Top 10 Reasons to Do a Cleanse

Fotolia_12980564_XS-200x133“When you fast, the Light will illuminate you and spread on earth.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.” ~ Hippocrates

Warning – I am about to brag…just a little, but it’s part of the story.

Something I have been hearing a lot of lately is, “Damn girl, you’re lookin’ good for being, like, 40!” and “I WISH I had as much energy as you!”

First of all, I just want to point out that you are not supposed to look shitty when you’re, “like, 40.” But that’s beside the point.

The point is that I don’t dye my hair, do plastic surgery, or have a medi-spa membership. I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with those things, but I just wanted to let you know I don’t do them myself – yet;) Freedom Junkie truism: Never say, “Nevah!”

I also don’t drink coffee (it gives me panic attacks, which sucks, because I LOVE the flavah!), I don’t use “energy drinks,” and I don’t eat sugar (heaven help you if you’re around me on a sugar rush). I haven’t always had a lot of energy. In fact, there are days when I can be a downright lazy mo-fo. But that’s usually when I am not partaking in my usual energizing activities (more on those later).

I admit that once I had some sun spots lasered off my face, but after I looked like a leper for two weeks and then got sunburned doing a solo climb of Mount Shasta in the clouds (’tis true what they say about cloudy days) after which they immediately CAME BACK, I never returned for another treatment. I am meant to be spotted. Like the badass owl.

A few examples of what I DO partake in to boost my energy and youthful mistress look are regular exercise, a pretty damn good sleeping pattern considering I could stay up all night doing my passion work (and other passionate things, winky winky!) and have a little baby, yoga 5 times a week, and random kitchen dancing to old-school salsa and hip hop until I am dripping with sweat. Solo.

However, this article is about the one thing that I discovered after my cancer diagnosis (10 years ago!) that I am pretty sure has made the biggest difference of all. I believe it keeps me and many other people happy and healthy as ever – even though we’re, “like, 40.”

This, my friends, is {drumroll} doing a supah yummy seasonal cleanse at least 2 times a year.

My friend, Ajana Miki, N.D., lead the first cleanse I ever did, and it changed my life. I like to do “nutritive” cleanses in the Spring and Fall (and definitely if I am doing one in the winter). This means that unlike a lot of cleanses or fasts, I can eat quite a variety and quantity of food, including various types of high-quality of protein.

I mainly cut the bad boys out, like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy, etc., add pharmaceutical-grade organic supplements to detox and support my body, consume more superfoods, smoothies and green juices, and am more mindful about sleep, exercise, and meditation. The more intense cleanses and fasts I save for doing either one day a week, the final week of my 3-week cleanses, or for the summertime, when those more “extreme” cleanses feel more appropriate for my body – and the weather;)

Here are my Top 10 reasons to Do a Supah Yummy Spring Cleanse RIGHT NOW!

First, there are the obvious physical reasons:

1. Weight loss (and maintenance). Caveat: This isn’t about body image (although it might be for you). It’s about staying at a healthy weight where your risk for disease and premature death is lower, yo. This benefit is for realz. People often loose at least 5 pounds. I sometimes loose more if I’ve been on the – ahem – rather unhealthy side (read: too much wine or cheese or both). On the maintenance side, this basically means you are likely taking off the weight that accumulated while you started eating and drinking like crap after your last cleanse. And when you do them regularly, they can help you maintain your weight because you’re not waiting until your weight is way out of control before moving back to healthier eating habits.

2. When done regularly, cleanses provide a kind of re-set for your tasty-buds, training your tasty-buds (as my friend Shauna likes to call them;) and the rest of your body to like healthier food again. We train ourselves to prefer certain flavors, and fat, sugar, and salt are easy to become addicted to on the flavor scale. It’s just how we’re built!

Once you eat a healthier diet for awhile (say, for the length of a cleanse), you can train yourself to prefer the fresher and more subtle flavors of whole, real foods. This means you are re-setting your body to consume healthier foods with more vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, anti-cancer agents, and all that good shizzle – and LIKE it!

