Ready For a Spring Cleanse?

 

 

 

 

I’ve just broken a 10 day juice cleanse and my body feels like a million bucks!  The orange I ate for “breakfast” was an eagerly anticipated explosion of virgin, citrus flavours and texture, a pleasure beyond description when compared to the simplicity of 10 days consumption of organic apple juice that has been part of my cleansing regimen process.

I’m not new to cleanses; I’ve been practicing the science of detoxification on and off for the last 20 years, part of an ingrained, early training and philosophy I adopted with the intent to enhance and elevate the vitality of my body/mind wellness. 

This particular cleanse is the longest I’ve done so far; a progression from my early days of weekly, one day dry fasts, where no food or liquid was consumed, to a later progression of a few runs of three and six day juice fast/cleanses spread out over the years. 

In many cases including my most recent, those juice cleanses were used in conjunction with other more exotic detoxifying ingredients like Psylium husks, Bentonite (clay), Epsom salts, Olive oil and fresh squeezed Grapefruit juice.  

My imagined bucket list in life includes the dream of heading to Karala India, for a 30 day Panchakarma treatment: a body/mind/Soul immersion, where you are escorted through a progressive detoxification and rejuvenation process according to the ancient wisdom and science of Ayurveda – customized to your specific body type.

That said, I don’t have the money or time to participate in such lavish adventures right now, and I’m not really interested in one of those sometimes expensive “kits” that purport miracle cleansing while you maintain your regular lifestyle/diet regimen.

 

When given the right environment, circumstance and prompts, the body has a unique, effortless and natural tendency to bring enhanced levels of homeostasis or well-being to its experience; some would call it healing.  In a western medical model where the main focus of wellness is based on allopathic treatments and intervention (medication and surgery), the ancient wisdom teachings such as Ayurveda from India provide an abundance of perfect knowledge for the framework and understanding needed to maintain and enhance your experience of wellness.

Juice cleansing is a simple but profound process that can easily enhance your present state of wellbeing.  As part of my ongoing learning, and the intention of this particular blog post, the web offers an infinite number of opportunities to engage information that might inspire you to introduce simple practices to improve the quality of your life.

I will be honest with you at one point during my most recent visit to websites and information related to part of the regimen I loosely follow, I became deeply concerned at the quality and integrity of much of the information I was viewing.  I watched many videos and viewed many websites and articles that contradicted each other with regards to procedure and recipe etc.  I bumped into aspects of the cleansing processes based on ideas that set off alarm bells with regard to the content of information that was being presented.

While a bit shocking, it should be expected that with ease of accessibility and the diversity of human nature and understanding, information will always become diluted with each transfer of understanding and experience.   

If you’ve never cleansed before, my suggestion is to consult with a Doctor, who has been exposed too, and educated in the art of natural cleansing and detoxification process.  A simple visit to a naturopath office might provide some valuable information with regards to the uniqueness of your present wellness situation and the goals you may have for that path. 

Your adventure should include the mandatory surf of the web based resources, if only for entertainment; it might also end up being an invaluable opportunity and support for you as you expose yourself to viewpoints and perspectives you might normally not come cross.

The premise of a juice fast/detox is based on the idea that the body naturally accumulates toxins over a period of time which are present in the food and liquids we consume and includes the very breath we breathe.  A deeper layer to this science suggests that while the body is uniquely designed to eliminate toxins that may build up naturally within the blood and tissues, it needs to be regularly cleansed for maximum performance and function.

On the subtlest level those toxins include, but are not limited to, stresses of any kind; our definition of toxins as a necessity, must also include the stresses of everyday life such as toxic, unresolved, undigested, thinking, emotion and feeling.  Just as you would regularly change the oil in your car or calibrate your carburettor, we must take care and time to cleanse and calibrate the vehicle of our body, so consciousness as energy, may enliven the body/mind system for maximum benefit.

