There are times in life when a circumstance can get (slightly) worse, before it gets better. Your journey on THE WELL Cleanse may be a little like that. The reason? When you eliminate inflammatory foods, the body often goes through a withdrawal process as it removes stored toxins and adjusts to a new way of eating. It’s all good — but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.
This is especially true when cutting out sugar and caffeine — two highly addictive foods. For starters, sugar (which sneaks into more meals than you know) affects the brain's reward system, so when you ditch it you can be hit with cravings, mood swings and even anxiety.
The diverse list of detox symptoms includes — but isn’t limited to! — fatigue, headaches, body aches, nausea, brain fog and irritability. You may also experience acne or skin irritation because your skin is a large exit pathway for toxins. (For a full explainer of what’s happening while your body is detoxing, read this.)
Typically, the uncomfortable symptoms of detoxing pass within a few days to a week, but there’s no need to suffer one second longer than necessary. The tips below will help you cope so you can stay the course.
1 Begin weaning off sugar and caffeine before cleansing
Slowly decreasing your sugar and caffeine intake the week before you start the Cleanse will be easier on your system than going “cold turkey.” Whatever you do, don’t be tempted into a last-hoorah sugar binge the weekend before you kickoff.
2 Stay hydrated
Hydrating is one of the most important things you can do while detoxing, so drink plenty of water (aim for half your body weight in ounces every day). Mix it up by adding lemon, which aids in digestion, or swap out plain ‘ol H20 for herbal teas (which are naturally free of caffeine) and bone broth. Nettle tea is a great addition to detoxing because it’s high in polyphenols (which fight inflammation) and studies show it may help lower bloods sugar levels.
3 Make time to rest
During sleep, our body repairs and restores itself. But it’s important to find other ways to rest, such as meditation, gentle yoga or taking a bath. As much as possible, try to avoid stress triggers, and pay closer attention to your emotional state.
4 Get outside
Nature has all sorts of healing powers — just a few breaths of fresh air can help clear your head and instill a sense of calm. If you feel up to it, fitting in some outdoor exercise can be beneficial too, whether that’s a leisurely walk or a moderate workout.
5 Support elimination
It’s important to support your body’s natural elimination process. Stay hydrated, eat lots of cooked veggies (which are gentler on your digestive system) and add movement throughout the day. If you’re experiencing constipation, try a magnesium citrate supplement.
6 Sweat it out
Sweating is another way the body gets rid of toxins, so a sauna or warm bath can assist in that effort — just go easy. Adding dry brushing to your self-care routine can also help get the lymphatic system moving toxins through the body more effectively.