How to pre-cleanse before detox
Before going to a retreat or on a detox you might want to consider doing a pre-cleanse. A pre-cleanse? You might think you are already going for a detox, why do a pre-cleanse? I hear you! For some people the idea of not having meat, dairy and gluten for a longer period of time is already scary. Thing is, a pre-detox will help you “set the scene” and will make things easier for you when you start the actual cleanse. You can start as soon as two weeks before the retreat starts or 3-4 days beforehand.
You can compare a pre-cleanse with the house cleaning. Imagine you are doing a bit of tidying up before cleaning the place. Otherwise you might end up having more mess than before. Similarly, a pre-cleanse helps preparing the body and help achieve better results during the actual detox. All the cells and tissues bring their toxins out into the system to be eventually eliminated. The liver and the colon are probably the most important organs to do a pre-detox.
First, start with learning how to read labels. Go for foods that have as little ingredients as possible, aim for no more than 5! If you end up with an empty basket, know it is ok. Being conscious about habits and the foods we buy is the first step.
· Avoid meat and dairy and salty.
· Use honey, maple syrup, dates or stevia as sweeteners.
· No fried foods. Use cold-pressed olive oil for salads and coconut oil for cooking. Other oils are good for salads too, as long as they were not heat treated.
· Include raw fruits and vegetables, as many as you can! This will increase fibre intake and improve digestion.
· Drink lots of water, at least 2l, excluding teas, soups or coffee. Try not to drink it during a meal.
· Replace snacks with fruits, nuts and vegetable juices.
· Avoid added sugar or sugary foods.
· Leave at least 2 h between your last meal and going to sleep.
· No alcohol or coffee.
I would also recommend including water and lemon in your morning routine. After you wake up, in a mug combine water (ideally spring water) with the juice from half of a lemon. Aim for 500 ml of water with the same amount of lemon. This will wake up your digestive system. Your lymphatic system will get to work as well, pushing out the waste that has accumulated overnight.
To help the liver, it is important to be careful what you feed the body. This will also have an impact on the colon that needs to be working effectively to eliminate all the waste. Exercise can play an important role. How is your exercise routine? Try and do at least 30 minutes of walking or even more vigorous exercise per day. You can start with small changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from the store to do a few extra steps. The most important aspect is to observe your body and being mindful of what type of food you normally consume. During the pre-detox, think about how you could make some healthy long-term changes, for when you come back from the retreat. How you can incorporate new habits and leave old, unhealthy ones aside.