Spring cleaning for the body
With the internet, the airways, and all the magazines we are inundated with every conceivable plan, potion, herb, idea, and program and if all else fails the handy dandy toilet plunger to unstop our own “pipes” (just joking). Detoxifying the body is more than a 7 day, 7 packet, 7 step plan to rid your body of unwanted material and rejuvenate your internal organs. To this end I am going to lay out a very simple guide that you can follow. Any guide must be easy to understand, easy to implement, and easy to stay on it. This will not require a radical departure but a gentle change of attitude. So here goes:
The first question you should ask is, “why?”
You know what foods are generally good for you and what foods are bad. Just as a drain pipe can become clogged by chunks of food material not being ground up by the disposal properly so it is with your food. If the food is not in a format that the body can use correctly it will do one of two things with it; one, it will push it out the body through the colon, or two, it will consider it a poison and attack it with the immune system which then causes a host of problems. The word, “bioavailable” does not mean the food you eat but the amount of nutrients that actually reach the inside of your cells where it can be used. The modern American diet is not “bioavailable” friendly. Americans eat too much processed food and too much food that has been chemically altered to the point that the body cannot recognize it as nutrition or bioavailable. The immune system including the lymphatic system, the liver, the spleen, gall bladder, colon, and kidneys come under a high stress situation trying to make the “foods” you eat less toxic to the body. This effort is putting a strain on the rest of the systems which use what is left of the available resources to keep our body healthy and upright. When the “drain pipe” finally plugs up it creates a real mess and you want to talk about stinky, Whewww! That is the “Why”.
The second question is “how?”
A real simplistic answer is to stop the input until the output is cleaned out. Stop putting in garbage and get the current garbage out. A good approach is to consider the following:
Rest the body through fasting
Stimulate the liver to drive toxins from the body
Promote the elimination system through the intestines, kidneys, and skin
Improve the circulation of the blood
Build up the body with healthy nutrients
The digestive system can use up to 60% of your total energy. This is why your parents told you not to go swimming right after eating a meal. Your muscles could cramp leaving you at the bottom of the pool. After a big Thanksgiving meal most people (especially men) find a soft reclining chair and snooze away.
Fasting allows the digestive and body systems to relax; this almost like taking a vacation. During a fast no stressful situations or hard manual labor should be on your agenda. Drinking lots of water is critical during this time to help with the elimination of toxic waste. Restful meditation and some light stretching exercises help relax the mind and rebuild the spirit. A good herb for helping the liver to detox is milk thistle. A glass of water with lemon juice in the morning is also very beneficial.
As Dr. Peter Bennett N.D., medical director of Helios Clinic in Victoria, B.C. explains, "it takes the body some time to clean the blood." He believes in liquid fasting for two days using vegetables and fruits. He also advises supplements, herbs, exercise, and practices such things as dry-skin brushing and hydrotherapy to enhance circulation.
Once detoxing is under way then a lifestyle change is in order to continue the process.
You need to eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown (if available) fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, parsley, collards, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea. Greasy fried foods and processed milk products are best avoided at this stage. Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that pulls toxins from the liver. What is the most important way to detoxify? "Exercise," says Dr. Bennett. "Jump-rope is good. Work up to one hour every day." Also try exercise systems that include exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits.
Now comes the very important section; what to eat. Most of you think you know the good and bad foods.
Fast foods = bad Sugary foods = bad
Homemade foods (from scratch) = good Raw foods = very good
Boiled foods = not so good Fresh fruits = good
Canned juices = not so good Fresh juices = very good
The list could go on and on. This could become very confusing. Let’s make it simple.
Fresh uncooked foods = very good Wild game meat = good
Fresh lightly steamed foods = good Fresh juices from plants = very good
Raw nuts and seeds = very good Limited fresh grass fed meat = good
Wild fish (with scales) = good Herbal teas (except cut black) = good
Water with no additives = very good
You get the idea of what I mean. If man has chemically dried it, aged it, concentrated it, injected additives in it, heated it, and altered the texture and looks, it most likely is highly processed. There are much better choices to be made.
The last subject I want to mention is supplementation. In 1936, the US Senate was presented with the results of a scientific study it had commissioned on the mineral content of our food. The following excerpts concerning Senate Document 264 of the 74th Congress, 2nd Session 1936, “… 99 percent of the American people are deficient in … minerals, and … a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease.”
I am not a believer of filling your kitchen shelf full of 50 bottles of product. Most individual vitamin and mineral supplements are isolates. This means they have been extracted from or made apart from the organic source in which they were originally found. 99% of all vitamins and minerals must be taken in a food based matrix. All vitamins and mineral are totally dependent on each other for them to be effective and bioavailable to the body. This is how our bodies are designed to function. For example, calcium without the correct amount of magnesium will be deposited in areas of your body other than your bones causing stiffness in the muscle and some joint damage. For bones to be strengthened, a minimum of 5 major minerals must be taken in balance plus some vitamin D3. Calcium loses its effectiveness without proper mineral balance.
So in summary, fast, drinks lots of water, eat light meals of good natural foods, exercise, feed the mind and spirit by meditating, take some herbs to help detoxify, supplement with a plant-based multi vitamin/mineral complex (the complex should include all the EFA, antioxidants, and major systems micro-nutrients). I personally take the additional following: ALA/ALC, lypo-spheric vitamin C, additional magnesium, Muscadine grape seed (an antioxidant), digestive enzymes, and probiotics. I do not take all of these every day but on an as-needed-basis.
This is a lifestyle change not a once every six month purge. Your body will thank you every day as you continue to live in optimal health.