Welcome the Changing Seasons with an Autumn Cleanse
Dr. Melanie Brown | Originally published in The Mountain Times, November 1, 2022
We all feel the weather shifting these past couple of weeks. This decrease in sunlight and warmth causes extra strain on our bodies as we adapt to the changing seasons. An autumn cleanse might be just the cure.
Many people will notice that symptoms of pain, mental sluggishness, fatigue, and depression appear or increase at this time. It feels more appealing to pull the blankets over your head, stay in bed, eat comfort foods, escape from the world, and hibernate.
This extra strain and tendency toward negative symptoms make fall an ideal time to boost your body and mind with a healthy cleanse.
What type of cleanse should I do?
There is a plethora of different cleanses that you can do for several reasons. Remember, some are so intense that you will feel like you always need to have a bathroom nearby. Some are gentler and focus on giving your body a break from toxins and inflammatory foods. All will restore healthy gut and liver function while infusing your body with nutrients so it can thrive.
I recommend patients to perform the second kind of cleanse twice yearly according to the changing seasons. Being strict about what you put into your body for 10-14 days gives your body a needed reset. In addition, it can create healthy habits that will last through the year.
Why should I perform an autumn cleanse?
The reason our body needs a reset is evident from what we are exposed to daily. We regularly ingest heavily processed foods. In addition, pesticides and genetic modifications have made some everyday food staples unrecognizable to our bodies. For example, the overuse of sugar has put a strain on our organ systems and increased obesity in our society.
In addition, the air in our home and work environments is laden with chemicals and molds that accumulate in our bodies and can cause disease. Our body care products contain carcinogenic ingredients that maximize shelf life and visual appeal.
So, how do I cleanse?
I have two favorites from the Biotics Research and Standard Process supplement companies. Both focus on eliminating inflammatory foods, increasing hydration and healthy food choices, cleansing the liver and gastrointestinal (GI) systems, and reintroducing beneficial bacteria into the gut.
Both companies provide user-friendly booklets, shopping lists, recipe ideas, lists of foods to avoid, and protein powders and whole food supplements to aid in liver detoxification and replenishing healthy gut bacteria.
Why does the liver need support?
The liver’s main job is to remove toxins from our body. However, over time, our liver can get overwhelmed by the volume of toxins it has to process. Thus, think of your liver as an almost full cup. When the toxic load in your body becomes too high, any extra toxins that enter your system and need to be processed will spill over into your body instead. You will feel adverse effects in your muscles, tissues, and brain from the toxins that the liver should have eliminated as waste.
What is a GI cleanse?
Think of your gut as a grassy lawn. Over time, the beneficial bacteria that naturally occur in our gut get overridden by harmful bacteria, or “weeds,” that prevent normal digestion of foods. You can’t just throw grass seed on a weedy lawn and expect satisfactory results. Instead, it’s best to remove it all and start fresh. Similarly, a GI cleanse will kill the good and bad bacteria in the gut and reintroduce healthy strains. This resets the normal gut flora and allows for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients.
So, get ahead of the winter doldrums! Consider an autumn cleanse to jumpstart your body for a healthy and energetic rain, snow, and ski season. Consider doing it with a friend, spouse, or your whole family, as you can support each other along the way.
In addition, having a healthcare provider on board will help you choose the right fall cleanse for your health needs and support you through the process. Adding seasonal cleansing will not only improve your mood and energy, but it will also increase your overall health and encourage healthy eating choices.