Categories: Cleansing & Detoxing

An Easy, Gentle Cleanse for a First-Timer

So you’ve been reading about detoxing, cleansing and think your body might be telling you it needs assistance in detoxifying. You’ve tried a few detox tricks, including a couple super detox drinks, but it’s Spring (or Fall) and you’re in the mood for a deeper internal cleanse.

But you’ve never cleansed before! A little apprehensive, you want a safe, gentle and natural cleanse without trying the expensive cleansing programs currently on the market.

The following is such a cleanse based on my research in this area over the last few years. However, I highly recommend printing this out and consulting your doctor first as any cleanse (no matter how natural) may catalyze certain health conditions.

Step 1: Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins

This is probably the hardest step because you can’t possibly control every toxin you come in contact with (unless you want to live in a plastic bubble for a month). Try to plan for your cleanse, though. For instance, limit unnecessary downtown travels and walk the back streets rather than the main so you can avoid as many exhaust fumes as possible. If you have access to a swimming pool, choose other exercise during your cleanse to avoid chlorine.

Here is a fairly complete list:

  • Wean out stimulants (alcohol, cigarette smoke and white sugar) – try to cut out coffee but if you can’t, drink organic.
  • Eat organic foods when possible – wash thoroughly to remove pesticides & contaminants (use soap or hydrogen peroxide).
  • Eat all natural foods – come on, you can resist junk food for one month. No chips, pop, deep-fried foods (basically any take out) – check all ingredients and if you can’t pronounce it, it ain’t natural.
  • Reduce red meat intake (its bi-product is poisonous ammonia) to one palm-sized serving once a week – try lamb.
  • Drink distilled water.
  • Use natural or eco-friendly products – if you can eat the ingredients, the products are safe to use.

Step 2: Flush Toxins Out

Your body will naturally detoxify but try the following to accelerate the process (although keep in mind, the faster you release toxins, the more intense the detox side-effects – i.e. headaches, soreness, grumpiness, etc.):

  • Drink lots of herbal teas (like mint and peppermint to aid digestion, dandelion to increase bile flow, milk thistle for liver detox and chamomile to help reduce anxiety).
  • Drink lots of distilled water. I know, this is total repetition but it’s super important; distilled to reduce toxins and the water to flush.
  • Increase your complex carbs or veggies to about 65% of your diet. Round off your meals to approx. 25% protein & 10% healthy fats (from nuts, olive and flax seed oils, etc.)
  • Use chlorella supplements to cleanse your blood.
  • Take milk thistle supplements to cleanse the liver (but if you do, you don’t need the tea).
  • Eat detox-friendly and easy to digest foods (like garlic, onions, prunes, lemons, naturally fermented sauerkraut, green leaves – especially spinach, cabbage, kale, swiss chard & collards – papaya, pineapple, berries, etc.)
  • Exercise (cardio & strength-training) – aim for 4-6 times a week, alternating between mild, moderate and intense variations depending on your energy level.
  • Hot, steamy baths or saunas – once a week.
  • Stretch – integral for several reasons: it reduces muscle fatigue and soreness that is caused by the lactic acid (metabolic waste) released by muscle exertion; it also increases oxygen and blood flow, and decreases stress.
  • Drink green juices rich in detox-friendly foods – use as meal replacements.
  • Drink smoothies for breakfast – check out the “yummy recipes” category here on Live Lighter!
  • Do a partial fast once a week – try going without food from dinner Saturday until dinner on Sunday – or whenever works for you. Adjust your activity level on these days to compensate for the lack of food energy, like take leisurely walks, do gentle exercises, etc.

Step 3: Repair and Heal

There are different methods, at varying strengths, of repairing and healing your body. A Naturopathic Doctor is the best resource for your individual needs. However, for the first-timer, try:

  • Aloe vera juice – known to be one of the friendliest methods for intestinal repair.
  • Increase your soluble fiber intake (like psyllium fiber and foods, such as several types of beans, carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts)
  • Meditate – try for everyday, either in the morning or night, and as long as you can. Start with 10 minutes and practice till you’re up to one half hour.
  • Sleep – the best way to find your optimal amount of sleep is to get up at the same time every morning and go to bed when you’re tired. Because you’ve limited your stimulants, your natural sleep rhythms should emerge.

