These often get thrown around to encourage us to try a new way to reset our systems, and our lives. The idea that spending, or in other words suffering, through a few days for a better tomorrow is a great idea. The fact is, fasts, cleanses, and detoxes can actually be harmful to our bodies if not done correctly. With the accumulation of stress, chemicals, pesticides, air and water pollution, bacterial overgrowth, and heavy metal exposure our bodies have an enormous burden to keep us as clean and clear of these things as possible. We can all benefit from these time honored traditions, and the key to being successful is in the preparation.
The terms, explained-
True fasting consists of abstaining from drink or food completely. More liberal fasting includes fresh juice from fruits and veggies. Fasting will generate a degree of detox.
Cleansing usually refers to a juice fast, which resembles a more lenient fasting approach. This type of cleanse is easier on the body because you take in nutrients from the juice and those foods have already been stripped from the fiber, so it requires minimum digestion to process. The juices also stimulate the body to clear its wastes.
A true detoxification program is the ultimate approach to clearing the mind and body. It gives our cells and organs a chance to restore and breathe, and can be a time of rejuvenation. It is a practice that has been used for thousands of years. The Native Americans used sweat lodges, the Hippocratic Methods (Greece) used blood-letting and massage, and the Ayurveda (India) using Pancha Karma and Palliation. All of these cultures had a strong approach to supporting the bodies natural pathways of elimination, which in turn gave vibrance and health back to the individual.
The systems our bodies use to eliminate and clear itself include:
With the multitude of systems involved in elimination, it can be tricky to have an effective fast, cleanse, or detox. If any of these systems are not operating at an optimal level, the elimination regimen might actually cause more stress to the body. If they are functioning poorly, it can cause an already burdened system to break.
I embarked on a 3 day cleanse recently with the goal of giving my digestion a break. I needed the break because I like to eat, and for the last 8 months, I've been eating a lot of food to properly fuel the training I've been doing. My personal cleanse was challenging as well as effective, and I will be sharing more about that soon.