Whether you're on a juice cleanse, or starting out on a raw vegan diet, it's common to experience symptoms of detoxification. These symptoms, as well as the degree to which they manifest, vary from person to person. It is important to understand how to identify different detox symptoms and to be able to recognize which symptoms are a sign that the cleanse is working it's magic, and which are an indication that perhaps something isn't quite right.
Here are 5 common detox symptoms and tips for handling them naturally and safely.
Headaches are quite common during the first few days of a cleanse—especially if you are a caffeine drinker. When you cleanse you will be eliminating many foods that you are likely addicted to: coffee, tea, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, etc. It is normal to experience withdrawal symptoms as a part of your body detoxing, but they will pass with time. It's very important to drink plenty of water during this process to stay hydrated and to help flush out toxins from your body.
Gently massaging your forehead and temples also might help alleviate some head pain as it encourages blood flow to that area of the body. If you can, you should refrain from taking painkillers, as they will disrupt the cleansing process.
Just remember that typical detox headaches should only last a couple of days and then you will feel like new. I promise. If headaches persist beyond a few days or worsen significantly, you should stop the cleanse and consult your doctor.
Feeling fatigued at the beginning of a juice cleanse is normal. Your body is working hard to adjust to a new way of eating, and it is busy purging and cleansing years of built of waste and toxins. Give yourself plenty of rest and try not to be hard on yourself during the first few days. If possible, start your cleanse on a Friday or at the beginning of a slower time at work so you have some time to allow your body to adjust.
If you continue to feel abnormally fatigued beyond the first few days of the cleanse, it is likely that you are not consuming enough calories. If you go on a juice cleanse with me you will hear me say this countless times: cleansing does not equal starvation. There should be no calorie restriction—the only calorie counting that you should be doing is to ensure you are getting enough calories each day. When you first switch from solid food to juice, it's often difficult to gauge how much you should consume. Listen closely to your body and drink up when you're feeling tired or hungry.
3. Changes in Bowel/Frequent Urination
It is very common—especially during the first 2-3 days of a cleanse—that you will be visiting the restroom a lot. Don't fret, this is normal. You are supplying your body with nutritious, cleansing juice, and your body is responding by dumping (sorry, no pun intended) all of the waste it no longer needs to hold onto. It is likely that you will lose quite a bit of water weight during the first few days as well.
It is very important that you remember to drink lots and lots of water, both during the initial stages of your cleanse and afterward, to help replenish the fluids you are loosing.
You may experience cravings for particular foods at any point throughout your cleanse. It is common that these cravings are strong at the beginning of your cleanse and then dwindle as your body and mind become acquainted with your new patterns. Try, try, try (I know it's not easy) to not give into cravings, and it will get easier over time. This I can promise you.
Frequent cravings might be an indication that you are not consuming enough calories throughout the day, so before you give up and grab the potato chips, have another glass of juice.
To set yourself up for success, I strongly recommend cleaning out your cupboards and refrigerator prior to beginning your cleanse. Pack everything except what you will use on your cleanse into boxes and make sure they are out of sight and out of reach. Better yet, drop them off at your neighbours house. You won't feel anywhere as tempted to cheat if you remove the constant visual reminders.
5. Chills/Flu Symptoms
Sometimes people experience body aches and chills while detoxing. If experienced during the first few days of the cleanse, it is likely that you are going through withdrawal as your body begins to cleanse and heal. As long are you are consuming enough calories and are drinking plenty of water, these symptoms are normal and should dissipate in a few days. Give yourself lots of rest.
If these symptoms return or worsen later on in your cleanse, stop the cleanse and consult your doctor.
Even when we are healing and nurturing our bodies, it's important to listen carefully and not push ourselves too hard if our body warns us that something might be amiss.
At the same time, understanding natural and safe detoxification symptoms can help you feel confident in your cleanse, and ensure that you don't quit early without truly needing to.
More often than not, experiencing detox symptoms means your body is cleansing and healing itself—a reason to celebrate! Your body is smart and knows how to heal, as long as you fuel it with the right ingredients.
Peace & Love,