Now that the excesses of the holidays are a sweet, but distant memory, it’s time to get on with the business of looking ahead and feeling great with the help of a little spring cleaning. I currently have my team of fellow cleansers assembled – a support network, if you will, comprised of some veterans, some rookies, and we are set to complete our third week of a 21-day detox challenge in the next few days. We have committed to eliminating sugar, alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, refined or processed foods and anything deep-fried from our diets for the duration of our cleanse. We are replacing these items with fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein like fish and chicken and high quality, nutrient-dense, organic supplements.
This temporary shift in the way that we eat is important for several reasons. For one, it allows our bodies a chance to catch up on the backlog of toxins that have accumulated over the last year. Toxins can sneak in from a variety of places including the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe and the chemicals we may have in our homes and offices. The cleanse aims to reduce the toxic load on the body primarily by focusing on those things that we consciously put into it. The desired side effects? Improved digestion, mental clarity, reduced cravings, restful sleep and increased vitality. Check.
More often than not the hectic pace of our lives dictates that we consume our food without really thinking much about where it came from or how it will affect us. So for me, another benefit of the cleanse is that it has become a kind of meditation on food and mindful eating. It has forced me to consider every meal down to each bite – what I will be eating, how I will be preparing it, where it came from, how it might make me feel. The results? So far, so good.
But let’s be real here. Conscientious eating and reducing toxic burdens are all well and good, but we are nothing if not vain…and swimsuit season is right around the corner. The cleanse is not designed to be a weight loss “diet,” however, people who participate in the 21-day detox program generally tend to shed a few pounds while on it. Know what that means? This program can be an effective tool to help you look, feel and perform better so that maybe, just maybe, this Valentine’s Day you’ll fall in love with yourself.
A final shout out to all my cleansers: keep up the good work and I’ll see you on the flip side!
–Tama Henderson, LAc