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Move your body: The immunity and health boosting power of exercise

Move your body: The immunity and health boosting power of exercise

Cheer for life! It’s fall, and that means one thing: Football! Ok it also means apple picking and pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes for the basics. But it always reminds me of my cheerleading days, and lately all sorts of throwbacks have been popping up […]

Wellness Wednesday: Why I Love this Healthy Nudge

Wellness Wednesday: Why I Love this Healthy Nudge

Wellness Wednesday – A Healthy Reframe of Hump Day September swooped in and bang life got busy busy! In a good way; in a motivating and inspiring way. I’ve been so caught up with everything going on that I’m just getting to my blog post […]

Flow: Purpose, Peak Performance, and Optimal Wellbeing

Flow: Purpose, Peak Performance, and Optimal Wellbeing

Flow and Let Go

Today is Day 2 of my #happyme challenge and it just so happens to be Labor day. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate topic than the idea of flow – or being ‘in-the-zone.’ A state of intense focus where time and self-awareness slips away. Imagine engaging in work that feels like play.
As my dad always says (and I’m not sure which wise person said it first), when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Your focus determines your reality. 
~ George Lucas
Research in positive psychology has concluded that regularly entering the flow state enhances optimal wellbeing. People in flow experience clarity, bliss, and serenity. The more often someone experiences flow, the higher they rate their life satisfaction.
yoga retreat bonaire wild thing
Yoga in Bonaire

The Flow Zone

In my positive psychology and wellbeing coaching course, I had the distinct privilege of learning more about the science of flow and applying it to wellness coaching directly from the father of positive psychology himself: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (I definitely had my own version of a celebrity sighting moment 😉
This is what top athletes mean when they say their in the zone – they’re in a state of flow. This is the state people enter when they experience the runner’s high. This is why rock climbers face death-defying odds time and again and why yogis return to the mat day after day.
The precise, dynamic, fluid movement of top dancers is the physical embodiment of this state. You are so in harmony with what you are doing, self-awareness slips away and you merge with your experience.
Any activity that induces the flow state is intrinsically rewarding to the person. Not only are they focused and engaged, they lose sense of time and hours can pass without them realizing it. There is also no concern with failure, or worry about whether the end result will be a success. Physical action and mental awareness merge.

Flow and Creativity

But it’s not just limited to physical challenges. People can enter this state when engaging in any enjoyable pursuit that presents a mental task. Artists, writers, inventors, and CEOs alike often describe being in a state of flow when they are their most creative or most productive. This is when their best work happens. This is how human culture has evolved so dramatically.
It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.  ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Chess players regularly enter the flow state of complete concentration. People experience this state when solving any kind of a puzzle. Our mind creatively fits the pieces together and utilizes trial and error to develop a strategy and find a solution. We feel an intrinsic sense of pride and accomplishment in the task, even when no one is around to recognize our efforts.

Peak Performance: The Result of Flow

Flow is also what boosts focus, engagement and productivity at work, and is one indicator of experiencing a sense of deep satisfaction in their professional life. Flow is the magic that happens when curiosity and passion merge with purpose and pursuit.
Flow is a dynamic state – as you move forward and progress in that state of full engagement, you’re skill at that activity will naturally improve. By extension, the level of challenge required for you to enter that flow state will steadily increase as well. If a challenge is too easy, people get bored. If the challenge is too high related to skill, then anxiety can result. We excel when we are engaged in a challenge in which we we feel confident and in control.
yoga flow reverse warrior
Yoga flow: reverse warrior

Go with the Flow

My personal experience most defintely corroborates the science. My best performances and proudest accomplishments resulted from accessing this state of flow. As a young gymnast, I performed at my best when I was fully present in my body and focused on my routines. As soon as I worried about slipping or faltering, I made mistakes or fell.
Entering the flow zone is also why I fell in love with yoga: flowing through poses allows me to be fully present on my mat, connecting to my breath and my body. I also experienced this state when I went rock climbing – now I understand why climbers climb. You literally cannot focus on anything but being fully in your body, planning your next step up the rock.

