Functional Cleansing 101

Cleansing, as practiced by responsible nutritionists, means going beyond recommending whatever pill or plan a celebrity or a person who is “passionate” about nutrition cheerily endorsed that day. It instead involves making changes in one’s lifestyle and diet to allow our bodies to facilitate their own detoxification process and ‘take a break’ from whatever might be causing the issue, allowing the body to repair itself.
— Marci Clow, RD, CD

First things first — take a deep breath and thank yourself for showing up for your heath and learning about your body. The idea of a cleanse can bring up so many different emotions, from fear to anxiety to just full on anger. For me, the antidote to fear has always been knowledge. So I believe it’s good to understand the rationale and science behind a cleanse before making a decision of what’s right for you.

Our bodies, miracles that they are, come equipped with mechanisms to keep harmful substances out, break them down, and remove them if they get in. These internal systems are designed to keep YOU out of harm's way. It was built into us by design because even long ago, when the world was a cleaner place with no man-made chemicals, toxins already existed in nature. There were plant-based poisons, heavy metals in the environment, along with snake venom, bee stings, and microbial pathogens.

Today, however, we are exposed to thousands of chemical compounds that were not present in nature before. Synthetic, man-made substances enter our bodies in the form of pesticide exposure from produce; preservatives, antibiotics, estrogens in meat and animal products, prescription drugs, environmental toxins; and chemicals found in skin care and cleaning products.

Prolonged and frequent exposure to these modern-day toxins can heighten the level of stress on our body’s organs that already work so hard to filter out impurities — the skin, lungs, kidneys, colon, and liver — causing them to become compromised in their functioning, or ‘bogged down’ so to speak.

Think of it this way: imagine a water purifying pitcher being filled. The filtered water is siphoned to the bottom of the pitcher, but if the filter is clogged and inefficient because it hasn't been replaced in some time, it can't keep up with the water being poured into it. The pitcher will eventually overflow with water because it couldn't keep up with filtering. Simlilarly, our bodies can become burdened with toxic accumulation over time. This is often when we start hearing our body scream out (through symptoms) for the attention and care it so desperately needs to function properly.

For this reason, it's good to consider BOTH how you can keep toxins out of your body, and how you can support your body's mechanisms to break down and remove the multitude of inevitable toxins and waste in today’s world.

I like to first emphasize keeping toxins out in the first place by eating whole foods, reducing stress, getting adequate sleep, exercising, laughing, and being in nature. I take steps like these, then think about a safe and gentle food-based cleanse 1-2 times per year to help my body clear out what I couldn't avoid.

A cleanse should:

  • Minimize the number of toxins that go into your body and help make your body more efficient in getting rid of them.

  • Help heal your gut. Gut microflora imbalance and a leaky gut are some of the greatest sources of inflammation in the body.

  • Supply you with sufficient macro and micronutrients to fuel your body.

  • Allow you to maintain the proper diet and lifestyle to keep you healthy even after the cleanse.

I routinely use my Fresh Start Program as a way to cleanse my body, reset my hormones, elevate my energy, get radiant and glowing skin, improve my digestion, and find more harmony in my day-to-day life.

Our internal detoxification processes are happening 24/7 , and we have an opportunity each and every day to prime and fuel this intuitive machine we call “our body” to cultivate vibrant health. (cue stretch break and a sip of water!)

What preventive approaches do you take to keep your body clean and humming strong?



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