The term “cleanse” can mean different things to different people. We, at Simple Green Smoothies, define a cleanse as a health regimen that helps your body rid itself of toxins and other things that have built up, and gives it a recharge. We don’t believe that a “cleanse” has to be boring or involve starving yourself. We believe cleansing can be a delicious, nourishing adventure that transforms your body, your health, and even your life!
What is a Cleanse?
It’s impossible to avoid toxins completely. They are everywhere in the food we eat (pesticides, processed food, sugar, caffeine), the air we breathe (pollution), and even the natural products of the natural chemical reactions that occur within our bodies. Luckily, our bodies, particularly the liver and kidneys, do a pretty good job on their own to detox and clean things up. Our skin, lungs, and digestive tract also play important roles in the body’s natural detoxification processes.
After a while, our bodies can become overburdened with those toxins. We need to detox from things like sugar, pesticides, caffeine, and processed foods. Sometimes consuming these things on a regular basis may even start to feel like an addiction. And we think it’s perfectly okay to hit the reset button by doing a cleanse!
Why It’s Okay To Do A Cleanse?
There are a lot of opinions about cleanses and whether it’s okay to do one. Our opinion is that gentle cleansing is great! We prefer being gentle to our bodies and believe that we don’t need to do anything drastic. Eliminating some foods like animal products (dairy, meat, poultry, eggs, etc.), gluten, and high allergen foods gives our bodies a chance to focus on getting rid of the bad stuff while absorbing the healthiest of nutrients from fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and vegetarian proteins. We’re not saying those foods are bad, they can just be more taxing on the body to digest.
Most nutritionists recommend cleansing at least once or twice a year. The best time to cleanse is during the natural changing of the seasons. So as spring turns to summer, it’s a great time to give your body a little boost and get rid of the cool weather build-up.
But more importantly, a cleanse has other positive side effects. Besides providing nutrients and fuel for your body, it gives your mind a reset too. It’s a way to get rid of bad habits and create new, healthy ones. It helps you be your best you so you can pursue and fuel your passions. It helps us become more mindful and conscious about what we put into our bodies. We’re here to tell you that you can and will feel a difference eating healthy food. And we believe it’s important to treat ourselves to good health.
5 Signs Your Body Needs a Cleanse
1. You’re tired, and you don’t know why.
Are you reaching for coffee to get you out of bed or just to make it through the afternoon? Yeah, we know what that’s like. If you’ve been getting plenty of sleep (or even if you haven’t) and your body is feeling fatigued and exhausted, that’s a major sign that it’s time to get back on track.
2. Your digestive system is out of whack.
If things aren’t moving along as they should, or if you’re having other tummy issues, it’s probably time for a reset. Over time our digestive tracts can retain residual junk that needs to be cleared out. That junk slows things down and can lead to other problems.
3. Your weight isn’t where it should be.
It happens to all of us. We’re not a big fan of worrying about the number on scale as much as how we feel. And if you’re not feeling that snug waistband, a cleanse can help get you back where you need to be to feel great.
4. Your skin looks dull.
Our skin is our largest organ of the body and it can tell us right away when we aren’t in optimal health. Things like rashes, dryness, and dullness can mean that your body isn’t getting all of the nutrients it needs.
5. Brain fog.
You know that feeling when you can’t concentrate or you can’t remember what you came into the room for? That’s brain fog, and it’s another symptom our body gives us that we’re not in tip-top shape. Clearing out the junk in our bodies helps clear out minds too.
Different Ways to Cleanse
You’ve probably heard of numerous kinds of cleanses and detoxes —we have too. There are juice fast cleanses where you consume only fresh juice for a certain number of days, there is another popular one that only includes lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne. There are also very strict elimination diets. Most of these have a few things in common - they are super strict and put extra stress on the body.
As we’ve said before, we aren’t fans of harsh cleanses or detoxes. We believe in gentle cleansing and detoxing that helps the body reset, refresh, rest, and rejuvenate. We believe in doing this through eating real food and not starving ourselves, like our Seasonal Cleanse Cleanse.
Ingredients That Help Cleanse the Body
Our body does a great job of eliminating toxins on its own, but a diet rich in certain foods can help it more effectively flush your system for optimal health. These are seven of our favorite detoxifying foods.
Lemon: The simple habit of drinking warm lemon water upon rising each morning—helps body eliminate waste, helps get digestive tract moving, it also acts as a mild diuretic which helps flush the body via the kidneys.
Cilantro: Add cilantro to green smoothies or meals throughout the day to help body eliminate build-up of heavy metals
Ginger: Very beneficial to digestion, stimulates blood circulation
Garlic: One of nature’s greatest antibiotics
Beets: Help the liver detox, purifies blood
Cabbage: High in fiber to help prevent constipation, loads of vitamin C and sulphur to help purify and cleanse the blood
Kale (and other dark leafy greens): Kale is among the "most nutrient-dense foods on the plant", contains large amounts of antioxidants (source), plus it also provides the same benefits as cabbage.
Who should not cleanse?
A cleanse isn’t for everyone. If you are pregnant or nursing (toxins can get into bloodstream and breast milk), have advanced cancer, are under the age of 16, have an eating disorder, have kidney or liver disease, are underweight or have blood sugar regulation issues (diabetes), consult your doctor or healthcare professional before doing a cleanse.