Friday, April 22, 2011

How to do an Internal Cleanse

[Farm Lady here:  Today, I want to introduce you to my friend Michelle Foster of  Michelle and I have known each other since I was 9 years old… Let’s just say, that’s a lot of years!  We went to church together as children and she is the sweetest lady you’d ever want to meet!  Who knew back then that I would grow up to be a farm lady and she would grow up to be a Medical Herbalist and Lifestyle Educator?  I remember the day she told me she was going to university to become a naturopath and I got a confused look on my face and asked her, “What’s that?”  Michelle was the first person to nudge me in the direction of natural medicine and healthy living!  I asked her if she would be a guest blogger on the Good Old Days Farm blog and she wrote this article about cleansing!  Perfect timing, because although she didn’t know it, I am in the middle of my first cleanse!  (And let me tell you… It really is making a difference!)  If you enjoy this post, be sure to check out her website, because she has so much good information posted there!  Enjoy!]

Now that the longer days and warmer temperatures of spring are finally on their way, you may be turning your thoughts towards spring cleaning.

I'm sure you agree with me that it's necessary to cleanse and get rid of old stuff from time to time. Most of us think only about our homes and general surroundings when we think about spring cleaning, but cleansing is also important when it comes to our bodies.

We're all exposed to multiple sources of pollution, toxins, or chemicals on a daily basis. While our bodies are designed to naturally cleanse on their own, our systems can only handle so much.

Too much stress, chronic dehydration, lack of fiber, and poor eating can cause our systems to become overburdened and backed up. This can lead to all kinds of sickness and disease. That's why regular cleansing is so important.

Spring is the perfect time to rid your body of the wastes and toxins you've accumulated over the winter months. So while you're making up your to do lists and cleaning schedules, don't forget to pencil in some time to clean out your insides too.

There are many different kinds of cleansing programs out there, some more drastic than others. It's always a good idea to start with something gentle, especially if you’ve never done a cleanse before. If need be, you can always progress to something more potent.

One gentle cleanse that works very well is the seven day "Elimination Diet" (a.k.a. Fruit and Vegetable Cleanse). This cleanse was first recommended by Jethro Kloss, author of Back to Eden.


In this cleanse, you eat nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables for a period of 7 days. What I like best about it is that it's gentle but effective. It does wonders to flush and cleanse your system. On this cleanse you'll release excess acid, mucus, and other unwanted toxins.

The Fruit and Vegetable cleanse is not impossibly hard to do because you're not going on a complete fast or limiting the amount of food you're going to eat. Fortunately, fresh produce is full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, so it keeps you feeling satisfied.

Although Jethro Kloss recommended this cleanse for 7 days, you can still get good results going for just 3 days.

Before I get to how it all works, here are some important things to know about cleansing:

1. It's always a great idea to consult with your doctor or qualified health care practitioner before making any changes in your diet, especially if you're on medication or if you've got health issues.

2. It's pretty common to start feeling worse before you start to feel better while on a cleanse, especially if your normal diet consists of a lot of processed, fried, and junk foods. You may start to experience headaches, bad breath, irritability, pimples, fatigue, and other yucky symptoms. I know it doesn't sound very appealing, but it's perfectly normal. It's called a "healing crisis" or "detoxification reaction" and is just a sign that your body is releasing wastes into your bloodstream.

3. You can minimize your chances of experiencing a healing crisis by preparing your body for a cleanse. You can get prepared by cutting out junk foods, fast foods, processed foods, and fried foods and replacing them with more raw fruits and veggies. Begin your day with a mug of hot water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it and drink enough water throughout the day. All of these things will help to (gently) promote the removal of wastes from your system.

4. Once you're ready to do a cleanse, try to schedule a time when your schedule is not so hectic (e.g., over the weekend). That way you won't be so overwhelmed if you do start to experience any symptoms of detoxification.


Now that that's out of the way, here's how to do Fruit and Vegetable Cleanse:

Step One: Take a gentle herbal laxative the day before you start the cleanse. This will help you to begin the process of releasing toxins and wastes from your system. Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day.

Step Two: Start the cleanse by eating only meals of either fresh raw fruits or fresh raw vegetables. Avoid mixing fruits and vegetables together in the same meal.

For example, you could have a large fruit salad for breakfast, a large mixed salad for lunch (use dried herbs and freshly squeezed lemon juice as a dressing), and more fresh fruit for dinner. If you prefer vegetables, have more vegetables, and if you prefer fruit, eat more of them. The choice is yours.

