Cleansing, purification, detox or fasting, with all its various labels, is a generally safe, effective way to help the body to eliminate accumulated waste.
Cleansing is what happens when we temporarily eliminate congesting foods from our diet and include only cleansing foods. More on this below.
A properly conducted purification can have profound and lasting benefits on the health of your body, on your emotional wellbeing and your spiritual awakening.
Detoxing is so popular these days because it really works! An effective cleanse can relieve allergies, anxiety, aching joints, acne, addictions, excema, overweight, headaches, indigestion, constipation, depression, fatigue, insomnia and much more.
However, detoxing can also be challenging because you have to temporarily give up your favorite comfort foods and addictive coping mechanisms in order for the body to discharge stored waste. For the duration of your cleanse, you must avoid fats, sugar, flour products, caffeine, alcohol and animal proteins. You must eat and/or drink simple nourishment that is easy to digest: juices, broths, plain grains, plain vegetables, etc.
A cleanse can be challenging because you may experience the effects of metabolic waste being detoxed. Detox can feel a bit like the flu (see below for a list of symptoms). It can also be challenging to prepare your cleansing foods and juices while you are not feeling great and if you are in proximity to others in your household eating the usual fare.
The Sacred Nourishment Cleansing Method offers a safe, effective, tasty and surprisingly easy method of cleansing with lasting benefits. The power of group support or individual coaching with Alison has been attested to by hundreds (click on the Testimonial tab) .
Why would anyone want to do a cleanse? Detoxing the body results in greater vitality, clarity, health and well-being. You know how your automobile perks up after you get a tune-up to clean out the accumulation of sludge in the filters, the carburetor and spark plugs ? So too, you will feel the amazing healing effects of eliminating waste and toxins from your body.
Benefits Of Doing A Detox •Increases flexibility, clarity, energy •Restores a sense of aliveness and wellbeing •Heightens sense of smell, sight, touch, sound, taste •Brings a radiance to eyes and skin •Increases flexibility, clarity, energy •Realigns one with body wisdom and true appetite •Jump starts a sensible weight loss plan by cleansing the liver and eliminating addiction to sugar, caffeine, fats etc. •Helps one overcome addictions •Develops self mastery
How do you do a cleanse? There are many cleansing methods. To list the most popular:
•Total Fast -- abstaining from all food and liquid •Water Fast -- taking only water •Juice Fast -- having just juice, •Grain Mono-Diet -- having just grains •Raw Food Cleanse -- eating only raw and/or live foods •Herbal Cleanse -- taking herbs and supplements combined with a simple diet •Panchkarma -- Ayurvedic purification combining grain dishes, supplements, and vegetables
Each method has proponents that believe their way is the best and others are faulty. In my 30 years of study and facilitation of cleansing groups, I believe that they all have value. Some merit taking special precautions.
The Sacred Nourishment Method provides balance, ease and effectiveness and is safe for a wide spectrum of people.
What are toxins? Toxins are substances that the body cannot use or break down that can be stored in the tissues and blood. Toxins:
1) are naturally produced as a by-product of metabolism (just as sludge in your car is a natural by-product of combustion)
2) come from ingesting poisonous chemicals and heavy metals from the environment through food, water and air. The bad news is that we live in a toxic world. The good news is that we can take measures to reduce the effects of those poisons.
Accumulation of waste in the body (let’s call it congestion) impedes the proper functioning of the cells, organs and tissues, just as sludge impedes the functioning of your auto. We always hear that changing the oil every 3000 miles increases the life of your car. Same with your body. Cleaning out the waste on a regular basis reverses many chronic health conditions and contributes to vitality and longevity.
How do we accumulate waste? How does waste accumulate and what can we do about it? Let’s go to the building blocks of your health—your cells. You are only as healthy as the functioning of the cells in your body. Your car functions well as long as the parts are working. The parts work as long as they are not worn out by trying to operate through sludge. Simplistically, this is true for cells as well.
You know that cells make up every part of your body—from your hard bones, to the soft tissue of organs and muscles to the fluids that make up 70% of your body weight. Every cell is a microcosm of the whole body. Every cell ingests fuel (nourishment), metabolizes (or digests) that fuel, and eliminates what cannot be used effectively. When the cell is functioning well, it turns the fuel into energy to be used for all the physical and chemical activities that power your body, just as your car combusts gasoine into energy that powers your car.
Lifestyle Your lifestyle habits greatly impact the build up of waste in the body. The major lifestyle causes of congestion are:
•over-eating •difficult food combinations •constipation •toxic substances in food, water and air •sedentary lifestyle •stress •insufficient water
Symptoms of Congestion How do you know if you have metabolic waste? Some symptoms of congestion are:
Detox to the Rescue: A Post-Holiday Remedy for the Five-Pound Bloat By Alison Shore Gaines from Kripalu On-line January 2007 www.kripalu.org
So you put on a pound or five over the holidays? Do you feel a like a sausage squeezed into your clothes? Most of us indulge in the delectable offerings of the season, usually laden with saturated fats, dairy, sugar, and white flour. In excess, these foods create congestion or metabolic waste that leaves us feeling sluggish, heavy, bloated, tired, achy, irritable, and/or depressed. Just as our automobile perks up after a tune-up, we can revitalize with a detox.
Whether you call it cleansing, detox, purification, or fasting, eliminating metabolic waste from the body is an ancient practice. All of the major religions include some form of fasting as a vehicle for well-being and spiritual awakening.
Fasting has a profound effect on all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Increased vitality, mental clarity, and weight loss are typical detox results. Fasters often experience lasting relief from allergies, arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, and addictions to sugar, caffeine, and nicotine as well as gaining deeper insight and a sense of joy. Fasting is considered by many to be the single most effective method of healing chronic disease.
Thatís the good news. The bad news is that while your body is sloughing off congestion, you may experience headaches, light-headedness, weakness, extreme fatigue, nausea, and/or emotional release. This is why a cleanse is best undertaken when you can rest and do not need to drive or work.
Just as with diet and nutrition, there are varied opinions as to the best detox protocol. Total abstinence from food and drink is the most demanding form of fasting. On a water fast, one consumes water only. The "master cleanse" consists of fresh lemonade sweetened with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. A juice fast includes a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, as well as herbal teas and water. Ayurvedic and macrobiotic cleansing practices use grains and whole vegetables. Some traditions incorporate detoxifying herbal supplements.
For the detox novice, supervision is highly recommended. The safest cleansing methods include some solid food and exclude congesting foods such as dairy, fats, animal protein, sugar, and all flour products. A mono-diet detox consists of having only grains like rice or millet, or just apples or vegetable soup.
Alison Shore Gaines is a nutrition consultant and
lifestyle educator. She teaches Organic Juice Purification Retreats at Kripalu seven times per year. Her purification retreats offer root vegetable soup, fresh organic juices, and whole grains, as well as support for detox and classes in yoga, nutrition, lifestyle changes, and more.
Alison has been conducting retreats since 1985
and has a private consulting practice in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She
can be reached at email@example.com.