Theories and Philosophy of Detoxification
Why do we engage in cleansing or detoxification programs anyway? Well, in one sense it is because of the symbolic commitment to ourselves. In another more physical sense, it is to give ourselves a break from exposure to toxins so that our bodies might take the opportunity to get rid of what we have in storage.
Toxins come from both exogenous (outside of the body) and endogenous (inside of the body) sources. Exogenous exposure comes from our interactions with our environment, while endogenous exposure comes from our body’s own biochemistry which is turn affected by what we are exposed to in our environment.
Examples of exogenous exposure include:
- Consuming foods that are synthetic such as artificial colorings (food dyes), artificial sweeteners (splenda, nutrasweet, etc…), artificial flavorings (Monosodium Glutamate), trans-fats (Crisco, margarine)
- Pesticides and herbicides on food
- Cigarette smoke and other air-borne pollutants like, car exhaust, mold, industrial fumes, asbestos
- Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, aluminum, tin and mercury. Which we counter in our food, beauty products, vaccines, and most famously amalgam fillings.
- Make-up, shampoo, deodorant, and other self-care products that contain methyl and propyl parabens and many other ingredients you don’t recognize
- Cleaning products, chemical solvents, “non-stick” Teflon pans
- Plastics containing BPAs and other harmful components that can mimic hormones in our bodies
- Hormones and antibiotics from non-organic meat and dairy products
- Excessive alcohol
- Prescription drugs
Examples of endogenous production include:
- “Free radicals” as a normal bi-product of many reactions that occur in our biochemistry
- Hormones that can accumulate excessively like cortisol and estrogen
At no other time in human history have we been exposed to so many toxins from our environment (think about how many of the “exogenous” toxins you are exposed to on a day-to-day basis). These “external” toxins gunk up the body’s natural systems of detoxification, which are meant to only deal with “internal” toxins. While some human beings are naturally better at detoxifying than others (for example, that Uncle or Grandfather who smoked his entire life and lived to be 90), participating in 21st century America means that we ALL have a toxic burden to unload. In addition to being informed consumers about the products we buy, we also must regularly “open up” the pathways of detoxification.
The following is a list of the organs the body employs to do the work of detoxification and the feature of the Detox Program that assists with cleaning the organ out:
- Liver: avoid alcohol, most caffeine and processed foods, Liver Cleanse herbs, liver support herbs in Detox-approved protein powders
- Skin: use natural beauty products, sweat from physical activity
- Intestines: Juice fasting to rest the gut, avoid processed foods, increase “roughage” from fibrous veggies, flax seed meal to increase bowel movement bulk, “gut” support nutrients in Detox-approved protein powders
- Kidneys: flush with non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated diuretics, kidney support in Liver Cleanse herbs
- Lungs: increased respiration from physical activity, deep breathing as in breathing exercises
The above are strategies we “practice” during the 10 days of the Detoxification Program. The more we practice and reap the health benefits of these strategies, the more motivation we have to continue to use them the rest of the year.
Options for Cleanses
Pick a length of time to eliminate all common food allergens including:
- Red meat (can choose to go vegetarian as well for optimal detox benefits)
- Caffeine (optional but encouraged)
Definition: To abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink for a period of time.
There are many different types of fasting including water fasting, Juice fasting, fruit fasting, and so on. Though technically the term is being used incorrectly. It would be more appropriate to call it a Juice Feast! Whichever type of fasting you choose the goal is to allow the body to detoxify and allow the gut some much needed rest.
Water Fasting vs Juice Fasting
Water Fasting is a very strong detox that happens more quickly then other types of fasting. During a water fast energy is generally low though hunger disappears completely. This form of fasting is best for dealing with more serious and chronic health conditions because you are able to enter Ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body begins using fat as fuel instead of glucose.
Juice Fasting – Gentler cleansing then water though it can be just as effective. Generally you will have greater energy then usual, which makes juice fasting perfect for people who can not take time off!
Benefits of Fasting
Both Water & Juice Fasting:
- Detoxify the body from endogenous and exogenous toxins (chemicals, pesticides, plasticizers, pollutants, free-radicals produced by the body)
- Reset and rebalance the nervous system
- Boost the immune system making you more resilient to infection
- Rebalance gut flora – Great for healing any digestive disorder (ie gas, bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, etc.)
- Increase cell turnover/ Rejuvenate the body – making skin brighter and more youthful
- Balance blood sugar
- Decrease blood pressure
- Get rid of old habits and addictions that no longer serve
How does fasting work?
The major mechanism of fasting is pure physiologic rest. Physiologic rest means that we are giving the digestive track and associated organs a much-needed break. Normally much of our body’s energy is being allocated to digestion, about 80%. This means that we are almost always running on about 20% of our body’s total energy. When we fast we are able to utilize this “extra” energy for healing, detoxification, and rejuvenation. These are the normal functions of our body’s but because we rarely break from eating we are not able to function at full capacity.
With juice fasting we are loading the body full of nutrients that help the liver process toxins that are being released from the body tissue. It also allows us to maintain normal or elevated energy levels while giving the digestive tract a rest.
