What is a Nutritional Cleanse?
The 7 day cleanse was created by Dr Robert Rokowski and taught to me by strength coach Charles Poliquin as part of the BioSignature Modulation in Sweden. It involves unlimited consumption of medical food powders and green drinks or green vegetables every day. The elimination of all other foods and these drinks take the body through an intense process of detoxification.
Short term, controlled fasting (1-2 days) has been shown to deliver some benefits in terms of improving digestive issues and rebalancing hormones. However, it is debated as to whether extended fasting may bring any additional benefit, for many people it becomes a stressful experience for the body to cope with. The lack of vitamins, minerals, fibre and essential fats are both physically and mentally challenging to the body and not everyone responds well. Furthermore, during an extended fast the body breaks down muscle to be used by the liver for fuel in the absence of food. Muscle is your metabolic tissue, it’s the precious stuff you never want to lose. The more muscle mass you have the better your insulin sensitivity and the more calories you burn at rest.
I’m not a big fan of juice fasts either, don’t get me wrong I love drinking juices but essentially you are ingesting water, vitamins and sugar. Sugar consumed in the absence of fibre, fat or protein will spike your blood sugar levels and disrupt your insulin and cortisol control which can lead to fat accumulation around your stomach and waist.
The medical foods involved in the cleanse combine vitamins, minerals and accessory nutrients which can be tailored to your needs (e.g either detoxifying, hormone rebalancing or anti-inflammatory). Each shake contains 16g of protein so you don’t go hungry and consuming extra amino acids in addition to the shake allows you to retain lean muscle mass throughout the cleanse.
Cleanse Benefit 1 – Fix the Gut
A cleanse allows the gastro-intestinal tract to rest, repair and reinoculate with healthy bacteria. The addition of probiotics and l-glutamine to the medical shakes supports and strengthen the mucosa cells of the gut wall which are often impaired by gluten/dairy heavy diets and stressful lifestyles. Anyone suffering from recurrent digestive disorders including irritable bowel, bloating or food intolerances would benefit hugely from a cleanse.
Cleanse Benefit 2 – Detox
People often dismiss or ignore the effects of toxicity, however, it has been strongly linked to symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue and joint pain. Toxic elements are everywhere in our environment; we inhale, consume and absorb toxins through our skin. The liver functions to eliminate toxins from your body, however, occasionally there can be an accumulation of toxins in our tissues effecting our neurological, immune and endocrine (hormone) systems.
Even those who consider themselves healthy may not realise toxic load is increased by things like intense training, high protein diets and lack of recovery/restoration sessions. The cleanse lessens the toxic load placed on the liver and kidneys. It supports the different phases of liver detoxification and restores levels of highly alkalising and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Cleanse Benefit 3 – Drop Body Fat
Obviously one of the most exciting results of a cleanse is the overall improvement to body composition. Detoxifying the body, removing foods and any source of stimulant really allows your hormones to balance; promoting fat loss, improved blood sugar management, increased energy levels, improved mental clarity and increased strength. Following a cleanse some individuals have reported strength increases of 10%.
One of the best things about a cleanse is that you can still train, Charles Poliquin advocates a specific protocol for weight training during a cleanse to keep the lymphatic system circulating. However, what is also really enjoyable is investing more time in restorative activities like saunas, epsom salt baths, massage, long walks, yoga and mobility exercises. Your body feels amazing and will really thank you for the break from your usual routine.
Fitter London advises on individual and runs group cleanses, contact [email protected] for more details.