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Detoxification

A New Begining for Health

Fresh simple foods eaten with discipline in an unprocessed or natural state have been the mainstay of most healing regimen since the earliest times. From early philosophers to Kneipp, the Lusts, and Lindlahr; to Shelton, Kellogg, and Wigmore; to Cousens and Goldhamer in the present day – scholars and clinicians have recognized that nature’s own dietary provision is the most fundamental and powerful practice we have for the prevention and management of illness.

Detoxification Overview

With volumes of excellent research being published, it is getting easy to see why it is so. Keeping it simple, phytonutrients are identified regularly that are critical to normal structure, maintenance, and functioning of the body’s systems, and necessary for normal processing and disposal of toxic endogenous and exogenous material through biotransformation reactions. And it is this dynamic that places strength of diet foremost on the list of factors that encourage the body to be well and to cleanse itself.

Good clinicians have always held varying beliefs about the specific make-up of a healing and cleansing diet. Some adhere vigorously to the benefits of strict veganism. Most apply at least a vegetarian diet, adding milk products to the vegan staple vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes. Some clinicians maintain that organic meats and milk products may be consumed in moderation without ill effect, and that being overly compulsive about food choices can become an illness-producing stress like any other. (Lindlahr 1910) All recommend avoiding foods that are treated with pesticides, are ground or powdered, flavored with salts, sweeteners, and fats, or amended with synthetic chemicals for preservation or presentation.

And some adherents to a vegan diet go a further step, prescribing entirely raw foods to their patients, including sprouted grains and legumes. Promoters of raw diets propose that essential human nutrients unique to the raw food-forms are lost in cooking; and this postulate seems sensible and likely, though its fact and clinical significance have not been adequately studied.

Ample data support elimination of animal flesh and milk products from therapeutic diets. The link is well reported between fats from animal sources and increased inflammation-mediated pathologies, including atherogenesis, cancer, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, autoimmune disease, and more. A diet high in animal protein, particularly in conjunction with increased transit time, has been known for decades to increase tissue exposure to bacterial exotoxin with various ill affects. Modern immunology and rheumatology literature now abound with new insights into the profound disruptive effects of this diet-gut-immune-distant tissue relationship. And animal protein in general, casein in specific, has been shown to promote the development of human cancers. (TC Campbell "The China Study") Finally, ample data show the challenges to human illness that come from regular accumulation of xenobiotics and the animal hormones concentrated in animal flesh and milk products.

Fiber deserves special mention, along with probiotic-containing fermented food. This duo minimizes gut accumulation of exotoxin-producing bacteria and yeast, and minimizes enterohepatic recirculation of toxins and xenobiotics excreted in the bile (the largest limiting factor to successful elimination of poisons via the liver). [Rooney Toxicology 234 (2007) 145–156]

Strategies for Effective Detoxification

1. Diet

Work with your clinicians to choose the cleansing diet you will be able to stick to. The most cleansing and healing diet is purely vegan, organic and gluten-free, mostly raw, mostly vegetable and fruit with plenty of ad lib whole grain (brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth) and legumes, and a moderate quantity of nuts and seeds (raw, no peanuts or salt, 1/4 cup once or twice daily); this best diet is also free of added salt, sweetener, and added oil, and free of caffeine and alcohol. If you need to eat animal flesh (beef, chicken, fish, eggs etc.), do your best to buy organic or at least antibiotic and hormone-free, and to keep frequency and quantity to a minimum. It is likely that eating animal flesh 1-3 ounces 1-2 times/week does not appreciably reduce the cleansing effect of this diet. If you need animal protein once daily, try to keep the portion size very small and lean. As you work through your cleansing process you will likely notice you require animal proteins less, because your body is working more efficiently. Due to its common allergenicity, I recommend your cleansing diet be dairy free; if you must eat milk-products please try to limit quantity and frequency as above, and stick to organic and non-fat.

2. Fiber

Take fiber powder every 6-8 hours the entire time you are on a cleansing program: (1/2-1 Tablespoon psyllium powder or equivalent in 8 oz water).

3. Therapeutic Fasting

Pick one day each week to fast from all food and liquid except pure filtered or distilled water. Fast from bedtime through the following night, day and night, ending the fast at breakfast 36 hours from the last time you ate the evening meal. Drink at least 3 liters of distilled or filtered water during this time, as your body will eliminate many toxins via the urine. Take fiber powder (1/2-1 Tablespoon psyllium powder or equivalent in 8 oz water) every 6-8 hours during this time, as this will absorb extra toxins excreted by the liver and ensure elimination. End the weekly fasting day with a vegan breakfast (no dairy, flesh or eggs); and resume your cleansing diet. Your fasting day must be relaxed, free of emotional mental or physical challenges. This is important; if the day you have chosen for your fast does not turn out to be such a day, postpone the fast or end it early. Relaxed short strolling several times during the fasting day is recommended, breathing deeply and allowing as much sun and air to contact as much of your skin as comfort permits. Do not do water therapies, vigorous exercise, or other stimulating activity on a fasting day.

