Why do people cleanse?

The liver is made to cleanse the body of toxins. However, in our society, we eat, drink, and breathe more toxins than it is possible for the average person’s liver to purify fast enough. It is especially difficult for the body to eliminate toxins when we are overstressed, over-exhausted, and under-exercised.

Symptoms and ailments that may be improved:

• Fatigue
• Insomnia
• Digestive problems
• Allergies and sinus issues
• Brain fog
• Body ache
• Emotional problems

Preparing for a cleanse:

Talk to a medical professional before starting a cleanse or detox program. Also note that these are intended to be cleanses, not weight-loss plans.
Your body has to be at a certain level of health before you are ready to cleanse. Think of it like this: have you ever had someone ask if they could help when they saw you struggling with too many bags of groceries? And have you ever been so overwhelmed that you can’t even decide which bags to give the helpful person, feeling like it’s easier just to hold onto everything yourself? Similarly, when your body is unhealthy, it will hold onto all nutrients—and toxins—during the cleanse, which can make you feel ill.

Before you start the cleanse, preparing your body can take as little as one week or as long as a month or more depending on your current health and nutritional status. For example, if you have had a chronic illness, you will need longer to prepare your body for a cleanse.

To prepare for a cleanse, you will need to drink less alcohol, stop eating fast food, eliminate fried or processed foods, limit your sugar intake, and cut out all artificial sweeteners. You may continue to eat healthy meats, fish, and sprouted or whole grains such as millet, quinoa, and rice.

Picking the right cleanse for you:

So many choices are available in stores and on the internet; you’re certain to find one that fits your budget and lifestyle.
Herbal cleanses and supplements: Nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so at this point a company can write the word “cleanse” on any product they are trying to sell. For that reason, I do not recommend buying just any cleanse product. The only cleanse I recommend is Heel’s Bodyanew (which used to be Heel-x or Detox Kit). This inexpensive product, which is available in my office, is a gentle 30-day cleanse that you take as drops in your water while eating a healthy diet. This is the easiest detox for a new cleanser or someone with a busy schedule; you can even do it while travelling.

The duration of an herbal or supplement-based cleanse will vary depending on which supplement you choose.

Whole-food based:

With this type of cleanse, you provide your body with the most nutritious foods possible while cutting out all junk food. You can easily find delicious recipes for meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, whole or sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, oils, and vinegars, which will make it much easier to eliminate dairy, gluten, sugar, and processed foods from your diet. Maya, owner of A Recipe 4 Wellness, is a great resource for whole-food based cleanses. If you are looking to visit a spa to support your whole-food based cleanse, try Canyon Ranch. I recommend doing this cleanse for 5-90 days.

Raw food:

Eat a diet of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds: 1/3 of the diet should be leafy greens, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 a mixture of nuts, seeds, and fruit. I find this cleanse fun because there are lots of recipes for raw foods like juices, sushi, and even pizza and crackers. Raw Food Recipes and Rawmazing both have great recipes to try. I also find this type of cleanse pretty easy because I can go to restaurants and simply explain to the chef that I am a “raw foodist”; they have made great dishes for me. In St. Louis, PuraVegan and guarantee great raw meals; PuraVegan even has a cleanse option available for you. If you are looking to participate in a program, Hippocrates Oasis Spa can accommodate your needs. The raw food cleanse is recommended for 3-21 days.


Liquid cleanses can be done with any whole-food raw juices, or you can use Stanley Burrough’s Master Cleanse recipe of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. We Care Spa is a liquid cleanse spa. You can also find delivery options for juice cleanses at The Nashville Juice. Liquid cleanses are recommended for 3-10 days.


I never recommend a water-only cleanse. I believe that cleansing requires caloric support and that water cleanses are too hard on the body.