I am about to start a 5 day reset/detox/cleanse and thought I would document the process. I have done this a few times before and I think it is actually something I would like to do on a regular basis going forward. It is a full body cleanse – physical, mental and emotional – with the aim of resetting my body and hormones to increase my vitality and motivation for life. I have got my first christmas party next friday and my graduation on saturday so I want to feel and look my best.
I have been feeling pretty rough lately after moving to a new city, starting a new job and going through some other personal issues. I have been eating well at home and trying to keep active but I have been travelling and eating out a lot which has meant more processed food and alcohol than usual and less regular exercise. My sleep and digestion have both been terrible which has left me with low energy and mood, acne flare ups and aching muscles and joints. I have also been feeling quite stressed and overwhelmed, struggling to relaxing and let go. Some before photos:
Is a cleanse really beneficial?
Many people say that our bodies are constantly detoxing and therefore we don’t need to cleanse anything. It is true that our liver and lymphatic system are continuously working to remove toxins from our body to keep us healthy. However, the modern lifestyles we lead mean we are constantly adding more toxins into our system through the food we eat, the air we breathe and the products we use. We are also generating mental and emotional “toxins” through stress, anxiety, negative thought patterns, relationships with others etc. A regular cleanse can therefore be a useful tool to keep us healthy. If nothing else it helps to feel rejuvenated, lighter and can kick start healthy habits that will improve our health over the long term.
When to cleanse?
This is totally dependant on the person. Previously, I have only ever done a cleanse when I felt like I needed it either after the holidays or after a stress period. But I am starting to think that a monthly cleanse can be an amazing part of the menstrual awareness practice for women. I am going to try this out for the next few months and see how I feel. Intuitively, cleansing during the follicular or ovulatory phase makes sense to me as these are the times of our cycle when we naturally have higher energy and fewer cravings. I am actually on day 20 of my cycle now so coming into my luteal phase but I am going to give it a go anyway and see how I go.
What does it involve?
A cleanse can look different for everyone but I am planning to focus on 3 things:
Diet – For 5 days I am going to focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, eliminate caffeine, artificial sugar, processed foods and animal products so no meat, fish, dairy or eggs. I used to think that following a vegan diet was optimal for health long-term. I no longer believe this (I can explain this process in a future post) but I do think cutting out these foods for short periods of time is beneficial to give the digestive system break and speed up detoxification.
Exercise – Rather than increasing exercise I am actually going to cut down on exercise to give my body a rest. I plan to do yoga every day and some walking but no cardio, circuits or other intense exercise. Moving our bodies is great for our health but it is also a stress and consumes energy that we might not have when following a cleanse/detox style diet. I really want to work on my flexibility as years of running and weight lifting have left me with short muscles which is not ideal for a yogi!
Stress – This is a tough one as I am going to be working still during the 5 day cleanse. I am going to try my best to reduce stress and leave more time for rest and relaxation. I already meditate in the mornings for 15 minutes but I am going to do this in the evening too and also spend some time journalling every day. I know I have some trapped emotions I want to process and some thought patterns that I want to explore further and journalling is the best way for me to unlock these deeper parts of my mind.
What do I want to get out of the cleanse?
After the 5 day cleanse I am hoping that my system will feel refreshed overall but the main things I want to gain are:
- Better digestion and elimination
- Improved sleep and higher energy
- Brighter skin/less acne/dark circles
I’m looking forward to getting started now! I did my shopping today and stocked up on lots of organic produce. I also made a batch of yummy raw vegan “truffles” with dates, oats, coconut and cacao to have as a healthy sweet treat (yep I had to sample these tonight already).
I will post an update each day and let you guys know how I am getting on and what I am doing from day to day. Post a message in the comments if you want to follow along with this cleanse or a future one 🙂