The Mental Zone: Writing, Solving, Creating

Its easy to understand flow when discussing physical performance. But I also experience this state when my mind is curious and fully engaged. This is why I love to write.
When I first thought about my favorite aspect of grad school and why I loved my experience, I realized that I truly enjoyed writing my papers and my dissertation. Many people who hear are like what!? You liked writing papers? They groan and with a roll of their eyes say that was the part of school they hated the most. But for me, writing papers was like a puzzle: putting the pieces together and connecting the dots to create a clear, cohesive picture of the subject matter.
Writing anything is like this: you take some thoughts and ideas and weave them together into an intricate yet cohesive tapestry of words. You create a story. Humans like to make sense of things. We like to see how the pieces fit together. We like to solve riddles and puzzles. We like when things come full circle and the pieces come together. We are wired for story and we are wired to create. For me, writing is my favorite form of creative expression.

The Mental Blocks Blocking the Zone

But growing up, I never thought I was a good writer. English was my most feared subject. One bad grade on a Language Arts test in 4th grade and one story I deemed not creative enough at the age of 8 combined to create my own story of not-good-enough. I excelled in math and science. They were clear and concrete: puzzles I could easily solve. I still got good grades in English, and even in Art, but I often approached them with a sense of dread, which boiled down to a fear of failure.
rock climbing Estes Park Colorado
In the zone: rock climbing in Estes Park

Back in the Zone

It wasn’t until my last semester of college that I rediscovered the joy of writing. I was finally in a few classes I enjoyed: Social and Emotional Development, The Psychology of Trauma, and an Art History elective entitled Eastern Influences on Western Art, taken on a whim since most of my friends had enrolled to fulfill their arts requirement, which I’d already fulfilled. Ironically it proved to be my most difficult course that semester, yet one of the most enjoyable. It also likely sowed the seeds for my eventual move to Tokyo and my grad degree in Social and Cultural Psychology.
I was actually excited to write the papers for these courses. And unlike my typical procrastination through high school and college, I didn’t wait until the last minute to write my papers. With approval from my professor, I proactively tweaked the main assignment for my course social and emotional development because I landed on a subject I was passionate about and wanted to approach the project from a particular angle. I dove in to the research for my project on trauma, and stepped inside one of the campus libraries for the first time for the art history paper.

Performing to my Potential

The result was my best GPA of my college career. In the second semester of senior year, with an overload of courses, and challenging ones at that. All while still engaging in the typical second semester of college shenanigans along with my peers who were taking fewer classes and who, like most aim to do, take the easiest courses and rarely show up for class. I succeeded because I was engaged in everything I was doing.
Still, after abandoning my med school ambitions and postponing any ideas of grad school for psychology, I never for a second entertained doing anything related to writing. I was still through-and-through academically bent. I did not consider myself creative, and never considered the preposterous idea that I could be a writer.
Finally, a decade later, I found my way back to writing. After several false starts with half-hearted intention, held back by my stories of ‘not-good-enough,’ I started regularly blogging about my cancer experience, and remembered the joy of writing. Now, I do my blog stuff cuz I like it. Now, I even get paid to write. And it’s awesome.
Finding your flow and bridging your passions with your pursuit isn’t always easy or straightforward, but it’s the surest path to fulfillment and success. I’m spending my Labor Day laboring away at a pursuit that brings me joy and fulfillment. And that’s certainly something to celebrate. That’s certainly something that makes me happy.
The Benefits of Meditation: Boost your Health and Happiness

The Benefits of Meditation: Boost your Health and Happiness

Meditation and My #HappyMe Challenge September is my favorite month. I am admittedly slightly biased because it just so happens to be my birth month, but I’d still probably prefer it even if I wasn’t lucky enough to have the sapphire as my birthstone. Crisp […]

On Top of the World with First Descents: My 1-Year-Outta-Chemo Cancer-versary

On Top of the World with First Descents: My 1-Year-Outta-Chemo Cancer-versary

Life after cancer: Young, fancy and free A year ago last Wednesday – August 23rd – was my last day of chemo. The first step on the road back to normalcy. My unofficial return to freedom, to life. To life after cancer. My last day […]

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Cleanse your system the fun way

The words cleanse and detox often cause strong, guarded reactions. The idea of deprivation or consuming bizarre foods you can’t even pronounce is simply not appealing to most. But before you turn and run… truth bomb: you don’t have to suffer on a cleanse! You can have your coffee and drink it too if you really can’t fathom going without.
And best of all: you don’t have to deprive yourself! Cleansing can be done in a completely satisfying, totally delicious way.

