Except for religious purposes, I’ve never put much faith in fasts or cleanses. They are unhealthy and unnatural to the body, which is built to cleanse itself automatically. But last year around this time, as I sat in a coma from the holiday food force fed to me (okay—by me), I stumbled upon a web site praising the perks of a cleanse.
There were two reasons why I liked this site: First, because the ingredients chosen for the “cleanse” included only fresh fruits, vegetables, juices, etc. There were no cayenne water or cabbage soup gimmicks presented, thankfully. The recipes looked tasty, yet simple enough so that my body could absorb nutrients without overworking itself, as it had for the holidays. Secondly, and much more shamefully, I was drawn to this site because its creator is Gwyneth Paltrow.
Surprisingly, I like her web site— www.Goop.com. I visit her site because I like to get my dose of expensive simplicity—and getting it second hand from Good ol’ Gwynnie means that it is high priced advice available to us for free. So, I glean what ideas and inspirations I can from her site and apply it to my life…and now to yours.
I’ve chosen to do a small cleanse, once again, because I am nearing the end of a very unhealthy two-week cruise. I have been forced into gastronomic decisions that NOBODY should have to face: Should I take the steaming hot, seemingly fresh Coq au Vin or the dried out lettuce greens with crusty cucumbers? We all know what I chose, but before you judge, please remember that Raisin Bran cereal can only appeal to anyone for so long on a 14-day cruise. I have been noticed around the ship for my exceptional willpower when choosing to eat, but somehow, I have managed to become sick off of the food.
The first time I did a cleanse that was posted on Paltrow’s site, I mainly stuck to the avocado and cucumber soup, as well as the fresh fruit shake. These were simple enough for me to digest without adding stress to my body, but substantial enough for me so that I felt satisfied and healthy.
This time around, I will incorporate one or two recipes from her latest newsletter into my diet. Remember, cleansing doesn’t mean starving your body. When I say cleansing, I mean that I give my body a break from the usual routine so my sensitive tummy can feel stress-free.
Here are a few common sense tips from Goop’s original cleanse to get you started:
1) REMOVE toxins:
• Avoid processed foods.
• Buy organic when possible.
• Buy eco-friendly cleaning products.
• Remove one or more of the foods that cause food allergies, sensitivities and are mucus-forming, such as dairy, bread, pasta, sugar, white rice and red meat.
• Remove the bad bacteria in your gut with plant and herbal antibacterials and use garlic, lemon, olive oil, oregano oil, thyme and cayenne pepper – all powerful natural antimicrobials.
2) RESTORE what is lacking:
• Consume nutrient-rich foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes).
• Use supplements to boost availability of your specific depletions (the B vitamins are commonly depleted).
• Soak up some sun. Fifteen minutes of sun exposure a day will allow you to sustain better levels of vitamin D for bone strength and protection from cancer and depression.
3) REJUVENATE your life:
• Get yearly tests for vitamin D, free T3, iodine reserves, heavy metal toxicity, CRP, thyroglobulin antibodies, magnesium and zinc – all of which are frequently absent from physical exams today.
• Make time for “detox-enhancing” habits such as sauna, massage, hot and cold baths, and skin brushing. All of these improve circulation and increase perspiration, which help fuel your body’s natural cleansing system.
• Most importantly, rest your mind. Meditate, even if for only five minutes a day.
Check out the newsletter from her first cleanse, as well as from her second. You can also download the recipes, if they appeal to you.
Have you ever tried a body cleanse? Would you try this one?
–Melissa Stephans/West Coast Editor