Cleansing: 4 Key Steps


By Bart Precourt, D.C.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the gift of health. There may be no better gift than doing a whole food cleanse. Will it be easy? Maybe, maybe not. Do you need it? Most likely. Do you deserve it? YES!

After facilitating and participating in a Whole Food Cleanse for years, my clinical and personal experience tells me that everyone would benefit from cleansing. This is a quick overview of how to prepare for success.

Set your goals and have a plan
Setting realistic goals is extremely important when making decisions regarding cleansing your body. Often weight loss is a primary goal, yet it needs to be realistic. If you’re doing a 10 day cleanse, don’t expect to lose 20 lbs. Usually men lose weight at a much more rapid pace than women, yet we all will lose weight and get to our ideal size when we sustain healthy eating habits. Typically with the 21-day cleanse we facilitate, men on average lose between 8-15 lbs. and women lose 5-10 lbs.

Sustaining your new health with improved eating habits should be among your goals, with weight loss being a side effect. Other realistic health goals should include reducing inflammation, joint pain, hot flashes, and even improving sleep. All are side effects of ridding our bodies of toxins and restoring our digestive and elimination systems.

Have a plan beyond “I’m going to eat better.”
A good plan includes what will you eat? How often? Real food or packaged? If you’re using supplements, which is often the key to restoring your digestive and eliminative systems, be sure they do not contain any stimulants or appetite suppressants. All your supplements should be “Whole Food” supplements.

Have support and accountability
Being part of a group, or having a coach, nutritionist, or your doctor is a great advantage. Have someone in your corner who can help keep you on track and accountable when things get challenging. Find someone with a good knowledge base and experience. Your surroundings are often a major influence on what you eat and drink. Ideally your spouse or close friends are cleansing with you so you aren’t tempted to stray off track.

I find that most adults have no idea how much power sugar and chemicals have over our bodies until we give them up. Keep in mind that simple carbohydrates like bread, alcohol, muffins, crackers all act just like sugar and will need to be avoided in any successful cleanse.

Understand your symptoms
No one said cleansing your body of toxins is easy. Symptoms are expected and should be welcomed or at least understood. Too often I hear of people bailing out of their plan because they come across some unwanted symptoms. For example, low energy at some point during your cleanse should be expected. When you eliminate simple carbs and sugars from your diet, your body will need to re-learn how to burn fat for fuel. This can take a day or two, sometimes more. During this time, symptoms of lethargy, fatigue, brain fog, and even irritability can be expected. This is your key turning point in making changes! Stay the course and power through it. Having an experienced facilitator and proven program is highly beneficial in these moments.

Knowing what is next
This has two parts. First reflect on what you just experienced. Make note of your emotions, energy, food focuses, mental focus, pain, elimination, etc.

Women who do our 21-day whole food cleanse often eliminate their hot flashes. Some sustain this benefit with good eating habits, like avoiding sugar and processed carbs. Others have their hot flashes return in direct relationship to poor eating and drinking. Second, choose to eliminate one bad habit for good! Think about this from the beginning and commit to it. Your cleanse program, at least the food options, should be sustainable. Moving forward, stick to a whole food clean eating plan and mark your next cleanse on your calendar.

Dr. Bart Precourt and his wife Kelli, opened Balance Health Studio in 2006 to offer health and fitness as a lifestyle to the 30a community and beyond. For more information, please visit