There is so much hype about cleanses out there. And I completely understand why - I was absolutely fascinated with them for several years -- and I did a bunch of them.
When you get into the cleansing world, you hear a lot of stories of miraculous change. I have a friend who went to a cleansing clinic in Georgia and says it saved her life. I have another friend who cleansed down in San Diego and attributes it to his recovery from stage 4 liver cancer. Then there is, of course, the infamous Joe Cross who juice fasted and made the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and keeps his auto-immune disease at bay without medication.
That being said I have done many-a-cleanse, including:
General Juice Fasts
A Liver/Colon Cleanse
Which was my favorite? The liver cleanse, which includes raw apple juice, olive oil and lemon juice and is often accompanied by coffee enemas (yes, I know, TMI, this cleanse is not for the faint of heart).
Why is it my favorite? Because I can both SEE and FEEL the results.
When the liver cleanse is done right, I have literally expelled 100’s if not 1000’s of what is called liver stones or gall stones. Our liver works really hard to separate the toxins from the good stuff and when it doesn’t quite know what to do with something, it can calcify and just sit there in our liver. These stones can be as small as chia seed to as large as a dime or a nickel. Freaky, right? (Honestly, if you're curious Google these, they're fascinatingly gross, I won't post a picture here, because I want people to actually come back and read more).
I actually want to retry the Arise and Shine Cleanse because I don't think I did it long enough at the time to really see results, which supposedly is getting rid of mucoid plaque. (Um, Google this as well if you dare, it's pretty gnarly stuff.)
Also, I have literally felt the euphoria people experience of cleansing - almost a high, that you can feel as a literal vibration in your cells. It’s pretty unreal, even though you haven’t eaten you feel an incredible energy that is unlike no other.
Personally, if I am going to not eat food, I’d like a cleanse to actually clean me!
When I did the master cleanse I felt like I literally just starved myself and then my digestion was messed up for months afterwards. The Green Smoothie Girl cleanse was effective but expensive and a massive time suck if you’re going to do it ‘right’. Juice fasting is great as you’re getting a ton of micronutrients as well as giving your digestion a rest but I will often pair a liver cleanse with a quick green juice fast at the end of it instead of just juice fasting alone.
So, in general, here’s what I’ve learned.
1. You lose weight fast, so you also put it back on fast. So don’t do a cleanse if you’re just trying to lose weight.
2. You can really mess up your digestion if you’re not careful. You must re-introduce foods slowly to readjust your stomach to digesting raw fiber and meat.
3. You usually get really sick at first. Joe Cross experienced this in his documentary where he literally was bed ridden for about 3 days with flu-like symptoms. The first time I did my liver cleanse I was nauseous and threw up several times a day. (I can now do this cleanse and go to work, maintain a normal schedule, etc).
4. It’s plain hard. Even though I have gotten to the point where you feel AMAZING, it takes a lot to get there. In fact, I usually try to cleanse 3-4 times a year, including in January which is common right after the holidays. But, there are times - like this past January when if I’m truly listening to my body, it resists.
5. Cleanse with a friend (oooh, that sorta rhymes). Anything that’s hard is just plain easier when you have support.
6. It’s best not to exercise. Exercise is a form of stress on the body, and every once in a while it’s necessary and beneficial to give it a break.
That being said, I just finished a program where I was eating a TON of protein, as in protein powders as well as a ton of meat-- and my body just needed a break. So, instead of doing a hard core juice fast or something, I just stayed off of meat, dairy and anything processed for about 2 weeks.
You could say I feel amazing.
And for the record, I will probably do Liver Cleanse here in the next month or so. Stay tuned.
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