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Healthy Living
Keys to a Successful Cleanse
By Mary Serphos
Certified Health Coach

It seems like cleanses are all the rage these days and are being advertised abundantly. Whether it’s a celebrity promoting a specific cleansing product on tv, or a neighbor who is raving about a recent cleanse and is now is running 5 miles a day and looking quite radiant, it’s hard to avoid this popular topic.


Why cleanse your body? Toxins, pesticides, chemicals in household cleaners and the use of plastics, teflon pans, and here in Guanacaste, the relentless dust, build up in the tissues and organs as well as the blood. While the job of the liver and kidneys is to cleanse the body, quite often, they are overloaded and taxed to capacity. The symptoms of an overtaxed and shall we say “uncleansed” body can lead to a loss of energy, weight gain, fatigue and brain fog to name a few.

Cleansing can include anything from a total fast or a juice cleanse to an elimination eating plan where certain foods and substances are eliminated for a set amount of time.

Individuals often ask how long a cleanse should last. Health Coaches and Nutritional Consultants often advise clients who are cleansing for the first time to begin a cleanse gradually as to not “shock” the body into starvation mode which can lead to binging and overeating after the cleanse is over and can last for months afterwards.

Those who eat a healthy plant based diet can reap the benefits of a two to three day cleanse while those who are ingesting processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats can cleanse for up to two weeks to get the maximum benefits. Again, it is best to cleanse with professional guidance and care, slowly eliminating foods and toxic substances over time.

If you’re unsure about participating in a full on cleanse, please see below for some easy “day to day” suggestions that will help cleanse the body.

Top 6 Cleansing Foods for Daily Detox

1.Fresh Organic Green Vegetables – Raw or cooked, greens like kale spinach, bok choy broccoli, arugula and fresh green herbs such as basil and cilantro have fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and chlorophyll all which flush the liver and boost energy.

2. Garlic – The antibacterials in garlic help clear out the digestive tract while the sulphur compounds, especially one called allicin, work to strengthen the immune system.

3. Whole Grains and ground flax seed – Quinoa, brown rice, ground flax seed and other unprocessed grains are excellent sources of soluble fiber and are packed with nutrients.

4. Cabbage – effective at reducing inflammation in the body, cabbage prepared raw or lightly cooked or made into “kim chee” aka raw sauerkraut. The probiotics in kim chee are great for boosting the “second brain” or digestive system.

5. Fresh Fruit – whole fruit or occasional one hundred percent pure fruit juices have vitamin C, and are loaded with antioxidants but it’s important not to overdo fruit and fruit juices because they are high in simple sugars. Also, those who have candida or yeast overgrowth in the body should avoid most fruit and eliminate fruit juices entirely while cleansing.

6. Lemon – lemons boost the enzymatic activity in the body and are packed with phytonutrients that help cleanse almost every organ in the body.

Remember while cleansing to drink lots of good quality water and eat or juice water based vegetables such as cucumber and celery. For an extra boost to your “daily detox” repertoire, add in a bit of spice such as ginger, cayenne, hot pepper and fresh hot sauce. If you’re not used to using spicy and hot condiments, add them to food in minimal amounts at first.


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Taking a pill when your head hurts, a couple more when you are suffering from heartburn or recommending a certain medication to someone just because "it worked wonders" for you. If this sounds all too familiar you may be one of those people who practice one (or all) of these habits and therefore might be interested in learning about the do's and don’ts when it comes to medications. More >


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