My Vagina 2-Week Pathway Clean Up

A pink broom stands alone on a suburban pathway, ready to do a pathway clean up

The Pathway Clean Up is a reset, not a lifestyle change. It only takes two weeks, but you may keep some parts of it for longer if you find them helpful.

The Pathway Clean Up has six pillars to focus on: removing known problems, diet, supplements, detoxification pathways, healthy sleep, and managing stress.

Step 1 – ask: will this make my body work harder?

Think of this process like a holiday for your body, with the first item on the agenda to remove elements you know don’t help.

The first step is to note parts of your lifestyle that you can eliminate for the two weeks of your Pathway Clean Up. That might mean actually going on holiday from work, saying no to requests for your time and attention, and setting some rules for screen downtime.

The second step is to identify areas where you know you could do better, such as staying hydrated and doing regular exercise. If you were to prioritise these things, what would you do? Then fit them in to your two week Pathway Clean Up.

Step 2 – pay attention to food

During this two weeks, one of the keys is to avoid foods that cause you digestive problems. Many people do better without wheat/gluten, dairy, processed food, deep fried or fried food, sugar, soy, and high histamine foods, and some of these will be an important part of your clean up.

For the two weeks, it can help considerably to plan what you’re going to eat using a meal plan. This sort of planning might not come naturally to you, but avoiding getting caught out hungry and eating a problem food can derail your clean up.

Planning your two weeks in advance doesn’t have to be scary or hard; but it does need to be done so you get the most out of your Pathway Clean Up.

Tips for your 2-week Pathway Clean Up

  • Aim to buy good quality food within your budget, taking advantage of fresh food markets and specials, bulk buys of staples, and making sure there’s room in your freezer.
  • Swap staples. For example, switch high glycaemic index (GI) bread or rice for still-satisfying roasted vegies.
  • Aim for a wholefood diet (foods that are not heavily processed).
  • Have protein three times per day with every meal (eggs, meat, chicken, turkey, quinoa, legumes such as beans, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts).
  • Have healthy fats with every meal (avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds)
  • If you can afford it or have access to it, choose organic food where possible to eliminate unnecessary pesticides and herbicides that clog up pathways.
  • Cut out cow milk and cow milk products (cheese, yoghurt, milk).
  • Avoid wheat and gluten.
  • Cut out excess carbs and sugar (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugary drinks, sugar in coffee, sweets).
  • Don’t eat past 8pm.
  • Eat only when you’re hungry, stop when you’re 3/4 full, and avoid snacking between meals.
  • Check in with what your body needs – if you feel like sweets because you’re tired, eat something that supports balanced blood sugar levels and take a rest.
  • Fast for 12-16 hours: eat your last meal of the day earlier and eat your first meal later.
  • Chew more! Make an effort to chew each mouthful 10 times more than you normally would to smooth digestion and improve nutrient uptake.
  • Drink between meals, not with meals, so your stomach acid and digestive secretions remain powerful.
  • Avoid any food with ‘folic acid’ or ‘folate’ listed on the label (fortified cereals and grains) unless it is the active forms.
  • Check labels for ingredients and avoid preservatives, artificial colours and flavours.

Step 3 – supplements

Getting your nutrients from good food is the ultimate goal, but not always easy. Soils are depleted, cold-storage for long periods of time means fruit and vegetables aren’t yet fully ripe, cooking can draw out vitamins, and each person has a different response to food.

There is usually no need to take supplements over a long period of time or even every day, when you get your food right and are feeling good.

  • Folate – this does NOT mean folic acid or other non-active/bioavailable forms of folate – read this post on folic acid and folate to understand folic acid and why you should be uncategorically avoiding this form of folate forever
  • The easiest form of nutrient supplement to absorb is liposomal, while the most difficult are tablets. Other options include lozenges, liquids, capsules, powders, chewables and tinctures or extracts.
  • Use the dosage given to you by your practitioner, or use how you feel on supplements as a guide – days you feel symptoms or a bit off, take the supplements; days you feel good, don’t. Taking supplements every day when you feel good can be detrimental, so be gentle and use supplements as a tool, not a crutch.
  • You may benefit from certain supplements and not others, but typically the most useful if you’re not sure is a very good multivitamin that covers a lot of nutrient bases in bioavailable and useful quantities.
  • Probiotics can really help.

Step 4 – detoxing

Think of your body like a washing machine, and you understand the basics of detoxification – in, wash, dirty water out, clean clothes. Rinse and repeat.

Most of our organs are, in part, used for detoxification – liver, kidneys, bowel, skin, lungs, bladder. A lot of work goes into keeping our metabolic by-products and unwanted outside influences out of our bodies.

Our other body functions – immune, cardiovascular system – rely on us being relatively free of this metabolic junk to function well. We take in poisons from outside of our bodies via air pollution, pesticides in food and even in skin products and household cleaners. If we don’t have everything we need for our detoxification pathways to work well, they can be slow.

During your Pathway Clean Up, there are some tips to keep in mind to avoid loading your body up further with unwanted environmental and metabolic toxins.

