Have you read some of the popular (my polite word for uninformed) pronouncements recently debunking the idea of detoxing? I don’t know what evidence these commentators have, and suspect they mostly don’t know what they may be doing to their own livers, bowels and arteries!
I, and quite a few other naturopaths, health consultants, and well researched health journalists are cross about the misleading idea that we can ignore all the stresses and toxic deposits which gradually build up, and somehow the body will take care of it all.
Actually that is true up to a point. Of course the healthy digestive system processes what we eat, sending what we need for energy, tissue repair and immune defences, to all the organs and systems which need fuelling, and getting rid of waste in the form of solids, via the colon, liquids, via the kidneys and the skin, and carbon di oxide via the lungs.
BUT how healthy is the average digestive system? also, even with a strong digestion, are we eating ideally, so that the liver and kidneys don’t have to work too hard? (more about the effects of this later). Moreover, even with an ideal diet and a strong constitution, what about all the other toxins we take in, or manufacture right within our own bodies? Few of us can escape pollutants in the air, water, and in food, unless truly avoiding all chemically produced food or anything processed. Even then we all live such a multi layered existence, with far more to accomplish, both work and play, than anyone in this country did a few short decades ago, that we need to account for a certain amount of stress as well.
When pressure builds to the point when multi tasking, and the excitement of a richly varied lifestyle, change into a race to keep up, and what used to be fun feels more like a chore, this is a timely warning to reduce the overload. The key to this kind of toxic overload is in how you FEEL about your life. It is fine to work enthusiastically all hours for a time on something you care about, but the whole human organism is self balancing in the long term. Heart mind and spirit need rest and replenishment just as much as the body, and if they don’t get it they let you know. The signals are more subtle and take longer for us to notice, than a straight forward headache after a few drinks, or stomach ache after a bad meal, and they take a bit longer to interpret, but they are just as important. Slogging grimly through a couple of years in an unrewarding job, or in an unhappy relationship, not only change your outlook on life by chipping away at your positivity, the end result is literally self poisoning by the chemicals your body produces in response to negative emotions such as anger and
resentment. They may not show up quickly as a disease process like arthritis or heart problems, but eventually they will.
The Long View
This brings me to the importance of looking after yourself now, not just for immediate strength and energy, but longterm stamina, and to be able to avoid all the degenerative diseases which affect so many middle aged and older people now. A lot of them come from overloading those hardworking organs until they become enlarged (liver, kidneys and pancreas) and worn out, and eventually, having put all those extra, unwanted by products of digestion, pollution and stress into every non life threatening place available at the time, (blood vessels, joints, fat build up) either one of those essential detoxing organs, (often the liver) becomes completely overwhelmed and packs up, or the deposits (in arteries, joints) get to the point that serious problems (heart, disabling arthritis, for example) arise, or at last become obvious, in the affected parts.
Don’t squander your health
Actual diseases, or disabling conditions are only the end point however; for years before that, imagine how the edge of resilient, energetic creative living must have dwindled to end up in such a mess. What a waste of the only life we have, and of the body we have to live it with.
Your body is programmed to heal itself.
When you think about it that is obviously true. A cut or a graze, will heal over; bruises fade as the damaged blood vessels repair, and the dead tissue is cleared away.; viruses and bacteria are gradually overcome by the immune system, and while energy levels dip during a flu or a bronchitis, that is the body’s way of getting you to rest while it prioritises the healing, or defensive processes.
The amazing, complex set of organs and tissues, which make up the human body, with both its conscious and automatic processes is powered by hundreds of thousands of enzymes, day and night. This is the mechanism for healing, detoxing and digesting, everything we need.
Those of you who have read Living Foods literature, will know of many apparently unusual, (in conventional medicine terms) returns to health, even from so called terminal problems, while many more raise their health and energy to new levels of energy and stamina. These effects are what prompts people to find out more, buy a juicer, do a food prep workshop, or a more thorough experience of Living Foods in one of several centres throughout the world, most of which don’t just feed you on juices, wheatgrass and raw goodies, but also teach you how to get healthier, life long.
When you talk to someone who has spent a week or more in this way, they usually say, “I never felt so well and energetic; yes I had some detox symptoms, but they didn’t last long”. And “I’m planning to continue like this as much as I can” What is going on here? How does just a few days on superb live nutrition, while not eating anything at all cooked, or processed, or stimulating, (like coffee or sugar or alcohol) have such an amazing effect?
