How to Pre-Cleanse for Detox or Juice Fast

Are you getting ready to do a detox, cleanse or juice fast and want to know how to prepare? A pre-cleanse is important to gently ease the body into the detox and minimize any cleansing reactions.

A good pre-cleanse is key for a great detox

A good pre-cleanse is key for a great detox

Many people trick themselves into eating and drinking whatever they want before doing their cleanse because, in their mind, they are going to eliminate all those toxins out so why not indulge as much as possible right before? Wrong! Those are the very people who always suffer the worst through the detox, complaining of headaches, fatigue, nausea and even vomiting. The quality of your detox is directly proportional to the quality of your pre-cleanse. When you prepare the body in the right way, you will go deeper, faster, release more toxins and usually lose more weight in a shorter period of time.

If you plan to fast for 7 days, then ideally a 3-week or 21-day pre-cleanse is best. Try to have 500ml of Green Smoothie daily, either as a replacement for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. During that time, you should eliminate all coffee, wheat and refined sugar. See a gentle progression of elimination in the recommended pre-cleanse schedule below.

One of the best foods to add to your diet during your pre-cleanse is a daily Green Smoothie. This is a gentle way to increase your vitamin and mineral reserve so you go into your detox being mineral-sufficient, not mineral-deficient.

Your Pre-Detox Schedule

3 weeks before: Eliminate refined sugar and alcohol (Remember: alcohol is liquid sugar!) Start drinking 1 green smoothie daily.

2 weeks before: Eliminate wheat and all gluten products. Choose organic quinoa or brown rice instead.

1 week before: Eliminate coffee. Drink organic green tea instead.

3 days before: Eliminate salt. (Note: salt is often hidden in canned, packaged, frozen and restaurant foods).

Remember: Each week, you’re adding another food category to eliminate. When you reach 1 week before your detox, you will have already eliminated all refined sugar, alcohol, wheat, gluten and coffee.

Having all the minerals your body needs allows the process of detox to rapidly increase. You will most likely start eliminating more mucoud plaque right away compared to other fasters who did not do any pre-cleanse. A daily Green Smoothie give you lots of chlorophyll (one of the most necessary elements for healing) and fiber (the colon’s natural broom for cleaning).

Even after you finish your detox, keep the daily Green Smoothie in your routine as a mini-detox and reboot every day. The fiber in the Green Smoothie should help you have healthy, daily bowel movements after your colon cleanse to keep your body clean and feeling great.

Are you looking for a fast & easy detox you can do at home? Check out my 3-Day Green Smoothie Detox in my new book: Green Smoothies for Dummies. You’ll get a chance to clean your kidneys, skin, colon and liver with specially designed recipes for each elimination organ. In just 3 days…yes! It’s totally possible!

Green Smoothies for Dummies by Jennifer Thompson for Wiley Publishers, NY NY

Green Smoothies for Dummies by Jennifer Thompson for Wiley Publishers, NY NY

In Green Smoothie for Dummies, I’ve created a beautiful 3-day Detox where each recipe focuses on a different organ of elimination, giving you a full-body cleanse in just 3 days!

Find plenty of other recipes and healthy tips too…everything from the best way to clean your blender to how to store your superfoods. I’ve created a “bible” for the best green smoothie making, and it’s all based on what I learned from teaching Green Smoothie classes for years. Every question that any student has ever asked me is in this book!

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Detox Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction or Intolerance – Which one is it?

Understandably, it can be really frustrating to start eating better and still not feel your best. You might feel confused, discouraged or even angry that you are trying so hard and not seeing the results you want.

What happens if you start a new cleanse, supplement or detox product and find yourself feeling worse? Doesn’t feeling bad mean that you are having a detox reaction and you should “suffer through it?” And doesn’t foggy brain, fatigue, sugar cravings and rashes always mean you have candida? Definitely, no, or at the very least, mostly no.