Step 4: Replenish

Not only does cleansing get rid of toxins and bad bacteria, it unfortunately also flushes out the good bacteria that live in our guts. These probiotics are essential for proper digestion. It is important to rebalance the gut flora ratio of beneficial vs. harmful bacteria (85% – 15%):

  • Consume probiotics eat naturally fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut.
  • Take acidophilus tablets (extra-strength).
  • Eat foods known to have prebiotics – unrefined wheat and barley, raw oats, soybeans, leek, asparagus, artichokes, etc.

Step 5: After Cleanse

Resist returning to a highly toxic lifestyle. Reserve stimulating substances for special occasions and incorporate as many of the above cleansing methods into your daily lifestyle habits as possible.

Duration and Tips: Try this gentle cleanse for one month, although doing it for longer will give you better results. However, we all know it’s hard to do anything perfectly the first time around so be kind to yourself and simply do your best. Use the experience from this cleanse to better prepare for next season’s cleanse, identifying challenges so you can figure out ways around them.

Additional Tips:

Cleansing should be an experience to look forward to and if you feel increasing distress as your cleanse date nears, you’re not ready for it yet. If you feel as if you’re denying yourself true pleasure, then you will create stress – which actually inhibits detoxification! You’ll know you’re ready for a cleanse when life has become too much of a burden. Then you’ll be motivated to lighten your load – starting with the toxins in your body so that you can live lighter in body, mind and soul.

Plan your cleanse. Reduce your commitments for the cleanse duration and guard against the demands of others. Plan your activity (be flexible when necessary, of course) as well as your meals a week in advance. Use the Internet to find recipes, Saturday to get groceries, and Sunday to prepare your lunches and slice your veggies for convenience. Oh, ya, throwing on some tunes and dancing around the kitchen makes this food prep time super fun.

Good luck, First-Timers! Would you like more posts like this delivered to your computer? Subscribe to Live Lighter’s RSS feed or via email!

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An Easy, Gentle Cleanse for a First-Timer was last modified: March 18th, 2017 by

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  • I'm easing into a cleanse VERY slowly. I'd like to beable to give up coffee before anything. Can I subsitute sugar with honey or the flavor syrup? I want to easy off the sugar first.

    • Hi Veasna, thanks for your comment. Easing into your cleanse is a very good idea - it'll be much easier on your body. And yes, natural sweeteners are the perfect substitute for sugar. For my 3 day juice fast (it was in the middle of this cleanse), I used the the master cleanse (water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup). Have fun cleansing! :)

  • Hi! I've been wanting to do a cleanse for a while and finally got "serious" about it. I purchased the First Cleanse last night at whole foods and thought that might be a bit too much... So I found your wonderful website and thought maybe I could just start with drinking teas and distilled water and watching what I eat-- cutting back on sugar, poultry (I don't eat red meat) bad carbs and fats. I bought some green juices and more whole grains. My question is how to integrate the teas. I have Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, Red Clover. Everyday Detox and Ginger teas. I'm not sure if I need to drink a cup of each every day and then drink 6-8 glasses of distilled water? Even though I don't each very much little snacks here and there and snack at dinnertime, I don't think I'll be able to drink this much on a daily basis. I also purchased FiberSmart which I want to take 1-2 times a day (with 8oz. of water). Would you please give me some sort of cleansing/detox plan to stick to for 1 wk- 30 days?? Thank you so much!! Sorry for the lengthy e-mail-- I'm lost! :)

