Most people have heard of body cleansing, but not many have actually tried it. There are all kinds of programs out there that usually include some of the following: dieting, fasting, consuming exclusively certain foods or avoiding certain foods. The general idea of cleansing is that most foods contain toxic ingredients such as chemically enhanced flavors, food coloring, pesticides, and preservatives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that hundreds of these chemicals are present in our bodies. Cleansing is done to rid your body of toxins by consuming only foods that are free of all the ingredients mentioned above and foods that will enhance waste removal in your body. Although the body is designed to rid itself of these toxins naturally, it can become overburdened over time. Research shows that toxins can contribute to a wide range of conditions including: fatigue, indigestion, food cravings with weight gain and joint discomfort. The idea of cleansing is often controversial among healthcare professionals.

I chose to discuss body cleansing because I just finished a 21 day purification cleanse and I want to share with you my results and how I felt throughout. I did the Standard Process cleanse, which is a company that makes supplements from their small organic farm in Wisconsin. I chose this particular program because the process is done with all organic foods and supplements, and it is the program we use in our office with patients. The cleansing program included eating whole, organic, and unprocessed foods, taking whole food supplements, and drinking lots of water.

The first 10 days consisted of fruits and vegetables with protein supplementation that I mixed in smoothies a couple times each day. On day 11, select proteins such as organic chicken and beef, cold-water fish, and wild game were added into my diet. I generally eat very healthy, but I felt like since the holidays, I had been eating more sweets and processed foods. I decided I needed to give my body a reset and give this cleanse a try.

I am not going to sugarcoat it and tell you the cleanse was easy, it was not! It requires a change in your mind set of food and it was difficult to find a 21-day time frame that I knew I would be able to stick to. Food revolves around all social activities in our lives, especially during this time in my life that is full of weddings, social gatherings, and baby showers. The cleanse requires you to plan ahead to what you will eat for the week and prepare food in time so you have things available as to not resort to eating out. The first couple days were rough, I felt fatigued and hungry and even experienced a few headaches. It was on day 4 of the cleanse that I started feeling “normal” and had a sense of mental clarity. From there on out, it was much easier and each day I felt better. I found it best that I did my grocery shopping and food prepping for the week on Sunday.

When protein was added on day 11, it was smooth sailing from there. By day 11, my body was used to the type of foods I was eating and protein was just a bonus. It is amazing how full protein makes you feel and until you deprive your body of it, you do not even realize it.

When I got to day 4, I found myself having more energy than normal throughout the day. Normally after eating lunch, I feel sleepy and have less energy at work, but when I was cleansing I actually felt surprisingly well and was more alert after lunch. I found my skin was brighter and I just had an overall better feeling as a whole. Not being able to consume certain foods made me realize how much “junk” I was eating just because it was available whether things brought into work or sweets I had around the house. Detoxing helped me to only eat when I was hungry rather out of boredom or if something looked appetizing. Of course there were those times I wished for unhealthy food that I couldn’t eat. However as I progressed through the program, the food that was off limits looked less and less appealing. When the cleanse was over, I definitely felt a lifestyle change and different mind set about food.

I have stuck to my healthy eating for the most part and have definitely cut back on the food I was eating prior to the cleanse. Although I did not do this for weight loss purposes, I lost 8 pounds over the 21 days.

If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse, there are many things to consider before doing one. Most importantly, if you are fighting an illness or if you are currently lacking major nutrients, you want to do consult with your doctor first. Also, make sure you pick a cleanse that will work with your lifestyle and your energy needs. Some of the more extreme cleanses require major calorie depletion, so just be careful and choose wisely.

Although I was consuming less calories than my previous eating habits, I was actually eating more foods that just contained less calories but had more energy and nutrient-dense qualities to them. When choosing a detoxification program, you also need to pick a timeframe in your busy schedule where you can actually stick to it. Again, I do not think cleansing is for everyone but I think it did me a world of good. There isn’t much evidence out there to prove exactly what a cleanse does or if it, in fact, “rids your body of toxins”, however it worked for me in what I wanted to get out of it and our patients who go through this process also have great testimonies. Lastly, just remember to pick something safe and that will be realistic to do!

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