Hey Hayley,
I really want to try a cleanse but have no idea where to start or which one to do. Are they safe? I work out pretty frequently and play competitive hockey, do I stop doing that while on a cleanse? I had meant to do one after the New Year, but had a tournament and didn't want to risk it. Any advice would be great.



Cleanses – you hear that word everywhere: fitness centers and studios, in entertainment magazines, in the grocery store line up or out for dinner with friends. Everyone seems to be trying the latest cleansing fad and over the years we have seen everything from the cabbage soup diet to the master cleanse, to the IV diet to the Wild Rose Cleanse, to juicing.

Do these cleanses do what they claim? I am not a doctor so I cannot answer that question but from what I have read you must take the claims that the cleanse makes with a grain of salt. What I do know is that when you eliminate foods in your diet that can cause digestive tract inflammation (gluten), increase cortisol production (alcohol), dehydrate you (caffeine) and increase glucose levels (unrefined sugars) you will feel amazing, look amazing, sleep soundly, and have more energy than you ever had before.

Are cleanses bad for you? I would have to say that some are. I will be honest with you -- I attempted to see how long I could follow the Master Cleanse for (which is a diet that is composed of maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon water) and I lasted about 3 hours. In my opinion the main purpose of this cleanse is weight loss but I did not attempt this cleanse as a way to lose weight; I simply wanted to experience what it felt like and it was awful. I have successfully completed the Wild Rose Cleanse and Joshi’s Holistic Detox and felt great. This week I am trying a juice cleanse as I have been sick for 2 weeks now and I am needing an immune booster and I am hoping to reset my digestive system.

Here is MY take on cleansing. 

1 – Do not use the cleanse as a diet or a way to lose weight as that is not the purpose of a cleanse. Instead, look at the cleanse as a way to break old habits and limit the unhealthy foods you have in your diet (sugar, caffeine, fats, alcohol, etc) and to help your body discover what it feels like to eat clean.

2 – Stay hydrated while you cleanse, drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. One of the main objectives of a cleanse is to rehydrate your body (your skin should glimmer when you are done) so you must make sure you are getting enough water.

3 – Research the cleanse in depth before you start. I prefer cleanses that keep your diet as close to normal as possible. I have talked about Joshi’s Healthy Detox before, which is a favourite of mine, as well as the Wild Rose. Both of these cleanses encourage real food, eliminating the foods that can cause inflammation of the digestive tract, dehydration and spikes in your blood sugars.  Stay away from cleanses that limit your calories too low (around 1500 calories should be the minimum amount you are consuming in a day)

4 – When the cleanse is over do your best to continue on a healthy eating plan. Eliminating coffee, alcohol and sugar forever is not realistic but try and limit these products from your diet as much as you can. Stick to one coffee a day rather than 3 and stay away from too many sweets and fatty foods. 

5 – If you plan on exercising during the cleanse make sure you account for those calories you will be burning and plan on having a serving of at least one grain product a day. Quinoa, brown rice and steal cut oats are my three favourites. And do not be shocked by the amount you will sweat.

6 – And most importantly, just like starting any new health program, if there are any health concerns talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Attached -- Julie Bowen grabs a snack after a visit to the gym.