Feeling like you need a cleanse?
We get LOADS of questions at Farmacopia about cleanses in January! We understand! Many of us get way off track with our health in the months of October through January and are looking for a quick way to feel better. A cleanse can be a great way to get recalibrated with sugar and other binge-inspiring foods, caffeine, alcohol and most importantly, nourishment in general.
First, let’s find out if you’re in a good place to do a cleanse.
Are you: Feeling depleted or recovering from Cold/Flu/Covid/RSV/Gut Bug misery? Exhausted from burning the candle at both ends for months of holidays and overfull work/school schedules? Then I highly recommend you check out the Winter Stress & Gut Soother guide that is available free online here. This is less a cleanse than a focus on gut and nervous system restoration to set you on the right path in the new year.
Are you: Feeling like your organs are sticky from holiday indulgence, your food is off track, your body is achy and your mind is foggy when you wake in the morning? Are you craving a little structure? Then I have a simple solution for you. The 3-3-1 cleanse doesn't cost a ton of money, and is short and easy to follow. See below.
(Note: This cleanse is not a diet. It’s a way to get digestive rest, fuel the body with nutrients, and get back in touch with your body and your food supply. Cleanses aren’t appropriate for everyone. If you have serious health issues and want to do a cleanse I recommend working with one of our practitioners. You can read about them here. Sometimes folks with a history of disordered eating or active struggles with food restriction find cleanses to be triggering or counterproductive. It's important to be gentle with yourself around this time of year!).
3-3-1 CLEANSE (download pdf version here)
First 3 days: Clean up your diet.
Set aside sugar, fried food, processed food and white flour foods like bread and pasta. Reduce your caffeine intake to 1-2 cups of tea/coffee in the morning and reduce or eliminate alcohol. Increase your water. During the rest of the cleanse, you won’t be having wheat or dairy, so you may want to reduce those and find replacements like hemp milk for your coffee, or a sprouted tortilla instead of bread. Start cleanse support supplements, if desired. Make broth.
See our broth recipes here
Next 3 days: 2 liquid meals and a “real” (solid) meal.
This could be a smoothie with protein powder, a soup, and a meal with 1 lean protein like chicken or fish, 2 “above-ground veggies” such as greens and broccoli, and something a little starchier to help with satiety and synergize with the season. This could be a small purple sweet potato, roasted root veggies, or ½ cup serving of brown rice or quinoa. If you’re vegetarian, a whole grain like quinoa, some beans (or eggs, if you eat them) and veggies will work great! 1 cup of organic coffee in the morning is fine. Drink green or white tea if you want caffeine later in the day. Drink broth in between meals to help with energy and satiety.
See our smoothie recipes here
See our soup recipes here
See our simple protein recipes here
*Note: If liquid meals don’t work for you, that’s fine! You can have your soup with a turkey patty or a cup of quinoa, or just have 3 clean, light meals per day. I often eat my largest “real” meal for breakfast, have soup with solid protein at lunch, and my smoothie or another soup for dinner.
Next 1 day (OPTIONAL): This is your fully liquid day: abundant broth, tea, vegetable juice, pureed soup. I recommend adding bovine or marine collage to your broths or soups to help keep your energy up and your brain fueled with amino acids. If you don’t eat either, no problem! Just use a protein powder like Epic or sprouted brown rice protein.
See our broth recipes here
Juices: Here in Sonoma County, I recommend The Nectary in Sebastopol and Healdsburg. The brands Evolution Fresh and Urban Remedy make great greens juices and are available in many retailers across the country.
If you get hungry or feel woozy, please eat something! You might need some chicken breast, or a cup of brown rice, or half an avocado.
Ideally this day would fall over the weekend or on a day when not much is demanded of you. If you don’t have days like this, then it may be best to just continue with your liquid/solid meal combos.
Next 3 days: Back to 2 liquid meals and “real” (solid) meal.
Next 3 days: Return to regular eating, but cleaned up—no sugar, fried/processed foods. This is basically a repeat of the first 3 days.
You did it!
Supplements are optional, but helpful. During the cleanse, you want to support your all your organs of elimination. Of course, cleaning up your diet typically does just this. But this can be a great time to give a little extra love to your hard-working liver, gallbladder and kidneys. Also, you want to poop like a champ when you’re cleansing, since many of your body’s toxins and broken down hormones are excreted this way. If you don’t have a daily, complete bowel movement, I highly recommend using one of the fibers and gentle elimination supports below. Bitters also help with this!
FUNCTIONAL FIBERS: GI Fortify, Blue Heron or SunFiber (recommended for those on low Fodmap and SIBO diets): 1 serving upon rising and before bed. Start low with fiber if you’ve never taken it—half of the lowest suggested dose 1 x per day, either between meals or before bed. Increase from there until you feel satisfying, complete elimination without gassiness or bloating.
GENTLE BOWEL ELIMINATION SUPPORT: Farmacopia’s Mellow Lax tincture; Healthforce Nutritionals Intestinal Movement Formula, or Douglas Labs Magnesium Oxide. For use only if you have trouble having a daily bowel movement. In general, it’s best to take these at night before bed to support a morning BM.