3. Allergy relief, often with less mucus, congestion, skin problems, and coughs. This is especially true for many peeps when eliminating gluten and dairy. I notice when I get massages on a cleanse, my nose doesn’t get all stuffy, most obvious when I am asked to turn onto my back and I am actually able to breathe. Seasonal allergies can improve (if not eliminated, they are often less severe), and people often experience easier breathing while exercising, as well as less coughing or shortness of breath, even if they don’t have an official diagnosis of asthma.

4. No matter how healthfully we eat, we live in an increasingly toxic world. The body’s defenses are made up of the liver, kidneys, colon, as well as healthy skin and immune system functioning. However, when we are continuously exposed to toxins and pollutants in the air we breathe, eating non-organic food, and drinking chemicalized or contaminated water, it puts a lot of stress on our defenses and detoxification systems as they struggle to keep up. Eventually, these toxins can build up and cause disease and the other big bummer known as low energy.

Add to this things like binge-drinking, prescription as well as recreational drugs, pharmaceutical grades of jet fuel coffee, and being a couch potato, our poor body is like, “Hey there! Can I interrupt your Bacchanalian fiesta of a life? I can sort of deal with this, and I am doing a pretty damn good job of it, but will you puh-lease cut me a break?!” This can manifest as getting sick easily (aka: forced rest), low energy, skin rashes, constipation or diarrhea, headaches, and body pains, etc.

Cleansing helps you detoxify and gives your system a break so you can continue to kick ass for as long as possible on this gorgeous planet.

5. More energy. ‘Nuf said. Well, I’ll say a bit more: Cleansing also kick-starts your metabolism. After you cleanse, your metabolism becomes more efficient – it more easily creates energy and eliminates wastes that bring your energy level down. If you continue to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle for a bigger chunk of the year through regular cleansing, you will feel healthier for more of the year too!

6. You look better. Your skin glows, you carry yourself taller with more energy and confidence, your belly is flatter since it isn’t so bloated all the time and you’re pooping more regularly, and you just freakin’ RADIATE health. I can see it in others all the time. One of my yoga teachers, Melissa Cooley, was doing an Ayurvedic cleanse, and when we were in a workshop together (my Ziji Up! Mastery Program, in fact!), everyone kept saying to her, “You look so radiant! You’re glowing!” Yup. Da cleanse.

7. Your aches and pains can disappear. As you eliminate foods you are intolerant or allergic to, as well as stop eating crap food, toxins can more easily be eliminated from your body, and your inflammation levels go down – and you feel better in your body. Yummy;)

The following reasons are more subtle, and they have to do with the deeper shizzle, the emotional and spiritual levels of cleansing.

7. We are NOT our habits. Our habits are choices that we repeat over and over, and when we make the same choices over and over, we create a comfort zone, whether we like it or not.

It’s not called a “comfort zone” because it is necessarily “comfortable.” Being bloated and constipated isn’t comfortable. But the habit of eating things we have an intolerance for – like pasta and cheese – keeps us in the comfort zone.

More correctly, it is called a comfort zone because when you try something different from it, you are uncomfortable. And sometimes extremely so.

With this aspect of the cleanse, you directly deal with your habits, stretching beyond your comfort zones, and the way your habits may be masking some difficult truths.

** I believe it is THIS part of cleansing that is the reason most people avoid doing a cleanse at all. **

It’s not so much that they can’t physically do without their cheese. It’s that they can’t do with the emotional discomfort that arises without it.

In this part of the cleanse, you may become in tune with how stressed out your job makes you when you aren’t automatically unwinding after work with a class (or several) of wine. And that can be a sucky thing to realize.

You can become very aware of how depleted your energy stores might be when you finally aren’t having your regular coffee in the morning (don’t worry – there are versions of cleanses that allow some caffeine if that is a deal-breaker for you ;).

You might not know what to do when you can’t automatically munch on a bag of chips because you’re bored, or slam down the ice cream because you’re boyfriend pissed you off. And you bite your nails wondering why the hell you did this stupid cleanse.

8. Often, our habits are our way of self-medicating, and cleansing keeps you real with yourself. Cleansing make sure you are staying on your path, staying in line with your values, keeps you in integrity. It makes sure all of you is heading in the same direction = your dreams.