The abstention from a regular diet while instead relying solely on a mono-diet of a single food substance like rice or Kitcherie, or the consumption of natural juice liquids such as organic apple juice, allows the body to rest from the complexity and stress of normal dietary habits.  When given this opportunity it will release stored stress and toxins that have built up in the physiology.  Instead of “uploading” into the blood and tissues of our physiology, the body “downloads” those toxins and stress that have been stored over periods of weeks, months and years into the gastro intestinal tract for their natural elimination.

Unless you have experienced a cleanse first hand, it is unlikely you will realize the value of a simple two or three day juice fast and the impact it can have on your overall well-being.  While the idea of not eating might be troubling for most, you will be amazed how a little intention and willpower can radically change the way you perceive and experience your life experience on multiple levels.

The natural sugars present in juice and the nutrients that can be metabolized by the body on a more limited mono diet, are more than enough to sustain a reasonably healthy person, who has no existing contraindications prior to the step of engaging your first cleanse.

I remember my first 2 or 3 day juice cleanse at around the age of 30 or so.  Newer to the wholistic wellness practices, I wolk up the first morning of “the next day”, with a tong coated in a white mucous substance (which I discovered much later on was called “ama” or toxic residue).  My eyelids were also sticking together because the body had excreted some “unknown” residue [ama] overnight.  Needless to say I was a bit freaked out at not only what was happening, but also with what was coming out itself.  I have never really indulged in what one could say is an overly toxic lifestyle or dietary habits, and I’ve been an ovo-lacto vegetarian since I was around 27.

I think it’s important not to minimize the simplicity and power of a simple juice cleanse/mono diet/fast.  It’s also critical not to underestimate the degree of toxicity that may presently exist within your own physiology.  You yourself will have some frame of reference to understand the degree of toxicity that might possibly exist in your system. 

Prevailing conditions such as: age, dietary habits and medication used, combined with what could be described as “self destructive” behaviours such as smoking, recreational drug use or excessive drinking, can all influence the degree of toxicity and cleansing that may be required in order to rejuvenate your body to more natural levels.  Your present health condition determines to a large degree, how you might navigate the framework of a series of planned cleanses.

The irony here is that one can never clearly state the ultimate impacts of cleansing.  I cannot say for certain I appear to be healthy because of a simple few cleanses.  I cannot say for certain that the ABSESNSE of disease such as cancer, arthritis, liver, heart and kidney disease is the result of being a vegetarian or participating in a juice cleanse every once in a while.   And I cannot say that practicing these alternative approaches to living life will guarantee anything what-so-ever, in terms of a radical shift and realization of increased health and wellbeing.

What I can say is that my body feels like a million bucks after a cleanse!  What I can say is that I have noticed that the sometimes predictable winter cold and frequency of headaches appear to vanish for a period of time, and are becoming more infrequent if at all.   When I take the time look after my body in more mindful ways, what I can say is that allergy like symptoms seem to be minimized, compared to when I do not participate in a regular cleansing routine.

I love coffee, I don’t do drugs, and my alcohol consumption is minimal.  There is no judgment implied here, just observation.  I don’t really care if you eat meat and take a casual spiff as part of your present lifestyle practice.  I do believe there is a direct correlation and reduction to the level of health and wellbeing that one can experience in their circumstance when one does engage in those riskier lifestyle choices. 

The first day of my cleanse is usually the most difficult in terms of body discomfort.  I had a brutal headache on day one of my recent ten day apple juice cleanse.  At one point I almost felt like puking, although I didn’t.   It was a little surprising for me in terms of intensity, but it was expected since I typically do consume at least one latte and a cup of tea per day.

 

 

 

 

Fasting or cleansing of any kind can be an amazing way to get in touch with your body and with your mind.  I would use the word intimate and grounding to describe the experience it provides for me when I think about my body based experience.  As a result of attention not being caught up in the day to day distractions and drama that occur in most people’s lives you have a lot of free time when you do a cleanse.  You have a lot of free time to begin to notice things you might not regularly notice about the way you live your life.   

With the absence of regular eating habits the blood stream is able to “pull” toxic substances like caffeine out of the tissues and organs, to be eliminated naturally into the gastro intestinal tract.  The headache you might experience every morning prior to your daily caffeine fix is the body naturally stepping into a detoxification/withdrawal process.   After the initial intensity of first day “withdrawals”, I felt an unbelievable level of relaxation in my brain for about six days; it was if my brain was under some sort of natural sedation; it was quiet and still.                      

