Most doctors consider a gut cleanse to be no more than a colonic irrigation, which involves pumping as much as 16 gallons of liquid (usually water, but medical professionals at Mayo Clinic says herbs and coffee can also be used) through the colon. The aim of a gut cleanse is usually to remove toxins or impurities which might have accumulated in your bowels. While the process is not actually considered to be especially beneficial, Nutritionist Teresa Boyce in Australia has put her own spin on a gut cleanse, writing in an article for Body and Soul that it can actually be an essential step to gut health.
Boyce describes a proper gut cleanse as taking place over the course of about 14 days, and involves eating a diet of unprocessed, un-refined, gut-friendly food over that period. She notes that a gut cleanse should ideally be done once or twice a year and particularly after a holiday season, when you might have been indulging in foods that might be bad for your gut (think sugar and alcohol).
There is value in a health gut cleanse… without the gimmicks
Boyle’s food recommendations for a good gut cleanse includes all fresh vegetables, fruits, sprouts, gluten-free grains, fermented food, apple cider vinegar, and herbal and green tea. She recommends avoiding dairy, processed meat, refined food (like breakfast cereal and canned food), sugar, chips, alcohol, and coffee. For the duration of the fourteen day period, Boyle recommends taking natural supplements (via Body and Soul).
But why go through all the trouble? The nutritionist writes: “A good cleanse will replace foods that aggravate and compromise our gastrointestinal health with gut-friendly foods that do three things – ‘heal and seal’ the gastrointestinal tract; provide probiotics for healthy gut bacteria; and provide fibre for bowel health. Think of the gut like a car. A gut cleanse is like a service, and gut-friendly foods and supplements are like premium fuel.”
Boyle recommends a gut cleanse if you are feeling sick, bloated, moody, stressed, have sugar cravings, and if your poo doesn’t look right. And unlike the other gut cleanses, which offer what Boyle considers quick fixes, we’re guessing that doctors will be happy to get behind this plan.
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