All of your body`s processes and functions depend on the nutrients provided by your diet. But even those of us who try to eat as healthily as we can sometimes get caught up in holidays, celebrations, our hectic everyday life and the ease and availability of processed, packaged and fast foods.

Unfortunately, most processed foods are dangerously high in trans-fats, sugar, salt and artificial ingredients, as well as being cooked to the point that most of their natural nutrients have been destroyed. Living on a diet of over-processed and heat-neutered foods can tax your body`s natural ability to cleanse itself, making you feel sluggish and looking tired and worn out.

One of the healthiest and most natural ways to cleanse your body of the things that are keeping you from looking and feeling your best is to treat yourself to a detoxing cleanse following the principles of the raw food diet.

Recent research suggests that human beings are natural frugivores, meaning that they are best equipped to thrive on a plant-based diet of raw foods, rather than the protein-heavy diet dependent on animal products that is often touted as the most “natural.”

The raw food diet offers you a wide variety of foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients while being low in calories and completely devoid of the artificial ingredients, preservatives and additives that take such a toll on your system.

Enjoying a cleanse is best done when you have the time and ability to control what you eat and drink, so plan your cleanse when there are no business lunches or food related events on your schedule. The simplest way to do this is with a 3-day cleanse on a quiet weekend.

Prepare for your raw food cleanse by stocking up on fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sea vegetables. Cold-pressed olive oil and fresh lemon juice is a simple and delicious salad dressing. Fresh organic herbs not only help add flavor, as many of them also aid digestion and help support your immune system. For example, parsley and mint help freshen breath as well as flavor foods.

Avoid all cooked foods, animal products, caffeine and alcohol while you are on the cleanse. Juicing is an excellent way to pamper your body with nutrients while giving your digestive system a rest. Add fresh fruits such as apples and bananas to nutrient-rich greens like spinach and kale. Cucumbers and celery are excellent for keeping your energy up, while carrots add sweetness and beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant.

You can stay on a raw food cleanse from three days to 21 days, though a raw food diet is nutritionally sound enough to sustain indefinitely. Listen to your intuition, because your body knows what it needs. If you are craving protein, snack on raw nuts and seeds. Is your sweet tooth acting up? Try grapes, which are nature`s candy.

One of the most important aspects of a cleansing diet is to stay hydrated. Dehydration contributes to both depression and fatigue, making it harder to stick to healthy life changes. In addition, staying well hydrated helps to keep your blood flowing smoothly as it carries nutrients to your organs and brain.

As with the foods you eat, it is important to make sure that the water you drink is free of chemicals and additives and as healthy and pure as the raw foods you`re eating.

Like What You've Read? Subscribe and get FREE updates delivered to your inbox!