  • Don’t put hot food in plastic containers or reheat food in plastic containers
  • Avoid non-stick cookware (choose stainless steel, glass, cast iron, ceramic instead)
  • Choose organic foods where possible to reduce pesticide and herbicide residue
  • Always wash fresh foods in clean water before eating, including fruit and herbs
  • Remove any air fresheners and artificial fragrances from your home and car
  • Take mould in your home, school or workplace seriously and remove it or avoid it
  • Treat alcohol and tobacco/nicotine products, including vapes, unless medically required, as a pathway burden
  • Sweating fast-tracks the expulsion of certain heavy metals and other toxins, so get sweaty regularly (exercise, baths, saunas, spas, hot showers)​1​
  • Turn your shower to cold for 30 seconds at the end of your shower

Step 5 – sleep ‘hygiene’

Getting a restful deep sleep is critical to your body rejuvenating itself, including your immune system. When you rest, you repair.

If you sleep very well and wake feeling refreshed, congratulations! If you do not sleep well, here are some tips on how to get a better sleep, and improve your ‘sleep hygiene’ for your Pathway Clean Up and beyond.

  • Keep it dark with low, warm-coloured light in the evenings to encourage melatonin release and sleepiness
  • Keep a regular sleep/wake cycle and routine – aim to be in bed at 10.30pm or earlier – to help reset your circadian rhythm and sleep hormones
  • When you’re asleep, aim for pitch black darkness if you tolerate it (use a sleep mask if you need to)
  • Leave enough time in bed to allow for settling down while also getting as much sleep as you need (usually 7-9 hours)
  • Avoid screens 1-2 hours before bed, and if you can’t avoid them, order some blue light glasses to block out the most stimulating light frequencies in the evening
  • Don’t drink fluids past 5pm to avoid waking up to urinate unnecessarily
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks past 2pm – caffeine has a half life of 6 hours, and blocks your sleep chemicals
  • Choose a calming activity for yourself before bed, such as a 5-minute meditation or relaxation breathing
  • If you wake up easily due to noise, get some sleep ear plugs to help muffle sounds
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare provider about it, as there are many options to improve sleep, including supporting your melatonin production and other pathway considerations

Step 5 – actively working on stress

When we experience stress, we release cortisol and adrenalin. When we are stressed for long periods of time, this has a detrimental effect on every part of your body. Your body can be stressed ‘without you’, for example if you’re high in histamine from your diet or allergy season.

Actively reducing your cortisol levels can be a choice, something you make part of your day. We know some things significantly and actively reduce cortisol levels, such as exercise (with more intense exercise more effective), yoga and meditation​2–4​.

Exercise of some sort each day is a great way to reduce cortisol levels, while promoting many other benefits to your immune system and mood. While some of you won’t be able to do some forms of exercise due to symptoms or other factors, try to do what you can here – it matters.

Think over the parts of your life that you find stressful, and work towards feeling better about them during your two weeks. If you need a little support, some herbs and supplements can be really useful, such as skullcap, passionflower, ashwagandha, and magnesium.

If you’re not sure what’s right for you, visit your local herbalist or make an appointment with a My Vagina naturopath.

Tips for managing stress

  • When you wake up in the morning, take your morning coffee or a glass of water in the daylight, or sunshine is even better (this also helps you wake up and sleep better)
  • Spend as much time in daylight as you can
  • Exercise each day (but don’t overdo it!)
  • If you have fresh air and nature where you live, get more of it
  • Sing, laugh, dance!
  • Enjoy saying no to everything for your two week Pathway Clean Up- unless you really want to do it – and tell your friends, co-workers and family that you’re a hard no for two weeks, don’t expect anything you haven’t already committed to
  • Find 5-10-minute meditations and if you feel yourself spiralling, take some time out and listen to one, even if it’s in the toilet cubicle at work or on a park bench in a crowded city (noise cancelling earphones!)

What’s next after the Pathway Clean Up?

Once you’ve done your two weeks Pathway Clean Up, take another week to solidify your gains. That means, if something feels good, keep doing it for another two weeks and see where you end up.

After a two week ‘cleanse’, of sorts, when you reintroduce certain elements, you may find they don’t sit that well after the break. If that’s the case, stay off them for a little longer.

Next, you want to work on problem areas, like digestion. A practitioner may send you for blood tests to work out where your system is not optimised, to help in temporary supplement choices. Continue to work on your sleep, detoxification, stress reduction and avoiding things that make you feel bad.

If you need further support, please book in with a My Vagina qualified, experienced vulvovaginal specialist naturopath.


  1. 1.
    Sears ME, Kerr KJ, Bray RI. Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. Published online 2012:1-10. doi:10.1155/2012/184745
  2. 2.
    Thirthalli J, Naveen G, Rao M, Varambally S, Christopher R, Gangadhar B. Cortisol and antidepressant effects of yoga. Indian J Psychiatry. Published online 2013:405. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.116315
  3. 3.
    Caplin A, Chen FS, Beauchamp MR, Puterman E. The effects of exercise intensity on the cortisol response to a subsequent acute psychosocial stressor. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Published online September 2021:105336. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2021.105336
  4. 4.
    De Nys L, Anderson K, Ofosu EF, Ryde GC, Connelly J, Whittaker AC. The effects of physical activity on cortisol and sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Published online September 2022:105843. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2022.105843

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)