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction

I’ve been in this field for a long time and I want to share with you one of the biggest mistakes that people are making today in the world of detox and natural health: They are calling everything a detox reaction.

In my opinion, the most “over-diagnosed” and incorrect problem that people get labeled with when they’re eating healthy (especially high raw food or vegan) but still feeling bad is: 1) They have candida or 2) They are still detoxing. I’ll address the candida issue in another post, but I can tell you that in my experience of seeing well over 4,500 clients, 95+% of the time, both of these assessments are false.

Did you ever consider that you might actually just have a food intolerance or sensitivity to a food additive? Believe it or not, this happens much more than you could ever imagine. And, when you take the suspicious food out of your diet, you can feel better in a matter of days. Finally, you can start enjoying some real healthy bliss! Read on to understand the difference between a real detox reaction and a potential allergic reaction or an intolerance to a food or food additive.

What is a Detox Reaction

When your start to do a detox, as old, excess toxins flush out and unwanted bacteria, microbes and viruses die off, you can actually experience a temporary detox or cleansing reaction. Based on the work of Dr. Karl Herxheimer in the late 1800s, this temporary feeling of illness is known as the Herxheimer effect and is actually an intense sign of healing. These reactions can indicate that your body has started to cleanse itself as it quickly tries to catch up on the overload of toxins being released.

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction

  • Mild headaches, nausea, chills, sweating.
  • Fatigue, aching muscles.
  • Mucous, body odor, rashes.
  • Dizziness, weakness or even foggy brain.

Typical Length of a Detox Reaction

A detox reaction will last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. If you are experiencing a real “healing crisis,” normally that will last from 1 to 3 days total. Usually after the detox reaction, you feel amazingly better, and you will not have that symptom again. For example, you could feel chills or nausea or intense exhaustion, then a few hours later (or after an enema), feel totally energized.

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What is an Allergic Reaction or Intolerance

True allergic reactions are much more rare than intolerances but they’re definitely on the rise (thank Monsanto and GMO foods for that). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s been a continued rise in allergic diseases in the industrialized world for over 50 years.

An allergic reaction occurs when your body sees a food such as shellfish, peanuts or wheat as a foreign body or allergen, and starts to attack it by creating antibodies and inflammation.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction or Intolerance

The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary from mild to severe. If you are exposed to an allergen for the first time, your symptoms may be mild. These symptoms may get worse if you are repeatedly exposed to the allergen.

According to the Mayo Clinic, The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth.
  • Hives, itching or eczema.
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing.
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.

If you have a food additive intolerance, such as an intolerance to Monosodium Glutamate, you can experience:

  • Headaches, chills, fatigue, aching muscles, dizziness.
  • Insomnia, sensitivity to light or sound.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Fatigue (especially the following day).
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • Hives, itching or eczema.
  • Swelling of the lips, eyes, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or constricted breathing.

Typical Length of a Food or Food Additive Allergy/Intolerance Reaction:

An intolerance or allergy can last indefinitely, especially if you continue to eat the food or use the product that you are intolerant to. The problem with “intolerances” is that they usually have a delayed reaction time and they don’t give nearly as severe a reaction as an “allergy.” That’s why they can easily go undiagnosed for years. After a reaction, you may feel temporarily better, but if you eat the suspect food again, you will have the exact same symptoms over and over and never find yourself feeling better.

As you can see from looking at the above lists, it can be easy for a novice to label a food allergy or intolerance incorrectly and call it a detox reaction – the symptoms are almost exactly the same! In rare cases when someone is taking too many detox supplements or doing too many detox protocols at once (far infrared sauna, colonics, zapper, parasite cleanse, heavy metal detox etc.), I will recommend to slow down the detox itself and determine the best order and pace of detox for the individual.

