Should You Do A Cleanse?

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As a culture we are very aware of our external cleanliness. We clean our teeth daily, we bath and wash our hair daily and we like to look and smell clean. I see detoxification as internal cleansing. The problem is that it’s often hard to know when our internal cleansing mechanisms are not functioning well. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what a cleanse is and how to do it.

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Detoxification is what your body does naturally to neutralize or get rid of unwanted materials or toxins. It’s done by improving and optimizing the function of your body’s own detox systems by decreasing the amount of toxins you put in it, while supporting your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.

An effective, natural, gentle detox program can help your body’s natural cleansing ability and put you on the road to rejuvenation. The benefits of doing a detox include: Increased energy, weight loss, improved digestion, fewer aches and pains and better sleep.

In the last 15 or more years of doing cleanses with my patients, I’ve noticed that a proper cleanse, done for a minimum of 2 weeks (not a 3 or 5 day juice fast) can also lead to a decrease in one’s appetite, decrease in sugar cravings, awareness of food sensitivities and function as an entry point into a healthier lifestyle.These are points not usually spoken about when people talk about cleansing.

That said, I don’t recommend cleanses for pregnant and lactating women, people with cancer, diabetes, a weak heart, anemia or who have recently undergone major surgery. These individuals should consult a knowledgeable practitioner before beginning any detox program.

A good cleanse should decrease the number of toxins and irritants going into our bodies by eliminating foods that often cause sensitivities or reactions (gluten and dairy), as well as irritants to the gut (alcohol, caffeine, sugar and all processed foods that also trigger inflammation).

You also need to assist your body’s capacity to neutralize toxins. You can do this by decreasing the amount of food you eat and supplying key nutrients via juices and/or powders. Also, add more fiber to your diet to “sweep” the intestines. Fiber promotes the elimination of toxins and also binds to toxins, which helps to prevent their absorption.

Sticking to your cleanse is easy if you take some time to prepare. You should spend the week before cutting down on sugar and caffeine. You should also go grocery shopping and plan some meals that you will enjoy. Work up a sweat by doing at least an hour of exercise each day and be sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. You may find that you need more rest than you normally do.That’s because resting and sleeping make fewer demands on your body’s resources, thus more of your energy can be applied to physical renewal.

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GUEST EDITOR: DR. FRANK LIPMAN

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Dr. Frank Lipman is one of the country’s top pioneers in the field of integrative medicine. Focused on sustainable health and wellness, he offers patients–who include Donna Karan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal– a customized blend of modern medicine with alternative practices. In 2010 he developed Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman, a line of leading-edge health programs and supplements that recalibrate the body with healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. As a guest editor for Daily Makeover, Dr. Lipman will share his tips on how you can solve common health problems and start feeling more energetic and vibrant. Follow Dr. Lipman on Facebook and Twitter for daily health tips and the latest in health and wellness.

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