Here is a checklist of symptoms to signal it may be time for a reliable "body cleaning" followed by a detoxification program:
* Do you experience fatigue or low energy levels?
* Do you experience brain fog, lack of concentration and /or poor memory?
* Do you crave or eat sugar?
* Do you have less than two bowel movements per day?
* Do you feel sleepy after meals, bloated or gassy?
* Do you experience indigestion/acid reflux after eating?
* Are you overweight?
* Do you exercise at least every other day?
* Do you experience recurring yeast infections, jock itch, or foot fungus?
* Do you have arthritic aches and pains or stiffness?
* Do you take prescription medications, sedatives or stimulants?
* Do you experience frequent headaches?
* Do you live with or near polluted air, water or other environmental pollution?
* Do you have bad breath or excessive body odor?
* Do you experience depression or mood swings?
* Do you have food allergies or skin problems?
* Are you showing signs of premature aging?
* Do you eat fast food, fatty foods, pre-prepared foods or fried foods more than three times a week?
* Do you drink processed coffees and colas during the day?
* Do you smoke cigarettes every day?
If you answered yes to three or more of the above questions, it may be time for that detoxification program you've been putting off.
Diet is a very important part of detoxification. What we eat can make and keep us healthy, but it can also help us detoxify. The body cannot detoxify xenobiotics (foreign chemicals) if we are constantly adding to our toxic burden with the foods we consume. The body also cannot detoxify if it does not have the proper "fuel" and energy. The detoxification processes in the body require large amounts of energy, and this energy comes from the nutrients in the food we eat. If we eliminate foods that contribute to our toxicity and eat those that help cleanse the body, our health will improve.
Diet directly affects the ability of the body to detoxify.
• High protein intake enhances the removal of xenobiotics, while a protein deficiency lowers glutathione levels and reduces Phase II conjugation by the glutathione pathway.
• Low carbohydrate intake decreases the rate of cytochrome P-450 activity in the liver. The best form of carbohydrate for a detoxification program is a complex carbohydrate that is not readily absorbed and does not ferment in the intestines.
• Fatty acids work with carbohydrates to support the energy requirements for detoxification. Fatty acids that do not increase blood fat levels increase liver energy production. The liver can digest, assimilate, and oxidize triglycerides (a compound composed of glycerine and fatty acids) as a source of metabolic energy. Increasing liver energy levels increases detoxification.
If you have food allergies, you will need to address this problem, because allergenic substances slow down detoxification processes.
AV O I D
C H O O S E
All refined sugar and any food or mixtures that contain refined sugar, including sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, brown sugar, turbinado, nutritive corn sweetener
Caffeine in processed coffee and tea, dark and other carbonated drinks, and aspirin compounds
Water, unsweetened fruit juices, some herbal teas, roasted grain coffee substitutes; white willow bark
Soft drinks and fruit-flavored drinks
Unsweetened fruit juices, sparkling water. We love to make spritzers; seltzer water and unsweetened fruit juice. Refreshing!
High salt intake
Season with herbs and spices; cut salt use in half
Artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors
Natural whole foods, free of any type of additive
Chemical additives and preservatives, including MSG (monosodium glutamate), BHA, BHT, nitrates, nitrites
Only foods that will spoil and eat them before they do; this also avoids micro-organisms and enzyme changes that accompany food spoilage
Processed foods and mixes
Natural whole foods, fresh foods instead of frozen, frozen instead of canned
Refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and white rice
Whole grains, flour ground from whole grains, brown rice
Fruits and vegetables that have been waxed, sprayed, fumigated, or dyed
Organically grown fruits and vegetables
Saturated fats and artificial fats
Healthy forms of fats and oils such as expeller-pressed, cold-pressed or unrefined oil
Fried foods and over consumption of fat
Low-fat meals; broil, bake, steam, or stir-fry food
Processed meats containing fillers, sandwich meats, reconstituted meats
Good-quality meats and poultry free of anitbiotics hormones, and drugs
The cleanse is also known as a liquid feast which should give some indication as to what the detox entails. Cleansing basically consists of consuming only raw, alkalising, liquid foods and drinks. While on face value you may have alarm bells ringing at the thought of not consuming solids during the detox – there is some pretty strong logic behind this.
The consumption on a cleanse is 100% fresh vegetable juices and soups with additional supplements such as omega oils, vitamins, green drinks (made up of powdered grasses such as wheatgrass), cleansing aids and minerals.
This gives the body a rest and freeing the large amounts of energy used by the digestive organs for use elsewhere. It gives the body a chance to reestablish metabolic order and is an extremely rapid method of detoxification. Cleansing also helps the body to heal and to resist diseases, infections, and toxins.
Sensible cleansing gives the body an opportunity to return to its natural state of homeostasis, or balance. During a cleanse, toxins are drawn out of the cells and tissues throughout the whole body. Eliminating waste products allows an increase in cellular oxygenation and improves cellular nutrition. The body produces new healthy cells to replace diseased and discarded ones. Conditions that the body could not correct on a normal diet are improved, and the body is cleansed and renewed.
BENEFITS OF Cleansing
The benefits and healing properties of cleansing have been known for centuries. Cleansing which is also referred to as fasting is mentioned in all ancient medical texts, and Hippocrates prescribed fasting as a means of achieving good health. It has been employed in religious observance both in the past and today. Animals instinctively fast when they are sick or injured. They will ignore available food until their health has improved.