In the old days of detox, almost 20 years ago, no one was doing this stuff and the people who were really knew what they were doing. In the world of detox today, there is a TON of misinformation out there. Someone who made 1 green juice or fasted for 3 days is suddenly on every forum as the guru of detox. As with everything, this is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s a blessing because more people are getting out there and trying a fast or cleanse for the first time and that is simply awesome. And I no longer get booed out of a room for talking about coffee enemas, lol! But it’s a curse because people are being misled down the wrongs roads.

What kind of foods can you be intolerant to?

You can react to certain fillers in supplements (like malodextrin); chlorella in your green powder blend, Miso soup, seaweed snacks, vegan butters, vegan mayonnaise, and pesticides. I’ve even had clients react to whole foods like tomato paste, sesame seeds or celery. Once we get that food out of the diet, the reaction goes away and then we know for sure that we’re dealing with a classic food intolerance and not a detox reaction. How does it work? I can usually identify which foods you need to remove after 25-30 minutes of Q&A about your symptoms, current diet or recent detox.

For more on how to do a detox at home or how to navigate through your detox symptoms and start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

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What are the symptoms of a Herxheimer (Detox) Reaction?

When your start to do a detox, juice fast or cleanse, you might expect to start feeling better right away. However, sometimes the exact opposite happens. As old, excess toxins flush out and unwanted bacteria, microbes and viruses die off, you can actually experience a temporary detox or cleansing reaction. You may suffer from mild headaches, nausea, chills, sweating, fatigue, aching muscles, mucous, body odor, rashes, dizziness, weakness or even foggy brain for a few hours or in some cases, a few days. Based on the work of Dr. Karl Herxheimer in the late 1800s, this temporary feeling of illness is known as the Herxheimer effect and is actually an intense sign of healing. These reactions can indicate that your body has started to cleanse itself as it quickly tries to catch up on the overload of toxins being released.

What is a Herxheimer Reaction, cleansing reaction and healing crisis?

What is a Herxheimer Reaction, cleansing reaction and healing crisis?

In his book The Healing Crisis, Dr. Bruce Fife explains that the removal of disease-causing agents is the catalyst for both cleansing reactions and healing crises. He notes that, “most any harmless method that strengthens the body’s natural healing processes can induce a healing crisis. This could involve switching to better quality foods, taking homeopathic medicines, cleansing the colon, fasting, juicing, using healing herbs, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, vitamin therapy, exercise, etc.”

Dr. Fife states that when you enter a cleansing process, “often chronic conditions from which you are suffering will temporarily get worse. If you suffer from arthritis, joint pain may increase. If you are troubled with chronic migraines, you may have terrible headaches. A psoriasis problem may run wild. Hemorrhoids may flair up. PMS may intensify. Allergies may get worse. Asthmatics may experience breathing difficulties. Blood pressure may increase. Any number of other symptoms may surface during this time that may appear unrelated to existing health conditions. Sometimes these conditions improve after the crisis. Sometimes it takes several crises to cleanse the offending toxins from the body and stimulate healing. At times, health problems can improve immediately after a crisis, and at other times, they improve gradually.”

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Cleansing Reaction

A cleansing reaction occurs any time your body is releasing toxins faster than it can eliminate them. For example, you may stir up an old piece of undigested food that was stuck in the colon, temporarily releasing bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream as the liver works to filter out the excess build-up. A cleansing reaction is usually a sign that the liver is a bit sluggish and not fully doing its job. This is also a sign that your body most likely needs regular cleansing every year and a long term change of diet to strengthen its immune system.

If you experience a cleansing reaction, you can try to help speed up the elimination of toxins by:

1. Having a colonic to help flush the colon

2. Doing an enema at home using distilled water (or an organic coffee enema)

3. Taking extra minerals – either liquid minerals, green juice, wheatgrass or green smoothie (depending what type of detox you’re doing)

4. Drinking more water to help flush the kidneys

5. Practicing dry skin brushing, take an herbal steam or far infrared sauna to help the lymphatic system

Usually a cleansing reaction will last a few hours at the most. I do not advise anyone to “tough it out” or suffer through the cleansing process. Consulting with a detox expert (like myself!) can help you make the best and safest detox plan so you don’t put added stress on your elimination organs – your liver, skin, kidneys, colon and lungs.

