06/04/2012 12:05 EDT | Updated 08/04/2012 05:12 EDT

Why I Started a Cleanse During the May 2-4 Weekend

So there I was during our first long weekend of the summer, May 2-4, trying to muster up the courage to start my pre-cleanse. I was sitting on my own patio with a group of friends, barbecuing over the long weekend with no will power to cut out processed foods and stop drinking alcohol...a three day cleanse was ahead of me.

Flickr: Keith Williamson

Cleansing is a great way to detoxify yourself and clear out the poisons from your system. If you've been eating a fairly processed diet for many years, you might be surprised to find that a lot of food might have gotten stuck, turning toxic.

In addition to left over food matter in the body, we are all constantly bombarded with modern-day chemicals and toxins in the air, water and products we use. So a cleanse can serve as a good way to get your body back in check and evaluate your lifestyle habits and vices you may have and finally it can give you clarity on what your body really needs, not craves. There are many ways that you can choose to detoxify yourself: dieting, fasting, eliminating certain foods and consuming more of a type of food, colonics and therapy.

So finally, after contemplating a cleanse for months, I decided to do it for the first time ever. I went through a local Leslieville shop called the Belmonte Raw, and selected their raw food cleanse which is their introductory cleanse package. They also offer a juice cleanse and a transition cleanse which is a combination of a juice and raw food cleanse but I was confident that I made the right decision, as this cleanse seemed the most appropriate for my needs.

I have only asked to do a three day cleanse because I already have a hard time with with discipline on my diet and alcohol intake as there is never a good time to stop eating the foods you love.

So there I was during our first long weekend of the summer, May two-four, trying to muster up the courage to start my pre-cleanse. You need to commit to a recommended period of time to pre-cleanse your body to get it prepped for the actual cleanse. The longer you can pre-cleanse, the less negative side effects you may have which can come in forms of headaches, cold-like symptoms, irritability and lack of sleep.

The recommended period is to at least take two to five days on the pre-cleanse. This involves lightening up your toxin load by eliminating alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, dairy and processed foods, all of which act as toxins in the body.

I was sitting on my own patio with a group of friends, barbecuing over the long weekend with no will power to cut out processed foods -- like the burgers we were eating, dairy products like the aged cheddar we were nibbling on -- and stop drinking alcohol. My friends sat in disbelief about my cleanse and the reality that I would stick it through as they know my passion for all things food-related as well as my busy lifestyle with sports which would require energy.

Come the Monday of the beautiful long weekend and I did my best to pre-cleanse. While I was very hungry, I did managed to steer away from eating the leftover BBQ items and cheese in my fridge, instead focusing on couscous, quinoa and lots of raw vegetables and fruits while drinking a ton of water! I did feel guilty for not pre-cleansing all weekend but at least i did it for 24 hours.

Tuesday morning came and it was time to started my raw food cleanse. The Belmonte Raw committed that I will get a delivery to my front door with all I needed for the the raw food cleanse by 7:30 a.m. each day. The menu changed daily and along with the cleanse was a detailed schedule to follow.

The delivery arrived and I was very impressed with how much food I got. The portions of the salads for lunch and dinner were huge and I was satisfied to see little snacks to nibble on throughout the day.

My schedule for the days was as follows:

8:30 a.m. -- Breakfast power shake of mixed berry banana, almond lucuma gotukola, vanilla

10:30 a.m. -- Snack time of dehydrated vegetable crackers with fresh dips of chipolte or fresh-made salsa

12:30 p.m. -- Lunch time which included a variety of different salads every day with ingredients like wilted kale, pea shoots, beets and nuts. (And the portions were very large!)

2 p.m. -- Snack of either a cookie or chocolate

3:30 p.m. -- Juice time which came with a variety of combinations with ingredients like carrot, ginger, lemon, apple, spinach, parsley and cucumber. Each juice had a different flavour but was very refreshing

7:30 p.m. -- Dinner, which was another hearty salad

Finally before bedtime -- I would drink the liver-cleansing tea which is supposed to cleanse and protect the liver, which is a herbal bag with a combination of dandelion root, burdock and tea

Overall, I felt more regimented with my meal times on the cleansing schedule and I felt like I ate more regularly than I do regularly in my life. During my pre-cleanse and day 1, I was extremely hungry and would take any opportunity to inhale any food or snacks that I was able to eat. I would think about food constantly and would be very irritable. My stomach was very bloated for the entire period I was on the cleanse and when I was playing sports I could feel the liquids in my stomach squish back and forth.

I found that I would get up more in the middle of the evening to go to the bathroom because of all the liquids I was drinking. My second and third days of the cleanse, I found myself less hungry and could not finish all the portions of the lunches and dinners I was given. I was concerned about my energy level going into the cleanse but I was able to keep up at work and with my sports. I felt like I was definitely eating cleaner and was proud of that. My co-worker commented on how much leaner I was looking as well so I was happy to hear that.

As Friday approached, I was excited that I had stuck to my three day cleanse without straying at all. But I was mostly excited to break the cleanse and integrate food and alcohol back into my life. They have said that you should try and eat clean as much as possible and slowly re-introduce foods back into your diet but I am a bad example of discipline, as once I was done, I was living it up again.

I have to say if I were to ever do a cleanse again, I would have to be on a social hiatus as my commitments to sports and social engagements made my cleanse even tougher. I would also do it for at least five days to see more of the results as a three day cleanse only scratches the surface of a detox.

Regardless, I am very proud that I was able to do stick it out for three days and have developed more of a perspective on clean and healthy eating.