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Thoughts on a New Years Cleanse

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’ve had quite a few questions from people who are wanting to embark on a cleanse as a New Years Resolution. And my first question is always “What sort of cleanse?” A cleanse or a detox means different things to different people.

A cleanse at this time of year is often embarked upon in reaction to the excesses of the Christmas season :) And often what people mean by “cleanse” is a doing a fast, or only drinking vegetable or fruit juices, or only eating raw food. These regimes are often accompanied by herbs that are “cleansing” herbs.

So I thought I’d write a quick post explaining why this might need a bit more thought.

It absolutely is a great time of year to cut back on sugar and alcohol and processed food - after the massive eating festival we’ve just enjoyed :) And it is a great time of year to decide to get some daily exercise. So why might it not be the best time to fast, or just drink juices, or only eat raw food?

It is all about timing, and working with the rhythm of our bodies and with the season. The time to do a fast, a juice fast or a raw food fast or a “detox”, is perhaps when the weather is warmer. When the weather is warmer we feel warm, our circulation is flowing well and our energy is starting to move and open up again like the buds on the trees. But right now, here in Canada, at this time of year the wisdom of our bodies and the focus of our metabolism is to stay warm and to conserve energy during the long cold winter months. And we don’t achieve this by fasting or eating cold foods. And if your aim is to lose weight - well, fasting in winter is the worst time to do it, our bodies are at their slowest rhythm at this time of year and fasting will often reduce our metabolism further, making weight loss that much harder.

Since time immemorial traditional healing wisdom has shown us that our digestive system likes to be warm, and most healing traditions exhort people not to eat cold foods, particula