Healing Crisis

Having an actual healing crisis is more rare than a cleansing reaction. A true healing crisis occurs when the body has been getting stronger and cleaner and is a true sign of progress. A healing crisis may mimic any disease or condition you have had in the past, but it’s abbreviated, typically lasting from a few hours to a few days.

In the book The Healing Crisis, Dr. Fife offers simple suggestions on how to listen to your body during a healing crisis. “The symptoms you develop during a crisis will guide you as to what to do. If you are tired – rest. If you are thirsty – drink. If you have a fever, your body is trying to build up heat; keep yourself warm and let the heat run its course. For aching muscles, a warm bath might help. Pain in the lower back is often caused by the kidneys crying for water, rather than the result of being sore back muscles. Drink more water. If you have diarrhea or are vomiting, the body is trying to empty itself, so don’t try to eat. You will lose fluids, so you should try to drink water to keep from being dehydrated. Drinking a lot of water during a crisis is usually a good practice because water (especially distilled water) will help to dilute the toxins in the bloodstream and aid their removal.”

When you are going through a healing crisis, it definitely helps to have the guidance and support of a detox expert. The key is to remain calm, focus your mind on healing, and support your body back to health, slowly.

Hering’s Law of Cure

When you’re experiencing a healing crisis, remember the homeopathic law of cure, also known as Hering’s Law of Cure:

Healing occurs from:

1. The inside-out (meaning the from the internal organs first, then to the joints and skin),

2. From the head down (the body clear symptoms in the head first, then to the trunk, hips and toes), and

3. In the reverse order as the symptoms have appeared (your most recent ailments are cleared first).

This is the process the body goes through when returning to a healthy state, naturally of course.

For more on how to start a raw food diet, how to do a detox at home or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

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Warnings when doing a Water Fast & Managing Hunger

Water fasting is a powerful and intense experience. When done properly, you can have amazing results. It takes a strong-willed individual to be able to successfully do a water fast. The following are some important things to watch out for during your program:

Potassium warning

When I tried my very first water fast, I experienced low potassium levels during my first water fast, and luckily knew to immediately stop.

If you start to get extreme muscle cramps, to the point where you have trouble standing and feel like you are going to collapse, you could be suffering from a lack of potassium. You may also feel quite distinctly that something is very wrong. If this happens, listen to your body – it is trying to warn you!

I don’t want to scare anyone about this..don’t be alarmed if you feel minor cramping in your calves or arms while fasting. Minor muscle cramps are normal. In that case, just rest and drink more water.

But if the cramps turn severe, then you should seriously think about breaking the fast and taking some juice or liquid minerals right away.

If you quickly start to feel better, you will know that your body needed potassium.

Signs of potassium deficiency include: muscle cramps, muscle fatigue and weakness, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, mental confusion and irritability.

Taste of heavy metals

If you start to experience the taste of metal in your mouth during your fast and it doesn’t go away, you could be detoxifying heavy metals from your body. It’s not a good idea to continue with water if this occurs. Instead, break the fast and consider doing some natural heavy metal detoxing before you consider trying another water fast.

Physical cleansing reactions

There are many cleansing reactions that one can experience during their fast. The most typical ones would include headaches, fatigue, nausea, minor aches and pains, blurred vision, skin rashes or eruptions and trouble sleeping. For headaches especially, you may want to try an organic coffee enema.

Otherwise, just be gentle and patient with your body – rest as much as you possibly can and be grateful to know that your body is finally strong enough to start eliminating excess toxic waste.

If you start to have extreme reactions, it could mean that you did not prepare your body for the fast properly with good intestinal cleansing and healthy eating. You may want to stop, spend more time on your ‘pre-fast’ and then start again.

