A week of preparation is key before doing a cleanse. That's why we always do a week of prep prior to the 21 days of the Beacon Cleanse. What's the point? There are four. Let's discuss.
- Ease the Withdrawal Symptoms: There are a number of foods we will omit from our diet on the Beacon Cleanse that can cause some pretty uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if you removed them all at once. The likely candidates for this are sugar, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol. These foods tend to have components in them that the body forms pretty dependent relationships with, and when you take them away, things like headaches, body soreness, fatigue, irritability and stomach upset can occur. So we recommend “ramping down” off these foods. Let's take coffee, for instance. To ramp down off of coffee, cut your daily consumption by a quarter on the first day of prep week. On the second day, cut it down another quarter. You may want to hold here for a day or two and then proceed cutting another quarter and then the last quarter. You may also want to start adding in green or white tea to ease the caffeine withdraw. Some people who withdraw caffeine all at once will experience headaches severe enough to keep them home from work. We don't want you to lose function while cleansing. We just want to see you get healthier! You can do the same sort of process with added sugars, alcohol and even processed foods (think fast food and foods that come in bags, boxes and cans). Processed foods, many times, include large amounts of sugar, salt and fat, and so the body needs to be weaned off or negative symptoms could occur as your body tries to tell you it's not happy and to add the foods back. Not gonna happen though. We're on the Beacon Cleanse!
- Prepare Your Kitchen: Another reason to do a prep week is to prepare your kitchen so you're not feeling lost or overwhelmed during the Cleanse. Start to go through your pantry, your refrigerator and your counter tops and weed out any item that isn't included on the Cleanse. Then you have a decision to make: Will you eat all of this food before the Cleanse begins, will you throw it away, or will you put it in Cleanse purgatory (a shelf designated as “off limits” during the Cleanse, but you'll add the foods back when you're done)? Start the process of clearing your shelves and counter tops so that your Kitchen will be “compliant” by the time you start the full Cleanse phase.
- Set Your Why: People who know WHY they are setting limits on themselves will do better keeping with the limits. That's just science backed human nature. Mindset is KEY when making a major change in your life. So ask yourself the question: Why am I doing the Beacon Cleanse? What do I want to get out of this? And then write it down. Maybe even draw a nice little vision poster, and post it somewhere that you'll see it every day. It takes 21 days to break a habit. It takes 3 cycles of 21 days to replace that habit with a better one (see Dr. Caroline Leaf's program, The 21 Day Brain Detox). Get clear on the habits you're wanting to break and the new ones you're wanting to solidify. Do this work because it's vital to your success. Don't skip over defining your why and what you want to see at the end of this program. If you do, you won't have as productive of a Cleanse. We don't want you to waste your time. I mean, you're skipping donuts and coffee for heaven's sake! Make it productive.
- Make a Clear Plan: That's where the Beacon Cleanse Customizable Worksheet comes in. Review it, pray about it, decide what your plan will look like, and then define it. What will your daily target score be? Get specific. Know what you're running for each day. Once you've set your daily target score, you're ready for the Beacon Cleanse!