“Hey Jane, want a beer?”

“No mate, can’t. I am on a cleanse.

Ugh.

Nothing puts a damper on things like having to do (or hang out with someone on) a cleanse. Why do people put themselves through this?

A “detox” or cleanse is the process of clearing the body of built-up toxins while simultaneously reducing exposure to them in our diet and environment. This may also include stepping away from toxic people and situations in our life. Emotions such as anger, frustration, and fear interfere with the detox and elimination processes, and increase acidity levels in our bodies.

We are toxic when we feel bogged down. We may notice waking-up groggy every morning, moodiness, irritability and being unable to think clearly. We may have lost our direction and momentum in projects we care about. Physical ailments might include headaches, joint pains, dry coughs, sore throats, poor circulation, frequent illnesses, stuffy sinuses, insomnia, moodiness, loss of energy, and skin rashes.

A cleanse is beneficial because it allows our body to rest and heal, leaving space take stock of anything impeding physical, emotional, mental or spiritual health.

Spring and fall are the best times for cleansing because of the change in season. Popular choices for detox include water fasts, juice-only fasts for one to seven days, or following a clean, sugar-free diet with herbal support for 30 days or more.

If that turns you off, please note: you need not resort to complicated diets or expensive detox kits to start feeling better tomorrow.

If you were to change only one thing in your routine, try drinking 8-10 glasses of purified water, per day, for one week. Try adding a little fresh lemon juice or spirulina for extra cleansing and alkalizing support. Studies have proven that many of us do not drink enough water, so you may be surprised how much this one change can improve your well-being.

An another easy and cheap change is to add a couple extra servings of cooked and raw organic veggies to each meal. The additional nutrients will support healing while the fibre helps to bind toxins and move them out of the body.

Deep breathing, stretching, walking, and laughing support detoxification and are accessible to everyone. Saunas or Epsom salt baths, and giving yourself lymphatic massages are also very effective.

Another simple way to help your body cleanse is to refrain from eating for two hours before to bed. That should give your body at least eight to 12 hours to do some uninterrupted housecleaning.

Last but not least, try the ancient Ayurvedic practice, oil pulling. This uses oils to cleanse the mouth and pull toxins from the organs through the tongue. It is done by placing high-quality, organic oil, such as extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil, in your mouth first thing in the morning. The goal is to swish for up to twenty minutes, though some people can only manage a few minutes at the start. Try it while taking a shower. It’s important to spit it all out, and not swallow any. You might also notice whiter teeth if you continue this practice regularly.

If you have never done a cleanse before, begin with a clean diet approach first. Eat whatever you want, from fresh, unprocessed, natural and organic foods for a couple weeks and see how much better you feel. After that, try a one-to-two day juice or smoothie-cleanse and see how that goes.

Remember to listen to your body and go at your own pace. Most of all, find a buddy to do it with.

Katherine Belisle is a holistic nutritionist and medical intuitive. She has a private practice and enjoys writing and teaching on a variety of topics related to natural health and healing. You can contact her at [email protected] or visit her at the Fireweed Market on Thursdays.