Seasonal Cleanse Food Program
The goals of your cleansing food program are:
- Eliminate foods that have strong pro-inflammatory potential, such as processed foods, highly salted or sweetened foods, non organic foods, red meat, alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine.
- Rest your digestive system from the digestion of concentrated proteins, fats, and oil, and nutritionally depleted foods such as sugar, refined flour, fast foods, etc.
- Alkalinize your system promoting the oxygenation and release of waste and stored toxins
- Provide support for all your organs and systems of detoxification and elimination
- Provide nutrients to deeply vitalize at the cellular level
- Balance blood glucose levels
- Reseed the intestines with beneficial bacterial
- Improve digestion
- Improve bowel transit time
- Heal and minimize intestinal permeability
- Improve immune function
- Balance hormones
- Remove heavy metals, pesticides, chemical toxins and bacterial toxins
Foods to Include
- Emphasize green leafy vegetables, especially bitter greens such as dandelion greens, endive, parsley, beet, kale, chard, mustard greens, spinach, endive, bok choy, arugula, and mixed salad greens.
- Cruciferous vegetables: kale broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens.
- Onion family: onions, shallots, garlic, leeks
- Artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes
- Other vegetables: beet roots, celery, asparagus, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, string beans, beet greens, naturally fermented sauerkraut, sea vegetables
Preparation: raw, juiced, or steamed, baked, lightly sautéed in small amount of olive oil.
Fresh juices with leafy green vegetables as a base are an ideal way to get a balance of cleansing and rebuilding supportive phytonutrients. Fresh vegetable juices are alkaline rich, mineral rich, and phytonutrient-rich. When tissues hold waste material and toxins, or they are damaged through excess free radial activity, they become acidic. Fatty tissues hold fat soluble chemicals, and toxins and heavy metals get stored in the lipid membranes of the cells (including the brain). Vegetable juices and broths provide an alkaline reserve that alters tissue pH and re-mineralizes the body, allowing the tissues to rid themselves of metabolic waste and toxins. Enzymes in the fresh vegetable juices also help to break down and remove toxins, and the high chlorophyll content of green leafy vegetables helps to cleanse and oxygenate the blood. Veggie juices should be taken 2-3 times per day if possible. Powdered juice concentrates are ideal for work or travel – just add water.
Fruits contain a high amount of natural sugars, and therefore should be used in moderation during a cleanse as one of the goals of the cleanse is to rebalance blood glucose levels. Apples, pears, peaches, blueberries and raspberries, and citrus eaten separately, are all appropriate choices during a cleanse. Avoid concentrated fruit juices and all other fruits during this time.
Herbal teas are a wonderful way to help hydrate and cleanse the body. All caffeinated teas need to be avoided as they interfere with the bodies cleansing and rebalancing processes. Herbal teas that support the various elimination processes are highly beneficial. These herbs are usually available in both commercial tea bags, as well as in bulk for your own brewing. Some of these herbs include the following: dandelion root, burdock root, astragalus root, ginger root, licorice root, nettle, cleavers, mint, horsetail, oat straw, fennel, cardamom, rooibos, and red clover blossom.
Simmer the following vegetables for 45 minutes. Strain and drink the broth throughout the day. The broth can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days: Celery, green beans, zucchini, parsley, spinach. You can also puree the vegetables after cooking and eat as a soup.
Prepare the above alkalizing broth with the addition of any of the following: beets, kale, mustard or dandelion greens, seaweed, flax seed, astragalus, burdock root, turmeric root, garlic, onion.
Herbs and condiments
Ginger, cayenne, licorice root, burdock root, milk thistle seed, dandelion leaf and root, curry, turmeric, nutmeg, and cinnamon may be added to your dishes for variety and for their positive effects on digestion and detoxification.
During your cleanse I often advise using a rice-based protein powder several times per day as a way to help keep you blood sugar levels as stable as possible. Sprouted seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flax) and sprouted beans, especially mung beans, can also be used. Your health care provider may suggest more protein sources for your individual needs.
Oils should be minimized during a cleanse, preferably no more than 2Tb per day. The best are olive oil and flax oils. Both should be used unheated.
Drink a minimum of eight, 8oz glasses of filtered water per day. Water in plastic bottles should be avoided as it often contains unsafe levels of toxins that have leeched into the water from the packaging. Add lemon to your filtered water for an extra detoxification effect.
