Do the cold weather and excess comfort foods get you down…literally? Do you feel overweight, sluggish, less interested in life? While it is ideal to avoid environmental toxins and detoxify daily, you can awaken your wellness this spring with a gentle, short-term internal cleansing program.
Thousands of damaging toxins bombard our bodies daily due to exposure to environmental pollutants, eco-unfriendly consumer products, and unhealthy food and water. These include heavy metals, chemicals like pesticides that take years to break down, tobacco smoke by-products, phthalates in plastics and solvents, microbial toxins produced in the gut, and preservatives and dyes in processed foods.
Ongoing exposure to toxins can cause disease in many ways. It imbalances hormones (especially during menopausal years), displaces bone minerals, damages organs, accelerates aging, interferes with healthy gene expression, and prevents proper cell signaling by impairing cell membranes.
Some indications that your body needs an internal cleansing include:
- Extreme fatigue and insomnia
- Headaches, brain fog, difficulty concentrating
- Chronic depression
- Female issues
- Unexplained muscle pains/soreness
- Poor digestion, bad breath, or smelly stools
- Neurological problems
- Weight gain/obesity
- Skin conditions and dark circles/bags under the eyes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Allergies, chemical sensitivities, asthma
- Compromised immunity
Some Options for Cleansing
If you’re not feeling your best, experiment with these effective cleansing programs:
- Three-day fresh, organic, vegetable juice/bone broth fast—a quick way to promote toxin removal that can cause detoxification reactions.
- Thirty-day comprehensive elimination diet—eliminate the most common allergenic foods and beverages and replace them with non-allergenic choices; gradually add back the eliminated foods and journal their effects.
- Daily intermittent fasting (see “The Many Amazing Benefits of Intermittent Fasting” in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of Natural Nutmeg).
- Ten-day/ongoing daily core food plan that follows the exclusions below and includes organic vegetables, healthy fats, certain nuts and seeds, cooked legumes, berries, wild-caught fish, and pasture-raised chicken, turkey, and eggs.
These additional guidelines for following a cleansing program can also be beneficial:
- Detox when you will have ample time to rest and restroom access.
- Prepare by eating only raw foods for the last meal or for the full day before the fast begins.
- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of alkaline spring or filtered water daily and avoid other drinks except green and herbal teas.
- Avoid all processed foods, meat (beef, pork, lamb), shellfish, alcohol, non-prescription drugs, sugar, added salt, tobacco, and caffeine.
- Support your body with fiber, vitamin C, a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral, a lipotropic formula, and other detoxifying supplements (see below).
- Use a sisal brush twice daily to stimulate the lymphatic system.
- Avoid heavy exercise—do yoga or other gentle deep-breathing exercises, especially in nature.
- Break your fast by slowly introducing solid foods in limited portions.
Dietary Supplements That Promote Internal Cleansing
These nutrients can greatly enhance your body’s ability to detoxify and function effectively:
- Amino Acids:
- L-cysteine and L-methionine, whose levels greatly dictate how much the cells produce glutathione, the “master antioxidant.” N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) supplementation reduces heavy metal and drug toxicity and can extend longevity.
- SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine) deficiency is associated with impaired detoxification and can exacerbate liver injury/disease.
- Dandelion Root: Widely recommended for liver, gall bladder, and bile duct conditions; used as a diuretic, blood tonic, and for minor digestive problems. Avoid if allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, or daisies.
- Fulvic Acid: Derived from humus (dark, organic material that forms in soil from the decay of plant and animal matter), a natural chelator that can bind and break down toxins and metals.
- Green Tea: One of the most powerful liver supporters; helps the body release fat from storage; helps fat-soluble toxins leave the body with the stool. One key component (EGCG) is associated with the inhibition of cancers and metastasis.
- Milk Thistle/Silymarin: Conserves glutathione and reduces oxidative stress in the liver from toxin metabolism. It is effective against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, and hepatitis C.
- Minerals: Magnesium supports disease-fighting methylation in the liver, ensures proper energy production in liver cells, and increases glutathione synthesis. Selenium is required for glutathione synthesis and detoxifies mercury and other heavy metals.
Combining an appropriate cleansing program with detoxifying dietary supplements can promote optimal wellness. Consult a practitioner before using these methods, especially if you are ill, over age sixty-five, or more than forty pounds overweight.
Submitted by Erika Dworkin, BCHN (Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition®), Wellness Guide and former owner of the Manchester Parkade Health Shoppe in Manchester, CT (www.cthealthshop.com), which operated for 65 years. To read more about this topic, contact Erika to get a copy of her chapter in the 25 practitioners’ collaborative book, The Energy Medicine Solution: Mind Blowing Results to Live Your Extraordinary Life.
All statements in this article are practice- or scientific evidence-based, and references are available upon request. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, are for educational purposes only, and are not intended to take the place of a physician’s advice.
Erika is available for nutrition consultations and to speak to groups, in person or on Zoom. She can be contacted by phone at 860.646.8178 or by email at: email@example.com. Ask about her office hours by appointment, FREE 20-Minute Wellness Assessments, and FREE Wellness Chats!