Exquisite Practices, Cleanses: Week 1

Focusing on the ritual of cleanse to purify the body, mind and spirit. Follow Jenna as she embarks on a raw fruit and vegetable regimen.

It’s been a while — years, in fact — since I’ve done a juice cleanse. The idea occasionally arises in my consciousness, but I tend to push it away, rationalizing that I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, and also… how can I give up wine? Or dinner parties? Or TOAST? But I’ll be honest. I’m going through a break-up and feeling generally low. Our bodies cycle through high and low phases, just as the moon waxes and wanes. Interestingly, the moon is currently waning which represents a time to let go. It’s also a time to break bad habits and a time of deep intuition and thoughtfulness. With these things in mind, I pulled one of my favorite books off the shelf: A Prescription for Nutritional Healing, and started reading about cleansing. I think it’s time. Welcome to July’s Exquisite Practices theme: The Ritual of Cleanse.

Cleanses are beneficial for many reasons, and there are a myriad to choose from. The Master Cleanse is an intense (and controversial) weight loss cleanse in which you consume solely a lemon-maple-cayenne drink, salt water and a laxative tea. GOOP’s annual detox, on the other hand, is a gentle detox that promotes healthy eating through a menu of pure whole foods. Elimination diets are a great way to cleanse and determine which foods your body responds well and badly to. I’ve tried the spectrum (yes, including the 10-day Master Cleanse), and my favorite is the fresh juice cleanse, which is somewhere in between the three aforementioned. It incorporates fresh vegetable and fruit juices, teas, broths, protein-rich spirulina and other green drinks. While you consume only liquids throughout, you can choose to cleanse for one, three, five or ten days according to how you feel and your schedule. The fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals so you aren’t depriving your body of necessary nutrients; however, consuming only liquids allows your body to take a break from digestion and focus on healing.

Why cleanse? Even if you are a raw vegan (which, I am not, by the way!) cleanses provide a time of rest and rejuvenation for your body. Your body expends a huge amount of energy in the digestive process, but while you are cleansing, your body is able to focus instead on detoxification and healing. In fact, if you catch a cold, a bug or even have a more serious illness, cleanses are extremely helpful as they allow the body to flush out toxins and begin healing. The longer you fast, the more time your body has to heal. Of course, it’s not all feeling thin and healthy! Cleanses are hard and take focus, practice and determination. You will be hungry, initially. Then, as your body begins the healing process, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, including headaches and irritable mood. But stick with it — you will feel the effects profoundly.

Next week I will embark on a 3-day juice cleanse, eating raw fruits and vegetables for two days before and after to prepare my body. I’ll outline the schedule and juice recipes along with lots of encouragement. Who’s with me? Let’s glow brightly!

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