With the sun giving us a good show lately and day’s to the river beginning again, I am reminded how resilient mama nature is. Just like nature our bodies are boldly resilient. So much of what I have encountered this season in the yoga and wellness world has been about renewal and revitalization. Chances are most people have been exposed to some kind of cleanse or detox as a way to kick-start spring and begin again with a new season. And yet, it seems like I didn’t know what a cleanse truly was until this year. It’s the story of my naturopath, functional nutritionist, esthetician, and various yoga teachers in my community, all planting little seeds in my brain; it’s time to detox for real.
It’s true that when I saw the May I Be Frank documentary 2 years ago, the cleanse that Frank did totally sparked my interest but cleansing didn’t really take hold in my life, until now. The crunchy, hippie, yoga mecca of Portland has gotten a hold of my mind body and soul in ways that have infiltrated the very basic decision of: what should I eat? This year past year I went from eating whatever to going vegetarian to becoming vegan and gluten free. My body just stopped wanting animal byproducts, and my mind wasn’t cool with it either. This brings me to a turning point in my lifestyle as a much more socially conscious being, a shift into my first real cleanse.
I committed myself to a 3-day Juice Cleanse from Pure Simple Juice in partnership with a series of Colonics with Alls Well Ends Well. Just like my first power yoga class, and my first wheatgrass shot, I was nervous. This time I welcomed how challenged I felt even before it all started. I sat with that feeling of hesitation, that worry of missing food even if it was just for a couple days. I had never given my inner body the time to heal so directly. There was a bounding energy leading up to Day 1, so many stories had been created in my mind about what this cleanse would do.
Just as the breath and mind work in tandem, cleansing the body through juicing and colonics work naturally together. I had dozens of ah-ha moments throughout this cleanse that will no doubt serve as foundation for my next cleanse. The holistic dynamic that develops when partnering a juice cleanse with colonics is incredibly powerful, and fully supports the longitudinal benefit of seasonal cleanses. There are some serious life changing things that this type of comprehensive mind/body cleanse will do:
1. Increase your capacity for “Letting Go”
There are so many stories that the mind creates around food, the process of eating in itself seems to be what we center most of our daily plans around. What we do for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can involve a great deal of planning. Food is central, it’s what brings us together, it’s what comforts many of us even if we don’t realize it; the morning coffee, the sweet tooth, that craving. The dangerous thing about craving is that the desire for an external substance involves a high-level of attachment, and in many cases even addiction. Just with any kind of addiction, there is a difficult process in letting go of our relationship to certain foods.
The great thing about this juice cleanse was that I was able to clean my slate, clear my mind, and focus on the cleanse. I have food addictions for sure; coffee and sugar are my biggest challenges when it come to habits. The juices were so pure and fresh that although it was difficult at times, and I wanted to just eat to fill a void, there was no real void and the juices were giving me everything that I needed. It definitely helped that the ladies of Pure Simple Juice were sending me inspirational messages each day of my cleanse that validated my feelings and helped me to constantly visualize my intention. The support was there for me to let go, stay with my yoga practice, and observe everything along the way.
2. Make your liver super happy
I learned so much from my colonics visits, but the one fact that sticks out to me most involves the liver, the beautiful warrior liver, always in constant cleanse mode. Jill at Alls Well Ends Well told me that as our bodies are bombarded with loads of toxins every day, and the liver simply can’t process it all. So in order to protect the toxins from getting to our organs the liver send them away to live on fat cells. So toxins are just squatting in our bodies (shudder). The good news is the liver get’s to take a break from full-time defense mode when we cleanse. My liver got some serious R&R, was able to replenish, and I felt the difference almost immediately.
The juice cleanse was the perfect pairing to detox; Colonics is to Juice Cleanse, as Asana is to Meditation. The 3-Day Juice Cleanse that I did flushed my entire digestive system and eliminated food that had been taxing my liver (and other areas like the pancreas, kidneys, and thyroid). This gave me more time to repair the damage that had been done and restore balance.