As I progressed through the main segment [day two through nine] of my juice cleanse, my entire body also began to progressively settle into a level of relaxation that was beyond my normal every day experience.  My breathing and sinuses opened up and my muscles became very subtle, adding a level of flexibility and flow that was noticeable in my movement.  In fact, all senses of my body seemed to become more acutely refined; they seemed to come alive.  I could hear, see, and noticeably feel things more so in my body; smells and tastes seemed to be amplified tenfold.

The length of this particular cleanse appeared to also stir up more psychological material than normal, especially around the concept of eating itself.  I realized to a much greater degree, how the experience eating was tied to an association of pleasure; I realized how much eating had become routine in my life, to the point it was experienced as a task and activity often used to fill time.

Most of these insights simply floated into my awareness during and after the cleanse was over.  I was not so much interested in psycho analyzing the content of those thoughts, but more so, simply wanting to be more aware of them as they arose.   This I would say, is one of the side benefits of a cleansing experience; you become more aware. You become more aware of your body and you become more aware of your mind.  You become more conscious of behaviours that run your life and you get in touch with the thoughts that are woven into them.

As I mentioned before the entire digestive process and body begins to settle down, once you have past the initial phase(s) of “being hungry” and the shock of withdrawal from things like caffeine.  This leaves the way for a gentler purification process to continue in your body.  More often or not, I notice at some point a surprising increase in energy; a feeling of simply being present to the moment.  It’s quite delicious and understandable considering the amount of energy it takes to digest food in general, and the fact that we spend significant amounts of time in the digestive process itself.  Depending on what you eat, some foods like meats take hours to progress through the different stages of the digestive process.

If you have the opportunity to take time off work I suggest highly you do so, this simply adds another level of self care and awareness to your experience.  It’s a chance to dive more deeply into the process without the need or distraction of a regular daily routine.  It’s an opportunity to stay in the process whatever that may be for you.  If you have the funds, I also encourage one or more bodywork sessions; a juicy addition of pleasure to cultivate and enjoy the overall experience on multiple levels! 

Breaking a cleanse and the return to regular eating habits is also a big part of the joy of abstention and the celebration of your achievement.  I often fantasize during a cleanse of what foods I will indulge in once I return to regular eating patterns.  This can be a lesson in itself with regards to how we can so easily jump out of the present to focus on the chaos of the past or the pleasure of an imagined future. 

One “shift” I noticed this time around was the urge and impulse to not so quickly return to my regular eating habits.  I love my Wavy Lays, gelato ice cream, and chocolate fixes.  This time around I took an extended and staggered approach as I journeyed back into my favourite comfort foods in life. 

A cleanse can often be an opportune moment to introduce or begin new ways of being in your life. After even a few days of cleansing you start to spontaneously activate your own inner healer; the part of yourself that when given the chance, values the opportunity to develop and pursue new habits that contribute to overall wellbeing.  You become more conscious of being conscious, and you become more conscious about what you want or don’t want to put into your body.

If your desire is to break or add specific habits like reducing dairy or eating more greens, it can be much easier to establish those strategies just after a cleanse.  If you’ve been unsuccessful with breaking the smoking habit, a juice cleanse is an excellent way to go cold turkey, as the body will pull nicotine directly out of your tissues over the period of your cleanse, reducing the experience of withdrawal effects.  By the time you’re done, you likely won’t want to smoke because your body has rid itself of the physiological aspects to your addiction, and elevated the overall health of your body.

I would be remised if I did not comment on the wait loss that can occur during a longer cleanse, although it may not be what you want to hear, if you are thinking that this is a quick solution to weight concerns.  During my ten day cleanse I dropped around thirteen pounds; I’ve gained all of it back after about two weeks!

The body will go into a degree of hibernation on longer cleanses; during a two or three day cleanse you will likely only lose water weight.  On a longer cleanse it’s possible to burn some extra calories, although it will most likely not be from the areas you really would prefer to lose it from. 