Why cleanse

The fact is, our bodies are designed to detox on a daily basis. Detoxification is a natural process. However, modern life is so full of toxins that it’s difficult for our bodies to keep up with the constant toxification loads placed on it through our food, the products we use, and the air we breath. By periodically and systematically eliminating foods that are more taxing on the digestive system and are known common irritants, we allow our bodies’ systems to rest and reset.
Symptoms often include relatively minor annoyances like poor sleep, weight gain, brain fog, mood swings, food cravings, or bloating to name a few. (But let’s be real, anyone who suffers from these knows how real the frustration is when nothing seems to work, no matter what you try!). But toxic overload can also be a factor in more serious conditions such as chronic insomnia, autoimmune conditions, asthma, arthritis, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.

 

What is a Cleanse?

These days you hear the terms cleansing and detoxing everywhere. Detox your life. Do a juice cleanse. Do this detox diet and make these detox-friendly recipes. The two terms are often used seemingly interchangeably, so what’s the difference?
Detoxification is actually a natural process that happens every day in our bodies to clear out toxins and waste. A true detox diet typically refers to a highly restricted diet that may reduce down to only liquids (fruit and vegetable juices) and usually calls for specific supplements to support the detoxification process.
Cleansing ultimately has the same goal as a detox – to give your body the chance to reset – but takes a somewhat gentler, more sustainable approach. A cleanse essentially cleans up your diet: it eliminates processed junk food and strips the diet down to the essentials – nutrient-dense real, whole foods. Think: lots of fruits and vegetables.
By removing the junk from your diet and consuming foods that support the body’s natural detoxification processes, you allow your body to rid itself of the toxins and waste that have been building up over time – a natural detox. It’s basically like unclogging a drain. Cleansing allows our kidneys and liver to function more efficiently, which makes for a healthier, happier body.
Blueberry Green Power Smoothie – recipe in my free cleanse guide

Who should cleanse?

While weight loss is a common goal of such diets, cleanses are a good idea for anyone struggling with low energy, stress, poor health, or, frankly, nearly any form of disease in the body. Cleansing can not only repair the body, but it can remedy your relationship to food and help you rethink the way you fuel yourself.
Basically, if you fall into any of the following categories: you should consider a cleanse:
  • If you wake up feeling less than vibrant or energetic. If you feel like crap all the time. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below.
  • If you struggle with keeping the weight off. As it turns out, not all calories are created equal. Sugar and refined flour have a unique effect on the body’s metabolism, and often trigger hunger and cause people to overeat. Not to mention, sugar triggers inflammation.
  • If you’re addicted to sugar, carbs, or salty food-like junk. The fact is, it’s not your fault. It’s the sugar and the flour and the chemicals and the concerted efforts of the food industry over the years to hijack our brains so we become addicted, repeat customers.
  • If you’ve never done a cleanse or detox. These days, all of us could use a little reset. And most of us could do with a little more self-care. Cleansing allows you to focus on self-nourishment. You and your body are your top priority for over a week. How great is that?

But wait, cleansing sounds hard!

I get it. For most of us accustomed to the SAD (Standard American Diet), cleansing sounds like an onerous chore. And frankly, it can sound really intimidating to many. No pizza? No burgers? No fries? No cookies!? And on top of all that… no coffee??? Are you nuts!? (Well, maybe a little, but that’s neither here nor there 😉)
As I mentioned above, while perhaps not the absolute ideal, you can have your coffee on a cleanse. Just stick to one cup of organic coffee in the morning, then maybe reduce to decaf, and then possibly consider dandelion tea. If you can start to wean yourself down a few days before, even better!
I LOVE my coffee too, but I do encourage clients to give the no-coffee thing a shot at least once as we easily get hooked on the caffeine. It’s possible that after a few days, you may even choose to go without.
Here’s the thing about cleansing: if often opens up a whole new world of eating. Healthy, nourishing food can be absolutely delicious, and your whole approach to eating can shift. Cleansing can get you better attuned to what your body truly needs, and many often find they begin to crave these healthy options full of nutrients your body requires rather than empty calories that mess with our chemistry. Delicious food that nourishes body, mind and soul – who wouldn’t want that?

