Can A Cleanse Heal You?
I’m asked quite often about cleanses, and if they can heal health conditions, illnesses, and diseases. I think cleanses are great at kick starting a healthy diet and giving someone a good break from foods that are causing inflammation, imbalances, and disease in the body. But I don’t think a short term cleanse will heal anyone unless they make permanent changes to their diet and lifestyle after the cleanse, and figure out what might be contributing to the problem to begin with.
If you have a health condition or illness and are contemplating doing a cleanse (fasting or a dietary cleanse), I have some suggestions to make it a worthwhile experience. Cleanses and fasting are great, but what’s even better is learning from them – learning more about yourself, and what is contributing to your health, and what is standing in your way.
Two types of foods that contribute to most illnesses and health issues:
Allergenic Foods & Inflammatory Foods
The reason why people feel so great on a cleanse and have such wonderful healing results is because of what is eliminated while being on a cleanse. I like to class these eliminated foods into two groups: allergenic foods and inflammatory foods. Many or all of the foods in these two groups are usually eliminated during a cleanse, and this is why people always feel much better while they are fasting or following a restrictive cleanse
1- Allergenic Food
Allergenic foods are foods that some people have an allergy or a sensitivity to. Examples of these foods or ingredients are dairy or milk products, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, shellfish, tree nuts, food additives like MSG, etc. If someone has an unknown sensitivity or allergy to any one of these foods (or a combination of them), eliminating them will automatically make them feel a lot better! Sometimes just a few days without an allergenic food can have a big impact on someone’s health and help them to start clearing up surface issues like digestive distress, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, acne, skin rashes, congestion, sinus issues, respiratory infections, aches and pains, etc. Later, as someone continues to go without a food they have an allergy or sensitivity to, deeper imbalances and problems like malnutrition, inflammation, and chronic immune response that could be causing other health conditions, diseases, and illness, can start to balance out, and the body can heal.
2- Inflammatory foods
Sugar, alcohol, processed foods, refined foods, artificial ingredients, food additives, chemicals, preservatives, and even an over-consumption of animal products and meats causes inflammation in the body (and so does stress!). Too much of this stuff makes people ill! Like with allergenic foods, once anyone takes a break from inflammatory foods, they always start feeling a lot better, and there body begins to heal.
What to take away from your cleanse
If you do a cleanse and feel fabulous at the end and notice all sorts of healing and an elimination of health issues you’ve been dealing with for years, it’s most probably because there’s at least one thing in your diet that is causing havoc on your health. If it’s already obvious to you what needs to be eliminated so you can continue to enjoy the results from the cleanse, then do so.
If it’s not so clear what could potentially be causing all your health issues, I suggest after the cleanse is done to do an entire month with as little inflammatory food as possible to see if that is the cause of your issues. If after a month, you don’t feel that much improvement like you did when you were on the cleanse, then I suggest experimenting with an elimination diet.
An elimination diet I find is one of the surest ways of figuring out what foods you might be allergic to or have a sensitivity to. The best way to do it is to choose one allergenic food and eliminate it from your diet for 2 weeks. If after two weeks you notice no improvement in your health, than re-introduce it back into your diet and try eliminating another allergenic food for another two weeks. By doing an elimination diet, it’ll be very clear as to what foods are not agreeing with your body, and it ensures you are not eliminating any food group unnecessarily.
This is how you really benefit from a cleanse
One thing I tell participants from my monthly Juice Fasting Program and Raw Food Cleanse, is it’s not so much about the cleanse itself, but what you do after. A cleanse is pretty much useless if you don’t make needed dietary and lifestyle adjustments afterwards. If you do a cleanse and then go back to eating junk, there’s no point in doing the cleanse to begin with, and perhaps it just causes more stress on your body. So before you embark on any cleanse, really be honest with yourself if this is something you want to do. Ask yourself, are you ready? Are you excited about it? Are you willing to put all the effort into improving your diet, health, and lifestyle? If the answers are Yes, Yes, YES – then go with it!! This really can be the beginning of something GREAT!
Want to do a cleanse? Join one of my upcoming online programs:
10 Day Juice Fasting Program starting April 1, 2015
7 Day Raw Food Cleanse starting April 13, 2015
7 Day Whole Food Challenge starting April 20, 2015