BINDERS along with fiber, binders help grab toxins in the gut and eliminate them:
- Cymbiotika Charcoal: 1 packet per between meals—best at least 2 hours from food, supplements, or medication.
- Healthforce Nutritionals Chlorella tabs: 2-4 tabs 2 x day, upon rising and before bed.
BROTH BOOSTERS and PROTEIN ADDITIONS:
- Earth and Vitamineral Green powder: to make “quick and dirty” veggie broth.
- Forest Floor Broth: A boosting blend of herbs and medicinal mushrooms to support immunity.
- Great Lakes Collagen (bovine)
- Indigo Marine Collagen
- Epic Protein (high quality vegan protein source)
5 CLEANSE PRO TIPS
Don’t be all or nothing. You can’t mess this up! If you veer off the plan, or an unforeseen disruption occurs, don’t worry! Simply dust yourself off and resume. Practice being gentle with yourself.
More isn’t always better. “Cleansing crises” are best avoided. It is not desirable to detox in such an extreme manner that you feel terrible—this could indicate that you’re liberating toxins too fast to be processed by your organs of elimination. It can be normal to feel a little headache-y or tired in the beginning of cleanse, but more extreme reactions are a sign to slow down and back off.
Listen to your body I mention this in the how-to section above, but it bears repeating: if parts of the plan aren’t right for you, adjust or skip them.
Warm up the cold In winter, it can be a good idea to warm up your smoothie, especially if you have it first thing in the morning. This can be done by using fresh or thawed (not frozen from the freezer) fruits, adding warming spices like ginger or cinnamon, or making a truly warm (as in heated up) smoothie. See our recipes here. Let juices come to room temperature before drinking, and don’t chug them—just sip. If juices don’t work for you, try a mineral-rich tea like Nettles instead, or just stick with broth.
Move your lymph This is a great time to take a hot epsom salt bath, get in a sauna, alternate hot/cold water in the shower, dry brush your skin, and take walks. Schedule a massage! You can read more about how to support your lymph system here.
- Lean grass-fed/grass-finished lean beef, bison or lamb, if desired or needed
- Free-range chicken or duck eggs
- Collagen, marine or bovine source
- If no dairy sensitivities - Non-denatured, low-heat processed whey protein, plain, organic Greek yogurt
- Legumes: especially soaked and/or sprouted lentils & adzuki beans
- Non-gluten grains: especially soaked and/or sprouted brown rice & quinoa
- If no soy sensitivities: tofu or tempeh
- High-quality vegan protein powder
VEGETABLES–all veggies are a go! Here’s a list to help get you inspired! Frozen is okay.
- Bok Choy
- Broccoli sprouts and “microgreens”
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
- Mustard greens
- Celery Root
- Squash: Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, etc.
- Sweet Potatoes
FRUITS–All fruits are a go!! Frozen is okay!
NUTS & SEEDS – These are very rich! Consume in moderation through your cleanse.
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds - freshly ground
- Hazel nuts
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- “True” pickled vegetables - i.e., lacto-fermented
- Plain Greek yogurt (if dairy is well-tolerated, and no congestion, allergy, or cold is present)
- Water kefir
- Kombucha - low-sugar variety!
- Chickpea or Organic Soy Miso (if no soy sensitivity is present)
These probiotic-rich foods contain beneficial bacteria, which can support gut and immune health. However they are naturally histamine-rich and don’t agree with everyone. If you get congested, sneezy, bloated, headache-y, or experience other discomfort after eating them, don’t! Just because they’re supposed to be “good for you,” doesn’t mean they’re good for you.
For folks with histamine sensitivity (I’m one of them), I suggest taking a good quality, low-histamine-degrading enzyme when you do partake in these foods. You can work with a practitioner to help understand and reduce your reactions to histamine foods.
HERBS & SPICES–All herbs and spices are a go!
- Black pepper
- Garam masala
- Red pepper
- Organic, extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Ghee or grass fed, organic butter (if dairy is tolerated and there is no congestion, allergy, or cold present)
Flavoring oils: for drizzling on food, or making sauces
- Sesame oil
- Cold pressed walnut oil
- Hazelnut oil
- Flax oil
- Hemp oil
- Water - add lemon if desired
- Green tea - add lemon for enhanced catechin absorption
- Reishi Roast
- All herbal teas
- Hot water with lemon, honey, cinnamon or cayenne
- Nut milks (no sugar, carrageenan-free)
- Golden Milk (turmeric paste + nut milk)
- Reishi Roast
- Sparkling mineral water, alone or as a “mocktail” with one of our relaxing tinctures in the evening
FLAVOR AGENTS / CONDIMENTS
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fire cider
- Lemon juice
- Coconut aminos or wheat-free tamari
- Organic hot sauce
- Sea salt
- Any dressings or sauces made with “yes” ingredients
- Honey in moderation–1-2 tsps per day
- Organic stevia
- Organic monkfruit
Best to Avoid:
- Processed foods like chips, cookies, energy bars
- “White foods”--white rice, white flour, white potatoes, white sugar
- Artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup
- Corn, wheat and “gluten-free” products (best to have a whole grain in place of bread)
- Dairy except for Greek Yogurt and non-denatured whey (if you don’t have a dairy sensitivity)
- Nightshades if you have unexplained reflux or joint pain
- Canola oil