Cleansing Does Not Mean Deprivation

When I first heard the concept of cleansing, I couldn’t help but picture a face wash commercial with women splashing water in their faces in slow motion.  I quickly learned it is much more than that, nor does it necessarily have anything to do with facial cleaning.  I attended a product party in April for the company Arbonne, initially a Swiss company that moved to the US in 1980 and promotes Vegan-based products for skincare, hair, sun protection, cosmetics, fragrances, and nutrition.  I have been using some of their makeup products for a little over a month and I am quite pleased.  However I wasn’t sure about the cleanse process.  A dear friend of mine had completed the month-long cleanse, and knowing she was not trying to sell me the products, honestly said she felt a noticeable difference afterwards.  So why not give it a go, and see how I feel?  It’s only a month after all.

Why do they look so happy?  This isn't exactly effective...
Why do they look so happy? This isn’t exactly effective… Source

So why cleanse?  This process helps to reduce certain food groups to, in essence, help cleanse and clean your digestive system.  It alleviates the stresses certain food items have on our body.  There are many food items that

Lunch on the cleanse: homemade fajitas, avacado, corn tortillas, and watermelon!
Lunch on the cleanse: homemade fajitas, avacado, corn tortillas, and watermelon!

humans were never meant to eat, dairy being one of them (sadly… who doesn’t love a delicious bowl of ice cream?), so this process helps to give your body a break and regain balance.  The food groups that are eliminated during this cleanse include the following: gluten/wheat products, dairy, coffee/caffeine, yeast, refined sugar, alcohol, vinegar, soy, artificial sweeteners, food coloring/dye, non-organic corn and artificial/processed foods.  It sounds like a lot, but still leaves an amazing amount of options.  Thankfully the hubs and I really like, nay, LOVE, fresh food and consume a vast amount of organic fruits and veggies throughout the week, don’t consume much sugar or caffeine, and only have cocktails and wine on the weekends.  It’s been more of lifestyle shift rather than a food withdrawal.

Who wouldn't love to start their day with a delicious smoothie?
Who wouldn’t love to start their day with a delicious smoothie?

This cleanse has been a switch in my day-to-day norm.  The products I have incorporated are from Arbonne’s Essentials collection.  Rather than oatmeal or cereal with fruit for breakfast, I wake up a bit earlier and make a smoothie with tons of fruit and spinach, as well as a touch of almond milk, two scoops of Arbonne’s Vanilla Protein Powder (using pea, cranberry and rice protein), and one scoop of Arbonne’s Fiber Powder.  I’d never been one for protein shakes, but these turn out delicious with enough fruit.  I also notice I stay full through much of the morning thanks to the fiber, and then have cherries or a peach as a snack until lunch.  As a sweet treat, Arbonne has Vegan Lemon Fit Chews and Energy Fizz Sticks in Citrus and Pomegranate to mix into water (or Starbucks’ Passion Iced Tea – yum!).  The cleanse also includes a 7 day colon cleanse which I have not yet started.  All in all, I am already pleased – I feel lighter, more energetic, and have lost a few pounds in the process.  Plus it gives me an excuse to make more smoothies, and boy do I love smoothies.

What I like about this cleanse is that it can be easily done with or without the products, and is easy to incorporate into everyday life.  There comes a moment in the month-long process that you find yourself saying, “I don’t want that,” rather than “I can’t have that.”  Although I allow for flexibility on Saturday and Sunday – I do love a good glass of wine, and being married to a novice mixologist is a huge plus – I don’t feel the need to indulge quite as much.  The biggest lesson I have learned, both through this process and in talking to others, is that this cannot be the only means of health.  It’s not a quick fix.  If you want overall health, you need to balance diet with exercise.  I am not one to crash diet and rely solely on food for weight loss.  True health requires both!

I obviously have a Whole Foods organic produce section problem...
I obviously have a Whole Foods organic produce section problem… All cleanse friendly!

If you’d like to learn more about the process, the products, or both, please feel free to contact me.  Below I have listed the reason why we eliminate certain food groups during the cleanse, courtesy of Louisa Nickel!

What exactly am I cleansing/detoxing? If I already feel great; do I need this program? Everything is affected in our body by what we eat. You are cleansing and detoxifying everything on this program. Your body will naturally clean out what needs to be cleaned first and then go down the list of what takes priority. Your body knows that and will naturally do that itself. We all need an opportunity to refocus on our health, and making changes to your diet over 30 days will show you in the end what it really did for you: increased energy, weight loss, mental clarity, improved digestion, etc.

Why not vinegar? Vinegar has a pH that affects our gut. During the 30 days you want to make your gut as healthy as possible. Vinegar is fuel for the critters in our body that are not good and want to multiply while we are trying to kill them during those 30 days: bacteria, etc. The exception is Apple Cider vinegar. A healthy gut absorbs nutrients best, and absorbing nutrients increases our metabolism which helps us lose weight.

Why not coffee? Coffee is an inflammatory substance on the gut and bowel. It is also a laxative. If you have coffee every morning your body has learned to rely on that to help you have a BM. With eating right your body will learn to relieve itself.

Why not soy? Soy products are not ideal for nutrition. Processed soy affects you hormonally, it doesn’t matter if you are a male or female. It is an allergen and we omit it during this program. Also, more than 90% of soy is genetically modified (GM) in the US, so if it’s not certified organic soy, it’s GM.

Why not corn/non-organic corn? As with soy, more than 90% of corn is GM in the US. If you already have a bent towards yeast, breads, and pasta, do not do corn. For people who want to get their sugar and carb cravings under control, you should not do corn. If you do, purchase certified organic corn.

What if you don’t want to eliminate certain items like coffee or alcohol? Eliminating foods is about goals and results. The more restrictive and closer to the guidelines of the program, the better your results. ANY improvement in overall nutrition will yield results, so you can choose your level of commitment. You choose the route that will lead you toward permanent change. Some people need to do one or two small changes at a time, which is still progress. You’re still reducing the toxic load on your body. All or nothing is NOT the purpose of the program.

 

Have you ever tried a cleanse – was it through a company or on your own?  Was it effective – how did you feel afterwards?  How do you find digestive balance – are there any items you’ve removed from your diet, either permanently or temporarily?