FOR OPTIMUM WELLNESS
What is detoxification? Our bodies naturally do it every day.Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph and skin.In fact, internal detoxification is one of our body's most basic automatic functions. Just as our hearts beat nonstop and our lungs breathe continuously, so our metabolic processes continuous lydispose of accumulated toxic matter. But in our world today, body systems and organs that were once capable of cleaning out unwanted substances are now completely overloaded; thus many unwanted substances stay in our tissues. Our bodies try to protect us from dangerous material by setting it aside, surrounding it with mucous or fat so it won't cause imbalance or trigger an immune reaction. (Your body stores foreign substances in its fatty deposits-a significant reason to keep your diet and body fat low. Some people carry around up to 15 extra pounds of mucous that harbors this waste!)
Ideally, we should live in a pollution-free environment, eat untainted foods and drink pure water. But, since humans are born with a"self-cleaning system," we know this has probably possible. Today, it isn't even practical, so the next best thing is to keep pollutants to a minimum and to periodically get rid of them through a detoxification program.
A healthy alternative
If our bodies can't cleanse us anymore, can we do it through adetox program? Detoxification through special cleansing diets may be the missing link to disease prevention, especially for immune-compromised diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and fatigue syndromes like candida albicans. Our chemicalized-fooddiet, with too much animal protein, too much fat, too much caffeine and alcohol radically alters our internal ecosystems. Even if your diet is good, a cleanse can restore body vitality against environmental toxins that pave the way for disease-bearing bacteria,viruses and parasites.
A detox program aims to remove the cause of disease before itmakes us ill. It's a time-honored way to keep immune response high, elimination regular, circulation sound, and stress under control so your body can handle the toxicity it encounters. In the past, detoxification was used either clinically for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, or individually as a once-a-yearmild "spring cleaning" for general health maintenance.Today, a regular detox program two or three times a year makesa big difference not only for health, but for the quality of ourlives.
Are detoxification and cleansing the same thing? There is sometimes confusion about these terms because cleansing rituals are so ancient.In cultures like the Native American, cleansing was regarded first as a religious practice, purifying the body as a living temple to God. In others, such as Chinese medicine, cleansing was partof preventive health care. Today, the terms are used interchangeably.
Why should you detoxify?
We are exposed to synthetic, often toxic chemicals on an unprecedented scale. Industrial chemicals and their pollutant run-offs in ourwater, pesticides, additives in our foods, heavy metals, anesthetics,residues from drugs, and environmental hormones are trapped withinthe human body in greater concentrations than at any other pointin histor y. Every system of the body is affected, from tissue damage to sensory deterioration.
Many chemicals are so widespread that we are unaware of them. But they have worked their way into our bodies faster than they can be eliminated and are causing allergies and addictions in record numbers. More than 2 million synthetic substances are known, 25,000 are added each year, and over 30,000 are produced on acommercial scale. Only a tiny fraction are ever tested for toxicity.A lot of them come to us from developing countries that have few safeguards in place. This doesn't even count the second-hand smoke,caffeine and alcohol overload or daily stress that is an increasing part of our liv es.
The molecular structure of many chemical carcinogens i nteractswith human DNA, so long-term exposure may result in metabolic and genetic alteration that affects cell growth and behavior.World Health Or ganization research implicates environmental chemicals in 60 to 80 percent of all cancers. Hormone-disrupting pesticidesand pollutants are linked to hormone problems, psychological disorders, birth defects, still births and now breast cancer.
As toxic matter saturates our tissues, antioxidants and minerals in vital body fluids are reduced, so immune defenses are thrownout of balance. Circumstances like this are the prime factor intoday's immune-compromised diseases like candidiasis, lupus, fibromyalgia,and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Almost everyone can benefit from a cleanse. It's one of the best ways to remain healthy in a destructive environment. Not one ofus is immune to environmental toxins, and most of us can't escape to a remote, unpolluted habitat. In the last few decades we have become dangerously able to harm the health of our entire planet,even to the point of making it uninhabitable for life. We must develop further and take even larger steps-those of cooperation and support. Mankind and the Earth must work together-to save it all for us. It starts with us. We can take positive steps to keep our own body systems in good working order so that toxinsare eliminated quickly.
We can also take a closer look at our own air, water and food, and keep an ever watchful eye on the politics that control our environment. Legislation on health and the environment follows two pathways in America today-the influence of business and profits,and the demands of the people for a healthy environment and responsible stewardship of the Earth.
The current level of chemicals in our air, food and water supply alters us at the most basic level-our enzymes, then spreads throughout every body function to lower our threshold of resistance to disease.
Besides coming into our bodies through every orifice and organ, prolonged mental stress and negative emotions can create internal poisons. A highly processed foods diet, a severely unbalanced diet, or simply too much food overburden elimination systems.Lack of exercise contributes to toxicity, too. The body's natural cleansing cycle of oxygen and vital nutrients depends upon exercise. A stagnant system encourages toxic build-up.
A detox cleans out body waste deposits so you aren't running witha dirty engine or driving with the brakes on. After a cleanse,the body starts rebalancing, energy levels rise physically, psychologically and sexually, and creativity begins to expand. You start feeling like a different person-because you are. Your outlook and attitude change, because through cleansing and improved diet, your actualcell make-up has changed.
· Your digestive tract is cleansed of accumulated wasteand fermenting bacteria.
· Excess mucous and congestion is cleared from the body.
· Liver, kidney and blood are purified, impossible underordinary eating patterns.
· Mental clarity is enhanced, impossible under chemical overload.
· Dependency on habit-formers like sugar, caffeine, nicotine,alcohol or drugs is less.
· Bad eating habits are often turned around; the stomach has a chance to reduce to normal size for weight control.
