Is a Spring Cleanse a Good Idea for those with Food, Weight and Body Image Issues?

Spring is the traditional time of year for that yearly cleanse. According to Chalita Photikoe, L.Ac., who runs the new Tamalpais Community Acupuncture Center in Marin (

“Spring is the ideal time to cleanse and rebuild from the sluggishness and inactivity of winter. According to Chinese Medicine, spring corresponds to the liver and gallbladder organs in our bodies. During the winter we tend to consume diets heavier in protein, fats and dairy, which can all overburden these organs. When congested, the liver and gallbladder can also cause more feelings of depression, irritability and anger. Spring is the time to detoxify, give the liver a good cleansing and boost our digestion, resulting in better moods and increased energy levels.”

But what if you are someone who already struggles with simply trying to establish stable and consistent eating habits? Doing a cleanse could be the thing that pushes you back into your binge/purge cycle or your under-/overeating patterns with food. If you are someone who struggles with food, weight and body image issues you’ll want to ask yourself very honestly: What is my intention in doing a cleanse?

If your intention is for anything other than your health and well-being, don’t do it! However, if the focus of your cleanse is for better health and perhaps to establish more mindfulness around your eating habits, then a spring cleanse could be just the thing that gives you a jumpstart in the right direction or helps you fine-tune an already healthy regime.

In either case, do not begin a cleanse without first consulting a nutritionist or other professional. There are many different cleanses as well as a lot of misleading information out there, and it’s important to choose the cleanse that’s appropriate for your unique needs. If you have a predisposition towards food, weight and body image issues, you may want to find someone you trust who can keep you on track.

Cleanses are used worldwide not only for their physical health benefits but also as a form of spiritual practice. Freeing yourself from the constant preoccupation with what to buy, cook and eat can allow your mind to focus on other nurturing sources, such as your spiritual and energetic health and wellness. Breaking your food routines can also help you establish more mindfulness around your food habits because you’re taking yourself out of your automatic, habitual mode. For example, if you change what you eat for breakfast, you might pay a bit more attention to how you start your day with food.

Chalita’s 5 Tips for Simple Cleansing are easy steps that anyone can implement into their daily routine:

  • Upon waking, drink 1 TBS of fresh lemon juice in 8 oz. of water to stimulate digestion.
  • Drink your greens. Add 1–2 cups of green vegetables (chard, spinach, kale, cucumber and/or celery) to your favorite smoothie recipe for a boost of energy.
  • Drink 1–2 cups of dandelion or milk thistle tea a day to cleanse the liver and gallbladder.
  • Limit or avoid caffeine, alcohol and white sugar to support detoxification.
  • Get regular acupuncture treatments to help your body’s cleansing and rebuilding process.

Here’s to your health and wellness this spring!

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