Heartburn and Acid Reflux

If you feel any heartburn or intense acid reflux during your fast, you could be too acidic internally. The best thing to do is slow down the fast, add some fresh lime or lemon squeezed into your water, and allow your body to alkalize. After you are feeling good, you can go back to pure water.

Keep in mind that if you have continual heartburn during your water fast, that may be a sign that you have acidity from excess toxins in your body, such as chemicals, food additives and heavy metals. You may want to stop the fast and consider doing a colon cleanse, parasite cleanse and heavy metal detox before trying water fasting again.

Emotional cleansing reactions

On my first long water fast, I experienced a lot of negative emotions including sadness, guilt, depression and anger. Usually these types of negative emotions arise more when the liver is cleansing, so take it as a good sign. Your body is pulling these deep-rooted energies out of the cells and is finally releasing them once and for all.

If you want, you can say mantras to yourself such as ‘I am releasing the anger from x person hurting me’ or ‘I am releasing the guilt of (whatever the situation).’ Allow your mind to work with the body to help actively release and be free of these burdens!

Hunger

This is probably the thing people worry about the most when they think about whether or not to try a water fast. I can tell you that in my case, the only real hunger I felt was in my mind! If I thought about food or I saw or smelled food, only then did I start to want it. But my physical body really did not experience hunger pains.

If you do feel a lot of grumbling, first try to drink more water. Always drink small amounts of water at a time so you don’t wind up feeling sick. Try to lie down, meditate and take your mind somewhere else. Think about all the good you are doing for your body. Know that this is your chance to heal in amazing ways. Ask for strength from your Source.

If you start to think about food, try as much as possible to NOT think about junk foods, comfort foods, de-vitalized foods, coffee or alcohol. If you do this, you are creating the seed of energy in your mind to seek those foods out later. For sure you will have a much harder time saying no to them once you break your fast.

Many people even think about such foods so much that they wind up breaking their fast on those very foods!

Be careful what you think about. If you start to fantasize about food, imagine yourself eating all the pure, divine foods from Mother Earth. Visualize having the perfect fruit salad for breakfast, then imagine preparing the most delicious raw salad for lunch and watch yourself eating that wonderful dinner of mixed greens and garlic with a fresh basil pesto dressing. Be creative and have fun in your mind, but keep it healthy!

Surround yourself with positive people: No gossip or negative talk

As much as you possibly can, maintain a circle of supportive friends and loved ones around you during your fast. If someone you know disagrees with what you are doing, don’t tell them right away. If anyone is making you feel less than the perfect person you are, politely avoid them during that time.

Realize that you will be much more sensitive to others and to your own feelings as well. If someone really cares about you, they will understand and do everything they can to support you.

Make a rule for yourself not to engage in any gossip or negative talk about anyone during your fast! These energies spread like wildfire and a wildfire is very hard to put out!

Be positive and loving and you will attract more of the same into your life!

Otherwise try spend a lot of time alone, reading books, health dvds, spending time in nature, keeping motivated and inspired and really connecting to your body. I like the way that Daniel Reid talks about ‘saving your breath’ in his book, The Tao of Detox. He explains how much energy is wasted simply from speaking and to consider talking as little as possible during your fast to keep that energy for your own healing. It makes sense!

Rest even when feeling good


Rest is one of the most important factors in a successful fast. Give the body all the time it needs to do it’s internal healing. If you start to feel really good, it can be very tempting to want to head out for a walk, run to the shops or meet some friends for an outing. As much as you can, try to avoid this temptation! Even when you are feeling good during a water fast, you should still rest as much as possible!

You will benefit so much more in terms of how much your body can achieve with the fast if you rest, rest and then rest even more!

More information

    My story & experiences during water fasting
    Preparing for a water fast
    How to maximize your water fast
    How to break a water fast

For more info, go here: 40-Day Water Fast: Comprehensive Guide & Personal Journal

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