    • Hi Nicole, great to hear you're interested in cleansing! My apologies for the late response, life gets in the way sometimes... I hope you didn't wait for my answer! You seem to be on the right track - for first time cleansers (especially those who have either food or substance addictions), I always suggest you cut out as much of the "acidic" foods/drinks as you can and replace them with the more "alkaline" food/drinks. Which is what you're doing! As of right now, I'm not a licensed healthcare professional so I'm uncomfortable providing anyone with a cleansing/detox plan. What I recommend is to do the research (if you lack time, all your teas and products should have recommended doses on the boxes as guidelines), and try different things as you go along. Everyone is different, so it's really important that you do what's good for you. I'd also recommend getting the guidance of a licensed healthcare professional (most MDs don't know much about cleansing/detoxing but all Naturopathic Docs do) so that you have someone more knowledgeable by your side. If you can't find/afford a healthcare professional, then this is even more reason to do the research so you know what the teas and products are supposed to do for your body. Then, like myself, you can come up with your own plan. Try it out and see how your body reacts (I'd give it at least a week or two). If you're having any adverse reactions, see a doc (of course, there are some unpleasant detoxing symptoms)! But you should be fine if you do what you're suggesting: a light cleanse/detox. Actually, I believe doing regular light cleanses (say once every new season) is safer (and in the long run, more effective) for your body than doing one big one. I hope this helps you get started on (or continue) creating your own safe, researched and effective personalized health plan. One tip: don't worry too much about being perfect - yes, try your best but you can work up to perfection with each cleanse/detox you do.

  • Valuable information. Fortunate me I found your site unintentionally, and I am stunned why this twist of fate did not took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

  • Hi, Alot of the juice cleanses I have read have said to, basically, organise a whole lot of downtime during a cleanse. How would someone who works full time get around this? I am a manager of a retail store and worry about how a cleanse might affect my performance.

    • Hi Chloe, thanks for your question. The severity of your detox symptoms depends on how "polluted" you are with chemicals and waste. Yes, you may be fatigued, irritable and have headaches, but maybe not. The other (main) reason health pros suggest a vaca during a detox is that your body is usually "on" or "off", "relaxed" or "active." When you're active, your body is using all its energy to function. To detox, your body has to be relaxed so the energy can be used to process and release.

  • I am currently doing a food cleanse for a month. I cut out dairy (except for occasional greek yogurt), added sugars, meat, processed foods, and breads/pastas/etc. I am drinking a lot of water and herbal teas and doing moderate exercise. I am curious if it would be okay to do a juice cleanse following my food cleanse? (I plan to continue eating fairly similar to my cleanse for the next few months).

    • Hey Emily, your body will be more ready for additional cleansing after your food cleanse, so yes, I think doing a juice cleanse follow up would be advantageous! But really, you know your body best, and with any diet or exercise change, it's a good idea to consult your doctor. All the best with your cleansing adventures!

  • hi i found this website because i am needing to change my life. i am currently over 350 pounds and recovering from long term steriod use as well as other medicines and really need to eat healthier. thanks for your website i will be visiting daily for encouragement. thanks, jackie

  • I sent for a free trial of the product cleanse xtrem,I have not ordered any replacements or received any, BUT the mamount of £95.95p has been taken from my visa a/c.I want it refunfing straight away.I am an old age pensioner and definitley cannot aford anything like that, apart I have NEVER given you any permission to take money from my a/c & want it refunded straight away,especially no goods have been sent apart from the 1st trial offer,which does not agree with me anyway.A truialis suposed to see if it agrees ect.it does not give you permission to take money from my a/c especially without any goods.Please see to this IMEDIATELY,thanks Mrs j m stanhope.

    • Hi Mrs. jmstanhope, I'm sorry that you're having trouble with this company, but Live Lighter has no affiliation with them and I cannot help you in this matter. Please note that In this post, "An Easy, Gentle Cleanse for the First-Timer," I outline a product-free way to cleanse, and recommend it as most cleansing products on the market have extra "stuff" in them that I do not recommend ingesting. You'll have to contact the company directly. I'm sure you'll get this all sorted out... in Canada, when this type of thing happens, we call our credit card companies and they refund the amount taken and go after the company themselves as a fraudulent payment. All the best.

  • Great article Stephanie! We've included a link in our curated guide at http://www.detoxdietandcleanse.com

    • Thank you for reading, Kristina, and for sharing Live Lighter's info in your guide!

  • I don't exactly need to lose weight, but I need to tone up. What do you recommend I do? Do I detox with those green drinks, what kinds of juices should I be using?