Detoxing...What is it and what to expect
Here is a Chapter out of my Book Living On Live Foods that explains a little bit about what detox is and what to expect. (There is also a chapter called 'what to expect which walks you through 4 weeks and gives you an idea of what to expect for each week and how your body and mind will feel while starting raw.)
(let’s get it over with!)
Detoxification is, quite simply, getting rid of the poisons (or toxins) in your body. For most people it’s not a very severe process, but it is a reality, so we'd better talk about it.
The process begins when we begin to clear the body of all the accumulated waste that has built up from years of bad food, drugs, and alcohol.
Have you, or someone you know, ever started a diet or health regime, only to initially feel bad? When this happens, some people will think: “this diet is making me sick.” Or “this health food is not for me.”
As the body begins to detox, the poisons and toxins are thrown into the blood stream as the body tries to rid itself of them. That results in unpleasant sensations, that is why you may feel worse before you feel better when you begin eating raw and living food. Detox symptoms may include headaches, nausea, skin rashes and breakouts, colds, fever, fatigue, irritability, and the temporary increase of existing aches and pains.
In his book Living Foods for Optimal Health, Brian Clements gives the perfect analogy for this process:
“This internal cleansing,” he writes, “ is a lot like house cleaning. Have you ever walked into a house that had been tightly closed up and left untouched for a few years? Things often look relatively clean and in order - until you take out the broom and suddenly stir up a dust storm. If you then get out a pail of water and a scrub brush and create scattered puddles of muddy water, you might well find yourself sitting in the middle of the room, wondering if your efforts are worth the mess you’ve created.
“So it goes with the body. There’s no doubt it’s worth the effort, but you may experience symptoms that can be discouraging unless you really understand what is actually going on. The toxins being discarded are saving you from more serious disease that would result if you keep them in your body too much longer - possibly hepatitis, kidney disorders, blood disease, heart disease, arthritis, nerve degeneration, or even cancer.”
Depending on the way you’ve been eating and living, detox symptoms may come and go for several weeks. Once this process is done, you will begin to feel better than you ever have, and your body will be able to get to work, healing itself on a deep, cellular level.
Patience…A Worthwhile Virtue
Please be patient and give your body the time and support it needs.
I’ve seen clients become very impatient with this process. They don’t like any discomfort (who does?) and want to feel well immediately (who doesn’t?).
The reality is, if you’ve been abusing your body for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more years, eating cooked, dead food and not taking care of yourself, then please don’t insist that your body heal itself in two days! That’s simply not fair!
After eating cooked food most of our lives, we need to have some patience in the cleansing process. Try and see it as I do: a miracle. It is nothing short of miraculous that an abused body, once shown some kindness, will work like crazy to become healthy and whole again!
Above All, Don’t Stop The Process!
As I said, for most people, detoxing won’t be all that severe. You may experience some minor irritations in the first few days of your new diet. You may have a headache, you may feel a bit tired and/or cranky. Most of my clients have experienced only a few mild days of gas, bloating, and a vaguely uneasy feeling. That’s usually about the worst of it. Hang in there! If you stop the detox process by eating cooked food, or by taking medicine, you’ll just have to go through it again.
In Conscious Eating, Gabriel Cousens writes: “Many people think that the phrase `toxins in the body’ is just some jargon of food faddists. Research over the last 100 years show that these bowel toxins actually exist. Not only do they exist, but they also have a tremendous negative impact on mental and physical well-being. Toxins usually come from a process called `intestinal toxemia', an overgrowth of putrefactive intestinal bacteria in the small and large intestine. These toxins are then released into the blood stream and from there affect both our mental and physical functioning. Intestinal toxemia is predominantly caused by a high-protein and low, complex carbohydrate diet.”
Cousens continues: “Intestinal toxemia not only has been associated with severe mental symptoms, such as psychosis, but with a variety of mental imbalances. As early as 1917, Drs. Satterlee and Eldridge presented 518 cases at an American Medical Association conference that had mental symptoms which were cured by removing the intestinal toxemia. The reported symptoms of intestinal toxemia which are familiar to many people: mental sluggishness, dullness, and stupidity; loss of concentration and/or memory; mental incoordination, irritability, lack of confidence, and excessive and useless worry; exaggerated introspection, hypochondrias, and phobias; depression and melancholy; obsessions and delusions; and hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, delirium, and stupor. Senility symptoms are also common with intestinal toxemia.”
Why You Shouldn’t Stop The Process
A client came to me, suffering from diabetes, skin disorders, intestinal problems, obesity, and asthma. Her asthma symptoms - primarily, shortness of breath - would kick in whenever she got sick. When this happened, she would check herself into the hospital where she would be given antibiotics.
After six months on the raw and living food diet, my client lost seventy pounds and healed many of her disorders. She remained, however, subject to colds which would last from a few weeks to a month or more.
Accustomed as she was to viewing antibiotics as “cure-alls,” she tried to treat her colds with them. I tried - unsuccessfully at first - to convince her not to take these drugs because they would suppress the expulsion of her remaining toxins. But, in her understandable panic, and no doubt remembering the asthma attacks of her past, she took them despite my advice.
I kept on trying. I explained how the body simply cannot heal itself when antibiotics suppress the immune system and other organs and systems. I told her she was putting her body through a vicious cycle; that when she got sick, it was her body’s way of trying to get rid of something. I told her that if she continued to suppress her system with drugs, she would stuff back down whatever her body was trying to free her from. In time, her wise body would once again attempt to rid itself of these toxins, prompting her to once again suppress the process with drugs.
If this type of cycle continues, it will result in the suppression of much toxic waste and just plain garbage. This can lead to all sorts of serious diseases.
Thankfully, my client finally decided to allow her cold to run its course. She didn’t take any medication. I warned her that the first time she did this, things might get very intense. All the covered up sickness, I told her, will be coming up, getting ready to clear out. In her case, years of suppressed illnesses were going to have to resurface.
So, when she got sick, she rested. She listened to what her body was telling her. She took short walks in the fresh air, and when her body wanted sleep, she slept. She stopped fighting her body.
She read, took naps, and stopped eating solid food. She only drank fresh juices and water.
For the first few days, she was scared, couldn’t breathe well, and her cold seemed out of control. She got sicker - and without the drugs, felt worse than she’d ever felt, her temperature climbed to 101 degrees.
And then, her fever broke. Her body removed what it needed to remove and her true healing process finally began. After a week she was recovering nicely. Once her cold disappeared she realized she’d felt better than she ever had before. Her body had released a ton of the old junk…junk that was always there, only hidden. Junk that kept her below optimal health, even when she thought she was well.
This story is an unusual one. I’m not relating this story to frighten you. On the contrary, I use it to illustrate just how important it is to let the detox process run its course.
Detoxification isn’t necessarily fun but it is necessary.
Listen to the warning signs your body is sending you! Be grateful that your body in its divine wisdom is giving you that headache, cold, ache, or pain. Don’t try to suppress them. That makes about as much sense as turning the annoying fire alarm off while ignoring the fire itself!
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