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Reboot Your System with a Nutritional Cleanse by Michelle Bybel

Stress, poor diet and lack of sleep are just a few reasons why our bodies may be out of balance. So how do we bring our bodies back into balance? One option may be a nutritional cleanse or elimination diet. There are a lot of debates out there as to the necessity and true benefits of cleansing. I have found from experience that they often can be helpful in jump starting a healthy eating plan and assisting in the elimination of cravings.

Cleanses come in all shapes and sizes but the most popular seem to be juice cleanses and whole food cleanses. One of the major benefits of a cleanse is the removal of all trigger foods including fats, sugar, white flour, gluten, stimulants (caffeine), casein and all additives and preservatives. By removing these, you are allowing your body to re-balance itself and start to work properly again.

Rebalancing Your Body

People tend to associate cleanses with weight loss and while you likely will lose weight on a cleanse, this should not be your main reason for doing it. If it is your primary goal, once the cleanse is over, you likely will fall back into your old eating habits and the weight will come right back. You should focus on the real benefit of cleansing– rebalancing your body so it is functioning at its optimal level.

A cleanse, with the right mindset, is a way to figure out your trigger foods and regain your health. With this mindset, there is a good chance you will benefit greatly from a cleanse as it will be a jumping off point to your new lifestyle. You should be sure to have a long-term plan in place when you do a cleanse so that you can maintain the benefits.

Length of a Cleanse

The time frame for cleanses vary from a few days to a few weeks and depends on your goals. Juice cleanses should not be for an extended period of time. Instead, for a longer cleanse, use whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa and incorporate juices and smoothies with whole foods.

The initial two to three days of a cleanse are often the most difficult as your body is in a state of withdrawal from sugar and caffeine. Once you get past this, you really start to see remarkable effects, such as improvements in mood, digestion, energy level, skin tone and an overall feeling of well-being.

What to Do After the Cleanse

The most valuable part of the cleanse for many individuals is the “adding in” phase because this is when you start to add in some of the foods that you had eliminated such as dairy and gluten. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to see how your body reacts to the reintroduction of these foods. The awareness this brings is priceless.

It is best to add the foods back in one at a time, so that you can take an inventory of how you feel physically and psychologically. Note any unusual changes in digestion or body sensations such as pain, mood, cravings and skin changes. If you notice a reaction to a certain food, this is a pretty good indication that it is a trigger food and should be avoided.

As always, it is important to consult a certified practitioner to discuss if a cleanse is right for you.

SIDEBAR Basic Process to Rebooting Your System 

Here is a simplified version of a whole food cleanse program that you can do.

• Think about and document the physical and psychological symptoms that you experience on a regular basis – this could be chronic weight gain, cravings, lack of energy, gastrointestinal problems like bloating, gas or constipation, skin problems, irritability etc.

• Slowly start removing the sugar, white flour, gluten, dairy and all processed and junk foods from your diet and add in whole foods.

• Once all your symptoms are gone, slowly start adding back foods that you miss and see how your body reacts to them. Notice if you gain weight, start having cravings or feel tired as this is key information about how well your body is digesting food and absorbing nutrients.

Michelle Bybel is a licensed clinical social worker and certified holistic health coach based in Middletown. She specializes in working with professional women/entrepreneurs who have felt held back in both their professional and personal lives as a result of their struggles with emotional eating. She can be reached at 888-570-5751 or info@ or visit

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