You may need some assistance to eliminate while on a cleanse. The high fiber content of an increased vegetable intake may be adequate. If not, then it is vital that you add a good fiber source to your regimen, because a sluggish bowel will produce a toxic effect even if you are eating healthy, cleansing foods. Fresh ground flax seed, rice bran, or psyllium can be used. In addition, I recommend using a comprehensive digestive formula that can assist in regulation of the bowels as well as cleansing the GI tract of unhealthy bacteria and fungus. You should have bowel movements twice per day while doing a cleanse. Otherwise, toxins have a chance to get reabsorbed back into your body from your GI tract.
Foods to Avoid
- Meat, fish, poultry, eggs
- Dairy products
- Gluten containing grains: wheat, rye, oats, barley
- Corn and all products containing corn
- Grains (small amounts of rice, quinoa, or amaranth may be used)
- Sugar, honey, molasses, artificial sweeteners
- Fruit juices
- Cold drinks
- Oils except for small amounts of olive, coconut, or flax (2 Tbs/day)
Supplements to Include
During a cleanse, there are a number of supportive nutritional supplements that can help significantly with the elimination process. While a cleansing diet full of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables and cleansing liquids is the foundation of a thorough detox program, the support provided by specific nutraceuticals and herbs will help to make the cleanse deeper and more efficient, while minimizing some of the discomfort that may arise as your body discharges toxins from deep within.
Heavy metal removal always plays a part in any comprehensive seasonal cleanse. Aluminum, lead, mercury and other toxic metals surround us on a daily basis, and a continuing effort is necessary on our part in order to keep these harmful metals out of our bodies where they can slowly make us sick. In this respect, chelation is absolutely crucial to your detox – but it should always be accomplished in a gentle and gradual manner. In my experience, a modified citrus pectin (MCP)/modified alginate supplement – followed by a phase II detox formula containing a number of chelating herbs and nutraceuticals to ensure complete detoxification – is the safest and most effective way to achieve this. Case report studies show that the combination of these two unique formulas reduces overall heavy metal and environmental toxin levels within the body, safely and effectively. The MCP/alginate combination is intended for long term use, prior to and after your seasonal cleanse, while the phase II detox formula is to be used on a short term basis for 2-3 weeks during the phase of your actual cleanse.
I also highly recommend medicinal mushrooms for cleansing the liver and colon, and overall body of built up toxins and impurities. A USDA Certified Organic, comprehensive medicinal mushroom formula that contains a synergistic blend of 10 highly beneficial mushroom species is an optimal choice for removing toxins from stagnant areas of the body, as these mushrooms tend to have an affinity for deeper areas of toxicity within various organs and systems in the body.
Since one of the most critical purposes of your spring cleanse is to discharge and clear the liver, and since this organ can adversely affect colonic elimination, it goes without saying that intestinal support and healthy bowel movements are also essential to the detoxification process. In addition, bringing warmth and vitality to the digestive process through the use of herbs is essential any time of year, but especially during a cleanse. For this reason, I recommend using a comprehensive poly-herbal digestion formula to boost sluggish digestion, and to help with common symptoms like bloating, flatulence, and fluid retention.
A high quality probiotic supplement is also very important during a cleanse. One of the goals of cleansing and detoxifying is to rid the intestines of harmful bacteria, fungus and parasites. Replanting beneficial bacteria in the GI tract with probiotics significantly helps to reduce the presence of harmful invaders and improve the overall environment in your gut, leading to increased digestive capacity and overall vitality.
There are a number of supportive therapies that can enhance detoxification and provide support for the organs of elimination, including the liver, bowel, lymph, skin, lungs and kidneys. The following list of supportive therapeutic modalities can be utilized for health benefits any time of year, but when used strategically during a seasonal cleanse, they can help deepen and enhance the process of detoxification significantly.
- Infrared Sauna
- Lymphatic treatments
- IV nutritional therapies
- Enemas or colonics
These recommendations can be modified to create an individual cleanse protocol that is most appropriate for you, depending on health, lifestyle, work, etc. If you are under the care of a health practitioner for a serious condition, it is essential that you discuss such recommendations before starting any new program. However, these recommendations are safe for most people and with simple modifications such as increased protein intake or reduced cleansing time; they can be utilized by most everybody. If you find that you can’t commit to a longer program, or you find it hard to maintain will power to complete your cleanse diet, just do the best that you can. The basic ingredients of a successful spring cleanse don’t need to be complicated. On the contrary, by making a commitment, no matter how long, to simplify your diet and engage your heart, mind and body in the opportunity for transition and growth that this season provides – you’ll set a foundation for optimal health and vibrancy that will stay with you all year long.
By Dr Isaac Eliza FAIM.org