I believe in cleansing as a lifestyle. It’s not a few days of good choices or a 10-day vacation into clean eating. When I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 32, it was a major wake-up call. I was living the fast-paced fantasy: I worked at a job fueled by stress and caffeine and expensive restaurant dinners. Exercise was a luxury I laughed about, sleep was for those who didn’t care about moving up the ladder. I couldn’t be bothered; I was going to conquer the world.
My cancer diagnosis forced me to take responsibility for everything in my life. In my most
honest moment, I couldn’t blame my disease on anyone or anything but myself. I had lost control of my life and it was time to reclaim it. Beating this disease wasn’t just about juicing or taking a few yoga classes; it was a total commitment to getting the toxins out and the goodness in – in every area of my life.
I learned the hard way that a cleansed life meant getting rid of everything toxic: the food, the relationships, the job, the stress, the habits, the thought patterns. These days, especially in LA, cleansing is very accessible but sometimes we think miracles can happen from a couple days of juicing. Truth is, you have to be ready to commit to cleansing your insides and outsides.
When you are ready, your life can and will change. Almost instantly you will feel lighter and more vibrant. You will feel like you did when you were a child without a care in the world. Yes, it’s possible.
Cleansing your life of toxic food is an amazing place to start. You don’t have to be scared of taking this step. I’ve shared my top five secrets to a successful cleanse. If you can truly commit to a new lifestyle, getting the physical toxins out will kick-start you into total life-changing bliss.
Here are my top 5 tips about cleansing:
1. Your mind is unbelievably powerful.
In yoga, one of my teachers always encourages the class to see the opportunity in the openings before us, whether we’re looking at the space between our toes or the lifestyle decisions we make every day. No matter how big or small – awareness is crucial. If you understand and affirm the choices you make and remind yourself that the cleansing foods and juices you are consuming have massive benefits, your mind will help your body process that.
A positive attitude is everything when it comes to cleansing. Don’t hate on that green juice – love it for all its nutrients, be grateful that you can have green juice when others have nothing. Your body will feel totally awakened.
2. Relax and breathe.
It’s the old story – someone tells you not to think about elephants and what’s the first thing you think about? Yep, elephants. I know that saying “do not stress” may make you focus on all the stress you’re feeling, but it’s still important for me to say. Yes, eliminating stress is easier said than done, but stress weakens your immune system and leads to insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, disease, depression and so much more.
Set 20 minutes aside each day to meditate, relax and just let go of the stressors around you. For this brief time, try not to think of the stress-inducing events, people or things in your life. You cannot control the things that happen to you but you can control how you respond. This takes a while to master, but once you do, it can truly change your life.
Remember this old Zen saying: “you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
3. Sleep, sleep, sleep
Sleep is one of the most, if not the most, important aspects of a clean, healthy lifestyle. Our body is able to heal and restore itself during a good sleep. During this time our brain also organizes and stores information from the day, helping you process stressful events more efficiently.
If you do it right, it may not feel like it, but cleansing is hard work. It requires energy. You cannot do it without at least eight solid hours of sleep each night. This should be a daily habit. Make time for it now or you will pay for it later.
4. Drink a lot of water.
I know you know how important drinking water is, but during cleansing it is more than important: it is crucial. When your body cleanses, it pushes toxins into the bloodstream. The more water you drink, the faster the toxins are pushed out. And that’s the point of cleansing, isn’t it?
Make sure your water is purified (you don’t want to use toxins to push toxins out, right?) and drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day.
And don’t forget, what you drink from is just as important as what you drink. Buy a stainless steel or glass bottle to refill during the day.
5. Write it down.
Part of cleansing is achieving a level of awareness with your body that you lost beneath piles of toxins. The fastest way to get back your body intuition is to pay attention and recognize patterns. Keeping a journal will help you be able to reflect on how you really felt as opposed to how you remember feeling. The little details that make up the magic will be there, documented.
I recommend not only writing down specifically “I ate ____ and I felt _____” but also to keep a gratitude journal. Be grateful for your cleansing journey, give thanks for all the nutrient dense goodness you are giving your body and feel empowered in the choice you made for a better life today.
On top of a gratitude journal, you can also write down a few things you release each day. Give yourself permission to let go of the things holding you down. A cleansed body and mind are free of all toxic thoughts, people and situations.
I hope these tips make you feel armed and ready to cleanse your body and life. You not only have the power to do it, you deserve to do it.
Elissa Goodman is a holistic nutritionist and cleanse expert living and working in Los Angeles. She found that food and self-love was the best medicine when she cured herself of Hodgkins Lymphoma by changing what she ate and taking care of herself with some de-stressing and soul searching.