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Detoxification - Deep Cleanse for a Radiant Smile

by Mandy Eugeniou(more info)

listed in detoxification, originally published in issue 107 - January 2005

Health Consequences of our Lifestyle

Unless one has been leading a macrobiotically-led existence in the peaceful heights of Tibet, detoxification must become man's best friend. It is more of a realization for humankind than a western trend.

The urgency is compounded by the fact that we lead such frantic lives in an environment poisoned by pollution. Our diets are characterized by the consumption of food chemicals, and residues of dead waste cling onto our organs with no exit sign in sight. A well-thought out period of voluntary food abstinence will not only open the doorways for toxic matter but, surprisingly, serve as nourishment for the body, mind and especially the spirit. Creative talent will be magnified and life energy boosted. Differences in your relationships, attitude, skin, and bodily cycles will become almost tangible.

Hailed as the missing link in western society, self-cleansing is nothing more than a common sense approach to conscious eating. Elson Hass, author of the Detox Diet1 explains how many illnesses manifesting in industrialised countries are directly related to problems with congestion, such as clogged tissues, suffocated cells and loss of energy. Haas asserts that any food that is over-consumed should be eliminated for a period of time, along with irritating foods such as meat, dairy, refined foods, gluten grains, chocolate, coffee and peanuts. Therefore, frequent colds and flu, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and allergies can all be prevented or treated by undertaking a detox overhaul. Self-cleansing will support self-healing by powering up the immune system.

The sheer magnitude of such a task may at first, seem discouraging but ridding yourself of dead waste is actually a liberating experience.

Maggie Erotogritou in her inspiring book Radiant Woman2 reassures that there is nothing more empowering than taking responsibility for your health. Learning about what affects your own energy level will encourage you to be more health conscious and motivated to make life-enhancing choices. This cumulative effect will result in radiant health, naturally releasing the energy to help you lead the lifestyle you want. Health is humanity's birthright; it is something that the human body is striving to achieve. So it is incongruous that much energy is spent on focusing on external cleanliness instead of the internal state of affairs. This kind of myopia often leads to premature death and avoidable suffering. Becoming more aware of food as medicine, as Hippocrates once said, will catalyse that karmic health process to help you reap the rewards as soon as seeds of conscious eating have been planted.

Detox for Weight Loss and Colon Cleansing

Detoxification also boasts weight loss as one of its end-results since holistically, it works at the root of the weight problem. And although some weight will naturally fall off in the beginning as your body instinctively strives to achieve its optimum weight, it is much more than a temporary solution. Recently the media debate regarding obesity has tended to ignore why we eat so destructively. We emotionally eat often because we have either not developed, or tend to override the mechanism which regulates hunger and eating. Inner cleansing will help to re-build this link by making you more aware of when and how you emotionally eat. The experience can also inspire an inner sense of resolve to replace habits with more constructive ones. Detoxification works intimately with the subconscious eating pattern to make the relationship with food one of healthful harmony. Given time, even taste buds will alter to savour foods which result in optimum health.

Therefore, detoxification is in a different league to fad diets which continue to steal our hearts in our eternal quest for 'slimhood'. It is a process of rejuvenation, and the greatest gift you could ever offer yourself. It cleanses your insides of harmful matter, forestalls premature ageing and sharpens mental works; but it also helps to heal emotions and ailments in much the same way it tackles emotional eating. A good starting point to deal with obesity, allergies and most types of addiction is through detoxification.

Enemas or the more sophisticated form, colonic hydrotherapy, are both extremely effective in stimulating elimination. Many might balk at the idea but humans have been cleansing the colon for 3500 years. Margie Finchell, Colonic Hydrotherapist, explains how everybody needs to have a clear out. "The large intestine, or colon, is the sewer of the body and it is vital you have a clean one. Even if you eat healthily, a traffic jam will always build up."

Refined foods cause excess mucus and stagnation in the intestines, so filtering warm water into the colon can wash out poisons and alleviate acne, fibroids, ME, eczema, constipation, premature wrinkles, IBS, headaches, lethargy, diarrhoea and depression. It may take a few visits to clear out debris that is stored since childhood, but the emotional and psychological lift is well worth the small degree of discomfort. "A colonic is different to an enema where just 12 inches of the colon is being cleansed with two litres of water," adds Finchell. "A colonic will ensure water goes all the way through your large intestine with a maximum of 30 gallons of water pumped in slowly as you sit back and have it done for you. Up to eight pounds of waste can be eliminated at any one time, but you don't have to have serious symptoms to benefit from it. Your skin will clear up, your eyes will shine and you will end up feeling much lighter and brighter."