When not to cleanse

Detoxing is one thing – many people should avoid strict detoxes. When it comes to whole foods cleansing, there are far fewer risks.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should always avoid strict detoxes, however my gradual, whole foods cleanse approach is safe to follow during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
There are of course situations when caution is advisable. Anyone suffering from a serious condition should always clear any major dietary changes with their doctor. Diabetics in particular must excercise caution, as with any dietary change.
Because this approach is gentle and calls for real, whole foods, there is nothing to be lost except for what you want to lose: the toxic crap that makes us feel less than great!

The cleansing process

What happens when you eliminate all the ‘dead’ foods? Foods that contain gluten, flour, wheat, dairy, sugar and trans fats are technically dead, and dead foods have lower energy. Because they’re dead. No wonder consuming them makes us feel like crap.
So, first, you replace them with lots of live foods: delicious fruits and veggies and clean plant-based edibles. Once you eliminate the processed, refined, and difficult-to-digest dead foods, your body will feel cleaner, leaner, and lighter. You’ll be able to think more clearly, have more energy, and be more productive. Imagine feeling light and free and full of energy – imagine feeling like the best version of yourself, every day.
I won’t sugar-coat it: things often get a little worse before they get better. Cleansing can release toxins stored in tissues into the bloodstream and cause a little fatigue, brain fog, or skin flare-ups, but this usually only lasts a couple days, and proper preparation and cleanse-enhancing activities can ease these symptoms.
A cleanse isn’t necessarily an easy quick-fix solution. It’s not a magic pill (they don’t exist). It does take a little planning, effort, and willpower to stay the course when everyone around you is indulging in pizza, cake, and beer. But consider getting your friends or family on-board: social support and friend-power is a winning combo!

Bottom Line: It’s worth a shot!

Once you get through to the other side, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this ages go. And you may find something somewhat astonishing: that food in its natural state not only tastes good, but that it’s better than all the other stuff you used to indulge in. You may find that you start to prefer, fresh, real food.
Bottom line: Cleansing effectively switches your metabolism into full gear, activates your body’s natural healing abilities, and helps you function better than you even thought possible.

Cleanse-friendly food

Signs you need a Cleanse

Still not sure if a cleanse is really worth it for you? Here are some common signs your body could benefit:
  • have trouble sleeping
  • get headaches
  • gain weight easily, especially in the belly
  • feel exhausted and depleted
  • feel a lack of focus and energy
  • have trouble losing weight
  • experience bloating or gas
  • have digestive complaints
  • have excessive sinus problems
  • suffer from joint pain
  • have acne, eczema or other skin problems
  • feel stuck, unmotivated, or irritable
  • feel stressed and overwhelmed
  • experience mood swings
  • crave sugar or starchy food

Symptoms of Toxic Overload

What underlies these signs are typically the symptoms of toxic overload. The complaints listed above are often how the body signals that it’s experiencing toxic overload and wants a little TLC.
The symptoms of toxic overload are much more extensive than the relatively minor frustrations listed above. The symptoms are also extremely varied and can impact the entire bodily system. Seemingly unrelated conditions may all result from this underlying issue. As mentioned above, chronic insomnia, autoimmune conditions, asthma, arthritis, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, and more serious conditions can all by influenced by toxic overload.

Below is a list of the many symptoms of toxic overload:

  • headaches
  • weight gain or loss
  • constipation
  • belly bloat
  • painful gas
  • frequent belching
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • joint and muscle aches
  • muscle tension
  • soreness
  • acne
  • warts
  • itching
  • eczema
  • skin eruptions
  • inability to focus or concentrate
  • foggy brain
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • lethargy
  • flu-like symptoms
  • allergic reactions
  • hives
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • coughing
If you experience any of the above, this is a sign your body needs a good internal cleaning. Overall health and optimal wellbeing begin with gut health and nutrition, and cleansing your body is the best way to shift your body into healing and optimal functioning.

