Is a Cleanse a Sprint or a Marathon?

“I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life”
~Louise Hay

Cleanse. Detox. Fast. It seems that every health magazine, blog and infomercial is hawking their own version. They can range from popping pills or drinking a liquid concoction to eating whole foods and eliminating a list of ingredients.

veggies on a forkIs this the latest money-making gimmick, or is there merit in doing one? It’s worth your while to take a closer look.

Domino Effect

We are exposed to far too many toxins or irritants in our daily life, including many of the things we eat. These can take their toll on our health. Take a mental stroll through your daily routine:

  • processed foods
  • conventional meats
  • genetically modified foods
  • artificial ingredients
  • caffeine and alcohol
  • skin care products
  • cleaning products
  • tap water
  • work environment
  • cell phones, computers and other electronics
  • air, both inside and outside
  • toxic thoughts and emotions

It is a continual onslaught and impossible to avoid completely. This creates a toxic load that our bodies have a hard time managing. Our digestion can become compromised leading to inflammation. Our immune system, which is primarily in our gut, is weakened as the microbiome is challenged. Our detoxification pathways can become sluggish. These are the foundations of chronic illness and autoimmune conditions. These toxins are like dominos all lined up in a row, waiting to be tipped.

Our bodies whisper to us constantly. We don’t listen. Far too often, we ignore the early warning signals of disease. We choose to live in a state of numbness. We stuff our feelings, often by stuffing our faces. We rush through our days often forgetting to breathe deeply. We put off enjoyment to some future date, not really sure we’ll ever arrive there. We forget to laugh, to take time for the truly important things. Stress creates another layer of toxicity. Our bodies will increasingly turn up the volume to get our attention, in the form of ailments and disease.

How can we learn to listen to the whispers instead?

Start with Food

One of the best places to start is nutrition. This is where the right cleanse can support the body. Try a whole foods cleanse. In this cleanse, all processed food is removed along with those foods that cause the most allergies and difficulties for people. The list usually includes sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, artificial ingredients, and some meats. This is typically done for a period of time ranging from 10 days to a month. It gives the body a break, letting it rejuvenate and recalibrate. In the cleanses that I lead for clients, after the 4 weeks of tender loving care, many clients slip back into their old habits. They check it off their lists and return to what’s comfortable and familiar, forgetting that those habits created the list of symptoms that they have just eliminated through their vigilant efforts.

Harness the Full Power of a Cleanse

Here’s where the power of a cleanse can be magnified. Rather than revert back to the status quo afterwards, use a cleanse as the first stepping stone towards a more aligned life. Think of it as a jumpstart towards living in harmony – body, mind and spirit. Look for ways to decrease the toxic load in your life, step by step.

Clean eating lets you reconnect with the wisdom your body has to offer. You can begin to hear those whispers. Learn how your body speaks to you and as importantly, develop a practice of listening through meditation and mindful awareness.

This is the language of self-love.

For more information, visit Barb at

About Barbara Heinen

Barbara Heinen, NC, is a holistic nutrition coach and owner of Joyful Eats LLC. She helps people birth their best lives using delicious nutrient-dense foods and nourishing lifestyle practices. She graduated with honors from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, and studied at the BioIndividual Nutrition Institute. She’s thrilled to share her life with her awesome husband, four fabulous kids and one rascally pup. Her adventures include world traveling, hiking and bicycling, and of course, cooking and sharing meals together with family and friends. Visit her at

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