Terry Willard, ClH, PhD
Regeneration is the message of spring. Detoxification is one of the central concepts of natural healing. It's impossible to build healthy new tissue without eliminating the old cells and their by-products.
Regeneration is the message of spring. Detoxification is one of the central concepts of natural healing. It's impossible to build healthy new tissue without eliminating the old cells and their by-products. This has never been truer than in our modern society.
We are flooded continuously with synthetic chemicals, hormones and toxic material in our food, air, cosmetics and clothing. Even a person with a healthy diet comes into contact with undesirable toxins.
Our ancestors felt it was important to cleanse at least twice each year. Spring and fall are the same times nature goes through a similar organic change process. A "detox" is a good way to start a new, healthy routine. Many of my patients cleanse at the beginning of a weight loss program or during the festive season so they don't feel as guilty for their over-consumption. A detox doesn't have to be a time of deprivation, it can be a time of good nourishing food and inner focus.
Cleanse and Rebuild
A cleansing program is one of the major reasons people visit health food stores and sometimes it's the only program they do during the year. Cleansing is also very helpful to get you back on track to better nutrition maintenance. During a detox, people often report that they feel lighter, less bloated, have more energy and are generally clearer. Some people experience a mild headache or even nausea during the first day or two of changing diet and using herbal products. This malaise usually disappears by day four or five of the detoxification process.
It's important to cleanse the intestinal tract, liver, blood, lymphatic system and the urinary tract. We suggest a 12-day cleansing diet, supported with botanicals, as a tune-up for the body. It will also help you get the most benefit out of other supplements in your health program. One of the most important rules of natural healing is "cleanse a little, build a little." By incorporating this cycle into a health program, we copy nature in its cycle of seasonal changes. People often go into other maintenance programs after a detox. The most common are weight loss, arthritis, liver rejuvenation, candida, blood sugar maintenance or parasite cleanse.
Starting with a detox program results in better compliance and effectiveness of long-term health programs.
We suggest the use of herbs more often than a fast. If you cleanse too hard, as can happen during a fast, you often end up with a "healing crisis." This is a term from the early days of botanical medicine, referring to an acute condition associated with therapeutic treatment. Symptoms range from headaches and nausea to fever and rashes. Healing crises are similar to shifting gears without a clutch. The gears grind! If a treatment plan involves herbal cleansing along with a healthy meal plan, the gears don't grind and we can usually avoid the crisis.
No Need to Starve
Of course, a good meal plan is the most significant part of the program. What most people don't realize is that you can feast, not fast, but there are many foods to be avoided. You should not eat bread or flour products of any type (including pasta, cakes, cookies or crackers), dairy products, tropical fruit, fermented foods or sweets.
Other foods to be avoided are shellfish, peanuts, mushrooms and grapes. And of course, don't consume any preservatives, synthetic sweeteners or additives in food at any time. Your diet should consist of 80 percent alkaline and neutral ash-forming foods like green vegetables, non-tropical fruit (apples, pears, peaches, plums, berries), potatoes and squash. Alkaline grains, such as millet, and fish are also good for cleansing. Other foods that are good during this time include onions, garlic, green tea and almonds. Eat less than 20 percent acid-forming beans, lentils, eggs and acid grains (oats, corn and wheat). Even though you can eat several grains in their whole state, do not eat the flour of these grains.
Remember, this is a time to enjoy yourself. Turn the cleansing process into a gourmet feast, not a fast. Find recipes that stimulate your own creativity from alive's new series of alive Natural Health Guides. Make this a time of nourishment, fun and relaxation.