The old adage “What goes in, must come out” holds true for most circumstances. The body, however, does not always follow this way of thinking, especially as it concerns the latter part of the saying about what comes out. Not everything we put in our bodies makes its way out—and what stays in can cause toxic build-up, digestive distress, and other health problems.
Habitual intake of a diet high in refined and highly processed foods can lead to accumulation of toxins, increased contact time, and irritation to the lining of the excretory system due to constipation and higher pressures developing inside the bowel. The longer toxins hang around your body, including inside your gut—the greater their potential for discomfort.
Even if you eat a healthier diet than the one described above, you still may encounter toxins; they are present everywhere in our environment. We drink eat, inhale, and produce toxins in small amounts—and no food is guaranteed 100 percent safe.
Sometimes foods we eat may contain untold numbers of agents that are not food: pesticides, additives, colorants, extraneous hormones, chemicals and heavy metals, not to mention prescription and non-prescription drugs—which our bodies, especially the liver, are forced to detoxify. Our elimination systems, especially our urine and stool, play a role in the toxin-cleansing process, too.
That’s why I make sure my digestive system gets a “clean sweep” four times a year. Granted, I eat healthier and live a healthier lifestyle than most people, but everyone carries some toxic load level—and I am not exempt. Some need to detoxify more than others, but everyone can benefit from a good cleansing!
I like to schedule a cleansing tune-up each quarter—for various reasons, including the necessity of periodic detoxification as well as following a logical, yearly schedule for doing so. If I plot it and plan for it, then it is easier to integrate into my lifestyle. (An added bonus is that each of the 10-day cleansings include a diet that makes sense for that particular season—including foods which are in-season and readily available; hot foods for colder weather; and cool foods for hotter weather!)
Here is an overview of my quarterly cleansing—with an emphasis on my most recent cleanse, a 10-day fruit and veggie experience: During my 10-day seasonal cleanses (plotted during the months of January, April, July and October), I eat five times a day, every two to three hours—generally around 7:30 a.m., followed by a second meal at 10:30 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m., a mid-afternoon meal at 3:30 p.m., and dinner at 6 p.m.
Each seasonal cleanse has its own characteristic dietary guidelines, but I want to share with you my most recent “summer” cleanse for the month of July—basically consisting of 10 days of refreshing fruits and veggies. (You can learn about my January, April, and October cleanses in the coming months.)
My Summer Cleanse: 10 Days of Delicious Fruits and Veggies
For my Summer Cleanse, the first day is a mono diet in which I eat the same fruit at each meal for the entire day, marked by five fruit servings (one or two cups of fruit for each serving). The best fruits for cleansing have a lot of water: watermelon, grapes, apples, and oranges. (Note: bananas don’t have nearly as much water.)
Days Two through Four
On Days 2-4, I eat four servings of fruit during the day, separated by two to three hours, followed by a healthy salad for dinner containing all the vegetables I can think of. Greens and sprouts are wonderful high-fiber foods, but I also add slices of cucumbers, carrots, red onion, cabbage, tomatoes, and celery. I then garnish my salad with half an avocado and add two tablespoons of a healthy raw salad dressing (or I make my own).
Days Five through Seven
On Days 5-7, I follow a similar pattern as days 2-4—except that I add raw nuts and seeds to my salad.
Days Eight through Ten
On Days 8-10, I eat one serving of fruit during the first two meals of the day. For my third and fourth meals, I eat one type of fruit and four ounces of whole milk plain yogurt or kefir and one tablespoon of honey.
I add raw cheese and fatty fish (like wild-caught salmon) to my salad meal—which made a great transition back to my established healthy eating plan once my summer cleanse was over.
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