Ah, springtime. The season of renewal. At this time of year, with spring cleaning on the brain, lots of people start talking about cleansing, detoxing, and lightening up for the warmer months. I’m sure you’ve been hearing about cleanses everywhere, and you can’t help but wonder — “should I do a cleanse?”
I’ve had the same conversation with one of my closest friends multiple times. I describe the benefits (mental, physical, spiritual) I’ve experienced from doing cleanses from time to time. She mentions that she hates feeling deprived and can’t imagine not being able to eat certain foods. I tell her that when I go on a cleanse, I don’t feel deprived – I feel like I’m giving myself a gift. She says she gets the same benefits from eating everything in moderation and sticking to a clean diet. We go back and forth this way (playfully, of course) and we always end up at the same conclusion: we’re both intelligent women…so…it must be that cleanses aren’t for everybody.
By the way, although my friend and I are usually discussing juice cleanses when we have this conversation, you can apply this article to any type of cleanse/detox/diet program.
If you’re wondering whether or not a cleanse is for you, I’ll tell you one thing — the answer I’m about to give you doesn’t have anything to do with your current physical state (if you’re not sure if you’re physically OK to do a cleanse, ask your doctor). This has everything to do with your cleansing mindset.
When I first heard about cleansing, I immediately felt excited, interested and eager to learn more. I wanted to learn about the health benefits, read other people’s experiences, and experiment with how I would feel if I tried a cleanse. It was like a science experiment to me. I couldn’t wait to see it through to the end and check out the results so I could share my experience with others. (Read about my 10 day juice cleanse here)
Of course, being in the nutrition field I’ve met countless other people who get just as psyched up on cleansing as I do. Those people are often the same ones who are quick to try new ways of eating as experiments – maybe they’ve tried vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, gluten-free, paleo, raw…you name it, they’re game to try it, just to see what happens. That kind of challenge thrills them. And if they say they’re going to do a 30 day trial, you bet they don’t even think about quitting halfway through. Those people are reading this right now, nodding and thinking “yes! I totally do that!”
On the other hand – I’ve also had many conversations with people who feel skeptical about cleansing or any type of eating that restricts a certain kind of food. People that say “I would be MISERABLE on a cleanse” or “I just don’t understand how vegans do it — I could never give up cheese, for any amount of time!” The thought of trying a diet that cuts out anything – meat, sugar, grains, dairy, cooked food, whatever — makes them want to run for the hills. NOPE! Not even a second thought. Do you relate? Your motto is “everything in moderation” and you like it that way.
So here’s the deal.
I am a firm believer that if you go into something with the mindset that it’s going to suck, you’re going to hate it and be miserable…that will be your experience. If you are the opposite of excited when you think about a cleansing program, don’t do it. Eat the way that makes you happy, makes you feel good, makes you feel healthy and clean and alive. You don’t have to go on a cleanse, ever, in order to be a healthy person (although for some health problems, cleanses can be super healing).
If you got excited when I mentioned cleanses, you get giddy with the idea of a healthy challenge, you’re totally cool with cutting out certain types of food, and you’re thinking “where do I sign up?” — well then I say…your cleanse experience will probably feel MUCH more enjoyable!
My point is, your mindset when it comes to cleansing (or any activity in life, really) is going to really make or break your experience. So do what feels exciting to you! Why do something if you’re not totally amped up about it? Seriously.
Now, doesn’t that take a little bit of the pressure off for you cleanse skeptics? You don’t have to do a cleanse! Whew! Go back to living and eating happily and forget cleanses ever existed.
On the other hand, if you’re ready for some cleansing action…check out these links:
Remember – there’s no one diet that’s right for everyone. You’re a highly intuitive creature. What feels right to you?
*Note — clearly, I didn’t focus on the physical aspects of cleansing here at all. If you have a question about whether or not it’s physically healthy for you to embark on a cleanse, talk to your doctor. There are obviously lots of different factors besides mindset that go into cleansing, but this is a topic I felt moved to share.
So which category do you fall into? Do you get psyched about trying things like cleanses, or does it feel too extreme to you? Either mindset is totally welcome here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts!