• Catherine Hansen MD, MPH

What is a cleanse?



Some of our Empowered Women’s Circle did this cleanse with me in April 2019 and, if you recall, it was a shocking look into some habits that I needed to kick. Well, I’m ready to do it again and this time I am armed with the knowledge that last time, I realized huge benefits in my life - physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. I’m much less nervous than last time, in fact, I’m excited for all the rewards that come from reclaiming my health in this way.


There are many types of cleanses and even the word conjures up green fluids and many trips to the bathroom. When I used to hear about my patient’s doing cleanses I would get quite concerned, yet maintain a curiousness about what type of results they would achieve. Over the years, cleanses have become a fad in mainstream media and are used by people who have heard their benefits and seek the immediate health benefits. They are touted to help people lose weight, clear brain fog, balance hormones, improve gut health and, my favorite, reverse aging. Truth is, there is no evidence they do any of these things which is why, after I quietly roll my eyes, I advise my patient’s to “be careful” and I head back to my daily routine.


Why is this time different? This cleanse is not really a cleanse. And, after years of elevating my family’s healthy lifestyle, I feel ready for something a little more aggressive. After listening to Oprah Winfrey’s Podcast with Kathy Freston, I began thinking more about the Earth as a living breathing cosmos and about how we, humans, are just part of the broader ecosystem.


So, I’m going to try eliminating caffeine, alcohol, gluten (mostly), sugar and animal products (except eggs) for 21 days. I’m viewing this as a 21 day experiment and I’ve explained it to my kids as a chance to see how my body responds when I do some different things with it. Also, Kathy’s book bundles the body, mind and soul “healing” into a beautiful flow that I enjoy as I don’t think we can separate what we do physically from how our mind and soul respond. When we eliminate ANYTHING from our daily, habitual life, there are responses that need to be factored into the equation like, “how does this make me feel?” or “what do I believe about that?” and just the exercise of asking those questions deepens our relationship with ourselves and with this beautiful planet we live on.


True to my core value of integrity and honesty (with myself and others), I’ve decided to use this 21 days as an opportunity to see both sides. I plan to explore the ups side of each of the things I eliminate as well as the known detrimental effects on humans or the earth so that, when all is said and done, this will have been a supreme learning experience.


Come along if you’d like but never, ever, do something like this for anyone but yourself and your own personal reasons. Follow along on our Empowered Women’s Circle Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/drhansenreclaim (in the announcements section through to the end of January 2021).


  1. The Quantum Wellness Cleanse. The 21-day essential guide to healing your body, mind, and spirit. Kathy Freston. 2009.

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