The following are the more important benefits of cleansing:
• accelerates the detoxification process.
• cleanses metabolic wastes and toxins.
• cleanses the digestive tract and improves digestion and assimilation.
• increases energy levels.
• rejuvenates the cells and the entire body.
• increases resistance to disease.
• refreshes the mind and spirit.
Many people adopt a schedule of liquids - only one day each week, or liquids - only for a three-day period once each month, for an ongoing healing process rather than postponing action until a health crisis occurs. Although cleansing can be done at any time of the year, it is wise to pick a time when you can fit in some extra planning and preparation.
Contradictions to Cleansing
Exercising common sense will prevent problems with cleansing. Malnourished and undernourished people should not cleanse, nor should people with an eating disorder, children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. People with weak hearts or who have had a recent heart attack, and people with lowered immunity should not fast. Before and after surgery is not a good time to cleanse. Low blood pressure, anemia, bleeding ulcers, some types of cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, liver and kidney disease, tuberculosis, ulcerative colitis, and gout are all contraindications for fasting.
People with many food allergies should exercise caution and cleanse only under medical supervision. People are always addicted to the foods to which they are allergic. Because of this allergy/addiction phenomenon, these people can go through severe withdrawal symptoms when they first begin a cleanse.
Types of Cleansing
Short-term cleansing lasts from one to three days. More than three days is considered long-term cleansing. The toxins concentrated in our fat cells and organs are released rapidly during a true cleansing. If detoxification is intense, it can temporarily increase sickness. However, for some people this can be immediately helpful. To avoid problems caused by too-rapid detoxification, most people drink water or unsweetened herbal teas during their cleansing. More liberal cleansing includes drinking the juice of fresh fruit and vegetables as well. Warning: Do not attempt a long-term cleansing without medical supervision.
Preparing for a Cleansing
Cleansing is more likely to be successful if it is entered into gradually by those new to cleansing and those whose health is suffering. A good first step is to remove alcohol, caffeine, and sugar from the diet. Ideally, smokers would stop smoking. Avoiding animal food, such as meats, milk, and eggs, also eases the transition. Eating only fruits and vegetables for several days before beginning the actual cleansing will allow detoxification to begin more slowly. Some people try several short cleansings, before beginning a longer and stricter cleansing.
Juicing is a detoxification method considered by some to be a cleansing and by others to be a juice diet. It involves refraining from the use of all other nourishment and drinking fruit and vegetable juices rather than water. It detoxifies more effectively than a water cleansing, and the juices can be more enjoyable to drink than water. Easily utilized by the body, juices require minimal digestion, and supply nutrients that support the body while stimulating it to release toxins. In addition, juices contain elements that remove toxins and aid cellular rejuvenation better than water alone. Juice cleansing is safer than water cleansing, and offers quicker recovery because it supports the body nutritionally during cleansing and maintains energy levels.
Juices are concentrated nutrition. The nutritional part of the plant is separated from the indigestible fiber, and the vitamins and nutrients, including antioxidants, from many fruits or vegetables, are contained within a small volume of liquid. Because juice contains no bulk, it is digested in a short time with no strain on the digestive system. The carbohydrate, protein, and fat in the juice, although in small quantities, supply the body with the energy it needs to carry out daily activities. Even an exercise program can be continued. With a water cleansing, in contrast, energy levels decrease rapidly without nutrients and the feeling of lethargy makes physical activity difficult. The nutrients in juice supply energy to the detoxification systems and body functions, and promote cleansing and cellular regeneration.
Juices are prepared from raw fruits and vegetables in a juicer. This machine will extract the juice from the fiber. For juices that are high in natural sugar, such as pineapple, apple, grape, and carrot, drinking them without the fiber can cause blood sugar problems for people who are hypoglycemic and hyperinsulinemic.
Vegetable juices are the best rebuilders of cells and fruit juices are the best detoxifiers. You can drink them separately or blended in a mix. For the best results, you must prepare your own juice from fresh, washed organic fruits and vegetables. Commercially prepared juices are not made from quality fruits and vegetables and may contain mold, pesticide residue, and bird and animal droppings. In addition, the enzymes contained in the fresh fruits and vegetables to help you digest them are destroyed in processing.
Not all fruits and vegetables juice well. Bananas and avocados turn into mush and clog a juicer. They can be used in a blender, but result in a thick mixture that will have to be diluted. Apples, apricots, berries, cherries, grapes, mango, melons, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapple, and plums are the best fruits for juicing. Citrus fruits are too acidic for some people, but they may be used sparingly if diluted well.
Many vegetables make good juice, including alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, beets and beet tops, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, dandelion greens, eggplant, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips and turnip greens, zucchini, and watercress. Juices made from green vegetables are very high in chlorophyll and are felt by many practitioners to be very healing for blood disorders and the digestive tract.
Juices can be combined to make appealing drinks. However, many fruits and vegetables do not combine palatably. Apples and carrots work well in either fruit or vegetable blends. Very sweet juice mixtures should always be diluted. Vegetable juices can be consumed hot, but some of the nutrients are destroyed.
If you do a juice cleansing, you should drink between 32 ounces and a maximum of 64 ounces of juice a day, and at least four 8-ounce glasses of water. If the juice has a high sugar content, such as fruit and carrot juices, you may need to limit the amount you drink.
Here's to spring cleaning of your body!