My attitude toward cleansing has not always been entirely positive. Juice vs. food. Massive amounts of hunger. Basically an exercise in punishment and deprivation. No thanks.
What caused the change in my mindset? Knowledge and experience! Once I got into a routine of clean eating and working out, I realized that it actually felt really good and carried over into all areas of my life. If I got off track, I could feel it via lethargy (mental and physical), less strength and a loss of appreciation for food. Of course getting off track is normal. Life is full of ups and downs and that includes our health as well. What I have found is that doing short cleanses a few times a year is an excellent way to just nudge this ship back on the right track.
I also have learned that there are many entirely reasonable food-based cleanses out there. Meaning..you can actually EAT! Through trying some of them, I've learned just how important it is to stay in tune with my body.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of doing a cleanse for me is regaining a sense of mindfulness around food and what I'm putting into my body. When I get off track, it usually means that my portions are increasing and I'm "picking" at my kids' foods without even realizing it. Essentially a lot of eating without thinking and most certainly not as an experience or something to be enjoyed.
Cleansing really helps me get back into that state where I can actually TASTE my food, where I'm making mindful choices, and where I can enjoy what I'm making. That appreciation for food is something that I find inspiring and invigorating. It carries over into my daily life. If I can be mindful about my health, I can bring that effort to all of my personal interactions.
Of course cleanses just make me FEEL better. Getting back that mental clarity and consistent energy without having to down countless caffeinated drinks is priceless. Everything becomes easier - from running after my 3 boys, to my workouts, to just getting things done around the house. Feeling cloudy is a state that I long didn't really understand I could get out of, and I really appreciate cleanses as a way to do just that, when I've gotten off balance with my nutrition.
Finally, I like to use cleansing as an excuse to slow down. I'm just that kind of gal that really has a hard time doing this. I often feel guilty slowing down and frankly it's just not in my nature! This isn't always a good thing, as I end up getting burned out. Cleanses are a time for me to stop the vigorous exercise, get back to journaling and really thinking about where I am in life, napping, just enjoying a book or Netflix. I know this isn't always possible during daily life, but I do try to integrate these practices as much as I can, even if it's just for a few minutes at a time.
There are many different options in terms of cleanses currently on the market. Try not to pre-judge, do your research, and you may be surprised to see how many are available that might suit you and give you a much needed re-boot! They often are only for 3-5 days too which is NOT a long amount of time. In sum, any efforts we make to try to keep out bodies in balance are good ones!
I'll do another post here soon on the cleanses I have done, how I've felt during them, and my favorites. Comment below if you have any that you love and want to share!