There are three levels at which your organs of elimination work.
First day to day; you get rid of most of the wastes you don’t need, because you are eating sensibly, drinking enough, exercising regularly, and are not holding on to negative emotions and thoughts. However a certain amount of rubbish is gradually building up unseen, and we don’t know about this until, “suddenly, out of the blue” there is a stroke, a heart attack, the onset of arthritis, a cancer process, and friends and family, say “s/he was perfectly, healthy, never a day’s illness”
Second, you overeat, are dehydrated, don’t get enough antioxidants, sleep, exercise or fresh air and sunlight. In a few years the detoxing processes can’t keep up. This shows up in many ways; anything from frequent headaches, chronic catarrh, slack muscles, digestion problems especially constipation, back and neck pain, weight gain… ..and then the serious problems arise much earlier, and can turn decades of what should be active happy living, into a misery of coping with distressing symptoms, and often shorten life itself.
Third, you can actively work with your body’s fantastic ability to balance itself.
Part of this is a high level healthy lifestyle, by which I personally mean the Living Foods Programme or a sensible transition towards it. Just choosing to eat raw will take you a long way, and dramatically raise your energy levels, but for the longterm you need to understand how your body works, and cooperate with it. This way you keep on top of the nutrition-in-and-toxins-out balance and will prevent toxic build up in your body. Part of this is taking time for regular detoxing periods, to help the liver in particular.
Why your liver needs you to get your eating habits right.
Remember if the liver is struggling to break down toxins it isn’t as efficient in carrying out some other really important tasks
helping to balance sugar levels by providing glycogen to top up low blood sugar levels with glucose when needed.
producing bile, which is needed to keep cholesterol under control, as well as
keeping the bowel healthy. An unbalanced bowel system cannot absorb the fat nutrients we need and leads to allergies, maybe irritable bowel, and bloating.
eliminates excess hormones
stores some essential nutrients, such as vitamins B12, A, E, D and K, the very ones which are hard to take in in sufficient quantity.
When the liver continues to be overworked, fat builds up, and eventually inflammation sets in, which damages the tissues, and causes cirrhosis, i.e the liver is dying
*As mentioned above, you can gradually get on top of excess toxic build up gently and gradually, by eating a high proportion of living foods, and keeping everything working by exercise and sleep.
*juice fasting just one day of the week, regularly for most of the year.
A short juice fast of up to a week. Good times to do this are Spring, Summer and Autumn. Winter is the time to rest and conserve energy, not throw extra challenges at yourself. Detoxing also works at the emotional level too, so it is common to shed a few tears, get cross with yourself, or visit past episodes in dreams.
*The same seasons are good to take yourself somewhere where you can have all the Live Foods and juices you need, plus a lot of other classes, and treatments, away from all your usual commitments.
*You can buy herbal detox formulae, (herbs and tinctures), and follow the instructions. Make sure you get these from a qualified herbalist, preferably a Master Herbalist, who can answer your questions. I don’t recommend buying this sort of thing over the internet; it’s better to have a person you can talk to and who can keep an eye on you.
*Do a liver flush. An essential procedure in the alternative treatment of any serious condition. This is done regularly by Live Food practitioners, and anyone committed to maintaining a high level of health. The gentler version involves citrus juice, olive oil, ginger and garlic, and a good herbal detox tea. This can be taken in the morning, followed by live juices and salads for the rest of the day. Take the liver flush daily for as long as needed. Start with three days ad see how you feel.. Contact me for a leaflet on this if it is something you could do.
The gradual approach gives you longer lasting results.
I’ve said before, many times, that extended fasting, more than a few days, is not recommended without some expert advice, because it does start off a very deep cleansing processes. You will make much more progress, and will stay feeling lighter and cleaner, if you gradually get more Live Foods into your daily menus, and do the little juice fasts, and liver flushes a couple of times a year.
It is worth marking a few days on the calendar in spring and autumn, to do these.
It is the only way I know to make sure all those unpleasant symptoms caused by failing liver or kidneys, conditions like diabetes, heart attacks and cancer, can be prevented or minimised, safely, and under your own control. Not to mention giving you all that bright eyed radiant energy, which you can see for yourself in long established raw and living foods practitioners.