During a water fast the physiology is a little more complicated. When water fasting the body will switch from using glucose for fuel to ketones. This physiologic process is called ketosis and happens when fat is being broken down for energy. Ketosis has been praised for over 40 years for it’s neuro-protective function, being used in the treatment of seizure disorder, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative disease. More recently studies have been reporting more on the regenerative effects of ketosis including nerve regeneration, decreased healing time, increased insulin sensitivity (reversing diabetes), anti-inflammatory, and more visceral weight loss (organ fat loss). Not to mention ketone kill hunger completely, which is what makes water fasting very comfortable in most cases.
- 80% of our body’s energy goes to digestion when we are consuming!
- On average American adults eat every 3.5-4 hours, with snacks inbetween.
Is there anyone who should not fast?
- People with Type 1 diabetes
- People with serious wasting disorders
- Pregnant or breast feeding women
- People who are afraid of fasting
- People on Medications that can not be stopped (Applies to Water fasting only)
Other tips and tricks to maximize your cleansing experience
Castor oil packs (30 min)
Benefits of COPs:
- Extremely anti-inflammatory
- Stimulated the liver to produce Glutathione peroxidase
- Stimulated immune function
- Moves the lymph
- Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial
- Supports healthy liver and digestive function
What you will need:
- Flannel or wool cloth
- Hot water bottle or electric heat pad may be used
- Plastic wrap
- Castor oil
- Make sure you are in old clothes and that you are laying on a towel or something that you don’t mind getting oily.
- Fold the flannel or wool cloth into 2-4 layers. Make sure it is a suitable size to cover your abdomen from hip bones to solar plexus.
- Soak the wool flannel in castor oil (or coat abdomen in generous amount of castor oil)
- Apply wool to the abdomen.
- Place sheet of plastic over pack. This is to protect your clothes and linen from getting oily.
- Place hot water bottle or heating pad on the abdomen on top of plastic
- Cover abdomen with towel or blanket to keep the heat in.
- Treatment should continue for at least 30 minutes. Longer treatments are not harmful.
- When finished remove the pack and wide residual oil with clothe. Easy Peasy!
**Wool can be stored in the refrigerator in a container. It can be reused 20-25 times, after which it should be washed or dry-cleaned.
Usage of Castor Oil Pack
COPs can be done daily. They are especially useful during a fast or cleansing program. You may also using COPs for indigestion, abdominal discomfort, gas, and cramping.
Contraindications: Do not use heat with uterine growths, bleeding, pregnancy, ulcers or while menstruating. Do not fall asleep while using the electric heating pad.
Coffee enemas (45 min – 1hr)
- Increase elimination and stimulate bowel movements. Coffee acts as an astringent in the colon and cleans the colon walls
- Stimulating toxin elimination – have been found to increase the production of Glutathione Peroxidase by the liver, which activates Glutathione, the major anti-oxidant in the body. Anti-oxidants work to remove harmful free radicals and toxins from the body.
- Enhance digestion – coffee enemas increase bile flow and removes toxins in the large intestine
- Stimulates the liver – especially helpful for slow oxidizers, usually people with impaired digestion.
* For procedures and instructions on how to prepare and administer a coffee enema please use the below resources:
Dry Skin Brushing (2 min)
- Do this before you shower each morning.
- 4-8 strokes in each area of the body indicated below.
- Make sure you are brushing in the directing of the arrows in the picture below.
Caution: Do not brush on or over areas of thin or damaged skin (skin rashes, wounds, cuts, infections, poison oak or poison ivy)
Contrasting Hot/Cold Shower (10 min)
- Immediately after skin brushing, start your shower with the water as hot as you can tolerate for 5 minuets.
- Allow water to warm mainly your chest and abdomen. Spend half the time warming your back and the other half warming your chest and abdomen.
- End the shower by going directly from as hot as you can handle to as cold as your water gets.
- End your shower with the water turned down as cold as it gets for at least 30 sec (up to 1 minuet) before finishing.
- Immediately after skin brushing, start your shower with the water as hot as you can tolerate for 5 minuets.
Sauna – FAR Infrared saunas are best though any type of sweating is beneficial. It is best to sweat for at least 20 minuets a day.
Deep Breathing (3 min) – Belly breathing or deep breathing can be done during COPs. Best way to increase elimination through the lungs. Best is practices a couple times throughout the day. Create a new habit for yourself!
Exercise – helps to move the blood and lymph. Even walking 20-30 minuets a day will make a huge difference.
- Lecithin – Assists with healthy weight loss and the elimination of fat-soluble toxins from the body. Support healthy neurotransmitter and hormone production. Neuro protective action.
- Activated Charcoal – Works to absorb harmful and irritating toxins from the body by acting as a super sponge.
- Fiber (Ground Flax, Psyllium husk, Oat bran, etc.) – Assist in creating healthy bowel movement and there by making sure we are removing waste and other toxins from the body.
- Liver Cleanse – During a fast or any type of cleanse the liver is working very hard to process all the toxic waste. This is why it is important to take something to support the liver.