3. Increase very essential knowledge of ones body
One of the beautiful things about choosing to detox my body, took me back to Anatomy and Physiology 101, learning the basics of the digestive tract. Many parts and organs of the body are recruited through the process of digestion; the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreas, liver, and spleen. We rely on all of these organs to function well so that we can properly break down food, absorb nutrients, kill off harmful bacteria, and eliminate waste. The body really is an AMAZING thing!
Now how much attention do you give to your colon? I was talking to a yoga friend of mine after his class about releasing patterns of tension that we hold in our bodies during practice. He pointed out that most of us are engaging our colon without even realizing, and sure enough he was right! Now when I am scanning my body for where I am holding tension on or off my yoga matt, I bring attention to my colon. Sounds weird, but when you’re not relaxed it’s the first thing to tense up.
From the detox perspective: “The colon refers to the last five feet of the digestive tract and while its primary job is to eliminate waste and toxins from the body, it is also where we absorb electrolytes, vitamin k and water.” I’m definitely getting to know this part of my body as a major pillar for internal and external balance.
My hydro therapist recommended a book by Mary Roach called Gulp: Adventures of the Alimentary Canal. on getting to know the power of our colon health. I hope to get my hands on a copy soon. I really can’t sensor myself when it come to these things anymore, it is just too important!
4. Recognize personal triggers with food
As I went throughout my day drinking my juices I would have many cravings, feelings of hunger, longing for food. I enjoy eating. As a Vegan who is also gluten-free it didn’t seem like I had to eliminate much in preparation for this cleanse, so I may have gotten off a bit easy on that end. However my trigger was with the process of eating, the comfort that it brings, the ritual that it creates. All I could do was witness everyone around me eating at will, fix food for my son as normal, and sit with my triggers. I was drawn to the nut milk at the end of the day, and would drink it slowly, finding the deepest nourishment there. I kept reminding myself of my intention. Pure Simple Juice would send me daily emails creating a support throughout the cleanse as well!
5. Serve as a bear hug for your mind/body from the inside-out!
It really is that comforting feeling of: “this is good for me, this is what I need.” Like many people that have gone through a cleanse I have experienced some great benefits; increased energy, more regular eliminations, reduced sugar cravings, improved digestion, less gas and bloating, clearer skin, and what feels like a much stronger immune system. I am constantly learning from what I went through on this cleanse. So much came up, mainly a refreshed interest in what’s really healthy for my body constitution. This is the first of many cleanses to come and I am SO excited to learn more.
So what’s next?
In discussing my current diet with my hydro therapist, she mentioned Replenish PDX and Phytofoods as helpful resources in the world of nutrition. It just so happens that these two organizations are collaborating on a cleanse! I’m excited to take part in their TrulyFood Spring Cleanse this May, hosted by both Andrea Nakayama of Replenish PDX, and Andrea Livingston of Phytofoods. This 7-day food cleanse should be a rad supplement to my most recent cleanse as it will help to identify food sensitivities and further activate energy and metabolism.
A nourishment activist I have been totally connecting with lately has a plant empowered approach to food, and if you drink green juice you likely know who I am talking about, the amazing Kris Carr. Not only does this woman have a beautiful story about how she came to her own wellness revolution, she has some amazing books! I am nose deep in Crazy, Sexy, Kitchen right now and plan to cook my way through it, it’s the best way to learn right? Kris also has some extremely helpful featured videos and blogs that focus on specific areas of health like high-fiber foods, adrenal fatigue, and tips on how to stay well while traveling.
I have also been tapping into the brilliance and wisdom of a friend and local yogi leader making big moves in the world of sprouting, growing and fermenting at home. Jean-Pierre Parent is the creator of SOMA Evolutionary Refreshment, the labor of love from his company Kitchen Sink Farming. SOMA is a living blend of awakened elixirs: Green and White Kombucha,Jun, Fresh-Pressed Crystal-Kefired Juices, Cider Vinegar, and Sprouted Grain-Fermented Water. It’s super cleansing, immunity boosting, digestive fire stoking & spirit refreshing, SOMA is vibrating with life force. I know because I have a jug of the Cherry Cacao in my fridge, it’s been there for one day, and it’s half gone. I was also allowed some boocha to supplement my juicing during my cleanse which SOMA was perfect for.