Blog# 15: Detoxification
In the industrialized world, where factory waste and automobile exhaust pollute the air, where drinking water is often contaminated with fluoride, trace amounts of medications, heavy metals and bacteria, where food is increasingly tainted with antibiotics and growth hormones or mass-produced in soil containing less and less nutrients, disease usually springs from two problems: toxicity and/or deficiency. In order to absorb nutrients from food and manufacture and use energy at the cellular level, it is important to first “clean house”. Otherwise, the body’s toxic load interferes with absorption of nutrients. Some of the consequences of excessive toxicity include leaky gut syndrome, food and environmental allergies, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, skin rashes, asthma, thyroid and other endocrine gland imbalances, back pain, localized and generalized edema, and autoimmune disorders.
The body usually detoxifies via the kidneys and bladder, lower GI tract, upper GI tract (vomiting), the pores, (sweating) skin (rashes, eczema), lungs (breathing, coughing, mucous discharge, sneezing). Helpful therapies include massage and other bodywork, acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, sweat-inducing exercise, skin scrubs, enemas and colonics, improved and/or restricted diets, fasts, meditation, yoga, and qi gong. Detox is most effective and safe when designed specifically for an individual, rather than taken from a book or the internet. Below, I will share some information about detoxification, as well as some relevant links.
Embarking on some detox programs without strict adherence can reduce benefits or even result in new health problems. For example, water fasts can be dangerous and, if embarked upon at all, blood, urine, blood pressure, and other information should be monitored by a knowledgeable health care professional. Breaking a highly restricted fast inappropriately can be dangerous. After a water or juice fast of several days, it is safest to begin eating only small quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, and, over several days, to gradually increase the amount and variety of food.
Detoxification without nurturing or strengthening measures which may include sea salt baths, herbal therapy, sufficient fresh fruit and vegetable juices or weight-bearing exercises can result in deficiency-related problems such as osteoporosis, depression, and fatigue. This is especially important for perimenopausal women and people with degenerative diseases.
The use oils for detoxification purposes, such as the currently popular “oil pulling" or the use of castor oil packs over the liver or elsewhere, can acidify the body, and so are best balanced by alkalizing procedures, such as washing off oil with an solution of baking soda and water, or using a toothpaste that contains baking soda and other alkalinizing ingredients. Too much acidity in the body can lead to arthritis, decalcification of bones, kidney stones, and other problems. Stress, air pollution, and intake of large quantities of processed meats, and bread can all be acidifying. It is usually beneficial to help the body balance pH by using alkalinizing procedures such as consuming large quantities of leafy green vegetables, and the use of certain mineral salts or herbs. Below are links on the use of castor oil packs and on the alkalinity and acidity of foods.
Beginning a challenging detoxification program which your schedule, finances, or lifestyle will not accommodate, or without the support of family or friends can result in failure to complete the program. It is important to insure the support of others or to at least ascertain that one has the resources, strength, and self-discipline to finish. A program such as the internationally known Gerson Therapy, used to treat cancer and other degenerative and autoimmune diseases, is especially difficult to follow. Deviation can lead to a worsening of the illness. Below is a link about the Gerson therapy.
Returning to an unhealthy diet after a detox can result in a return of the original health problem, or even a worsening of the problem. However, pushing oneself too hard in a program can result in emotional stress which may acidify the body and cancel out the beneficial effects of the detoxification. Calming herbs, meditation, and sufficient rest can often alleviate stress in these cases.
For most people, a good detoxification program with which to start is simply eating only certified organic and/or home grown, unsprayed fresh fruits and vegetables, along with lots of water, vegetable broths, and freshly made juices for a week. For people with blood sugar issues, small quantities of a high quality, green nutritional powder, such as Pure Synergy (check the link to the Synergy Company to the right of this blog) could be used to supply extra protein. Occasionally, there are people for whom this type of mild detox will result in unpleasant symptoms. These people would do well seeing someone for more specific testing and guidance.
This month’s offer: Contact me for more information about specific fruits, vegetables, and juices which would be beneficial for a short restricted diet for detoxification.