As your body metabolism slows down during a cleanse, it is also quite common to continue for a period of time at a slower rate, once you have returned to your regular eating habits.  This contributes to quick weight gain after you start eating regular foods.  No surprises; your most healthy choice for weight loss is to go to the gym when considering this type of goal.  

As I’ve alluded to, I personally combine a number of different elements to my own juice cleanse process.  The intention and effect here is to elevate the cleansing capacity; to multi task a number of approaches with the hope it might maximize the detoxification process of my body.

I want to once again suggest that this is approach is not necessary, the simplicity of a simple juice cleanse will in itself, provide a world of benefit without the additional procedures.  I will present “the basic procedure” next, including a number of different options in case you feel guided or inspired.

 

Plan to begin your juice cleanse by eating very lightly the day before; prior to your formal “juice only” focus.  Fruit, light salads or small portions of cooked vegetables are favoured as they will not “sit” in your digestive tract during the transition to juicing.  Likewise when you break your fast start with some small portions of fruit and make your way back into the food chain with light salads, cooked greens or small portions of rice.

The key here is to move in and out of your cleanse gently.  With longer cleanses it will sometimes take days for the digestive system to kick back into motion.  Stay away from heavy processed foods and meats, both before and after your cleanse; allow your body to adjust appropriately, naturally and effortlessly to this process.

In theory you can use juice of any kind; fresh squeezed and organic is preferred for purity reasons.  If you don’t have access to organic, anything not made from a concentrate will suffice.  I prefer organic apple juice for cost reasons as well as enjoying the flavour. 

Apple juice also has the ability to specifically target the Liver and gall bladder organs; the malic acid is known to soften gall stones that can develop over time.  While I have never had “a problem” with stones, I personally have had excellent results in detoxifying the liver and gall bladder, as well as getting rid of a significant number of stones by including an additional procedure outlined at the end of this post.

I will not go into depth with the liver gall bladder cleanse specifically, although I will provide some personal thoughts on the subject.  One other benefit to apple juice is that it is an alkaline food source.  Some suggest that disease can only occur in an acidic environment and that by maintaining and elevating an alkaline environment though a dietary focus; one can reduce the possibility for disease to manifest. 

My gut feeling and experience recognizes the inherent wisdom within this approach.  As I mentioned before I seem to escape any regular cold cycles that seem to statistically stalk the average North American.  To date I have gratefully, never experienced the intensity of flu like symptoms.

You will of course need to decide how long you will maintain your cleanse.  A two day juice cleanse is an excellent starter experience.  It allows you to proceed with the process over a weekend so you don’t have to worry about work, and you have the chance to adjust your activities according to the way in which your cleanse unfolds.

Feel free to drink as much juice as you wish during your cleanse.  You will probably notice in the beginning the urge to drink at regular meal times, this is normal and a reflection of how calibrated the body becomes to habitual ways of being.  You might also notice on longer cleanses those urges to drink and eat lessen, as the body settles down. 

Since you are consuming as much liquid as you wish during this detoxification process, the possibility of the body entering a dehydrated state is minimal.  Apple juice is also a moderate source of electrolytes, which can be beneficial when abstaining from regular dietary habits.

Here is a summary of the steps and alternative options for a simple juice cleanse.

 

Decide how many days you will juice cleanse…

Day before: Eat three light, easy to digest meals.

Formal juicing days – drink juice when you have the need.

Day after: take a minimum of one day extra on a modified, light diet of easily digestible foods before you begin to return to your regular eating habits.  If you happen to be participating in a longer juice cleanse i.e. four days +, you will want to stretch the “Day after” to 2 or more days… Be gentle, be easy, be effortless!

Get lots of rest during any cleanse!

Try to abstain from any sort of activity filled, social routine, during your cleanse; be gentle, be easy, be effortless.

 

Variations:

Additionally you may want to add Psylium husks to your cleanse.  Mix 1 teaspoon of husks to eight ounces of juice.  Psylium husks can be purchased from your local natural foods store and will act as detoxifier collecting/soaking toxins from your body. 

