cleansing diet happiness

Shocking, but it was only four months ago. I was waking up every morning feeling like my guts were on fire. No matter how I tweaked my diet, I didn’t feel much better, and a part of me began to lose hope.

“Why haven’t all those healing diets worked for me? Is my body broken?” I wondered sadly.

After 11 years of a vegan diet, long periods of high raw or 100% raw food, and seven years of eating mostly organic, simple, gluten-free, and nutrient-dense homemade meals, I was at a loss. I knew intuitively that eating “close to nature” was the key, but I didn’t know if I needed to tack on new “rules” to my daily diet. Every time I researched “cleansing diet”, I found mountains of conflicting theories. I was so fed-up with the digestive pain, and being confused by a million little rules.

The fact is, functional gut disorders (FGD) are really common, affecting at least 15% of the global population. There are millions of people who are seeking knowledge, relief, and freedom!

So what cleansing diet is the “best”? I found a simple answer, but it doesn’t have an official name yet. It uses principles found in the Alkaline Diet, Clean Eating, Natural Hygiene, the Anti Inflammatory Diet, and Raw Foods. Oh, and it can bring relief almost immediately. Nice.

Here are the six core principles;

  • Close to natural state
  • Alkaline forming
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Properly combined
  • Low fat
  • Proper timing of food and water intake

Now let’s take a look at the juicy details of these six ideas.

natural state foods are sexy!
1) Natural State
Can the food be enjoyed in it’s uncooked, unprocessed state? The more preparation an item of food requires, the less ideal it is for human consumption. Select foods that are delicious and appealing in their natural state.

2) Alkaline Forming
Will the food leave a net acid or alkaline residue in the body? A food’s acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the pH of the food itself. Select foods that produce a net alkalizing effect in your body.

Alkaline Forming Foods

  • All raw vegetables.
  • All raw fruits, including high-acid fruits such as lemons and oranges, etc. High acid exceptions are blueberries, cranberries, plums and prunes.
  • Fresh lima beans, peas, green beans, soybeans and sprouted beans/legumes.
  • Amaranth, millet and quinoa grains.
  • Almonds, chestnuts, fresh coconuts, pine nuts (pignolias), sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.

3) Anti Inflammatory
Does the food cause irritation to the body? Some foods contain nutrients as well as substances that are toxic to humans. Select foods that are nutrient dense and do not contain inflammatory substances.

Inflammation Causing Foods
Meat (including eggs), dairy, processed foods, grains, garlic, onions, leeks, radishes, radish sprouts, chili peppers, black pepper, mustard, mustard greens, arugula, and oregano.


4) Properly Combined
Does the food allow your digestive enzymes and stomach acid to do their job? Carbohydrates, proteins and fats all require different enzymes to be digested. Select meals that are combined to allow your body to thoroughly digest your food.

Food Combining Basics

  • Eat fruit by itself, and only on an empty stomach.
  • Proteins and fats combine well with non-starchy vegetables (and cucumbers). And that’s it.
  • Starchy foods combine well with all vegetables and non-sweet fruits (except tomatoes).
  • Avocado combines well with any kind of vegetable, tuber and non-sweet fruit.
  • When juicing, food combining rules are not needed. Green juice containing fruits and vegetables is a perfect combination.
Download this beautiful chart and you will instantly see how food combining works. A visual diagram makes it so much easier to understand!
food combining chart for glowing holistic health

5) Low Fat
When humans consume more than 10% of their calories in the form of cooked or raw fat, health deteriorates. Green juice and green smoothies are my favorite way to get lots of yummy nutrition while keeping my overall fat intake at or below 10%.

6) Timed Meals and Drinks
The digestive system is open for business during daylight hours so meals should be eaten only between sun up and sun down. It also works best when food and water are taken separately, so as not to dilute your digestive enzymes and create digestive distress. Drink water or juices at least 20 minutes before eating, and wait one to two hours after eating to drink again. Space out meals three or more hours apart, because frequent meals/digesting are a constant energy drain to our bodies. Your body heals faster, your blood sugar is stable, and you have a stable stream of energy.

Raw Food Diet Notes
Raw vegetables are not recommended for people with active inflammation, such as symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, etc. They can irritate the digestive track, so it is best to juice them and steam them during the healing phase. Drink as much green juice as you can! When your body is ready, raw “blended salads” and then unlimited raw foods will produce no discomfort. Be patient and loving with yourself. It’s a process.

Is This Diet…?
Eating this way is compatible with a gluten free diet, low fat diet, plant based vegan diet, diet for gout, a holistic cancer diet, candida diet, healing gall bladder diet, healing renal/kidney diet, alkaline diet, low glycemic diet, high fiber diet, clean eating, and honestly it’s the best flat belly diet on earth. (Both my hubby’s and my abs just pop when we stick to cleansing foods!)

At four months, I’m still a beginner with this way of eating. I make mistakes sometimes. And I know my body isn’t 100% healed, because I am still cleansing and experiencing detox symptoms. It’s become a fun process actually, to notice some symptoms fade and then disappear, knowing that my journey is ongoing.

Here’s the bottom line: this cleansing diet works even when “everything else” has failed. It’s a powerful way to transform your body and your mind, and finally feel comfortable!

For more information on this cleansing diet, “Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s” is the only book you will need.

Has a similar cleansing diet helped you? Leave a comment now, because you have valuable insights and questions to share. 🙂


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  1. 05/16/11 by Mel

    I really believe in this natural diet and lifestyle. Today’s processed foods are responsible for so many of the modern day illnesses and health conditions. Returning to a whole foods, pure diet can really help one get back to optimal health.
    My recent post pH Balance Diet-The Parasite Remover

  2. 08/20/11 by Trey

    I have been mostly vegan for years and have now cut out all gluten and eat an 80%+ raw diet. I completely agree with your diet and this is what I am working towards. Been finding a lot more simple raw recipes to use and making things simpler is key to sticking with it. I usually have a huge green smoothie in the morning and snack on fruit till lunch when I eat a large salad usually. Then a nice raw dinner usually but twice a week a may eat a cooked meal. But ALL organic ALL the time! I am lucky to run an organic produce co-op so I have access to all the organic produce I can eat/juice/blend at an affordable price.

  3. 08/28/12 by Snowgirl

    Hi Lauren,

    I wanted to ask you a question about your diet. What are you doing differently now that you weren’t doing before that has given you so much relief from your pain? It seems like you had a near perfect diet before. What has changed? That must have been so frustrating for you! Was it the food combining that made a difference? Also, I have not read the book yet, but from what I have heard, you eat ALOT of fruit following this plan. Are you concerned about eating that much fruit and having so much sugar from the fruit? Just curious how you feel about that.

    • 08/28/12 by Lauren Lionheart

      Hey Snowgirl, thanks for your great questions! Food combining, reducing my grains and fats consumption, and eliminating spicy foods were the big changes I made when I switched to this cleansing diet. As a side effect, I became more mindful about eating so when my body said “I’ve had enough of this food” or “I’d prefer this food instead”, I was more apt to listen and respect those inner nudges.

      Another awesome question about the fruit & sugar! It’s true, fruit is the cornerstone of this diet, and I personally strive for 70-80% fruit every day. Without exception, the more fruit I eat, the better I feel overall. I wish I had tried this before, but I was afraid of my blood sugar going crazy and not getting all the nutrients I needed. Oh well, live and learn 🙂

      Here’s the secret to keeping your blood sugar steady and keeping your body alkaline while eating a high fruit diet: keep the fat content at 10% or below. Swayze Foster from has some great articles that explain this concept in more detail. Here is my favorite one: Fat: The True Cause of High Blood Sugar.

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