· Cleansing also releases hormone secretions that coupled with essential fatty acids (EFA's) from fresh plant sources stimulate and strengthen the immune system.
You've decided your body needs a cleanse. How much time can you give out of your busy lifestyle to focus on a cleansing program so that all the processes can be completed? Twenty-four hours,two or three days, or up to 10 days? The time factor is important-you'llwant to allot your time before starting, and prepare both your mind and your body for the experience ahead.
A good detox program is in three steps-cleansing, rebuilding and maintaining. Years of experience with detoxification have convinced me that if you have a serious health problem, a brief three to seven-day juice cleanse is the best way to release toxins from the system. Shorter cleanses can't get to the root of a chronic problem. Longer cleanses upset body equilibrium more than most people are ready to deal with except in a controlled, clinical environment. A three to seven day cleanse can "clean yourpipes" of systemic sludge-excess mucous, old fecal matter, trapped cellular and non-food wastes, or inorganic mineral deposits that are part of arthritis.
An all-liquid diet is traditionally called a fast. It's not absolutelynecessary to take only liquids, but a few days without solid food can be an enlightening experience about your lifestyle. A juicefast increases awareness and energy availability for elimination.Fresh juices literally pick up dead matter from the body and carry it away. It becomes easier to "hear" your body telling you what foods and diet are right for your needs via cravings-adesire for protein foods, B vitamins or minerals, for example.This is natural biofeedback.
Fasting works by self-digestion. During a cleanse, the body decomposes and burns only the substances and tissues that are damaged, diseasedor unneeded, such as abscesses, tumors, excess fat deposits, and congestive wastes. Even a relatively short fast accelerates elimination, often causing dramatic changes as masses of accumulated waste are expelled.
You will know your body is detoxing if you experience the short period of headaches, fatigue, body odor, bad breath, diarrheaor mouth sores that commonly accompany accelerated elimination. However, digestion usually improves right away as do many gland and nerve functions. Cleansing also helps release hormone secretions that stimulate immune response and encourages a disease-preventing environment.
I don't recommend water fasts. Leading nutritionists and detoxification experts agree that fresh vegetable and fruit juice cleansing issuperior to water fasting. Indeed, juice cleansing is an evolutionin detoxification methods. Fresh juices, broth and herb teas help to deeply cleanse the body, rejuvenate the tissues and guide you to a faster recovery from health problems than water fasting.
A traditional water fast is harsh and demanding on your body,even in times before huge amounts of food and environmental toxins were part of the picture. Today, it can even be dangerous! Deeply buried pollutants and chemicals from our tissues are released into elimination channels too rapidly during a water fast. Ourbody is essentially "re-poisoned" as the chemicals move through the bloodstream all at once. Sometimes, the physical and emotional stress of a water fast even overrides the healing benefits.
Vegetable and fruit juices are alkalizing, so they neutralize uric acid and other inorganic acids better than water and increase the healing effects. Juices support better metabolic activityfor fasting, too. Metabolic activity slows down during a waterfast as the body attempts to conserve dwindling energy resources that further reduce productive cleansing. Juices are very easyon digestion-easily assimilated into the bloodstream. They don'tdisturb the detoxification process.
Three steps to cleansing
The first step of your cleanse is elimination. You'll be cleaning out mucous and toxins from the intestinal tract and major organs.Everything functions more effectively when toxins, obstructions and wastes are removed. Try to drink eight glasses of water each day of your fast in addition to your juices.
The second step is rebuilding healthy tissue and restoring energy.With obstacles removed, your body's regulating powers are activated to rebuild at optimum levels. Eat only fresh and simply prepared foods during the rebuilding step. Your diet should be very lowin fat, with little dairy (cottage cheese and yogurt are OK),and no fried foods. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and sugars.Avoid meats except fish and sea foods. Include supplements and herbal aids for your specific needs.
The final step is keeping your body clean and toxin-free-very important after all the hard work of detoxification. Modifying lifestyle habits is the key to a strong resistant body. A dietfor health maintenance relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber; cooked vegetables, grains and seeds for strength and alkalinity; sea foods, soy foods, eggs and low fat cheeses as sources of protein; and lightly cooked sea foods and vegetableswith a little dinner wine for circulatory health. A personalized group of supplements and herbal aids, as well as exercise and relaxation techniques, should be included.
Here's my cleansing diet today. It's nourishing, delicious, satisfying-and lean. I've lost 10 extra pounds over the last year.
· Salmon, fresh tuna and shrimp for essential fatty acids, brain food, and protein
· A wide variety of sea vegetables for minerals, vitamins,EFA's, protein, and antioxidants
· Sushi and sashimi for B vitamins, protein and more ofall of the above
· Fresh vegetable salads with tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, celery and plenty of lettuces for minerals, vitamins, fiber, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and system sweepers
· Apples, pineapples, grapes and oranges for fiber, system cleansing and hydrating
· Steamed vegetables like green beans, broccoli and cauliflowerfor vitamins and minerals, fiber, anticarcinogens, complex carbohydratesand stable nerves
· Brown rice, couscous, brown rice crackers and rice cakesfor B vitamins, fiber and protein
· Miso soup for immune enhancers and thyroid boosters
· Green tea every morning for antioxidants and detoxifiers
· Plenty of herbs and natural spices for thermogenesis,circulation and immune response.
* Note: Laboratory tests like stool, urine, blood or liver function, and hair analysis can also shed light on the need for detoxification.
Body signs can tell you that you need to detoxify. We all have different "toxic to lerance" levels. Listen to your body when it starts giving you those "cellular phone calls."If you can keep the amount of toxins in your system below your toxic level, your body can usually adapt and rid itself of them.
Written by: Linda Page.
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