health: To Cleanse or not to Cleanse…that is the question!

Spring is upon us and I’m super excited, I’ve been missing my friend “The sun” like crazy and I’m ready to shed some layers of clothing and enjoy the outdoors!

Everyone around me seems to be doing, talking about it or getting ready to do a body cleanse to get ready for spring.  Not being a nutritional expert and being super curious about the benefits of cleansing, I emailed my friend Andrea Sarjeant who’s a registered Holistic Nutritionist and Coach to get a better understand of it.

Interview with Andrea Sarjeant, registered Holistic Nutritionist and Coach


Andrea, I’ve heard people talk about being on a cleanse and I’ve even attempted to do a couple myself, can you tell us, what is a cleanse?

We’re all exposed to toxins every day through the environment, our homes, personal care items, such as our makeup and hair products, and the food we eat. A cleanse is a practice of detoxifying the body of all this stuff.


Be honest with me, is it really necessary to cleanse? And if so, how often during the year should it be done?

Well, our bodies want to be able to cleanse this stuff – our internal organs (such as our kidneys and liver) are basically like super computers that work to detoxify us. But the sad thing is that typically our bodies, and consequently our organs get so overloaded that we can’t detox properly.

Spring is the best time to cleanse because it’s naturally a time to regenerate. Look around, the landscape is slowly changing from a dreary brown to a lighter green. We even turned the clocks back over the weekend, so it’s a sign that spring is coming! Spring, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is all about the liver. Your liver is your body’s main detoxification organ; it takes dangerous substances and toxins and makes them less dangerous so they can be eliminated.

Even though the other seasons aren’t represented by the liver, cleanses can be great during other times of the year. A shorter cleanse in the fall helps to build immunity over the winter season. And many people love to do a cleanse in the new year, to start the year feeling great.



People say they feel lighter and healthier during a cleanse.  What would you say are the benefits and also, are there any side effects to cleansing?

The first thing that I will say is that it is important to talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner BEFORE you start a cleanse to see if it’s right for you!

The “healing crisis” is usually the main side effect. A few days into cleansing, you’ll likely feel more tired, headache-y, and maybe a little emotional. This is what happens when more toxins are released than your body knows what to do with. But these symptoms pass and that’s when you start to feel great and you can look forward to many other wonderful things, such as better sleep, clearer skin, better digestion (for example, less bloating after meals), more energy and less brain fog, to name just a few…


Can you eat during a cleanse or are you constantly starving during the process?

YES you can eat! People often think that cleanses are all about depriving yourself. I prefer to cleanse with real, whole foods. I believe in giving the digestive system a break by removing the types of foods that are typically hard to digest and supporting you with key nutrients and herbs. I’m a big believer in keeping my cleansers well fed… this keeps cravings under control and makes it easier to actually do the cleanse and go about your daily business.


What kind of food can you eat during a cleanse and do you have energy to workout?

You’ll be removing all the foods that typically bung up your system, the foods that are hard to digest and replacing them with lots of fresh fruits, veggies, clean proteins and good fats. As I mentioned before, the first few days can be hard. But the rest of the cleanse is usually much easier; you can expect to feel much more energized and vibrant, and working out is a joy.


Typically, how long should a cleanse last?

A real food cleanse can last anywhere from one to three weeks during this time of year. I like to think of it as a two-week vacation for my body… It’s really not a long time if you grab some friends and cleanse together.

Because Andrea is super awesome and really wants to help you be a better you, she’s offering a 10% discount on all her nutritional counseling services to our Coco & Cowe readers.  Get in touch with her and mention Coco & Cowe to get the discount!


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