cleanses consist of eating and drinking only liquids to give your digestive system a "rest". If above, you answered "Yes!" to sugar cravings and fatigue, stay away from a juice cleanse as the elimination of fibre and inclusion of fruits can cause your blood sugar levels to surge.
If you suspect you have a food sensitivity, this is the cleanse for you. You may be experiencing any or all of the symptoms outlined above, but have NO clue why. This is the time to test out some of the common culprits by completely removing them from your diet for about three weeks, including: coffee, white sugar, refined foods, artificial sweeteners, gluten, and/or alcohol. Add them back in, slowly, and see how your body reacts.
It seems a candida cleanse is the most common bacteria cleanse. This aims to kill off yeast that has overgrown in your digestive tract. Because yeast grows and feeds off carbohydrates, the cleanse means eliminating any type of sugar (refined, natural, fruit, etc), as well as fermented foods and some common allergens for a period of time. There is a long-list of benefits from a cleanse like this, but it is lengthy and quite restrictive.
You may not realize, that your liver has a lot of jobs. From regulating metabolism and blood sugar, to processing your hormones and breaking down fat. When your liver is overburdened with toxins (like alcohol), it can't do it's other jobs properly.
3. Be wary of side effects
Think about it like this: a cleanse is designed to rid your body of toxins that have been building up for [likely] years.
What does this mean? Well, these toxins are possibly going into other parts of your body if you're not eliminating properly. Plenty of fluids, fibre, fermented foods – if the cleanse allows – and possibly supplementation with probiotics, will be essential (also spending a little extra time in your washroom can help promote proper, let's say, "relaxation").
If you're someone used to a diet high in refined foods (take-out, condiments, sugary treats) and energy boosters (caffiene, white breads), you may experience stronger symptoms like headaches, fatigue and low energy. Manage these symptoms by easing into your cleanse.
One side effect you will most likely notice is a good one: lightness, more energy and clear thinking!
4. Tips on successful completion
If you’re new to cleansing these simple tips will help you adjust as a first-time cleanse.
Do your research
Read as much as you can, ask as many questions from professionals, make sure you gather as much info as possible before making a decision.
Before you start, try making small adjustments to your diet to get used to the types of foods you will be eating (or not eating). If you're giving up caffeine but drink 3 cups a day, go to one, then move to decaf or black tea.
Make sure you know what you’re going to eat, when you’re going to make it, and how much you need. This is when meal planning becomes essential.