Juice and Water Fasting

Juice and water fasting – the more stringent form for the seasoned detoxer – is a potent way of discovering your in-built power for change. Since your body is not concerned with digestion or elimination, it is vibrating differently, closer to your true self and revealing the true nature of mind. Fasting can not only extend physical life but open you up to deep spiritual experience. A renewed sense of creativity and inspiration will be made available to you during and after your period of detoxification. In fact, many of the world's greatest healers and thinkers have undertaken some kind of conscious detox programme as a method of healing and spiritual revelation, including Jesus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Ensuring green vegetable and fruit juices are consumed, a one-day-a-week fast is a powerful cleanser. Three-day monthly fasts over the full moon period are a good way to maintain natural inner hygiene and under the guidance of a practitioner, have been known to tackle serious illnesses. Such regimes support deep tissue, intestinal and organ cleansing. But it is important to be cautious when undertaking such a venture. "Although the benefits of fasting are improved energy and clearer skin, it is not always suitable for everyone, or even necessary," informs Anne-Lise Miller, Colonic Hydrotherapist. "It should only be undertaken once you are healthy enough to fast and so supervision is recommended to heal more chronic illnesses."

The fascinating thing about detoxification is that despite the depth of knowledge written on it, there is no bible for its process. There is much to learn from the Ayurvedic doshas known as the vata, pitta and kapha in order to determine your basic constitution and recognize which foods are sattvic (nourishing), tamasic (dead) and rajasic (irritating). In Taoist philosophy, the yin and yang principle and the Chang Ming (longevity) diet3 will teach you how to balance the temperature of the blood system with cold, warming and neutral foods. It might also be useful to take a ph test every month or so, (by buying litmus paper and urinating on it), in order to monitor levels of acidity. Everyone has individual needs, and so embarking on a detox programme would mean learning to listen to the voice of your own intuition as this will direct your journey towards a life-changing experience. A rough guide would be to create some mental space for healing reactions such as headaches, spots and possible dizziness. It is always best to remove yourself as much as possible from worldly responsibilities, especially during fasts. Learn to trust the often slow process. Considering it has taken a lifetime to accumulate toxic waste, you will eventually be able to offer more patience, commitment and enthusiasm towards this way of life.

The Importance of Water

Water deserves a special mention. Water is the elixir of human life. Without it, we would die in a matter of hours and yet water alone can sustain human life for weeks. Our 70% water-based constitution means the flow must be fresh and continuous. We need oxygen from air, heat from fire, produce from the earth and a sizeable amount of water. Natural hygienists maintain that our food should consist of 70 % water, so the six-glasses-a-day is the minimum commitment as are high-water-content foods, such as fruit and vegetables, a variety of which will nourish and cleanse the system. Water from these sources is conducive to a high level of cleansing as they stir up food debris and remove impacted faeces from the intestinal walls. In order to achieve optimum weight it is important to re-educate the palate to eat these foods that effectively wash your insides through and through. A good way to incorporate fruit as an ongoing cleansing technique is to eat it for breakfast daily with fresh water. This will certainly give your body time to establish a pattern of regular elimination before concentrated food enters the gastrointestinal tract.

Advice for Detoxification

Even a basic automaton needs a period of respite, a timely service to purify its insides and fine-tune for maximum performance. The human machine which has inherent intelligence and a potential to survive healthily for over a hundred years, is possibly one of nature's greatest inventions, since it harnesses the ability to self-heal and self-produce. But unlike any other machine, it recharges much better at certain times of the year, usually around season changes and the full moon, when energies are high. Generally, a month-long macrobiotic cleanse which avoids dairy, meat, alcohol, drugs (unless prescribed), and wheat will offer your system adequate time to re-establish equilibrium and entrench new habits.

The following programme can be adapted to suit your needs at any given time. But the important thing is to ensure your detox programme be managed by the individual and if necessary, a practitioner.4 For instance, if one smokes or relies on prescription and recreational drugs or alcohol then the first thing would be to give yourself time to consider minimizing or, even better, giving up. Detoxification may encourage more positive thinking but if mental patterns are so ingrained, they can cause toxicity in the body. A qualified therapist might be able to help you deal with them.

