Summer Cleansing with Whole Foods

Dr. Amanda Svendsen Port Moody

Today we’re welcoming Dr. Amanda Svendsen, BSc, ND with a guest post.

With the Coquitlam Farmers Market about to kick off its summer season on May 8th, it’s a great time to start thinking about a summer cleanse packed with fresh fruits and vegetables. Cleansing doesn’t have to mean fasting or starving yourself, or taking herbal laxative concoctions that send you running for the bathroom. Cleansing is about reducing the chemical and allergen burden on your body, and eating nutritious foods that support natural elimination pathways (such as the liver). There are many ways of doing this, but one of the simplest ways is to eat a whole foods, plant based diet focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds. This type of diet is naturally cholesterol free, anti-inflammatory, and high in antioxidants and fiber.

When planning a cleanse, there are several key points to keep in mind to ensure you will be doing it safely and effectively.

  1. Speak with your doctor before starting any cleansing program or making dietary changes to ensure they are appropriate for you.
  2. Planning, planning and more planning! Choose a period of 1-3 weeks that works for you. Make your life easier and avoid cleansing during vacations, big events, and busy times of the year whenever possible. Make a list of at least 15 meals or snacks that you enjoy that are ‘cleanse friendly’ and plan to have those ingredients on hand. This will keep you on track and minimize cravings.
  3. Make sure that you are eating at least every 3-4 hours to maintain your blood sugar – if you’re feeling dizzy, fatigued, or shaky, you’re not getting enough calories.
  4. Pay attention to your body’s signals: listen to hunger cues and eat as often as you like. Be sure to include foods higher in protein such as quinoa, legumes, and nuts, as they will keep you full for longer periods.
  5. Avoid strenuous exercise while cleansing, particularly if you are making significant changes to your typical diet. A brisk daily walk is ideal.
  6. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas to flush the lymphatic and digestive systems. Flavor your water with lemon or cucumber slices if you like.

Some of the best foods for cleansing are available at the farmers market. Consider garlic, a powerhouse of compounds that help the liver process toxins in our bodies. The brassica family of vegetables includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. All of these contain high levels of compounds called indoles, which help to balance estrogen levels and support liver detoxification. And for a bit of sweetness, be sure to enjoy some seasonal berries. Blueberries are a good fruit choice as they help stabilize blood sugar levels, while raspberries and blackberries provide a tasty serving of fiber. All berries are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which confer the bright color to the skin of the fruit. Mix in fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or mint and you have some delicious meals!

Eating fresh, local food ensures you’re getting the best of the season and encourages variety in your diet. Whether you’re ready for a cleanse, or just looking for some healthy culinary inspiration, the local market is sure to deliver!

Dr. Amanda Svendsen, BSc, ND, is a naturopathic physician at Port Moody Naturopathic Health and Wellness. Visit for more information, or call 604-949-0077.

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