Using husks is also an excellent way to maintain motion and movement within your GI tract.   There is no nutrient value what-so-ever in Psylium husks.  They will add and support your cleansing process and possibly mute some of your hunger urges if you happen to normally consume frequent, large amounts of food.

Additionally you may want to mix a teaspoon of Bentonite clay [liquid form] into your juice first drink in the morning and last drink at night before going to sleep.  Bentonite clay like Psylium, has been used for hundreds of years as a natural detoxifying agent. 

Both these ingredients are an excellent supplement and tool to amplify the process of detoxification within your body, and is highly suggested if you have engaged in riskier life style practices that may have increased the level of toxicity you have been exposed to.  I encourage you to surf the web for more detailed information on these additional variations; there is lots to learn!

My final option is directed to those who may wish to specifically target the Liver and gall bladder.  I will not go into the depth of details around this particular cleanse as there is already sufficient information available out there on the web.  I encourage you to follow up with some of your own research if you feel inclined to follow this particular step to your cleanse.  I include a link to one particular procedure I have followed, albeit loosely and according to my own gut were I felt needed. 

I am providing you information here based on my personal experience of doing many juice fasts and two separate Liver/gall bladder cleanses.  Procedures available on the web suggest this particular process can be done while maintaining your regular eating habits. 

While I believe that the Liver/gall bladder can be targeted successfully using the procedure with regular eating, I believe using it in conjunction with a juice cleanse, instead of consuming food, can be very valuable if you want a deeper cleanse to your body.  

I also believe it increases the safety factor of the process, because your system is already cleared of digested food, allowing the process of eliminating stones to happen without obstruction.   I have never personally included a colonic or enema as part of my own cleansing process as I believe the abstinence of regular food and the combination and addition of Psylium husks and Bentonite are sufficient enough.  Please follow your own intuitions or those of a consultant and keep into consideration your present, physical expression of wellness within your body.

If you plan to add this additional variation to your juice cleanse without eating a regular diet, my suggestion is to complete a couple of juice cleanses before trying the Liver/Gall bladder cleanse.  This additional procedure is clearly a more intense process than the simpler juice cleanse only.

The Liver gall/bladder cleanse is best executed over a period of six days allowing any remaining food in your system to be eliminated, as well as allowing ample time for the malic acid within apple juice to breakdown any Liver or gallbladder stones so that they are softer, and can be passed/eliminated with a less chance of complications.  I would not recommend this additional process for anyone who has existing health conditions or if you are pregnant.  Please consult a qualified physician or naturopath if you have concerns.

 

Day before: Eat three light, easy to digest meals.

Formal juicing days [one through 6] – drink juice when you have the need, no less than 24 ounces per day.

Evening of Day 6:  You will follow a step by step process outlined below that targets your Liver/gall bladder.

You will need the following ingredients: 3 large grapefruits, two Limes, 4 teaspoons of Plain Epsom Salts, 4 ounces of cold pressed olive oil, 24 ounces of filtered water – room temperature.

Mix 4 teaspoons of Epsom salts in 24 ounces of water and divide into 4 portions.

Squeeze 4 ounces of grapefruit juice and mix with 4 ounces of organic, cold pressed olive oil, keep in a flask type container that can be shaken to mix and emulsify the oil with the grapefruit juice.

Note: Time frame can be adjusted depending on what time you would like to finish the procedure on the evening of the final night, while keeping the two hour intervals!

6pm. Squeeze ½  a  lime into the first portion of Epsom Salts. This will neutralize much of the bitter flavour of the mixture.  Hold your nose with two fingers and drink the liquid quickly with the other hand.  Holding your nose will prevent you from “tasting” the bitterness, as it blocks the olfaction process.   

There is conflicting information on the purpose of the Epsom Salts.  My experience suggests that the whole purpose of using them is to clear out your system so that when you take the olive oil mix and your Liver/gall bladder dilates (letting go of the gall stones), there will be less chance of complications i.e. stones getting caught in your tracts.  Six days of juice fasting will minimize the chance of this happening. 

