Just What Exactly is a Cleanse? (and why you should do one)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you’re aware of something called the April Cleanse at Asheville Family Fitness. All month long, I’ve been talking about cleanses and detox diets, and why right now is the best time of year to do one.

In case you’ve missed out on getting the info in person, here’s a brief synopsis of why you should cleanse periodically, how the April Cleanse works, and how you can participate.

Why do a Cleanse?

Your body, as you know, is capable of doing all manner of things without your having any clue how or why. Your heart pumps and recirculates blood all over your body, all day and all night, no matter what you do, until you die. When you exercise, your body sweats to keep itself cool. And so on.

One of these automatic functions is detoxification. Throughout the day, you ABSORB. You absorb nutrients from your food and beverages. You absorb oxygen from the air. You absorb impact when your feet hit the ground and you absorb the negative or positive energy going on at your workplace.

All day (and night) long, your body is busy sorting through all this. Some things, it needs – nutrients from food, oxygen from air. But other things, not so much – air pollution from cleaning chemicals, car exhaust, and cigarette smoke. Residual pesticides on produce, processed sugar and carbohydrates, and the other preservatives and additives in processed food. Stress.

These things are what we refer to as toxins. Part of your body’s job – your liver, colon, kidneys, skin and lungs in particular – is to get the toxins out of your bloodstream – through urine, bowel movements, exhalation, and sweat – so they don’t cause problems.

So far, so good, right? Well……

Not really. Our modern lifestyles are chock full of toxins from processed food, alcohol, sugar, household cleaners, and the recirculated air most of us breathe for 40 hours/week. And stress – we are SO stressed out in the 21st century. Underslept, overstimulated, and extremely busy. Our body’s natural detoxification system simply can’t handle all that. So it resorts to plan B.

When your body’s systems can’t handle the toxic load, it shuts the toxins away in mucous and fat cells, where they can’t cause any trouble. This keeps them out of your bloodstream, which is a good thing. The mucous lines your intestinal walls and builds up over time, slowing down your digestion and further inhibiting elimination. Which is a bad thing. This creates even more leftover toxins that can’t get out through their normal means (pooping, to be exact) and now you have a classic vicious cycle.

For an extensive list of the potential symptoms of toxicity, click here.

The beauty of a cleanse – when it’s done properly – is that it just allows the body to do what it already wants and knows how to do. During a cleanse, you’ll eliminate certain foods from the diet – the ones that create the biggest challenge for your digestive system – thus giving your body a break from the constant influx of toxins. Simultaneously, you’ll reduce the total amount of food you eat in a day, giving the digestive system a rest and freeing up some much-needed energy. Armed with this extra energy, and granted a reprieve from the toxic overload, your body is free to shed the toxins it’s stored in your mucous and fat cells – everybody out!

The most common benefits of a short dietary cleanse are:

  • More energy (a lot more)
  • Less bloating, gas, constipation, and other digestive issues
  • Better sleep
  • Glowing, clear skin
  • Calmer emotions and clearer mental focus

So how does the April Cleanse work?

I’ve created a plan based on the framework of CLEAN, by Dr. Alejandro Junger. Working within the parameters of an elimination diet, you’ll begin with a week of transition and preparation. Weeks Two and Three will be the cleanse itself, which consists of smoothies and shakes for breakfast, solid food for lunch, and soup or another smoothie for dinner. Week Four is another transition week, to help you ease out of the cleanse and return to the “real world,” without undoing all the progress you’ve made.

All the meals are made from real food, and you won’t have to purchase any expensive supplements or products. You’ll also have complete meal plans and recipes for every day of the cleanse, so all you have to do is make the food. (Also, I’ve set it up so you won’t have to cook more than two or three different meals in a given week.)

There is enough flexibility in the plan to allow for changes in the daily menu – if you’d rather eat solid food than smoothies, or create your own recipes, that’s fine, as long as you adhere to the elimination diet.

The group program starts on Tuesday, April 2nd, and will meet every Tuesday evening throughout the month of April. If you can’t make the live sessions, there is a virtual option.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up at the fitness desk next time you’re in the gym. Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll get three handouts outlining the diet, so you can start mentally preparing. The sooner you register, the more time you’ll have to get ready! There are three pricing options:

  • Individual  $59
  • Couple  $70
  • Virtual  $39*

*The virtual option is for those who can’t make the Tuesday evening sessions, or prefer to cleanse on their own schedule. You’ll still receive all the information and necessary material; you’ll just be a little more ‘on your own’ than the rest of the group.

If you have questions, you can contact me directly here.

Sam, Asheville Family Fitness Holistic Health Coach & Fitness Trainer

Happy Spring Cleaning!


Written by Damon

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