What now?

Ready to cleanse? Got any questions? Get in touch with me now and we’ll come up with the best plan for you! My cleanse guides are packed with even more information and are full of delicious, cleanse-friendly recipes to get you started.
In the meantime, check out a few of my cleanse-friendly recipes:
Beet Carrot Ginger Juice: The liver detox benefits of beets

Beet Carrot Ginger Juice: The liver detox benefits of beets

Why beet juice: The benefits of beets I’ve never been particularly fond of beets. I think they taste like dirt. But I’m doing a liver cleanse and protocol after protocol calls for beet juice or incorporating beets into your diet in some way shape or […]

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Watermelon is good, and good for you Seriously, what’s more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? In life, I rarely think, I want some watermelon. But then summer rolls around and I take my first bite and I’m like oh yeah, this stuff is […]

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

 Detox Me, Maybe?

Juice cleanses. Detox programs. Cleanse supplements and detox teas. These days, these products are ubiquitous in the world of wellness and nutrition. But what’s all the hype about? Why is detoxing beneficial and really – is it?
As with all things health and nutrition, there are two camps squarely opposing one another: those that say detoxing is the answer to all ailments and the key to optimal wellbeing, and those that say it’s all a complete crock made up by opportunistic marketers.
Juice cleanse / detox

Detoxing: It’s a crock

Ask a traditional doctor or medical professional and it’s extremely possible if not likely they’ll laugh off the notion of ‘detoxing.’ The truth is, our bodies are designed to naturally detox on a daily basis: it’s literally the job of our skin, liver, kidneys, and even the lungs and digestive system to ‘detoxify’ and remove waste. So as they say, nothing you eat or drink will magically make them work better. Fact, through and through.
As the title of this article so bluntly states: you can’t detox your body. Case. Closed. The article elaborates that ‘toxins’ don’t even really exist in the world of medical science: “Much of the [detox] sales patter revolves around “toxins”: poisonous substances that you ingest or inhale. But it’s not clear exactly what these toxins are.”
Toxins, they argue, are impossible to measure, so therefore, they must not really exist or worth worrying about.  The article further claims that detoxing is a ‘scandal… a criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street.’
Ok, so according to them detoxing is a crock made up by charlatans. They do bring up a fair point – the markets abound with detox products and programs of all kinds that tout themselves as being a miracle cure. And yes, many will set you back a pretty penny. So, are all these supplements and programs complete bogus?
 
Are we just suckers wanting to drink a magic potion and make it all better? 

Detoxing smoothie

Detoxing: It’s the ultimate cure

Then we have the camp that claims detoxing can cure everything, from constipation to cancer. Let’s take a little closer look at the claims of the miracle doctors.
The truth is you can google ‘detox to cure…’ and virtually every ailment will show up depending on what letter you type next. To be clear, any good cleanse protocol should help with constipation. A good detox/ cleanse diet should eliminate difficult to digest foods, increase plant-based fiber consumption, and increase hydration. If done right, this basic approach should clean out the system.
Will detoxing cure constipation? Well, that entirely depends on what an individual does after the detox. Any good protocol should encourage you to continue eating a balanced, plant-heavy diet post-cleanse.

Clean green detoxing salad

But let’s focus on arguably the most extreme case: cancer. (Also, I’m biased.)