It does this by not allowing you to hide, even if its harder to face it all.

Even after all I’ve just said, you may still be wondering, “So…why go there?” Let me tell you this:

It is über-liberating (Hello, FREEDOM JUNKIES!), when, on day 9 of a cleanse, you fall asleep easily and effortlessly without needing your after-work martini; or when you meet a friend for lunch feeling clear and energetic, and and you haven’t even missed your morning coffee.

The Tibetan Buddhist nun who taught me to meditate when I was 18 years old, Robina Courtin, told me that what she loved most about quitting smoking was not needing a cigarette anymore. She was giving a teaching on attachment, and she went on and on about the freedom and liberation of not NEEDING something outside of yourself to feel good.

It was a very powerful impression.

9. Increased mental clarity. When we get rid of toxins and distractions, we have more time and space for seeing this clearly, for experiencing life as it is, with fewer filters of gobbledygook in our system that fog things up. This is particularly true on deeper cleanse days like juice fasts.

In this spaciousness, we have room fill ourselves up with connections with nature, to be closer to our Higher Power, or whatever else truly fills us up.

10. You become more in touch with your body. When you are more in touch with your body, you will be less likely to have unhealthy habits, you will more easily be able to tune in to the intuition that your body offers you, and you will cultivate a level of self-love that is much needed!

Whew! So now that you know how AWESOME cleanse is on the mind, body, and spirit levels- are you ready? There are a lot of cleanse books out there, but a cleanse that is über-easy and fun to start with can be found in Kris Carr’s book, Crazy Sexy Diet (it focuses on an anti-inflammatory diet). I’ll also be posting more details about the kind of cleanses I like to do on my blog this Spring – so keep an eye out!

If you’re a little nervous about starting a cleanse on your own, come join other Freedom Junkies for our Seasonal Cleanses! They happen every Spring, Summer, Fall and a shorter detox in Winter (January/February). Click here and check out the latest cleanse coming up.

Note: Ana Verzone is a personal life coach, wellness warrior, and Freedom Junkie™ She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly Ziji Up!™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE 7-Day Clarity + Courage Course by visiting http://www.DefineYourFreedom.com

 

6 Comments on Top 10 Reasons to Do a Cleanse

    • Ana Verzone
      March 27, 2014 at 11:03 am (8 months ago)

      Thanks, Sarah! Cleansing has totally rocked my world since my first one 10 years ago…I hope it inspires you!

      Reply
  1. Brianna Nash
    March 27, 2014 at 9:54 am (8 months ago)

    I totally agree that cleanses are super important. I’ve never been part of a led cleanse though. How often do you host them?

    Reply
    • Ana Verzone
      March 27, 2014 at 11:02 am (8 months ago)

      Hi Brianna! I LOVE doing group cleanses! It’s way more fun, and people share recipes, tips and tricks, and also give a lot of support. I lead them at least three times a year, with different themes each time. I was doing them myself, and clients kept asking me about them so I said, “Come play with me!” Check out my Ayurveda Spring Cleanse coming up if you’d like! http://www.FreedomJunkie.com/vedaspringcleanse I think you’d dig it;)

      Reply
  2. Beth Sawickie
    March 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm (8 months ago)

    Wonderful points! I admit that one of the ways I got myself to first do a cleanse was to focus on the weight loss and healthy skin. Then I experienced increased energy (seriously – started jogging out of nowhere), much better sleep, little aches and pains disappeared and cravings for crap food – GONE! Things were great…. then I had that “one bowl of Ben & Jerry’s”, slice of pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee….duh, duh, dun. Why do I do this to myself and my body !?! I look forward to cutting out the junk and getting back to clean eating :)

    Reply
    • Ana Verzone
      March 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm (8 months ago)

      I TOTALLY hear ya, Beth! I use regular cleanses as a way to re-set my taste buds and body because I creep away ever-so-slowly (or quickly!) from what feels good if I am not being conscious about it. Here’s to us and a crystal-cleansed Spring!

      Reply

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