#13) Time for a Cleanse is: Now!

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Yaakov Levine, NTP

The information provided in this article is intended to give a general overview of the topic and is not intended as medical advice. For information specific to your situation, or health concerns, please consult with your medical doctor.  

Nutritionally Speaking: Article #13, Time for a Cleanse is: Now!

As the days are getting longer and warmer, I bet many of you are contemplating a Spring cleanse. As you may remember our body carries out “cleansing” 24/7. Each of our bodies cell is eliminating toxins constantly as part of its cellular life. While a spring or seasonal cleanse is beneficial, let’s keep in mind that we will be healthiest when we care for our body on a full time basis. Filling your half your plate at meals  with fiber, nutrient, and antioxidant rich veggies will support our health on a cellular basis. Come in to Natural Grocers for a copy of our Healthy Meal Wheel, which illustrates how to build that plate of healthy and delicious meals, and do support your health with a cleanse as well as described below.

During the winter most of us naturally eat heavier, often sweeter foods,  the sweet desserts of the holidays, the rich soothing casseroles, and/or foods that help warm and nourish us during the cold rainy winter months. We usually have the shared goal of losing the extra “insulation” gained each winter.  Along with the extra pounds we may be carrying extra toxins. Toxins store mainly in our fat cells. Try this simple test; Stand on one foot for at least one minute…not to difficult for most people, now try the same task, but close your eyes. If you can not keep your balance for a full minute on one foot with your eyes closed, you may benefit from a cleanse.

First of all it is very important to make sure all of your elimination pathways are working. These pathways are working when we pee or poop and sweat. This next part may be a bit indelicate to some, but it is actually normal to “poop” as many times as the meals you eat. If you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, then three productive toilet visits is normal. There is no point in exploring how to support the detoxing we do in each cell, via our lungs, kidneys, lymphatic and digestive system with a cleanse if we are not “regular”. Eating a nutrient dense diet including high fiber vegetables and fruits will help with regularity.

Exercise is important; we remove wastes through the skin as we perspire and through our breath as our lungs work a bit harder. Walking or jogging will stimulate the lymphatic system to remove waste, and if we are properly hydrated our kidneys will have a healthier volume of blood to filter. Another great way to support our lymphatic system is to periodically get on a rebounder and bounce for a few minutes. Rebounders are small, easy to store, and not very expensive. Here is a link to an information site about rebounders: http://www.trampolinenyc.com/

Our bodies use a lot of energy to digest our meals, and a spring juice cleanse will supply us with the nutrients we need to function,  in an easy to digest form. Since vegetable juice has very little sugar while offering an abundance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients, it’s incredibly helpful for weight loss. It offers what our bodies need to fight cravings and to keep us healthy.

A juicer is not a blender, but rather through a mechanical process, it separates the juice from the harder to digest pulp or fibrous parts of the fruits or veggies. If you are new to juicing, look for an inexpensive model, you may even find a used juicer at a thrift store or online.  For ease of cleaning, choose a juicer that ejects the pulp into a canister as opposed to the juicers that collect the pulp in an inner basket.

Here are few simple tips for juicing:

  1. Use only organic produce. Your goal for this juice cleanse is to remove toxins, so avoid the additional toxins found in conventional produce.
  2. Wash your produce before juicing. Cut away any moldy, bruised or damaged sections before juicing.
  3. The skins of citrus fruits such as orange, tangerine or grapefruit have indigestible volatile oils that can be irritating to your digestive tract, so always peel them before juicing. The peels of organic lemons and limes can be juiced.
  4. The stems and leaves of most produce such as beets can be included in your juice.
  5. Use fruits and veggies with a high water content, they are great candidates for juicing. Bananas, mangoes, papayas, and avocado have low water contents, so will not juice well. You can add them to your fresh juices in the blender.
  6. Cut your fruits and veggies small enough to fit in the juicer’s feed tube.

Michael Murray ND author of The Complete Book of Juicing (amongst many other books) offers this simple recipe:

1 apple – low sugar and rich in plant nutrients.

1/2 beet root with tops – contains cleansing  nutrients

4 carrots – rich in anti-oxidants

2 celery stalks – anti-inflammatory

1/2 cup parsley – rich in detoxifying chlorophyll

Enjoy a few glasses of this juice for as many days as you want for your cleanse, which for many may just be a Spring weekend. As you enjoy our  shift into spring weather, give your health a boost; support your detoxification and elimination of toxins with a few days of only fresh juice.

*A juice cleanse may not advisable under the following circumstances: if you are pregnant, nursing, recovering from an illness or injury or have a weakened immune system. It is also suggested that those people with diabetes, many heart issues or mental illness not cleanse without a physician’s guidance. If you are under a physician’s care, using prescription medication; consult your physician before starting a cleanse.

At Natural Grocers in Eugene, where I am the stores’ Nutritional Health Coach, we offer free classes and free one-on-one health coaching sessions (541) 345-3300. Please “like” our Natural Grocers-Eugene Facebook page.  Here is the link to our store’s (free!) class schedule: http://www.naturalgrocers.com/store-locations/eugene/OR/events  .We now offer at least three opportunities most weeks to catch a (free) class at the store, Sunday’s at 1pm, Monday’s at 1pm, and Wednesdays @ 6pm. See you then!

Yaakov Levine, NTP