4. Air, Sun & Water

On non-fasting days exercise vigorously, preferably out of doors. Briskly walk, do calisthenics, bike, jog etc. for 20-60 minutes, once or twice each day. Breathe deeply, and allow as much sun and air to contact as much of your skin as comfort permits; this will awaken the skin – a vital and forgotten organ of respiration and elimination. Do one of the following water therapy options 2-4 times/day, as time permits. Stand under the alternating hot and cold water flow in your shower (1-3 minutes hot, then 30 seconds cold while you rotate; repeat for 3 cycles); or wrap your body naked in a cold wet sheet from neck to toes, immediately lying down under blankets to lie still until you are relaxed and warm; or if a cold tub, river or lake is handy, do a cold plunge for 30-60 seconds. These stimulations are good after exercise, sauna, or anytime you feel robust. Stimulating circulation and skin with air, sun and water is a profound addition to a cleansing program. Not only does it improve circulation and elimination through the skin, but it strengthens and calms the nervous system, so critical to releasing any physical or psycho-emotional stressor that might be holding up your cleansing.

5. Sweating

It is very powerful and strongly recommended to add daily therapeutic sweating to your Nature’s Cleansing plan. Please schedule an appointment with one of the doctors for details. You can lie in a bathtub full of hot water, sit in sauna or steam room, or any combination, for at least 20 minutes up to several hours daily (including frequent breaks ad lib for hydration, snacks, cold showers, etc.). Do your sweat right after exercise. If you can’t sweat every day, do it every other day. If you can only manage once a week, do the sweat the day after your fast. Do not do therapeutic sweating on a fasting day. At the Health Integration Center we offer Infared Sauna Therapy which promotes sweating, toxin elimination and depuration.

6. Relaxaton, Meditation & Prayer

Numerous healers have noted empirically that our bodies’ tissues (cells) retain toxins and xenobiotics after physical trauma or in response to psycho-emotional-spiritual distress (Wigmore, Hubbard). Lipton (The Biology of Belief 2005 Mountain of Love/Elite Books) details cellular response to feelings, regulated at the cell membrane. Perhaps it is intuitively sound that it would be so, that when the mind is in the “holding on” mode, the “tightening up” that comes while feeling afraid, antagonistic, critical (of other or self), anxious, angry, ashamed – the cells tighten up, hold on and hold in. During your cleansing regimen, several times every day spend 2-5 minutes doing slow deep breaths of appreciation – for the nourishment of air, for your beautiful body and self, for the opportunity to cleanse and be well. Take time for your spiritual or personal practice, at least once or twice a day; your choice completely – prayer, meditation, yoga, happy relaxation, stretching, dancing, singing, etc. Imagine your cells releasing burdensome material, and robust circulation carrying it away.

7. Rest & Sleep

Rest is a critical component of fasting and cleansing. Make it a priority to go to sleep by 9:30 or 10:00 PM, and sleep at least 8 hours. Fasting patients should take it easy all day, napping during the day as needed.

8. Supplementation

Certain supplements may help the body eliminate toxins more rapidly. Discuss specific circumstances and instructions with your clinician.

What Detoxification May Look Like

Every person’s experience is at least a little unique. In general you should feel yourself trending toward more energetic, clear, and calm as the weeks to months of your cleanse pass; and many health problems will improve. However, there are typical ups and downs in this course. You may experience fatigue, diarrhea, skin rashes, anxieties, aches and pains, headaches, bad breath and strong body odor, and just about any other symptom. Tell your clinicians about these, and know that they are usually a signal of some change in the cleansing, and tend to pass. If they do not pass, tell your clinician this too. Revisit your goals of cleansing with your clinician from time to time. This will help you and the clinician decide if you are finished, or if you need to change the cleanse.

Biochemical Events that Take Place During Detoxification

Body System / Biochemical Events Early Stages Late Stages
Brain Uses glucose for fuel Adapts to using ketones and some glucose
Liver Glycogen Breaks down to supply glucose Slowly regenerates
Amino Acids In high demand for making glucose In significantly reduced demand for making glucose
Glycerol In high demand for making glucose In significantly reduced demand for making glucose
Fatty Acids Supply energy directly for most tissues Major source of energy for most tissues, including ketones for brain
Metabolic Rate Slight reduction Significant reduction
Net Effect High use of protein to supply glucose to the brain Less need for glucose, conservation of protein, utilization of fat reserved

What Are Some Possible Side Effects from Detoxification?

Side effects of fasting are rarely serious, but fasting may uncover disease and reveal weaknesses that were previously subclinical. Discomfort during fasting may be due to withdrawal from stimulants, hypoglycemia, acidosis, elimination of wastes, and enhancement of repair. Most signs and symptoms are usually brief as the body works to remove the disease. Occasionally, short fasting turns out to be risky or too uncomfortable, and should be discontinued. Here are the signs:

  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid, slow, feeble, or irregular pulse
  • Extreme weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration
  • Cardiac arrhythmias

If you do need to stop your fasting, be assured that Nature’s Cleansing process works very well without the fasts, too; especially with the addition of therapeutic sweating.

Contraindications to fasting include severe anemia, porphyria, and serious malnutrition. Individuals with a rare fatty acid deficiency of the enzyme medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) shuld also avoid fasting.

The fasting of children and pregnant women is controversial. Although a short fast is appropriate for the sick child who does not want to eat, fasting in a pregnant woman may be strongly contraindicated; ketosis in pregnant diabetic women is known to be associated with fetal damage. Although Shelton and others did routinely fast pregnant women, this practice guideline strongly discourages any active cleansing of any kind during pregnancy and nursing, because most mobilized poisons easily cross the placental barrier and breast barriers and accumulate in the child.

See One of Our Providers Below To Assist You with Setting Up a Detoxification Program


David Y. Wong, MD


Cody J. Long, ND


Eiji Ozawa, ND

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