Pre-cleansing basics: 5 Things to do before you cleanse
Let’s be frank here, cleansing is hard, especially if it’s your first time. The first few days are the hardest as you go through detox reactions and the urge to go back to the old way of eating (or chewing food in general if it’s a juice cleanse). Believe me, you are going to feel ah-may-zing when it’s over and maybe even during the cleanse itself. Personally, during a cleanse I have been able to see more clearly, smell the subtlest of scents, taste and enjoy the natural sweetness and flavors of natural foods, think more clearly, and feel this incredible, happy, natural high (oh yeah, my fellow cleansers know what I’m talking about!). After the cleanse is over I crave healthy foods and no longer feel the addictions to sweet, salty, fatty foods. I feel incredible, like I can do anything I put my mind to. I am lighter from the pounds lost and find it easier to workout.
There are a handful of things that can get in the way of your good intentions. I want to give you the tools and tricks you need to stay the course and experience the beautiful results that a cleanse delivers. The only way a cleanse is going to work, however, is with the the power of your determination, your hard work, and the knowledge that you deserve it. You have to truly be ready, willing, and excited for this new experience, otherwise a cleanse may not be right for you (just yet).
Prepare Your Body
Before you start your cleanse, it’s a good idea to prepare your body for super clean eating (or drinking) starting 5-8 days beforehand. This will reduce the detox reactions you experience. Some of these short-lived reactions include headaches, nasal congestion, body aches, sore throat, and other flu-like symptoms. This is what happens when toxins that have been stored up in your body for years are released from your soft tissues into your bloodstream. Unlocking these toxins allows them to be released from your body through sweat, urine, feces, and exhalation of air, and creates a cleaner, healthier internal environment.
Ways to prepare your body include reducing caffeine, refined sugar, soda, alcohol, and tobacco intake in small increments overtime, reducing gluten, fried foods, dairy, and animal protein in your diet, adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals, and making sure you are getting enough fiber to rid your body of your previous meals. This way, the very clean eating/drinking during your cleanse will not be such a sudden change, and hopefully some toxins will have already begun moving out before you start.
Prepare Your Mind
Pump yourself up and arm yourself with knowledge! Watch movies that will inspire and empower you with information for when those nay-sayers come around and try to sabotage your progress with misinformation. The following films have deeply inspired me and give me renewed motivation every time I watch them: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Forks Over Knives, Hungry For Change (full film on Netflix), Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, The Beautiful Truth, Food Inc., Food Matters, The Future of Food, Vegucated, The Gerson Miracle, and Dying To Have Known.
Prepare Your Fridge
Pack your fridge full of fruits and vegetables so that you always have something to eat or drink. If you will be doing a raw foods cleanse, prepare fruit and vegetables so they are easy to grab when you need a snack. Clean grapes, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes, cut whole carrots, celery, cucumber, and peppers into sticks, and cut apples into quarters for quick & easy snacking. Prepare a few raw food sides so that you always have something to eat immediately when you get hungry or while you’re taking the time to prepare a meal. Some great go-to sides that store well are Sesame Kale, cauliflower tabbouleh, summer corn salad, and French-style tomatoes. You can also store salad in mason jars, with the dressing and wet ingredients on the bottom and the lettuce on the top.
If you are doing a juice or smoothie cleanse, store the cleaned ingredients for each serving in a ziplock bag, container, or a single-serving blender canister (just blend and go!). This shaves off the time it takes to make a juice/smoothie and lowers the risk of you ever feeling hungry. For a juice cleanse, you want to make your juices fresh just before you drink them as often as possible but, if it means falling off the wagon because of the time that would take, you can fudge the rules a bit. Keep a Spicy Lemonade or Mean Green juice in the fridge at all times. Prepare this every night for the next day or every morning for the same day (depending on what works best for you). Granted, some of the nutrients and enzymes won’t last 12 hours, but it’s much better than ending your cleanse out of hunger. Remember to be drinking constantly so that you are never hungry!
Create the best environment for your cleanse. Find a buddy or a group to go on the cleanse with you. You have added incentive to finish your goal when you have someone holding you accountable or when there’s a bit of fun competition. My first cleanse was easy to finish (even though it was the toughest of all cleanses and I had crazy detox reactions) because a fit, muscle-building dude was doing it with me. And anything he could do, I could do better, of course!
Make sure your family and friends are on board with your enthusiasm to get fit and healthy. If they don’t understand why you’ll be changing the way you’re eating, talk to them about the dangers of being overweight or generally unhealthy and show them how a cleanse or a switch to a more plant-based diet significantly improves your life. Ask them for their support. It’s hard enough to successfully finish a cleanse with the challenges it brings naturally, let alone while others are bringing you down with bad energy on top of it. During my first cleanse, my coworkers all believed that what I was doing was unhealthy, despite having never researched into cleansing. Thankfully my cleansing buddy, roommate, friends, and family had my back and I was able to work past my coworker’s comments and experience one of the most healing, life-changing phases of my life.
If you’re still not finding a good support group with the people you know, check out Joe Cross’ community where new friends cleanse together and support each other.
Document Your Progress
Before you begin your cleanse take a “before” picture from the back, side, and front. Buy a journal and document your weight and your measurements including your bust, under bust, waist, belly button, hips, buttocks, thigh, and upper arm. Jot down how you feel before the cleanse, including the health challenges you face. Once you’ve started, feel free to document the challenges you face and triumphs you experience pertaining to the cleanse. Talk to your support group or cleanse buddy daily about what you are feeling and how the cleanse is going. At the very end, take “after” photos, weigh and measure yourself, record any other noticed results, and take a moment to think about how the cleanse affected your senses, emotions, and general happiness. Then revel in your success!
If you are about to do a cleanse – congratulations! You are about to do something so wonderful for your body and you will feel amazing and clean afterwards. Good luck on your cleansing journey!
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