Whether or not someone should do a cleanse depends upon their physical condition and the time of year.
Traditionally, humans in many cultures and religions around the world cleansed or fasted at specific times. Especially, in the spring and again during the fall.
Some examples include Orthodox Greeks that fast for up to seven weeks during the spring. They abstain from eating animals (meats, poultry, game) and any products from animals (milk, cheese, eggs, fish and seafood). Wine and olive oil are also restricted during the fast.
Catholics traditionally fasted for forty days prior to Easter starting at Lent. This included abstaining from meat entirely and eating only one light meal per day. Modern Catholics have lightened up on those strict guidelines and now only go without meat on Friday’s for the duration of the fast.
Many religions use the spiritual discipline of fasting and abstaining from food to free up energy from digestion, and that helps them connect more closely to God or the Universe.
When we are not focused on finding, eating and digesting food, we receive nourishment from elsewhere.
For example, Jesus fasted for forty days in the dessert while seeking spiritual guidance (spiritual food).
This is one of the reasons cleanses or fasts traditionally incorporate prayer and meditation as part of the fasting/cleansing ritual as well.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Liver and Gallbladder meridians correlate with the rising energy of Spring. Reducing animal fats and heavy proteins, as well as fasting, supports proper functioning of this complementary organ system.
When the liver and gallbladder are functioning well creativity, energy and enthusiasm for life flows.
As noted above, the religious and cultural wisdom of our ancestors regarding fasting and cleansing can benefit the physical, emotional and spiritual body.
And, as fate would have it, our human body is very wise as well; it knows exactly when to cleanse!
Oftentimes, during the spring, the body will naturally begin cleansing itself by releasing a flu or cold. Some folks may also experience mysterious aches and joint pains; this is toxic waste that need to be discharged from the body.
Below are some indicators that it’s time for a cleanse:
- Allergies and food sensitivities
- Migraine headaches and/or pain behind the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Shoulder, neck and joint pain
- Heartburn and inability to digest
- Cysts, lumps and growths
- Excessive PMS symptoms
- Cracked fingernails and toenails
- Easily irritated and quick to anger
- Feelings of being stuck (emotionally and physically)
We can aid the liver and gallbladder through the natural cleansing process by eating lightly prepared meals, eliminating animal products for a specific period of time, or fasting from food entirely.
Every Spring, I too, begin a fasting ritual.
I eat lighter foods (salads, light spring soups, fish) and reduce heavy animal meats, eggs, dairy and fats for a few weeks. I usually follow that with three to five days of fasting or drinking a mixture of vegetable juices (beet, carrot, apple, ginger) that also contain spirulina and/or chlorella.
It’s important to note that cleansing is not for everyone.
If your body is in a state of deficiency or weakness, cleansing may not be the right approach and it could make certain conditions worse.
Folks suffering with deficiencies usually need to “build” their body before cleansing it.
Do you think it’s time for a cleanse?
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Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.