Choosing the Right Cleanse


By , On , In General, Nutrition

Looking to start the change of seasons with a cleanse?  Which is the right one for you?

The task of doing a cleanse might seem overwhelming, especially for the first time, never mind choosing the right method to follow.  They can all look quite different and rather confusing. Yet, the basic principle is always the same: less toxins in and more toxins out. Hence, I’m simplifying some popular cleanses, to help navigate your next steps.  

Also, it may go without saying, but all of these cleansing also require ample hydration. Water is a very important requirement in a cleanse, be sure to get your approx. 1.5-2L per day no matter what you choose!

1) Raw food cleanse

  • Details: eating raw foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, for 7-14 days.  
  • Ideally choosing organic, non-GMO options
  • Food is not restricted just food choices limited to uncooked and raw.
  • Drink plenty of water, herbal teas, or freshly made juices.
  • Best for: those new to cleansing, spring time, and those with busier schedules

2) Juice Cleanse

  • Details: consuming 5-6 12-16 oz. freshly juiced vegetables and fruit juices
  • Juices should be consumed approx. every 3 hours
  • Juice exclusively for anywhere from 1-7 days (longer should be supervised by your physician and determined appropriate)
  • Aim for more vegetables than fruits (adding only 1 apple or pear to the juice for flavour)
  • Choose several different colors in the day: green, orange, red, or purple juices for a variety of nutrients and antioxidants
  • Add ginger, garlic or turmeric for an extra punch
  • Best for: spring/summer, seasoned cleansers, people with low energy and immune function to cancer
  • Avoid: if diabetic or have trouble regulating blood sugars, those with medications that may be effected by reduced food intake
  • Check out RebootwithJoe for recipes
  • Beneficial to start and finish the cleanse with a raw food diet as above to adjust stomach to change

3) Basic Cleansing diet

  • Details: clean-eating diet (organic and non-GMO); avoiding top allergens and inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, eggs, nightshades (tomatoes/potatoes/eggplant/peppers), coffee, cane sugar, citrus fruits, shellfish, red meats, pork, alcohol, processed foods, and food additives, processed oils (like canola, peanut, or soy oils)
  • Consume fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, turkey, chicken, wild fish, gluten free whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat), herbs, spices, natural sweeteners (dates, honey, maple syrup)
  • Duration: 7-21 days (the longer the more beneficial)
  • You do not restrict the amounts of foods your are eating
  • All food should be prepared as fresh as possible, with care in preparation not to fry, BBQ, or boil to maintain as much nutrition from the food as possible.
  • Best for: those new to cleansing, those with digestive or inflammatory issues, 
  • Kids can also participate in this clean eating. Be sure to never restrict how much they are eating; however, they should eat when hungry and regularly.

4) Supplement programs

  • Details: Detox meal replacement shakes (ie Mediclear®or Ultraclear®)   or supplement regimes (like Wild Rose® cleanse or milk thistle capsules) while consuming a basic cleansing diet. Typically some meals are replaced with meal replacement shakes and supplements are added to support liver, colon, kidney and lymphatics
  • Duration: 7-21 days
  • Best for: those wanting extra liver support, like those with multiple chemical sensitivities or skin issues or hormonal imbalances, those with a busy schedule that can’t always meal prep
  • Avoid: ensure if there is underlying chronic disease, liver disease, or multiple medications you consult with a Naturopath or health practitioner prior to taking detox supplements

5) Candida diet cleanse

  • Details: organic, non-GMO diet: avoiding all sugar products (cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, dates, high fructose corn syrup, agave, and high glycemic fruits like bananas, pineapple, papaya, mango, and citrus), and all yeast fermented products (bread, pasta, wine, beer, and all vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), as well as dairy, mushrooms, peanut/pistachios
  • 1 cup of black coffee is allowed daily
  • 1 serving of fruit is allowed daily; for example: an apple, berries, peach, pear 
  • Stevia maybe used as a sweetening alternative
  • Duration: 21-28 days
  • Best for: those with chronic yeast infections, brain fog, digestive symptoms (like bloating, nausea, belching, constipation and/or loose stools), athelets foot, tinea infections, itchy skin, or repetitive antibiotic use

6) Master cleanse

  • Details: 8oz of spring water, 2Tbsp of maple syrup, Tbsp of organic lemon juice, 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper mixed
  • Consume 6-12 glasses daily (and nothing else!)
  • Duration: 1-3 days; though it may be more advisable to incorporate some of this cocktail into other cleanses where you are eating more regularily
  • Best for: those have had done many cleanses before
  • Avoid: This is a difficult cleanse, and not recommended for all. If you are underweight, have blood sugar issues, liver concerns, underlying health concerns, high stress or demands it should be avoided
  • Refrain from exercise while performing.

7) Water fast

  • Details: consume only clean purified water
  • I general never recommend this cleanse. It can be incorporated as intermittent fasting, where you refrain from eating for a 12-hour window to give the system a rest.
  • Perform under supervision if doing as a fast

These are just a few of some of the common cleansing options out there.  Remember if you have underlying health concerns, or really unclear how to move forward, it’s always best to consult a medical professional, like a Naturopathic Doctor, to give you proper guidance.

It is also normal to feel a little under the weather for the first few days. Symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, body aches, or moodiness can be common, but this should not persist more than 3-5 days, at which point you begin to feel more vital and energized.

Stay tuned to my next blog where we cover supportive therapies we can do every day to help our body cleanse on a regular basis!

With Courage and Blessings,

For more information about toxins, and how to take healing into your own hands check out Dr. Alana Berg’s latest book, The Courageous Cure!