Detox, cleanse, fast…these words are thrown around by many people who are just trying to get healthy, but what's the difference between them? And how do you know what's best for you? To get some clarity, caught up with Durham, North Carolina-based, holistic practitioner and vegan and vegetarian personal chef, LaMana Donadelle. 

"'Cleanse' and "detox" are sometimes used synonymously, but cleansing is actually something that we do to cause a detoxification (or detox) to occur," Donadelle says. "Detoxing naturally happens. Once the body is finished digesting food, it automatically goes into a state of detox, where it will purge foreign and toxic materials. Unfortunately, our diets and lifestyles allow us to accumulate more toxins than our bodies can naturally purge. For this reason, we may need to occasionally do a cleanse or even a fast where we consciously slow down the amount of toxins that we take in so that we force our bodies into it’s natural state of detox.

"A Cleanse can consist of abstinence from any number of food related items or toxic activities, where a true fast allows only the consumption of water," she explains. Though maintaining willpower to adhere to a particular diet for a certain amount of time may be a challenge at first, Donadelle says the benefits are worth it. "Some results one can expect are weight loss, clarity, more energy, and the ability to sleep better and through the night and being more alert." 

If you're cleansing for the first time, Donadelle recommends doing a 1-2 day cleanse, as simple as eating only fruits and vegetables or consuming only juices. "Everyone body (and mind) reacts differently to cleansing/detoxing, so you want to allow yourself to experience it at an easy level so you can get familiar with how you respond."

To get you started, Donadelle has 6 tips to prepare for a cleanse:

1) Prepare your body.  2-3 days before, begin removing sugar, dairy, meat and any processed foods as well as sodas, coffee and alcohol.

2) Prepare your mind. Meditation and relaxation is very important to cleansing/detoxing as it allows you to reduce or eliminate stress.  Stress contributes to so many unhealthy habits and unhealthy eating so if you allow yourself a few minutes a day to just sit and be still, it helps to quiet the mind, which helps you to stay, focused on your goal.

3) Prepare your food.  Preparation is very important because it eliminates confusion and indecisiveness as to what you will eat/drink eat day of your cleanse.  Prepare by going shopping for all of your cleanse appropriate foods (fruits and veggies or juices). You must do your best to plan out your eating schedule and to allow adequate amounts of ME/DOWN time in your schedule. 

4) Drink warm water with lemon.  This helps to get your body started with the cleanse.  It begins the process of removing toxins from your body specifically your liver and kidneys.

5) Budget Your Time.  If you normally burn the midnight oil working, watching TV or whatever, you need to adjust this during the cleanse as your body needs an adequate amount of sleep while removing toxins.  If you normally eat past 8 p.m., this will need to change because you want to give your digestive system a "rest" and not tax it by those late night meals.

6) Consult your doctor.  I always suggest my clients to consult with your doctor just to make sure you are okay to do any cleanse or detox.  Know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels so you can make sure that you take care of your body appropriately during the cleanse.