Spring seems to motivate cleansing. From Spring cleaning the house to clearing out the garden, the feeling of renewal is in the air. Spring is also a great time to cleansing our bodies, unloading the heavy feelings of winter.

Following a cleanse isn’t necessarily about losing those stubborn holiday pounds, it’s about cleansing out toxins and other nasties stored in our bodies that build up every day. Weight loss is a good side effect of following a cleansing program, but the benefit really is all about better overall health.

Last week, I had a chance to interview with Brenda Watson N.D., C.N.C., founder of Renew Life, who says “cleansing is a proactive approach to doing something before it (disease) happens." (Check it out: RenewLife.ca is currently promoting their online cleanse support network and mobile app).

With a known 80,000 chemicals in our environmental it’s hard to stay internally clean. They invade our body via the skin from skin care products, through the digestive system from processed food and pesticides, and pollution from breathing. They are then stored in fat cells.

Watson says that according to the The Environmental Working Group, every body has an average of 79 environment-based chemicals. I’d like to think that I don’t store that much, but Watson explained that if we don’t see it or feel it, we don’t give it much thought.

We cleanse so that stored chemicals or toxins can escape from our bodies, but it’s essential to support the body’s channels of elimination—liver, lungs, skin, kidney, bowels and blood stream— to make it happen.

Been complaining about headaches, skin rashes or acne, stiffness or joint pain lately? How about irritable bowel syndrome (constipation and diarrhea), GERD, acid reflux, infertility, arthritis or inflammation? All of these symptoms may improve after you follow a cleanse.

How does it work?

Elimination and detoxification happens every day, but nutritional deficiencies, constipation, a lack of water and fibre slow that process down considerably. To detoxify, it takes minerals, vitamins, fibre and specific co-factors for the liver to carry out the task of breaking down and neutralizing old hormones, toxins and waste products. When the liver has done its job, the waste filters into the digestive system ready to move through the intestines and exit the body.

A diet lacking in fibre and water (constipation) may halt this process, and those broken-down old hormones, toxins and waste products re-absorb into the blood stream where they are more harmful than the first time through.

How to Start A Cleanse

Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten, eggs, red meat, all processed or packaged foods typically starts a cleanse. Eating protein; fish, chicken, quinoa, and lentils, nuts and seeds combined with green leafy vegetables, some fruit like berries and apples make up your daily intake.

Smoothies, soup and fresh juice are also typical during a cleanse. A diet-only cleanse is possible, but you'll have better results if you add in specific herbs and vitamins to support those important elimination channels.

Ask for help from a nutritionist or naturopath and always speak with your doctor about any pre-existing conditions or prescription drugs before embarking on a cleanse.

Will you give it a try?

Cleansing Brown Rice Bowl
Serves 2

2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
3 kale leaves, stems removed and torn
1 cup spinach leaves, washed and torn
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 red or yellow pepper, de-seeded and diced
1/4 English cucumber, diced
handful cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 avocado
1 garlic clove, crushed
juice of 1 lemon or lime
3 - 4 tbsp olive oil
pinch of sea salt

Combine rice and vegetables in a salad bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a blender and pour over salad. Enjoy with tall glass of water with fresh mint and lemon. Enjoy!

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