Before you decide to go on a cleanse of some sort, be sure you’re aware of all the effects of cleansing first. I’m not going to tell you a cleanse is good or bad because I think some people can benefit from them, while others may find they do more harm than good. There are so many types of cleanses out there, we really can’t say if they’re good or bad. Many extreme options may not be, while other more sensible varieties might be. To decide if cleansing is right for you, do your research and investigate the cleanse thoroughly. Just also be aware of these little effects of cleansing. Some are menial, while others can interrupt your lifestyle, so be in the know to be prepared ahead of time.
One of the most annoying effects of cleansing is constant chills. When your body detoxes from sugars, bad fats, refined foods, or all foods if you're on more extreme juice cleanses, you’ll have major chills quickly. This is the body’s sign it is detoxing and conserving your energy to do so. Your body can’t both give you equal energy to detoxify and run a marathon. Chills are one way your body is generating its energy to your detoxification organs, which are your skin, liver, kidneys, and intestines. It will preserve energy by lowering your metabolism and causing chills as a result. While this isn’t going to harm you, it can make dressing in layers in the summer or spring feel a bit odd!
Another thing to be aware of when cleansing is stomach pain. Some people don’t have this, while others do. It simply depends on the type of cleanse you’re on, and what might be causing the pain. For instance, many people with candida yeast overgrowth will have stomach pain when on a candida cleansing diet because the yeasts are dying off. This can cause dramatic side effects, which will eventually pass. The pains will eventually go away, and digestion should become easier. However, if you’re eating a food that doesn’t agree with you, it’s best to probably just quit. Let your body cleanse on its own and eat a simpler diet.
Headaches are usually nothing more than a sign of detox as well. Anytime you get rid of sugars, caffeine, refined or processed food, junk food, etc., you’ll usually have a headache. This can come from cravings or just from detox. While it’s not going to hurt you, it can be annoying. Be sure to get plenty of rest and enough sleep at night. Magnesium supplements can help relieve headaches, along with drinking enough fluids so you don’t get dehydrated. The cravings will pass eventually though, don’t worry!
This might sound really strange, but many people itch when they’re cleansing too. This can come from detox as well, and is usually nothing more than blood vessels that are causing the itch. It could also be from nerves. The body generates a big response when it senses an unknown state. Cleansing can cause it to wake up and “shock” the symptoms into play. Don’t freak out though, this usually does pass.
Juice cleanses or a raw food cleanse can create minimal acne. This is also due to detox as the organs try to get rid of toxins at once and can’t. Therefore, these toxins are released through your skin as your body’s natural way to get them out. The skin is our largest organ, and it is also a major detox organ. Many people don’t consider this and think something is wrong. Your body is just doing what it knows to do. Be sure you put high quality ingredients on your skin like coconut oil, which is antiviral and soothing. Never use harsh chemical products, which can leach toxins back in your bloodstream through the skin.
You might be surprised by this, but it’s one of the most common side effects of cleansing. When you cleanse, you get rid of things that aren’t serving you, for whatever reason. Whether that be sugar, dairy, coffee, too much heavy food, whatever. Your body senses a state of withdrawal, and many people have cravings at this time. We’re emotionally attached to stimulation through food, and without it, we might be a little sad at first. Cleansing can also cause you to think about emotional issues that might be bothering you more. This is because the mind is often clearer with less stimulant sources of food in the body, and has time to think about other things. Be kind to yourself during this time, and don’t see the depression as a bad thing. It’s actually a sign things are going right for your cleanse, and will eventually pass. Do yoga, journal, take walks, and get plenty of rest to keep yourself healthy and emotionally well.
Lastly, fatigue is also a major symptom of cleansing. Again, this is due to your body slowing down the metabolism to conserve all your energy for detoxification. It’s vital not to exercise during this time, with only walking allowed, or light yoga if you feel like it. It’s not a bad idea to get a couple hours extra of rest or take a nap each day either. Allow yourself to rest. This fatigue will pass, but you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s part of the process. Just be sure you’re getting enough fuel, and never let yourself get weak from lack of food.
The most mild forms of cleanses are whole food cleanses that eliminate sugars, refined starches, wheat and gluten, caffeine, alcohol, and animal products. Others include high quality animal products, while others are more extreme, such as juice and raw food cleanses. I’m not going to say which is right or wrong, because everyone is different. The important thing is to be prepared before you start, and to never just jump right in. Do you cleanse, and if so, how do you deal with these or other cleansing effects?
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