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Which is the best springtime cleanse for you?

My husband and I recently began monthly “healthy habit” challenges to establish certain wellness practices that we wanted a more regular part of our lives.  Each month, we decide on a practice, set up a simple daily habit and hold each other accountable to do it every day for a full month.

Earlier this month, we were both getting the springtime itch to do a whole-foods cleanse.  But since we were having such success with the month-long model, we decided to weave cleansing into our healthy habit for May.  I reflected on these two models of cleansing and thought I’d share a little insight as to why you may choose one over the other.

Why Choose a Short-Term, Whole-Foods Cleanse

The benefit of a short term cleanse (which generally lasts between 3-7 days) is that you focus on detoxing your body through a high intake of cleansing foods over a short period of time.  It’s perfect when you need an “about face” in terms of how you’ve been eating.  A nourishing cleanse breaks the pattern of poor eating in a swift and powerful way.

Because it is just a few days, it is often not long enough to trigger a lot of psychological cravings around the foods you are avoiding.  A short-term whole-foods cleanse is a great kick start for seasonal transitions, weight loss plateaus, or times when you feel in a rut with poor food choices.

Why Choose a Month-Long Healthy Eating Challenge

A month-long healthy eating challenge is a different way to support your vibrant living goals.  Instead of crafting exactly what you will eat over a small stretch of days, you’ll focus on just one area of your diet you want to bring in and re-establish healthy habits around.

Without a doubt, the key to our month-long challenges have been their simplicity.  So when I began looking through my cleanse course material, I decided the best habit we could establish for the month was simply to increase the amount of fresh produce we ate each day.

To keep this as simple as possible, we decided our daily goal was 8 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Now, personally, I wanted to create qualifiers to keep me in line, so I added, for myself, that I would emphasize fruits and vegetables which were excellent cleansers by nature and particularly good foods for the springtime.

The month-long challenge is a great choice if your priority is to bring a specific healthy eating practice into your life and give it enough time to establish firmly into your daily habits.

What springtime cleanse is right for you?
Photo by mhaller1979

Your Body Remembers How Good Healthy Food Feels!

I have been floored by how different I already feel only 7 days into this challenge.  Of course,  I shouldn’t be so surprised- I know how much a diet high in fruits and vegetables increases your feelings of calm, clarity and energy…but my body had forgotten.  Kind of like exercise.  You know in your head it is good for you, but you get powerfully reminded of just how good when you actually get out there and do it!

Tap Into the Power of “Crowding it Out” to Avoid Cravings

Many of us have a long history of dieting, and as soon as we begin to think we are restricting our food choices all sorts of psychological alarms start to go off.

With a month-long challenge the only focus is getting your quota of fresh fruits and veggies in everyday (you are not focusing on what you can’t eat at all).  In this way, you begin to experience the power of “crowding it out”- where all the good stuff that you are bringing in really does leave very little room for the junk.

Either way, cleansing foods are a fantastic way to usher in the spring and get you back into feeling more vitality and well-being- whether they come in a short-term or month-long model.

On May 20 I’ll be teaching a free webinar called The Ultimate Road Map to Your Whole Body-Whole Life Cleanse.  If you are interested in learning a whole new way to think about the power of cleansing in your life, this would be a great webinar to attend.  It’s free to sign up, just click here.

Have you ever tried a cleanse? Tell us about it, the good, bad or the ugly!

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  1. Jennifer

    Thanks for this discussion, Lisa. I have been wanting to do a cleanse for quite sometime now, but, due to pregnancy and nursing, that idea was shelved. This approach, however, sounds so manageable for the entire family. I love the idea of focusing on x amt of servings of fruits/vegs as opposed to concentrating on restriction. And the webinar sounds like a great opportunity to learn a bit more about holistic cleansing; I just signed up for it! Thanks for offering such useful resources.

  2. HeatherDB

    I too would love to do a cleanse. I did one with taking pills each morning and night and limiting my foods but felt nothing! Do you have any suggested menu plans. I can look at all your ideas but need a plan to somewhat follow or work with.

  3. cindy

    your post is nicely timed! I am embarking on a short-term cleanse for the reasons you mentioned. I need an about face.

    But establishing good habits using a one month focus is excellent. Once I finish my cleanse, I think I will begin a series of one-month focus on good health practices.

  4. Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    Good timing, Lisa :). I was just thinking about doing a juice fast/cleanse…will probably wait till I’m done nursing but marking this article for later!

  5. Sarah @ Fit Family Together

    I love the idea of crowding out the bad stuff. Now that our first crop of spring greens is harvestable we’ve been eating lots of salad. I’ve been trying to eat less carbs and the more I eat all these good veggies, the less room I have for anything else. It’s a great way to turn the deprivation model of dieting on its head!

  6. Susan

    This post is great timing for me. I’m getting ready to do a cleanse I’ve actually never thought of doing one for an entire month. I’ve done both 7 day and 10 day but I can understand your reasoning for doing it for a month. I think I’m definitely going to rethink my strategy.

  7. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    I have never done a cleanse, Lisa, mostly because I am wary of elimination diets, and as I feel we eat pretty healthy on a day to day basis.

    However, as spring produce begins to come into season, we are juicing a lot more and that feels great!

  8. Melissa

    I have been doing a spring detox every May/June for the last two years. I started with a month of raw food – mostly green smoothies – and lost 20 pounds in that month! I also discovered that I am gluten-intolerant as a result, so I’ve been able to pretty much maintain that weight loss (first time in my life EVER that I haven’t gained all the weight back). Last year, I did the Master Cleanse for 14 days. That was a hard one, but well worth it. Last month, I just completed a two-week juice/raw food cleanse by the Juice Lady (Cherie Calbom) and lost my winter ” tire” that accumulated this past winter season. The juicing has been my favorite cleanse, by far. In her book “The Turbo Diet”, Calbom gives great alternatives to processed foods and delectable juice recipes; I really enjoyed it! The important thing, however, no matter what cleanse you do, is to make a decision before the cleanse ends about how you will maintain a whole-foods diet afterwards. Otherwise, it can be more harmful than helpful if you just go back to your old way of eating…

  9. Lana Wilkens

    my husband and i have done a couple of juice cleanses and a smoothie one (3 days was the shortest and 2 weeks was the longest). they were tough at first, but we found our favorites and that helped. i loved how clean my body felt.
    we also tried doing raw foods (90%) for 3 months and that really changed cravings and taste bud expectation like you talked about. overall, i loved that too.

    funny side note: we got pregnant the month after each cleanse! i guess my body really responds to this healthy thing. 🙂

    • Mel

      I also got pregnant after my first cleanse! I actually recommend cleanses for women who are having trouble getting pregnant…infertility is often a result of our bodies not being able to function properly because of troublesome food and/or food allergies.

  10. Gaz

    I also like to do a cleanse however the best time for me where I live is going into summer months get rid of all the winter blues. So do a liver, kidney detox and then do a gall bladder cleanse as I suffer with gall stones > I must be honest I feel awful for the week that follows but after that I feel like a brand new person with loads of energy and ready for the summer months.

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