At some point you will need to go to the bathroom as the Epsom salts take effect, so be prepared!  It usually takes about 20 – 30 minutes for the flush to work.

8pm.  Follow the above procedure with the second dose of Epsom Salts. 

10pm. final evening step.  Combine olive oil and grapefruit mix, shake well so ingredients emulsifies, it also makes it easier to swallow!  Remember to plug your nose prior to swallowing if you think you are going to find the taste uncomfortable!

Immediately lie down on your right side with your legs folded in a fetal position for at least 20 minutes or more (try not to move around). This will further help the stones to be released.

Upon waking the next morning you will likely have a discharge of stones either prior to dose #3 or very shortly thereafter; they look like floating green pea’s.

6am. Day 7.  Drink dose #3 of the Epsom Salts/lime.

8am. Drink dose #4 of the Epsom Salts/lime.

 

Day after: Take a minimum of one to two days on a modified, light diet of easily digestible foods before you begin to return to your regular eating habits.  Longer cleanses require more time before you engage regular eating habits; be gentle, be easy, be effortless!

Get lots of rest during and after your cleanse.

Try to abstain from any sort of activity filled, social routine, during your cleanse; be gentle, be easy, be effortless.

 

 

Additional thoughts: 

If you have read the material in this link you will notice that the amount of Epsom Salts in “my recipe” is less than prescribed on the link.  This reflects one of the inconsistencies and concerns I have with this particular cleanse in general, check out other recipes and you will see the incongruence.

My personal feeling and experience is LESS is more in terms of the amount of Epsom salts used.  Because you have already been juice fasting for 6 days your intestinal tract is for the most part clear and clean.  You will notice your evening flush with the first two doses of Epsom Salts is very clean.

I have never been able to keep down dose #3 – I usually vomit and I have never finished with a fourth dose.  I believe that the suggested doses are too strong which is why I have reduced it to just teaspoon (from 1.5 tablespoons). 

The controversy around Epsom Salts lies in the fact that it is considered by many to be toxic and even dangerous if taken under certain circumstances. Dose #3 seems to be a critical step because it clears out the intestine of the olive oil/grapefruit juice and gall stones from the previous nights procedure. 

If I try this procedure again I will eliminate Dose #2 and go right into the olive oil/grapefruit juice concoction 2hrs later.  My justification for this is the fact that the intestine is already clear, because I have been juice fasting for many days prior to the final steps. 

I believe this will reduce the adverse reaction of the Epsom that usually occurs for me the next morning.  Reducing the concentration of Epsom Salts by one or even two doses the night before will allow me to stomach Dose #3 which clears out the stones that have been released over night. 

Some resources suggest that vomiting itself is a sign of detoxification, which I disagree with completely [since I already have had 10 days of juice detoxification already.  I believe the vomiting is the body’s natural reaction to a toxic overdose of Epsom.

I think it’s also important to recognize the significance, power and beauty of juice cleansing in general.  The original Liver/gall bladder cleanse was created for people who wanted to maintain their regular dietary habits while introducing the consumption of apple juice to their diet to support the final steps of the procedure with olive oil, grapefruit and Epsom. 

On a final note I don’t think juice cleansing or fasting is inherently dangerous where there are no contraindications.  Consuming Epsom salts is clearly more risky (as was found in my own experience of vomiting). 

I took the risk because I wanted to see if there were indeed gall stones to be found, which there was.  This was surprising to me since I had no symptoms of stones themselves. 

If you research the web you will find some interesting testimonials from people who were scheduled for gall bladder removal operations and instead decided to participate in the above cleanse with very powerful results. 

This only inspires me more so that inherent within our present wisdom traditions there are methods and practices that have yet to be discovered and explored in the West, that will radically change the way we approach and cultivate health and wellness within our lives…

 

The Doctrine of One [Book]

ZEN Shredding ~ The Prequel [Book]

ZEN ~ Shredding  [Book]

Soulananda [Book]

Soulananda [Web site]

Bliss Blog [Michael Sean Symonds]

 

(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

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