There are endless claims of people having cured their cancer from cleansing, juicing, and detoxing, and just as many resources explaining the ins and outs of curing cancer through these methods. I’m a huge proponent of healing naturally whenever possible. However, the reality is that many people who have eschewed the traditional ‘cut, poison, burn’ methods of surgery, chemo, and radiation and gone the alternative, natural route have, very unfortunately, also not survived.
It’s true: many people have been entirely cured of cancer utilizing exclusively natural methods. Many patients with terminal prognoses have lived much longer than the doctors ever suggested they would. Many fighters had a vastly improved quality end of life by forgoing aggressive cancer treatments. Many survivors cured stage IV cancer naturally and never had it come back. Many thrivers have successfully achieved Radical Remission.
These cases, however, are, unfortunately, little studied and while it’s lovely to believe that certain alternative healing methods truly do work, and while there actually is much logic (to my mind) supporting these methods, it’s truthfully impossible to determine precisely why and how these individuals healed. For these reasons, I think it’s extremely dangerous to claim that detoxing and juicing can cure cancer. 
Each and every person is unique, and each and every cancer case is extremely individual, and what worked for one may not work for another. Personally, I do think detoxing and cleansing is extremely beneficial when it comes to healing from cancer. When doctor-approved and supervised by a trained health professional, detoxing can help heal cancer and many other diseases.
I believe there’s a time and place for both traditional and complementary methods of treatment, but every individual facing a serious diagnosis must choose the best healing methods for themselves, armed with education and information on each approach.

Raw vegan green detoxing blender soup

Revisiting the counter-arguments

The Guardian article quotes Edzsard Ernset, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter Medicine: “If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention – “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”’
Here’s the thing – many of us are not perfectly healthy. Many people are facing a health crisis. Many people do not have a healthy body, and it stands to reason that everything is not working perfectly well in that less-than-healthy body.
And, the reality is, environmental toxins are a thing, and they’re a thing we should all be concerned about, according to the CDC itself. On average, the study found 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine, 75 of which had never been measured before in the US population at the time of the study. Alarmingly, tests have found that these 200-plus chemicals are also found in newborn umbilical cord blood– babies are now born with hundreds of chemicals in their bodies.
Traditional medical practitioners and articles like the one published by the Guardian will claim that there is no scientific proof that things like spirulina and nettle tea actually work to detoxify the system.
However, there is a reason there is little ‘scientific’ proof: they don’t study these substances because funding for these studies often doesn’t exist. The fact is, there is no money to be made by the medical or pharmaceutical industries from natural products and supplements that heal and cure, so studies on these natural substances with healing potential are limited.

For more analysis of these arguments, this articledoes a nice job rebutting some of the claims made by the Guardian article and explaining the mechanisms of detoxing.

Cruciferous crunch detox bowl

FLC Syndrome – The Reality of our current State of Health

Mark Hyman, MD, asserts that half of us suffer from FLC: the Feel Like Crap syndrome. And the reason we feel like crap is because we eat crap.
Given the contaminated state of our food system and the less-than-natural environment in which the majority of us reside, I must agree. Simply put, if you overload the system with crap and (dare I use the word) toxins, your body will not be happy.
You don’t need a medical degree to comprehend that ingesting unnatural compounds and excessive amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats can trigger our immune systems to attack and cause inflammation. You don’t need a PhD in biology to understand that not eating the right food or getting enough nutrients will not supply the cells in our liver and other organs with the nutrients and proteins it needs to keep those enzymes working properly.
Detox juice

Why does detoxing work?

By stripping the crap from our diets and replacing it with real, whole foods, we give our bodies the chance to reset, and YES, to do just what they were designed to do: detox! The result is natural detox the way it was designed, without interference. Elimination approaches result in detox done right: with the all the nutrients and resources the body needs to get the job done right and to get the job done thoroughly.
Think about it like a messy desk – if you keep piling papers and files on top of the already existing piles of papers and files, you’ll never clear off the desk. But if you stop piling more stuff on top of what’s already there and start sorting through the existing mess, you’ll give yourself the chance to clear what’s there in due course. Same goes with the body: if you stop feeding it crap and just give it clean fuel and resources, your body gets the chance to get rid of the crap that’s still in there without being further burdened by continual crap piled on top of the existing crap.
Basically, if you don’t give your body the chance to properly reset, it’s like sisyphus rolling that rock up a hill: you might have good days, but you’re never going to get over the hump because you’ll keep falling back into the Feel Like Crap state.

