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It was lunch time. The sun was high, the breeze warm and the food hot. Without fail, every meal we sat down for had us questioning just how healthy they could be because they were so delicious. It was hard not to talk about food and immediately segue into an equally healthy discussion about cleansing since that was the point of our mini wellness retreat with Renew Life.

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During this particular midday meal, however, someone brought up the fact that not every health professional believes in the validity of cleanses. If I remember correctly, a doctor from a past interview was quoted saying something along the lines of, “That’s what our kidneys and livers are for.” True. But I think it’s safe to say our bodies haven’t evolved quickly enough to properly digest and metabolize all the preservatives, sugars and general increase of caloric intake we modern humans are consuming day in, day out.

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The moral of the story? We need all the digestive help we can get. That’s where a wellness retreat comes in. We, of course, were lucky enough to be whisked away to an incredible Mexican paradise taking the form of a yoga resort called Xinalani. In addition to the obvious good daily morning yoga, three healthy meals and a lot of sunshine did for our minds and bodies, we were accompanied by Dr. Sara Celik, a naturopathic doctor specializing in detox and weight loss.

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Dr. Sara made it abundantly clear that although removing ourselves from toxic environmental cues can help us reset our bodies to truly absorb all the benefits of an herbal Renew Life cleanse, the beauty of these particular cleanses is that it works no matter what lifestyle we’re living. Yes, being more active and making better food choices ensures we see more drastic results, but sometimes too much change, too fast, sets us back instead.

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Her big three pieces of advice when starting a cleanse were these:

ALWAYS MAKE IT EASY. Whether it’s focusing on nutrition, cleansing or fitness, you want to keep it as simple as possible or else it won’t be realistically maintained. It also has to fit into your lifestyle. Culture is a great example. Dr. Sara explains, “I love chicken salad but someone I’m working with might not eat chicken salad and I have to cater to them.”

ALSO MAKE IT GENTLE. This goes two ways: Use gentle products and be gentle with yourself. The beauty of Renew Life cleanses is that they target seven paths of elimination, ensuring the body as a whole is working to rid itself of bad toxins, bacteria and who knows what else. It shouldn’t be just running to the washroom every 30 minutes. It also shouldn’t be about deprivation.

NOW CLEANSE. Dr. Sara says, “We’ve overtaxed our body, we’ve over taxed our liver and we need these herbs to assist in the elimination process. There’s a lot of people who do yoga, who go outside, breath fresh air and eat generally healthy but are still unwell. The liver is sluggish. their digestive health is still affected by other factors. Until you get inside, treat the body from the inside, the organs actually need to be cleansed on a physical level.”

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So I challenge you to create a “stwellness retreat” (Get it? Like “staycation?” Yeah, it’s not the same.) You can adopt our Xinalani routine (morning yoga, afternoon activities such as hiking or swimming, a massage and sauna session as well as lots of water, healthy meals and solid sleep), while fitting it as naturally into your own lifestyle as possible. Or you can focus on other things that center you and help you along this journey — because believe me, it’s a journey. The biggest thing that will help you along are the right herbs and supplements.

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I’ll be continuing to talk about different elements of the cleansing, because it’s so much more than juicing. In fact, my next post will talk about the perils of deprivation. Until then!

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