What is Cleansing?
A cleanse is a program done for a specific amount of time that puts the body in a more intense detox mode than it encounters on a regular day-to-day basis. Although a scary word to some, cleansing can actually be a very enjoyable and eye-opening process. You feel renewed, like a better version of yourself. Your thoughts are more clear, decisions are easier, relationships strengthen and digestion woes disappear. Even serious illnesses such as diabetes can be reversed in time. What may surprise you about cleansing, however, is that it is not a new concept.
In ancient times, it was common knowledge that our bodies needed to periodically allowed to enter a deeper state of detoxification and that resting your digestive system was integral to life. This must occur in order for the body to handle the accumulation of toxins that build up everyday, but especially during times of excess eating, activity and stress. Human beings’ genetic evolution—the way our bodies work best—has been shaped by the fasting that was imposed on us by the hunter-gatherer way of life. For millennia, humans experienced periods of feasting followed by periods of imposed famine. (4).
“A focused period of detoxifying is a reset for the whole physical and mental body. It delivers an all-access pass to boundless reserves of energy you didn’t know you had. You find that every part of your body works better, imbalances are rectified, and irritating symptoms get a chance to melt away on their own—all by simply “switching on” a system that you were born with and that has been patiently waiting to server you.” – Alejandro Junger, M.D.
Today, people cleanse to remove fog and to regain energy, but more importantly, people are often very eager to simplify their lives and rid themselves of old habits. A cleanse gives people the opportunity to start fresh, create new, healthier habits, and leave their old habits behind. According to Dr. Junger, “There is an inevitable awakening in the mind and emotions, even if the stated goal of the cleanse is more physical, such as to enhance beauty, encourage weight loss, or look younger.”
It is also a way to boost healing systems when systems are taxed and are beginning to show signs of stress. With the digestive system resting, more energy can be diverted toward defense and healing.
How it Works
The detoxification process kicks in 8 hours after your last meal and needs 4 hours to function optimally. It is after that 8 hour mark that your body has finished processing the last meal you ate. Once digestion is completed, accumulated toxins from the tissues are released into the bloodstream so that they can eventually be neutralized and eliminated with the help of nutrients. If the toxins are not eliminated, not only can they be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, but the free radicals that they contain corrode tissues and damage cells on contact. This is one reason why late night eating is discouraged. If your body never finishes processing your food before you eat again, it doesn’t have the chance to release other accumulated toxins. The reason we call that first meal of the day “breakfast” is because that’s exactly what we’re doing, we’re breaking the fast that has occurred overnight.
In short, we are human. We accumulate stress, we are active, we eat in excess and we build up waste. With that, we also need to ensure that we alleviate that stress at some point, because if we don’t, that’s when things like fatigue and illness come knocking down our defense-wall doors. For a comparison of today’s most popular cleanses, please read Cleanses Compared.