Detox -friendly breakfast

Detoxing vs Cleansing: It’s all in the name

The key thing to understand when trying to come to grips with the notion of detoxing is that the term ‘detox’ is used very loosely, and it means different things to different people and different programs. One detox diet can consist of consuming solely lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne alternated with tea for ten days (the infamous master cleanse) while others (like mine) call for not a single juice – just real, whole foods. And there are countless products on the market using the term ‘detox’ that it’s difficult to suss out what’s legitimate and what’s putting a popular label on a product just to sell.
Because the term ‘detox’ is so incredibly loaded these days, I prefer to use the term ‘cleanse’ as it sounds a little less harsh and rigid. And that’s precisely the approach I take. My cleanse approach is entirely whole foods based, juice optional. I have personally done a couple 3-day juice cleanses to see what the hype is about, but that’s not how I approach cleansing on the whole.
Truthfully, it’s entirely unnecessary to do a juice cleanse if you’re not into consuming an entirely liquid diet. I use real, whole foods, with soups, smoothies, salads and simple veggie sautées on the menu, snacks allowed, supplemented with plant-based protein powder and even some chicken or fish if you really need it.
When you approach cleansing from this standpoint, the two camps are really not quite as far apart as they sound at first glance. To give the naysayers the credit they’re due, they all of course recommended eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in plants and healthy protein while cutting the refined and processed foods. Really, that’s what it’s all about: cutting the crap and allowing your body to reset.

Detox warm apple pie smoothie

Ahh, but what about that protein factor?

The lack of protein is a concern mentioned in each and every article dissing detoxing. To be sure, protein is absolutely essential for proper bodily functioning. But the truth is, not every protocol calls for a complete avoidance of protein, and people underestimate the amount of protein contained in plants.
A 3-day juice fast – a common product on the market and the most extreme I’ve gone and would ever feel comfortable recommending to a client (assuming medical permission was granted of course) – is short-term and your body will certainly not shut down over such a short period of time.
And frankly, if you do it properly, a juice cleanse provides far more protein than people realize: a primarily green juice plan can provide up to 20-30 grams of protein per day. It’s also possible to supplement the juices with plant-based protein, as I recommend doing with smoothies (and even soups!) on my approach.
And the fact is most of us consume far more protein than is actually necessary. The US Dietary Reference Intake (DRI)/Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 46 grams each day for adult women and 56 grams each day for men. Meanwhile, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average female eats about 70 grams of protein while the average American male consumes 102 grams.
To be sure protein requirements vary by size and activity level, yet on the whole we clearly consume far more protein than is actually necessary. Which, in itself, may actually be doing a disservice to our bodies if we are replacing plants with excess protein.

raw vegan creamy celery detox soup

So how do you know if you need a cleanse?

The symptoms of toxic overload are extremely varied and can impact the entire bodily system. Seemingly unrelated conditions may all result from this underlying issue. You might want to consider a gentle cleanse if you:
  • have trouble sleeping
  • get headaches
  • gain weight easily, especially in the belly
  • feel exhausted and depleted
  • feel a lack of focus and energy
  • have trouble losing weight
  • experience bloating or gas
  • have digestive complaints
  • have excessive sinus problems
  • suffer from joint pain
  • have acne, eczema or other skin problems
  • feel stuck, unmotivated, or irritable
  • feel stressed and overwhelmed
  • experience mood swings
  • crave sugar or starchy food
Symptoms often include relatively minor annoyances like some listed above, which are plenty frustrating. But toxic overload can also be a factor in more serious conditions such as autoimmune conditions, asthma, arthritis, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.
Next up, I’ll dive more into the details of Why Cleanse: the signs and symptoms that you need a cleanse and the benefits of cleansing.
Ready to dip your toes or learn a little more about cleansing? Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive my free 3-Day Cleanse Guide, which includes recipes for the featured images not linked above! 
*Update*

*Update*

Hello my friends! Happy weekend! So lately I’ve been working on updates and technical things (that are a bit beyond me) and for some of these techy reasons I have relocated my blog. You’ll find it at the same url: thisartcalledlife.com but if you’ve followed […]


Life in Progress

My One Year Cancerversary

My One Year Cancerversary

The Preliminary C Diagnosis: Looking Back

A year ago today I received a call when I was at work. It was the director of the Lymphoma center at Columbia. I went into the bathroom to take the call. Gently but without mincing any words, he informed me that the preliminary results of my needle biopsy were in: I had lymphoma.  (more…)