Some kind of daily exercise that works for you is vital to any health regime. Choose something and do it regularly, be it abseiling, power-walking, or Ashtanga yoga. It magnifies your inner strength, improves self-image and releases the energy to live the lifestyle you want. Always remember that if you are detoxifying to cleanse, cure an illness or simply to defy ageing, the best advice would be to take things in your own time – even if that means committing to just one thing at a time. This will reinforce your resolve to continue detoxing throughout your whole life.

Hints and Tips for Life-long Cleansing

* Scrape tongue every morning. It will remove toxins that have been thrown up at night and freshen your breath;
* Gravel root tea can be drunk ongoing for six weeks to decompose the millions of stones built up in the kidneys through coffee and tea drinking;
* A massage will support the detox process;
* Excess acid causes pain, arthritis and osteoporosis and thickens blood. Acidic foods are wheat, meat, cigarettes, alcohol and tea and coffee;
* Wash at least once a day;
* Consider taking a super food, like Aloe Vera, Spirulina;
* When undertaking a juice fast, consume no drugs or supplements unless prescribed;
* Use herbs instead of prescription drugs for ailments. Echinacea and Pao d'arco are powerful immune boosters;
* The only thing you can drink during the day that is good for your body is water; Excessive consumption of herbal teas can dehydrate;
* Avoid additives, alcohol, preservatives;
* Rotate foods that are irritating;
* Try and minimize tinned food. Keep to fresh and if possible organic;
* Enema kits can be bought at the chemist. For a deep cleanse use Greek coffee. Stir in three tablespoons of coffee in three cups of water to boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool and filter very well. Dandelion root is a good infusion for a home enema;
* At the same time as cleansing the colon, it might be helpful to drink a daily glass of betonite clay and psyllium husks mixed with water. This concoction is said to drag out dead waste;
* Always drink filtered or mineral water at room temperature.

The Month-Long Programme

Morning

* Fresh mineral water (room temperature);
* Hot water with lemon and honey;
* Fruit, fresh juice or plain vegetable soup;
* Grab a handful of pumpkin/sunflower seeds/skinned almonds, if hungry before lunch.

Lunch

* Quinoa/ millet/ brown rice/lentils/ beans/peas/ rice noodles/ seeds/chick peas;
* Cook with steamed or boiled vegetables, flavoured with olive oil, sesame oil, Tamari (gluten free soya sauce). To taste, use herbs, fresh ginger, onion, garlic, lemon, miso;
* Occasionally stir fry vegetables or sauté onions.

Dinner

* Same as lunch but less in quantity.

In between

* Herbal tea;
* Fruit or vegetables;
* If hungry, munch on a handful of almonds with an apple or carrot/ cucumber sticks.

Avoid

* Table Salt. Just a pinch of rock/sea/ herb salt in cooking;
* Tea or coffee;
* Chemicals: MSG, sweeteners, additives;
* Flour products;
* Alcohol;
* Vinegar;
* Eating after dinner;
* Eating too many potatoes, bell and chilli peppers, aubergines and tomatoes. They are 'deadly nightshades' and contain 'solanin'. Substitute with sweet potatoes, pumpkin, swede, courgettes, broccoli, spinach and a myriad other vegetables.

Remember:

* Make a conscious effort to chew properly;
* Leave space in your belly after a meal for digestion;
* Keep meals simple but tasty.

Bibliography

1. Haas ME. MD. The Detox Diet. Updated. Celestial Arts. USA. 2004.
2. Erotogritou M. Radiant Woman. 1st Books Library. United Kingdom. 2003.
3. Yeoh A. Longevity. The Tao of Eating and Healing. Times Editions Pte Ltd. Singapore. 1989.
4. McIntyre A. Herbs for Common Ailments. Gaia Books Limited. London. 1992.

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About Mandy Eugeniou

Mandy Eugeniou is a playwright, a freelance and short story writer, Many of her articles, be they socially-, politically- or health awareness-orientated, have attempted to address issues in a holistic manner by focusing on the much broader picture. She has written myriad articles for Cyprus Weekly, a national paper abroad and CALM, a relatively new holistic magazine. She is also an actress and activist for the reunification of Cyprus. 

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