Last spring I decided to focus on the topic of resetting the physical body because I felt I needed a deep rest or a break.
March 20th is our Persian new year (Nowruz) too. So I thought this is the best motivation for me to do a cleanse before the spring equinox.
Eliminating certain food items (which I'm going to explain further) from the diet for a period of time, has been something that I personally enjoy experimenting with. I love to monitor how new eating habits work and influence my body.
The whole idea behind my detox experiment was to see how capable I am of eliminating the foods that I am used to eating on a regular basis.
Why we need a break from eating
Our ancestors never had access to food the way we do all the time. They would go through long periods of fasting before successful hunting and feasting.
Today there is so much food variety available to us all year round and everywhere we go. We have access to anything we want readily available without having to go through any hardship or attempt. The grocery stores close to our homes carry literally everything we can think of and this constant abundance can be one of the reasons we do not really have to think about not having access to certain foods
The idea of giving the body a break can mean different things to each person and what I like to share here is my own version.
Taking some foods out of a regular diet can be either because you believe that food is not supporting your health, or to experiment and find out how you do without consuming it. Sometimes you are not even aware that a specific food or food group has an impact on your symptoms, but maybe you were told by a health expert that removing it from your diet will be beneficial for you, or will help you on your healing journey.
Let's say you have an underactive thyroid and you are suggested to take dairy products and gluten out of your diet. Now, since you're so used to eating these type of foods all your life, the idea of cutting them out may sound impossible. What I want to emphasize here is that such recommendations don't mean that those foods are evil or that because of your thyroid condition, you can never touch them again.
By giving the body a break from triggering foods anyone can reset, heal and then resume eating what they enjoy.
What happens during the healing journey is always so incredible that it can bring the person to the conclusion that elimination or the break was in fact fundamentally necessary.
Note that I am not encouraging you to start your healing/elimination journey on your own nor am I promising that if you take this food and that food out of your diet for a short period of time you will see huge shifts and great weight loss results!
Eliminating processed foods or any unhealthy food items from your diet can definitely be life-changing but the practice requires some work, commitment, and readiness.
My personal spring cleanse experience was ignited in February as I was feeling I have had all the food groups (gluten, grains, dairy, oils, sugar, caffeine) that I wanted for a long time, and since a new season was coming up, and it was the beginning of a new year (Nowrooz), I decided to just implement a cleanse in my routine for about 10 days to give my body and digestion a break and reset with mother nature and to just observe how different I would feel.
I began with Anthony William's Cleanse to heal book. He has a 9-day thorough cleansing and healing protocol which I had thought about following for a while. Being a person who sometimes has a hard time following instructions and based on my own experience and healthy eating background I decided to start with what I can.
I tried my best and began to see great results from taking all animal protein, fat, grains and, caffeine out of my diet for 9 days. That meant no coffee or chocolate, caffeinated beverages, dairy, bread, rice, and even no vinegar and salt.
some examples of how anyone can do some reset work on their body whenever they feel ready:
If you are used to drinking alcohol on weekends or weekdays, I encourage you to take out alcohol completely for 1 month. Moreover, If you are someone who is used to having caffeine in your daily routine because your body is relying on it, cutting down the number of coffees or black teas consumed daily to only one can be a good start as well.
You can do the same with grains, dairy, baked goods, sugar, processed foods or basically any food you want.
My purpose for writing this article was to remind you that resetting the body starts with us looking deeper into our habits and ways that we have become comfortable with.
My shared experience can be a good way to try eliminating the main trouble-causing foods. This is how you will find out if you are addicted to anything or if you think you can't function without certain foods.
I commonly see many saying they rely on caffeinated drinks throughout the day to keep them alert due to lack of sleep and burnout or as a way to have bowel movements. It's important to be mindful that large amounts of caffeine are heavy on our endocrine system specially the adrenal glands and the liver.
These organs have to work hard to process too much caffeine and I highly recommend everyone to take some break from caffeinated beverages like coffee, black, oolong, yerba mate and even green tea, chocolate and cocoa periodically and look for other ways to keep them alert.
It's important to understand that, eliminating foods like grains or gluten from our diet for a while is not about losing weight, but is more about allowing the healing process to begin in your body and this will only occur if you choose to shift towards eating more plant-based wholesome foods.
Diet changes and cleansing don't always have to be a drastic or major shift in your old eating patterns. You can try to eliminate one food at a time and just experiment with it. Practice the habit of tracking your symptoms, how you feel and your mood as you take out that item for at least 3-5 days. During a period as short as that, monitoring your symptoms, may indicate no bloating, less constipation, more energy, less digestive discomfort or better sleep and skin.
Experiencing improvement in any of the symptoms that you chronically deal with is a win.
Another important factor to have in mind is being prepared. For instance, imagine a person who eats animal protein regularly, and decides to become vegan for a short while. When they cut out all the animal products, all the meats and all the dairy, they have to have enough fruits and vegetables available to them and adequate knowledge of how to plan their meals to avoid deficiency, deprivation and discomfort.
This is a huge step and may result in breaking the cleanse or going for unhealthy replacements like eating out or buying processed, packaged foods. If you know that's going to be the case or if you're going to have a very stressful week, or if you are at a stage in your life where you are going through some difficult experience be gentle and kind to yourself and don't push your body into completing an intensive cleanse.
My approach to cleansing and detoxing
My number 1 recommendation for food elimination is to spend some time thinking, planning, and scheduling your groceries, meals, and life events. This way, giving your systems a rest to bring yourself back into more harmony and more balance can be a fun and pleasant experience rather than torturous.
The goal is to understand that for example once in a while allowing the liver to perform its detoxification duties more efficiently, is not going to be a solution for our health problems but a great place to start.
One last thing that I would love to mention about the elimination of triggering foods from the diet is that sometimes when you do one round of a cleanse you see so much improvement that in some cases you may feel your healing journey has begun and as you give your body permission to rest, you feel ready to reset yourself on your own timeline. In other words, this is going to motivate you to keep that type of diet and make it a new habit.
Since the healing has started, you will see the next time you eat something with a little bit of gluten, dairy, sugar, etc. you don't experience the symptoms as bad as before the cleanse and therefore the body is already building up a tolerance.
Your bodies deserve some kind of a cleanse at least two to three times a year. This will allow you to reap the benefits by bringing more liveliness into your being and taking control of unpleasant health symptoms while understanding your body's signals more effectively.
My approach to nutrition is based on seeing the body as a whole and that's why I don't encourage calorie counting or following fad and trendy diets. Mindfully giving the body a break from time to time is aligned with the way I see the body systems working synergistically as a whole.
What is your unique way of detoxing or cleansing your whole body this season ?
If you are interested in my approach you can also find more tips on healthy snacks, gut health, and natural remedies from me on Pinterest.