Try to stick with only fresh, raw fruits and veggies. Choose whichever ones are in season. Frozen fruits are okay to eat, but don't use canned fruits or vegetables.

Continue drinking enough water throughout the day. This will help your body to flush out the toxins that will get released from your cells.

Step Four: Once you've eaten nothing but fruit and vegetables for 3 - 7 days, end the cleanse by eating simple meals for another day or two before you go back to your regular diet. Simple meals would include an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables along with foods that are easy for you to digest (e.g., baked potatoes, vegetable soup, squash, etc.)

You can repeat this cleanse once a year or as often as you'd like. For best results choose the fruits and vegetables you already love.
Michelle Foster is a Medical Herbalist and Lifestyle Educator. She loves learning about natural health and teaching others how to improve and take care of the health they’ve got. Michelle is the creator and author of


  1. For us lactating Mommys, could we do a cleanse safely? (My toxin level is low, I think, as I am a no-refined sugars or flours, vegan). Thanks for the guest post! Loved it!

  2. Thanks for this post, I just might try it for 3 days to start out with. I like that this way is safe for breastfeeding moms because it's not a fast and we can still eat as much as we want too of fresh fruits and veggies. As a nursing mom, I know we shouldn't let ourselves go hungry, so I'll be sure to load up during my 3 days (of the RIGHT things)!
    -Beka =)

  3. Nicole,
    I think it would be ok to detox this way when nursing, but I'm not sure if the toxins go into the milk or not... so I'll ask Michelle to address that issue for us. =)

  4. Sorry for my delayed response on this.... Here's my take on cleansing while lactating. In general, it's not a great idea to go on a cleanse while breastfeeding. It is quite possible that some of the toxins that your body releases can get into your breast milk. A lot of it depends on how many toxins are stored in your body and how efficient your body is at eliminating them.

    Although the fruit and vegetable cleanse is very gentle, I think it's best NOT to go on it while you are pregnant or lactating. Even if your body is relatively toxin free, my concern is that this cleanse will not provide you with the extra nutrients that your body needs during pregnancy and lactation. While you will be getting lots of vitamins and minerals, you won't be getting enough fats and proteins which your body needs to make good quality breast milk.

    If you feel strongly that you need to cleanse, I'd suggest gradually increasing your intake of other raw foods besides fruits, vegetables. Try raw nuts, raw seeds, and raw unprocessed oils such as flax seed oil, and virgin coconut oil. Have them in addition to well cooked whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, spelt, etc. Be sure to eat enough at each meal.

    These foods will help to gently cleanse your body and provide you with the nutrients you need for nutritious breast milk. If you're not familiar with "raw foods" you can get some great recipes by doing a Google search for "raw recipes." Or you can invest in a raw food recipe book such as Ani's Raw Food Kitchen. This is one of my very favorite recipe books. The recipes are so yummy and easy to prepare. Hope that helps!


  5. Thanks for that great response, Michelle! I have had this very same question.... Is it healthier for a nursing mom to just keep all the toxins in her (what about parasites? ick!) or should she go ahead and cleanse? Great answer! =) Another great resource for finding raw recipes is "" For example, you can type in "Raw Granola" and several recipes will come up from various food blogs...

  6. Just wanted to share with all the breastfeeding mommies who wanted to know about detoxing while nursing.

    I am a breastfeeding mom who has been wanting to start my serious detox with a series of colonics and was told (by the person who does colonics for a living) that I could not do it until my daughter is completely weaned as we apparently do detox into the breastmilk. ie: baby would be drinking my icky toxins.

    Just FYI - I've known Michelle all my life as well and completely trust her judgement. I only hope to add to the conversation on detoxing and also ask Michelle and everyone else if they know whether colonics are a whole different level of detox than the cleanse mentioned.

  7. As a mother who has been breastfeeding for almost 6 years straight... (Different babies!) I have researched this question extensively and there's not much information "out there." The cleanse that Michelle describes above is much more gentle than a colonic, but even so, Michelle did say not to do it unless you have a significant need to do it right away. I am all for taking responsibility for your own health, but cleansing while nursing is definitely something that should be done under the direction of someone who knows what they are talking about... Not something that should be done with only the direction of, say, a farm blog discussion, for example. ;) Love y'all!

  8. LOL! I do see your point AlinaJoy and that's why I wanted to put in my two cents of caution. That said, I have known you for a VERY long time and what you say does carry more weight than any random "farm blog". I have had many reasons to admire and listen to you over the years. Your blog has inspired me over the past year, but I've also taken your advice to heart. xoxo to you and the little ones!