There are many reasons why people undergo food-based cleansing. For me, I was frustrated with chronic sinus infections, my memory had holes, and I couldn't get my energy back (That was almost twenty years ago. You can read more about my story here.) For others, a food-based cleanse may help address hot flashes and hormonal imbalances, brain fog, chronic fatigue, migraines, digestive distress, lung problems, food sensitivities, loss of hearing, imbalanced cholesterol, painful joints, injuries, and weight loss resistance. I have witnessed people regaining lost hearing (which is supposed to be impossible) and overcome eating disorders. Others find a natural solution for anxiety. The potential for food-based cleansing to address a wide variety of issues exists because:
1) It provides better nutrition: By providing your cells with an upgrade in nutrients, it can improve the cellular health in any part of the body.
2) It reduces insulin production. Insulin is a hormone that tends to perpetuate inflammation and hormone imbalances. Simply by changing diet, inflammation and hormone levels can balance (more on that in this article). This helps improve brain and neurotransmitter performance as well.
3) It reduces inflammatory immune chemicals called cytokines that perpetuate pain and chronic inflammation. It allows the immune system and glandular system to function more healthfully. It helps reverse auto-immune tendencies. It reduces inflammation for the nervous system leading to mental and emotional benefits.
In a recent article, I explained what one eats on a typical food-based cleanse. People can expect varying outcomes through different phases of a cleanse. Generally, the longer one adheres to a healthy diet, the greater the benefits. Let's take the 10-day Digestive Cleanse for example, as I tend to see these common experiences on this cleanse: As a person begins the cleanse, they can expect a shift in energy. Most people find it easier to wake up in the morning and feel lighter throughout the day. They do not have large fluctuations in energy before or after meals but instead have steady energy throughout the day.
You might expect to be more hungry on a cleanse, at least in the first few days as you overcome the need for sandwiches and instead eat stir-fries or soup. Be sure to pack some snacks so you have something on hand. Some people experience an energy drop in the first few days as the body is shifting from insulin production to fat-burning. This can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids and electrolytes, getting some rest and light exercise. It is not uncommon for people to lose several pounds of water weight as they shift from insulin production to fat-burning mode. When the liver burns fat for energy, it makes ketones. Ketones have a diuretic effect which means excess water is lost through increased urination. It's important to drink plenty of fluids in order to feel good through this phase. In addition, inflammatory foods like gluten can cause a person to hold on to extra water weight and this weight is lost when the food is eliminated.
An initial transition phase lasts 1-2 days and then a person can expect to feel much better. By the end of the 10-day Digestive Cleanse, bowel movements have normalized, gas and bloating are reduced, pain levels have begun to go down, mental clarity is better, sleep has improved, cravings for foods have stopped. I make myself available during the cleanse via phone or email so that if a person does not begin to see improvements we can trouble-shoot the process and adapt things to get an better outcome.
There are some health situations that you can't eat your way out of. Leaky gut and adrenal fatigue are some examples. Yes, dietary upgrades help with these issues but typically something more therapeutic than food will be required to fix the underlying issue. For those with leaky gut, I suggest a specific approach to recover. Those with cortisol dys-regulation or adrenal fatigue, may also require special supplements and activities. However, a food-based cleanse can be an important step even with such health situations as it provides a foundation of good nutrition for the body to repair and maintain healthy cells.
Our next Body Tune-up Workshop, a Food-based Cleanse, is scheduled for Fall 2019 and registration is open. We invite you to attend. Please view our workshop page for more details.